Ex Defense Minister: The ring of democracy is not the rifle but vote
For the former Minister of Defense, President Hugo Chávez's eagerness to display the army weaponry "shows his fear" to lose the election of October 7
Former Minister of Defense Raúl Salazar labeled as "psychological war" a meeting on obligatory simultaneous TV and radio broadcast between Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez and the high military command. During the event, held on Wednesday, June 13, in the evening, the Venezuelan leader displayed the weaponry recently bought from Russia, China and Iran to equip the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB). "Chávez just tries to intimidate and scare the population."
"This is sort of psychological war against the existent political forces in the country. On the one hand, against military officers and his own followers, just in case they doubt about his clout. On the other hand, against dissenters, for them to be afraid and stunned at any action."
On that Wednesday evening, the Head of State exhibited the military facilities located in Maracay, the capital city of central Aragua state, where AK-103, ammunition and even an unmanned aircraft are manufactured. According to the president, all of that is set for export.
Salazar is lavish in praising the strides made by the national government to equip the military. However, he is afraid that such an investment "is not a priority when you have shortage in the country, a tumbling economy and a latent foe, such as insecurity."
"Unfortunately, foreign countries that presumably plan to raid on us are not the enemy, but crime that should be combated... I wish a portion of those defense weapons would be used to equip the National Policy, as well as the municipal and state police, in order to ensure the people their peace and quiet accordingly."
The retired general feels that the threats from the Head of State, who proclaimed that he would use "all the government power to sweep the opposition as in the election of 2002" mean "fear" of any decision the Venezuelan people may make next October 7. "The president is not physically fit because of his illness and his challenger in the election is traveling around the country, which is a matter of concern and hinders the president's plans to cement socialism."
"The most important ring of a democracy is not the rifle, but vote. In Venezuela, all of us have taken a definite stance: a group embraces the opposition; another group backs him (President Chávez), and around seven-eight million people take sides with none of the political forces. They will be responsible for setting the path to be taken by the country after the presidential election," he underscored.
The ex minister reminded his comrades of being "an apolitical professional association" as set forth in Article 328 of the Constitution and recalled that the term "socialist" meted out by President Chávez is unconstitutional.
Translated by Conchita Delgado
José Vicente Rangel clearly said: "We are not conducting negotiations threatened with a gun in the head." He warned behind closed doors in the midst of the social upheaval occurred during the oil strike in 2002 and 2003. Dissenting Timoteo Zambrano answered back that no other option was available: "The thing is that otherwise, you do not negotiate."