[artinfo] From Venezuelan Writers, Artists and Academics to their Colleagues

Ricardo Bello aracal at well.com
Thu Mar 4 17:39:30 CET 2004

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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