October 14, 2008

Disturbing Trends

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I Came across this video from Telepais, a cruceno TV channel (very opposed to Evo), which shows a speech Juan Ramon Quintana (Minister of the Presidency) gave to campesinos in Cobija (Beni department).

Putting aside the fact that the video is presented in a sensationalist manner to drive the point to the extreme, it would be difficult to ignore what Quintana is saying.

Quintana shows his true colors in this video!

Apparently, he did not know he was being filmed. However, now he knows and he, or the government, did something about it.

On the morrow of the 13th., Jorge Melgar, a journalist from Riberalta (also in Beni), who worked on a local TV station, was captured by government special forces with a variety of charges. At 4:30 am government forces (which a witness says were military and some Venezuelans and not police) stormed into his house, tied him up and took him away. It seems that Melgar filmed Quintana and then published the video in a Santa Cruz media outlet (Telepais).

In addition, Melgar, is said to be very critical of the government and allegedly has expressed his rather violent desires on the air in his program. The government has videos where Melgar speaks just as bad as Quintana.

However, the actions of the government are no less disturbing. Over the last month, the government has been rounding up people in a clear illegal manner. These special forces just storm people's houses and take the target persons without showing the required documentation to arrest someone. This was the modus operandi when the government "arrested" Leopoldo Fernandez (the Pando Prefect) and many other opposition activists.


Pablo said...

I would add that when Jorge Melgar was seized, in the storming of his house, his wife, sons and daughters were thrown face down on the floor, gagged with tape and their hands were tied with plastic cuffs (including an 11 MONTH OLD BABY).

Plus, Jorge Melgar was taken wearing his undergarments... they didn't give him a chance to dress.

No warrant, no prosecutors (fiscales), no previous citation to declare and, to make matters worse, the use of Venezuelans and people wearing ski masks to perpetrate this illegal arrest.

Gringo said...

Evo was repeating the misdeeds of his enemies. General/President Banzer or Meza could have done this, no?

Similarly in Sandinista Nicaragua, the Sandinistas repeated the misdeeds of Somoza: autocratic rule and lining their own pockets at the expense of the public.(Piñata)

In both instances, the “reformers” in power neglected to see that the misdeeds of their predecessors were embedded in their country’s culture, not just in their predecessors. They were thus blind to their being capable of committing the same misdeeds.

Pablo said...

Gringo, I agree with you except in one thing: Maybe I'm not very versed in the use of English but, I take the word "misdeed" as something resulting from a mistake or human error. In my book -at least- these are "evil-deeds"

Norman said...

I fail to see how any previous administrations illegal arrests excuses morales. What's your point gringo?

mcentellas said...

I've tried to stay away from the Melgar controversy since it popped up in my email inbox because, well, Melgar is hardly a cause celebre. That said, I agree that protections of free speech should apply even to such characters. And I also agree that past misdeeds by previous governments don't excuse current misdeeds by incumbent governments.

However. I'd caution that for all his bluster, Quintana was clearly speaking metaphorically. He keeps repeating "political" death (much like, say, Nixon was "politically" dead after Watergate). Yes, some might have interpreted that as "literal" death. But it's clear Quintana was rallying voters to recall (politically "kill") the Pando prefect.

I'd like to hope that tolerance towards extremists (so long as they don't move from "speech" to "action") is the best way to defeat them.

Gringo said...


I fail to see how any previous administrations illegal arrests excuses morales. What's your point gringo?

I am unable to see anything in what I wrote that excused what Morales did. I simply pointed out that Morales, like the Sandinistas, while saying that they were not like their predecessors, were in some ways very much like their predecessors, and that contrary to their beliefs that they were breaking the chains of the past, were simply putting them on again. Those who cry “change” will invariably not change, regardless of their alleged desire to change.

My point was about historical and cultural continuity. If you have read my previous postings here at MABB, I have repeatedly stated in one form or another that Morales is fully within the long standing Bolivian political tradition of “I’ll do what I damn well please. To hell with you who disagree with me.” Morales may claim to be different, but in many ways he is simply repeating the mistakes, misdeeds, or evil deeds if you will, Pablo , of the past.

As I stated in a comment in another blog: Morales himself freely admits to a rather cavalier attitude, or should we say a cocalero attitude, towards the legal process.

¿Me entendés ?

mabb said...

That is just the point mcentellas, Quintana and the Morales government is have moved from "speech" to "action", when one considers these "arrests".

mcentellas said...

@mabb: Fair enough; good point.

Anonymous said...

I guess Morales can definitely kiss his Nobel Peace Prize aspirations bye-bye now.

Although with the Nobel committee you never know...

mcentellas said...

For what it's worth, here's a great synopsis of how to win a Nobel Peace Prize:


My favorite is #3: "Kill a lot of people, then stop."

Anonymous said...

Very funny. How about a Nobel in Economics?