Quico says: Don't miss this important Open Letter to Chávez from Teodoro Petkoff, now playing on Miguel's blog. Money grafs:
So what do you call it when a political leader uses the armed forces to cement his grip on power in violation of the constitution? Isn't that what we used to call a coup d'etat?
In a recent speech at Fuerte Tiuna you expressed the following concepts: “The so-called institutionality of the Armed Forces was a way of hiding, of taking a position opposed to that of the Government (…) All unit commanders are obligated to repeat it from the bottom of their soul, to raise the flag with the slogan: “Fatherland, socialism or death,” without ambiguities (…) If someone feels uncomfortable with this, it's better that they request a discharge.”
Those phrases happen to be a grave violation to the Constitution of the Republic, which in its Article 328 establishes that the Armed Forces are “an essentially professional institution, without political membership, organized by the State to guarantee its independence as a Nation and insuring the integrity of the geographical space via military defense, cooperation in maintaining internal order and active participation in national development”. Similarly, Article 330, which gives the military the right to vote, but forbids them from “participating in acts of political propaganda, membership or proselytism.”
When you affirm that the Armed Forces as an institution is “roja, rojita” (red, very red) and when you ask its commanders to voice the slogans of a political party, you place yourself outside constitutional norms and, as if that wasn't enough, you demand that active military officers do so as well.
[Hat tip to Feathers for that lovely image.]