Look closer. Think harder. Choose the sound argument over the clever one.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Venezuela's Totalitarian ID Card

The Free Software Foundation's Richard Stallman gives this first-hand account:

...and at that point I learned something shocking and disappointing about Venezuelan law. Every purchase--even food--requires the purchaser to present his national ID card, and his ID number is recorded to report it to the government. The bookseller was very angry about it, and I share his feelings. It is like my worst nightmares about surveillance, come true. Supposedly the purpose is for tax collection, but no one was able to give me a clear story of how it would solve a problem or why it was necessary. Other countries have been able to collect taxes in other ways.

Seems like Cuba's totalitarian influence to me.

Stallman, sympathetic enough to Chavez to meet him in person, says:

If I someday have another chance to speak with President Chavez, this is what I will discuss.

As though Chavez would reply, "Hey, you're right! The potential for surveillance never occured to me! Let's change it right away! After all, we weren't going to do anything with that data anyway."

Ironically, the "Free" in FSF stands for liberty: "You should think of 'free' as in 'free speech'."

Heartwarming to know that while Venezuela is being enslaved and dissent crushed, no software copyrights will be violated.

P.S.: I don't mean this as a shot at the FSF's core work: what they've made freely distributable has made the world a better place. My problem is with the leftist mindset that clouds one's judgement. Otherwise brilliant people turned a blind eye to North Vietnam in the 1960's and the Khmer Rouge in the 1970's. The two don't have to go hand in hand.


(Please keep in mind that each commenter's opinions are only his/her own.)

Hi. Its been a while. Interesting article. Any evidence for the crushing of dissidents?

Hi! Welcome back.

Evidence? Does this count? How about this? (Hate to send you to the firehose to drink, but here is Publius' entire Venezuela collection.)

I'll stop there.

hey! what about this.

No comprendo. En Englais, por favor.

From what I do understand, OtacĂ­lio Rodrigues is posting from Brazil, not Venezuela. Confirms my point, doesn't it?

you didn't like the chavez doll?

OK. Got in touch with my friend from venezuela solidarity who wrote back:

Not sure why u keep hanging out with those idiots but u might try here for more info on Danilo Anderson or here for
more on the mighty Patricia Poleo, who's probably in Miami right now
with the other coup-plotters. Why did she flee if she's got nothing
to hide? There is no political persecution in venezuela, despite the hysterical screams from the propaganda machine. Basically, Poleo is to the Venezuelan opposition what Judith Miller was to team Bush in
the iraq war, though only a trial will tell if she was even more
hands-on. i'm sure there's plenty of evidence.

Like I said before, Venezuela seems to me to be right in the middle of an ideological coo with both sides kicking out. Obviously you want to believe one side and I want to believe the other. I read through a lot of the links which you sent me.

I'm going to visit my friend from V. Solidarity soon.

The Chavez doll was cute, but that doesn't mean Chavez is a swell fellow. Does this mean Castro is a wonderful guy? Then what about this?

Your partisan friend's proximity might only decrease his objectivity, desensitize him to what he might otherwise have a problem with.

I'm disappointed that your friend didn't comment on the national ID card.

Are you going to Venezuela? If you do, I expect you to take your camcorder and treat Chavez' opposition as you would treat Finsbury Park Muslims. What do you think? Stay alert for signs that you're on a Potemkin village tour.

Love to. No concrete plans at the moment. Hope to be in India to avoid Xmas.

Of course I'd love to film in Venezuela, as for objectivity with the opposition I couldn't guarantee it. I can't stand rich people. Call it a 1980s anti-Thatcherist hangover, I admit it.

Where the hell did you find that castro doll? ha ha ha ha ha

Maybe you'd find out many aren't rich. To parallel your Finsbury Park experiment, start by assuming that if Chavez' establishment doesn't like them, they must be ok.

You're not on the leftie-toyz-R-us mailing list? ;-)

Yeah, Venezuela is becoming a growing problem. If this keeps up there is sure to be a local insugency, I just know if we should support it since there is no telling whether the new government would be any better than the current, increasingly communist one.


There were protests when the coup failed apparently. Loads of women with gold stilletos and guchi handbags I am told. It fizzled out.

The US supporting the rightwing sides of national disputes in South America?

Surely that wouldn't happen...

DB: "Loads of women with gold stilletos and guchi handbags I am told...."

You're likely getting your info from Greg Palast (whose reporting Michael Moore calls courageous, just to let you know where he stands politically.) Greg aspires to be the Walter Duranty of our time.

Show me one serious human rights group that has ever treated a protest that way.

DB: "The US supporting the rightwing sides of national disputes in South America?"

The left supporting the Khmer Rouge? Castro? Stalin? Mao? Mugabe? Surely that wouldn't happen!

I don't endorse right-wing dictators, but as one person says: when a right-wing dictator takes over, thousands die. When leftists take over, millions die.

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