Skip to comments.Venezuela Dissidents May Be Charged
Posted on 10/26/2002 8:50:25 PM PDT by CHACHI
Venezuela Dissidents May Be Charged The Associated Press, Sat 26 Oct 2002 http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-sa/2002/oct/26/102608521.html
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) A Venezuelan judge ordered military officers demanding President Hugo Chavez's resignation to appear in court to face possible rebellion charges the first sign Chavez intends to crack down on the 5-day-old protest.
Judge Juan Leon Villanueva late Friday ordered 43 military and civilian protesters to appear in court Monday. The order came after Chavez accused them of ``cooking up a military insurrection'' and then vowed to squash it.
Since Tuesday, thousands of civilians have rallied at a Caracas plaza in support of 14 officers who called on Chavez to resign.
By Friday, the number of officers reached 100, most of whom were stripped of their command for their roles in a brief April coup.
Chavez called them ``fascists'' sowing hate and told citizens to be ready ``to take to the streets to defend our Venezuelan democracy.''
The standoff has alarmed neighbors of this Andean nation, the world's fifth-largest oil producer and a leading oil supplier to the United States. They have condemned the insurrection call and endorsed a peacemaking visit this Sunday by Cesar Gaviria, secretary general of the Organization of American States.
Carlos Bastidas, an attorney for the dissident officers, said Venezuelan law requires the Supreme Court to hold hearings to strip military officials of immunity before they can face civilian charges. He said it was not clear how the judge's order affects civilians.
Rebellion charges carry a possible 30-year prison term.
Key military commanders across the country pledged Friday to defend Chavez and resist any coup attempt.
Dissident army Gen. Enrique Medina Gomez insisted a coup is not in the works. He and others argue that a constitutional clause allows them to refuse to recognize an ``undemocratic'' government.
Chavez responded that thousands of Venezuelans invoked the same clause during the April coup when interim President Pedro Carmona dissolved Venezuela's constitution.
Officers ousted Chavez on April 12 after 19 people were killed in an opposition march on the palace and commanders refused Chavez's orders to deploy troops against civilians.
After Carmona's actions, Chavez's supporters surrounded the palace, demanding his return to power. He was restored April 14.
The former army paratrooper was elected in 1998 and re-elected in 2000. His critics say he has amassed authoritarian powers giving him sway over the National Assembly and the courts and has created a private militia known as Bolivarian Circles. Despite high Venezuelan oil prices, the economy is in a tailspin.
Chavez insists a corrupt oligarchy that impoverished Venezuela before his election wants its privileges back.
The opposition is collecting 1.5 million signatures to demand a December referendum. They hope Gaviria can broker a deal to set a voting date.
Chavez says the earliest vote allowed by law would be a referendum in August 2003, halfway into his term.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ RCB COMMENTS: THE COMPROMISED MEDIA-JOURNALISTS THAT CONCEAL THE NEWS * The Media reports about Venezuela's turmoil and the growing opposition. * CNN in Iraq is to leave the country because they gave a voice to those opposing the Iraqi regime. * Why is it that CNN's Lucia Newman does not report about the existing opposition in Cuba? About Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, winner of the prestigious Sakharov Prize? About the Varela Project, and the many that have signed for a referendum? Why the mystery? Why the bias? This Chilean communist is very aware of the real situation in Cuba where she lives for years and where her children go to school. L.N. knows about the violations of human rights, and the deplorable treatment that political prisoners are subjected to. Many are dying this very moment in hunger strikes. Children are obligated to hard labor in violation of basic human rights. Still, L.N. chooses to say or do nothing. Like years ago with Hitler, apathy among observers is common, and Cubans are aware of the facts, thus have lost the respect for most of the international press. Why does CNN allow this reporter to conceal the pressing news? It is high time for CNN to come clean about Cuba. If Newman is too compromised, replace her with an honest reporter, someone with integrity. A change of individuals in Havana would help repair her colleagues' reputation, soiled by Newman.
"As human beings, we cannot be neutral, or at least have no right to be, when other human beings are suffering. Each of us...must do what he or she can to help those in need, even though it would be much safer and more comfortable to do nothing." - Kofi Annan UN Secretary-General
Apparently CNN isn't opposed to communism.