In the very first post to this blog, all the way back in September 2002, I wrote that, "these days, what I find it hardest to convey to my friends who live outside Venezuela is this strong undercurrent of farce that now permeates public life here." Three years later, I still have the same problem.
Consider, if your patience allows, the Danilo Anderson Case. (Newbies can read a highly simplified summary of it here.)
So far, the official version is that the CIA wanted to have him killed. So, how did they go about this? Apparently, the cleanest, simplest, most low-risk way the CIA could think of having a guy killed was to outsource the job to a sprawling conspiracy including a high profile journalist, a catholic cardinal, an anti-Fidel cuban exile, a pro-government General, an anti-government General...along with others to be named as the prosecutors think them up, I guess. Then the CIA arranged for that motley crew to travel to Miami, Santo Domingo and Panama to plan the hit abroad. (Seriously, this is the government's story!)
Now, you might think "well, if it's not true they'll surely have alibis, and they'll be able to show they weren't in Miami Santo Domingo and Panama on the dates when the alleged conspiracy took place." But not so fast! Sure they have alibis, and sure there are no records of them traveling to those places on those dates, but as the Prosecutor General knows, that's only because the CIA provided these people with "doubles" back home to shore up their alibis, and arranged secret international travel for them so no records of their movements could be found in any subsequent investigation. Clever, those gringos, huh?
Well, maybe not so clever. Apparently, these same hyper-sophisticated CIA agents able to find exact dopplegangers for dozens of suspects and to move them all over the hemisphere without anyone noticing weren't quite sophisticated enough to tell the Generals involved to, erm, remove their uniforms and name-tags as they carried out this conspiracy, since the government's one and only witness claims he could identify them because they were wearing their uniforms, name tags and all, as they conspired!
This key witness, the guy on whose testimony the Prosecutor General is hanging the entire indictment on, was later found to have a long criminal record in Colombia, mostly for crimes centered on his, erm, difficulties with truth-telling. Among the seven indictments he's faced we find one that led to a conviction for passing himself off for a forensic expert, a physician, and a psychiatrist. This was back in 1999. Yet just a few days ago, our Prosecutor General went in front of the cameras to bolster his witness's credibility because the guy is...you guessed it, a psychiatrist!
Then, this weekend, the whole superwitness farce took an even more improbable turn as the Prosecutor General gave an interview to Caracas daily Ultimas Noticias and said that after careful study of the guy's testimony, the Prosecutor General's Office had collectively determined that "at least 85% of what he says is true." Puzzle this one through...doesn't that imply that a good 15% of what he says is a lie?
But hey, what's a lie here and there between friends? It's not as though he'll be under oath or anything...