May 13, 2004

The speck in your neighbor's eye...

Excerpts from yesterday's front-page editorial from TalCualDigital, translated by ft.

Faced with an event as grave as the arrest of these [alleged Colombian paramilitaries], how did the government react? Did it provide precise information about those who might be responsible for the presence of so many alleged paramilitaries? Or, supposing it didn't have such information, did it announce that it would disclose the information in the coming days, without rushing to speculate? No! From the start it raced to make far-fetched and generic accusations, without any sort of grounding, against the Coordinadora Democratica, going as far as to accuse Enrique Mendoza by name.

The cheap politicking surrounding what ought to have been a most serious allegation immediately set off the suspicion that it could all be a show, a set-up meant explicitly to damage the forces of democracy - all, coincidentally, just two weeks before the reparos.

So if anyone should stand accused of not taking this matter seriously, it's the government itself. It was the government that turned this very serious matter into a show, a parody. It was Chavez supporters who first made a mockery of this affair, starting with the president himself, who with characteristic recklessness repeated irresponsible allegations against political groups the government knows full well are not involved in subversive activities.

Democratic Venezuela condemns and rejects the use of foreign mercenaries to promote violence.

But what might have been the near unanimous condemnation against such loathsome behavior was pre-empted by the government with an attitude that could only stir legitimate doubts about the veracity of the fact.

In a country full of joke-tellers, one cannot present to the public a matter of such gravity side-by-side, for instance, with the picturesque guesswork of Lucas Rincon regarding the subversive threat represented by some cachitos.