March 1, 2004

Political Prisoners

On April 12th, in the midsts of a right-wing coup, the best of the Venezuelan opposition made itself known by sticking up for universal human values in extremely adverse conditions. People like Teodoro Petkoff and Ruth Capriles, strong critics of the Chavez government, spent the day of the coup interceding for the release of chavista political prisoners taken by the brief de facto government. That day, we found out who was true to their principles and who was an opportunist.

Today, Caracas is awash with stories of opposition activists who have been taken prisoner illegally and taken into military facilities in Fuerte Tiuna. In open violation of basic human rights' laws, they are being threatened with trial at military courts, despite being civilians. Today, we will see who within chavismo raises a voice against these violations of the most basic of all human rights: habeas corpus.

The taking of at least a dozen opposition activists into military custody yesterday marks another, large step in the government's advance into open dictatorship.