July 13, 2006

Chavista Assembly Members Demand Dissidents be Jailed

Pro-Chavez National Assembly Members José Albornoz (PPT) and Ismael García (Podemos) are asking the Prosecutor General to jail Sumate's leaders.

Their crimes? Usurping the CNE's prerogative by seeking to organize a primary election outside the state's control and incitement for publicly airing their views on CNE.

Still more proof that chavismo, as an ideology, has no room for the idea that some matters are not the state's business - that there are spaces where citizens can and should come to make decisions without the state's interference. We already saw this in 1999 when chavismo insisted that labor union elections had to be organized by CNE, and in 2003 when they said that signature-gatherings had to be run by CNE.

The notion that citizens can use whichever method they deem best to select their candidate for election is beyond them. The concept of civil society - of a sphere of social life that is both public and outside the state's control - is deeply alien to their understanding of the good society. By this reasoning, voting for Miss Venezuela will end up having to be organized by CNE.

Extremism? What extremism?