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Monday, May 08, 2017

A double standard

A double standard
ARMANDO CHAGUACEDA | Ciudad de México | 8 de Mayo de 2017 - 14:18 CEST.

Within the framework of the Congress of the Latin American Studies
Association (LASA), a group of Cuban academics and former officials
recently circulated a document protesting the LASA'S position regarding
the wave of repression and political crisis in Venezuela.

In their missive they questioned the presence of OAS Secretary Luis
Almagro at the event, while equating criticisms of the Government and
opposition, placing them on the same level, while accusing the latter of
purportedly undemocratic stratagems.

The list of signatories includes well-known members of the Cuban
political apparatus, intellectuals with proven analytical skills and
access to information, as well as people from the artistic sphere and
para-State NGOs. That is: people who know this initiative very well, and
how much truth there is supporting it, and its scope; along with others
who, politics not being their regular terrain, signed it without a
thorough understanding of the realities involved.

I wonder if they would be as willing to take up positions affecting
domestic culture and social sciences today as they were to do so in
relation to what is a foreign scenario. Will those who question the
actions of foreign political actors do the same at home? And I do not
mean in order to, necessarily, denounce the Cuban political system.
Rather, just to utter, even from a revolutionary stance, so much as a
collective whisper in response to the censorship to which filmmakers are
subjected, or the arrest of young journalists, or the expulsion of
professors and students from universities, all events having occurred in
recent times. Aren't these issues —which directly affect intellectual
life on the Island— of concern to the signatories? How can they be
concerned about the rule of law in Caracas, but not its infringement in
Havana?

It is comforting to know that the signatories call for "compliance with
the current constitutional order" in Venezuela. But it is inexcusable
that this appeal has only come now; curiously, coinciding with the
escalation of violence in Venezuela, and the country's desertion of the
OAS. In view of the fact that several backers of the letter attended
LASA panels where Venezuelan experts explained the processes in their
country —debunking with hard facts fallacious interpretations such as
those advanced in the document— they cannot claim that they were not
aware. They were there, they heard, and they bit their lips.

Venezuela is going through a historic period, during which most of its
people - according to all the pollsters, including those close to the
Government - want a change. And they want it via the electoral route,
peacefully. But the Government, flouting what was established in the
1999 Bolivarian Constitution (yes, that supported by Chávez) is blocking
regional elections and the recall referendum; and trampling on the
National Assembly, elected by a majority of the electorate, including
voters from humble areas. And when people go out to demand their rights,
they are being treated like criminals, a fact acknowledged even by the
Prosecutor General of the Republic, whose sympathies with the national
Government are common knowledge.

Those who add —whether fully aware of the implications, or because they
just want to avoid problems, peremptorily— their signatures to
initiatives like this are bolstering the irresponsible and dishonest
arguments advanced by the Government of Nicolás Maduro, the main culprit
responsible for the Venezuelan crisis. Because there is a big difference
between exercising one's right to speak out freely as a public
intellectual, and serving as a pawn for a State-backed scheme. Or, as my
grandmother used to say, some are guilty of a double standard: being
generous towards strangers, and begrudging towards their own.

This article originally appeared in the Mexican newspaper La Razón. It
is published and translated here with the author's permission.

Source: A double standard | Diario de Cuba -
http://www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1494245939_30952.html
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