Politics, history, science, film, and anything else that strikes my fancy.
On Chávez -- can you imagine President Bush (or President McCain or President Obama) speaking like this? --Sunday June 8, 02:06 PMChavez revokes controversial spying lawCARACAS (AFP) - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez on Saturday revoked a law he decreed last month creating four spy agencies and a Cuban-style national informants' network, saying the measure contained errors."I started listening to criticism (of the law) and in the end, I think there are some mistakes there, I have no problem acknowledging it. So I decided this morning to correct that law," Chavez said at a function of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela.The law, which the government said was needed to block US interference in Venezuelan affairs, made it a crime to refuse to cooperate with intelligence agencies and to publish information deemed "secret or confidential."That sparked outrage among opposition members and human rights groups which charged that the law denied people due process and the right to inform authorities anonymously.For many rights groups, "that amounts to what is known as a police state," said Marino Alvarado of the Venezuelan Program for Education and Action on Human Rights (Provea).Chavez specifically cited problems with the regulation requiring cooperation from any person or business, whether domestic or foreign, with intelligence services."This is a mistake and not a small one," Chavez allowed, saying: "I cannot force (someone) when an intelligence unit asks for cooperation, to become an informant, and then if they refuse we put them in jail."He did not immediately signal when an amended intelligence measure might be forthcoming, but he said he would "rewrite it listening to the criticism."The law had been enacted thanks to the power to rule by decree that the National Assembly -- which is dominated by the president's supporters -- granted Chavez last year.Interior Minister Ramon Rodriguez had said the law, which creates two new military and two new civilian intelligence agencies, would help Venezuela stand up to "things like United States interference in (Venezuela's) internal affairs."For Chavez, "the law was not bad but it has some elements that the adversary uses to generate fear," and "the battle is political, not legal."We have defeated all the conspiracies of the Venezuelan oligarchy and the US Empire with the greatest respect for human rights and that is how it will continue to be," the Venezuelan president said."We shall continue to defeat them in a framework that is democratic, humanist and socialist," Chavez added.And he insisted the law was necessary "to create a national intelligence system and put an end to the autonomy" of current services that have "dark histories of abductions and torture."Chavez however said the new system was never meant to "crush" anyone."I guarantee the country there will be no abuse against anyone, and no one will be forced to say anything more than what the person wants to say," Chavez said. "The law will be reformed listening to criticism and contributions, and we will be very careful in the final version."
And here's how the NYT "analyzes" Chávez's repeal of the law.An object lesson in media manipulation. Pretty hilarious. Democracy is "fragile" in Venezuela? Unlike here? You gotta be fucking kidding me -- and US coverage of the spy law (wrong, I agree) didn't mention that we have those very same laws in action right now. And worse.