Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Nov 16/05 - Wielding lies and fear: A Veneconomy Editorial


Wielding lies and fear

Using lies as a political weapon to terrify and wipe out one’s opponents is grotesque and unacceptable at any time and in any place. Even more aberrant is when it is the government of a country that uses this strategy; and worse still is when society fails to confront these lies soundly and with determination.

For the past seven years in Venezuela the government has made lying a daily practice and part of its public policy.

The government is lying when it reports that oil production is higher than it actually is; it is also lying when it manipulates the true poverty figures and the population’s literacy index; it is lying when it confiscates land and property making use of “legal” contrivances; and it is lying when it accuses innocent people of crimes of all kinds.

Even worse than the lying is the extreme apathy and indifference of the people who do not react to so much falsehood.

In any country in the world where things function as they should, if the head of an agency, such as the Prosecutor General, attacks public figures whose behavior has been above reproach with accusations that are clearly unfounded, society would react by publicly rejecting such accusations categorically and immediately. But, sadly, this no long happens in Venezuela.

The reaction of the Banking Association to the accusation brought against its vice-president Nelson Mezerhane as one of people who allegedly masterminded the murder of Public Prosecutor Danilo Anderson was spineless and late in coming, as was the response of the new Archbishop of Caracas, Jorge Urosa to the accusation, on the same charges, against Cardinal Castillo Lara.

Government lies that are not refuted leave an indelible mark on society. Maintaining silence and giving consent out of fear is the most despicable of surrenders. Silence annihilates justice and renders people defenseless against those in government who have no ethical objection to seeking ways of humiliating anyone who opposes them or whom they find an embarrassment.