Earlier this month, the Venezuelan regime welcomed Chilean activist Felipe Cuevas in a proudly totalitarian and repressive fashion: an arbitrary detention in violation of the Constitution and our nation’s laws. While that episode may have generated headlines, such acts from the Chavistas occur on a widespread basis.
Let us consider why.
Vengeance against Dissent
In contemporary Venezuelan society, if you hold public views contrary to those of the socialist authoritarians, you’re going to have serious problems. If you’re a friend of freedom and engaged in activism, as Felipe Cuevas is — president of the youth sector of Chile’s Independent Democratic Union (UDI) — watch your back.
Felipe Cuevas’s arrest came as he was about to visit Sairam Rivas and other imprisoned student activists. His observations there could have burst the Chavistas‘ demagogic bubble, since they reject the notion that Venezuela has political prisoners. They also contend that Venezuelans have the right to protest and dissent, which is another lie.
Cuevas came to see and document the unjust detainment firsthand: the ill-treatment that the students are receiving and, more important, the human-rights violations that Rivas and the other detainees suffer through every day.
However, such brazen opposition to human-rights violations and attention to the views of opposition leaders, such as María Corina Machado and Henrique Capriles, will put you immediately in the blacklist of the regime. And you’ll have no right to reply or defense.
Separation of Powers: ¿Qué Es Eso?
This element of governance, and its absence from Venezuela, is crucial to an understanding of how a nation functions without the rule of law. In Venezuela, the executive dominates both the judiciary and the legislature. In other words, all decisions flow from President Nicolás Maduro. What makes this intolerable situation worse is that all these “decisions” are Fidelista-communist in nature, full of oppression and injustice.
Thus, to justify the arrest of Felipe Cuevas, Venezuelan authorities pronounced that “he was taking pictures in an unauthorized place” — a rule that has never been published and of which no person, Venezuelan or foreign, was aware. With this trumped-up charge, we can see that it was a simple call from the executive, who set the Venezuelan “justice” system to crack down on a perceived enemy.
This is how the regime reported on Cuevas’s situation.
Armed Forces Merely Minions of the State
Cuevas came in search of local perspectives and to confirm basic facts. He soon learned that in Venezuela, the police and army act on the arbitrary and dictatorial whims of those in office. Whatever his nationality or ideological position, the Chavista kingpins weren’t going to stand for this man’s interest in the fate of the imprisoned Venezuelan students.
Security, however, is the least of their concerns. The people of Caracas witness overwhelming crime on their streets, but the illustrious armed forces pay little attention. You will never see the national army defending you from a robbery or a kidnapping. They live only to obey the orders of a dictator — apparently dazzled by the indoctrination and loot on offer from 21st-century socialism.
“Democracy” in Venezuela
In light of what happened to Cuevas, Venezuelans and Latin-American officials must finally understand that this is not a democratic government. It’s not based on any respect for human rights, let only any regard for freedom.
If this was the fate of a young Chilean who came to this country peacefully, imagine the fate of Venezuelans who live under the oppression and fear to say what they believe. As George Orwell said, “If freedom means anything, is the right to tell others what they don’t want to hear.”