Ricardo Bello on Thu, 4 Mar 2004 14:39:31 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> From Venezuelan Writers, Artists and Academics to their Colleagues

A message from Venezuelan writers, artists and academics to their
colleagues throughout the world

Venezuela is experiencing one of the most dramatic moments in its history.
A gigantic fraud is about to take place, which will nullify the millions
of signatures of Venezuelans who are soliciting a revocatory referendum
against the Presidency of Hugo Chvez. The pressure against the referendum,
employed in such a flagrant and stubborn manner by Chvez himself and by
his closest followers, especially the Vice President, the Ministers, the
Representatives and the State-run media, has had an effect on the majority
of the members of the National Elections Council (CNE). These electoral
authorities, when confronted with all the collected signatures, have used
arguments and technicalities to invalidate a certain number of these so as
to halt the referendum. They are obeying the President's direct orders,
who insists on blocking the process because he knows that if a referendum
were to take place he would face a revocation of his rule. Faced with the
possibility of losing power, the government has now developed a national
and international campaign that aims to disqualify the signature
recollection process, which from its first day was referred to by the
President himself as a "megafraud."

The 3,448,747 citizens who signed to request the convocation of a
referendum did so for the following reasons, among others:

1) The clearly despotic and authoritarian governing methods of the
President, which have been demonstrated in the tendency toward absolute
control over public powers, already at very high levels;

2) The militarization of public administration in all its levels,
including a high percentage of Ministers and State Governors;

3) The blatant violations of legislation and of the Constitution, by the
President himself as well as by government officials in all instances;

4) The militarization and indoctrination of the state-run oil company
(PDVSA), which is leading to the deterioration of the nation's most
important source of income, and the company's gradual de-nationalization,
ocurring through the handing over of petroleum recollection to foreign

5) The economic mismanagement, with its ruinous control of international
exchange, an elevated inflation, an extremely high and growing
unemployment rate, a dramatic growth of poverty and the noticeable lack of
vital products, such as food and medicine;

6) The dividing and dismantling of the Armed Forces, and their gradual
substitution by a parallel military force at the service, not of its
country but, of the President and his allies;

7) Erratic and unbalanced international policies, which are directed by
the President, at the service of his his personal whims and convenience,
with grave consequences for the nation's interests;

8) A massive looting and wasting of financial resources;

9) The brutal suppression of many public marches and protests, using the
Armed Forces and informal commandos, of false popular origin, which are
organized and trained by members of the government;

10) The intimidation, through diverse methods, of media outlets that
oppose the government, alongside a complete disregard for public opinion;

11) The abandonment of public services, especially social security,
education and health, which are then substituted by "missions" with a
blatantly populist tendency;

12) A complete indifference toward the unchecked surge of violent crime;

13) An excacerbated cult of personality typical of dictatorial leaders.

Chavez did not understand that his governing plan, that mixture of
elemental ideas and promises that thrilled millions of Venezuelans,
required a wide consensus for its success. This consensus would have to be
gained through the patient labor of persuasion, even while being aware of
the powerful sectors that are in opposition to those changes that the
country demands. Instead of gathering a consensus, Chvez used a venomous
tone, with the goal of fomenting violence, class hatred and the exclusion
of immense sectors of the middle and upper class, whom he called
oligarchs. The aggressive, insolent and hurtful language, unbefitting a
true head of state, and which aimed at dismissing the values of the middle
class, eventually weakened his support. This middle class, along with a
wide segment of the poor, make up an opposition which is close to 70% of
Venezuelans. This opposition seeks to dislodge Chvez from power through a
revocatory referendum, a right guaranteed in the Constitution which he
himself established through a Constitutional Assembly that was almost
completely in his favor.

Before the eyes of our colleagues throughout the world, we denounce the
situation we have barely delineated here. We are particularly moved to
speak because Chvez's government has been developing an insidious and very
expensive propaganda abroad, which has been paid for with money that
belongs to the Venezuelan people. This propaganda has created a great deal
of confusion among groups and individuals who are easily fooled by their
distance from Venezuela and their ignorance of what is really happening
here. The propaganda attempts to make people believe that Hugo Chvez leads
a revolution which, in actuality, does not exist outside of his unchecked
fantasies, since its practices have only led to a true catastrophe. Under
the shadow of this catastrophe, the President and his accomplices at all
levels have profited from the most scandalous accumulation of illicit
wealth in Venezuela's history, and they have taken steps toward the
installment of a brutal military dictatorship in the near future. This is
being carried out under the false image of a supposedly socialist or
leftist government, capable of awakening the utopian hopes that the
Venezuelan people, like the rest of the world, cling to as a solution to
the poverty and other problems they endure. However, in actuality, this
government has been based on the cult of personality, while also being
authoritarian and morally bankrupt. Despite his own government's failings,
Chvez has remained tendentiously stubborn in his denial of the democratic
aspect of the great majority of those of us who are opposed to his
authoritarian practices.

Caracas, 25 February 2004

Annabella Aguilar 
Marisol Aguilera 
Harry Almela 
Rosario Anzola 
Edda Armas 
Carolina Arnal 
Rafael Arriz Lucca 
Belkis Arredondo 
Mariela Arvelo 
Michaelle Ascencio 
Leonardo Azparren 
Alberto Barrera Tyszka 
Guillermo Barrios 
Alberto Baumeister 
Margarita Belandria 
Waleska Belisario 
Ricardo Bello
Josefina Benedetti 
Manuel Bermdez 
Marcelino Bisbal 
Rodrigo Blanco 
Demetrio Boersner 
Vctor Bravo 
Soledad Bravo 
Luis Brito 
Elizabeth Burgos 
Manuel Caballero 
Colette Capriles 
Antonio Luis Crdenas 
Adicea Castillo 
Laura Castillo de Gurfnkel 
Israel Centeno 
Mara Comerlati 
Simn Alberto Consalvi 
Dimedes Cordero 
Gloria Cuenca de Herrera 
Isaac Chocrn 
Sonia Chocrn 
Jorge Daz Polanco 
Rafael Di Prisco 
Roberto Echeto 
Enrique Enrquez 
Thais Erminy 
Hctor Fandez 
Ivn Feo 
Emilio Figueredo 
Carlos Armando Figueredo 
Alicia Freilich 
Miriam Freilich 
Marisol Fuentes 
Hernn Gamboa 
Esther Gamus 
Paulina Gamus 
Raquel Gamus 
Humberto Garca Larralde 
Evangelina Garca Prince 
Mara Antonia Garca Sucre 
Diana Garca Sucre 
Jacqueline Goldberg 
Miguel Gomes 
Emeterio Gmez 
Luis Gmez Calcao 
Mara Elena Gonzlez Deluca 
Adriano Gonzlez Len 
Vctor Gudez 
Arturo Gutirrez Plaza 
Sonia Hecker 
Alberto Hernndez 
Tosca Hernndez 
Adolfo Herrera 
Sofa Imber 
Juan Iribarren 
Fausto Izcaray 
Angelina Jaff 
Vernica Jaff 
Ariel Jimnez 
Marianne Kohn Beker 
Gisela Kozak 
Karl Krispin 
Enrique Larraaga 
Mara Luisa Lazzaro 
Carole Leal Curiel 
Hlice Len 
Diana Lichy 
Hercilia Lpez 
Pedro Lpez 
Tedulo Lpez Melndez 
Oscar Lucien 
Carmen Mannarino 
Josefina Manrique 
Hctor Malav Mata 
Manuel Malaver 
Alexis Mrquez Rodrguez 
Esperanza Mrquez 
Gloria Mrquez 
Yolanda Mrquez 
Joaqun Marta Sosa 
Ibsen Martnez 
Milagros Mata Gil 
Ivn R. Mndez 
Juan Carlos Mndez Guedez 
Ricardo Mitre 
Acianela Montes de Oca 
Alfonso Montes 
Dennys Montoto 
Marcos Moreno 
Alfredo Morles Hernndez 
Eleazar Narvez 
Marco Negrn 
Pedro Nikken 
Mara Celina Nuez 
Ivn Olaizola 
Jos Orellana 
Marta Orellana 
Silvio Orta 
Carlos Ortiz 
Carlos Pacheco 
Leonardo Padrn 
Juan Paz Avila 
Mara Fernanda Palacios 
Juan Carlos Palenzuela 
Yolanda Pantin 
Jos Antonio Parra 
Antonio Pasquali 
Edilio Pea 
Rolando Pea 
Francisco Javier Prez 
Luis Enrique Prez Oramas 
Omar Prez 
Delia Picn-Salas de Morles 
Elas Pino Iturrieta 
Gustavo Planchart Pocaterra 
Eduardo Pozo 
Mara Pilar Puig 
Flor A. Pujol 
Jos Pulido 
Ins Quintero 
Pablo Quintero 
Tulio Ramirez 
Mara Elena Ramos 
Gabriela Rangel 
Lidia Rebrij 
Eleonora Requena 
Julie Restifo 
Nelson Rivera 
Fernando Rodrguez 
Jos Rodrguez Iturbe 
Mara Teresa Romero 
Malena Roncayolo 
Marcela Rossiter 
Valentina Saa Carbonell 
Elizabeth Safar 
Magaly Salazar 
Adolfo Salgueiro 
Oscar Sambrano Urdaneta 
Antoln Snchez 
Antonio Snchez Garca 
Rafael Santana 
Gioconda San Blas 
Chelique Sarabia 
Luis Jos Silva Luongo 
Hctor Silva Michelena 
Petruvska Simme 
Milagros Socorro 
Graciela Soriano 
Blanca Strepponi 
Guillermo Sucre 
Mara Soledad Tapia 
Ana Teresa Torres 
Hctor Torres 
Ildemaro Torres 
Fina Torres 
Thaelman Urguelles 
Clementina Vaamonde 
Alberto Valerov 
Horacio Vanegas 
Patricia Van Dalen 
Mara Teresa van der Ree 
Alejandro Varderi 
Vilma Vargas 
Emilda Velazco 
Mikel de Viana 
Javier Vidal 
Jvito Alcides Villalba 
Carmen Vincenti 
Perla Vonasek 
Eliazar Yanes 
Corina Yoris 
Fernando Yurman 
Hernn Zamora 
Pedro Len Zapata 
Luis Zelkowicz 

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