By Luis Manuel Aguana
At the moment of the effervescence of the street movements of 2014 I wrote a note entitled “Kidnapped Country” (see in Spanish at http://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2014/04/pais-secuestrado.html). I received some invitations from the radio and television media to explain this note, in which I compared Venezuela to a house kidnapped by a gang of criminals and a hostage situation is presented. Each character in the plot had a role and a behavior: the kidnappers, the kidnapped family, the policemen outside and the neighbors of the house.
At the time, more than 4 years ago, when I realized this kidnapping, I said that we considered Venezuela to be “the house where we live and one day we let people in peacefully because we thought they were going to help us fix our house. As time passed, the individuals took over the house and relegated you and your family to one room and established draconian rules for eating, using the bathroom and moving around the house”. Well, the kidnapping is not over and on the contrary it has been deepened with sophisticated tools for the domination of the owners of the house.
These tools, the result of the improper use of technology to control people, have become more sophisticated with each passing day, as the country’s political problem has not yet been resolved. The kidnappers have gradually, using force at gunpoint, forced people to do what they want to do to keep control of the situation, using the most sophisticated surveillance and control instruments of the technological age in which we live, which helps them to stay in power. It is in this context that we must analyse the use of a card that has evolved into what is known as the “Homeland Card”.
I began reporting on this phenomenon in 2013 (see in Spanish Más allá del racionamiento electronic, at
http://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2013/06/mas-alla-del-racionamiento-electronico.html): “The government’s intensive use of these tools to influence people’s lives without proper citizen control, as it exists in other parts of the world-unless in Venezuela-leaves us, the technicians, alone with some ethical responsibility to not allow it, to the extent of our possibilities. But if they allow it, the experts become accomplices. We have already published that Venezuela does not have the right to information self-determination and that it is to some extent the reason why governments can make indiscriminate use of citizens’ information (see in Spanish Censo 2011 y el Derecho a la Autodeterminación Informativa at http://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2011/08/censo-2011-en-venezuela-y-el-derecho-la.html)”.
However, the opposition did not take due account of the warning. The regime continued its work as a spider, weaving a web that lasts a long time, wrapping all Venezuelans in it. Politicians must understand that this problem cannot be put off. And that is what the deputies in the National Assembly are now doing by not taking the decisions that the country demands of them. A minute goes by, a minute when we lose more of our rights. That is why we cannot wait any longer.
The following year 2014 I returned to the subject (see in Spanish Control del Racionamiento o de la Insurrección, at http://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2014/03/control-del-racionamiento-o-de-la.html): “As I pointed out last year, with a government that has proven itself to be a criminal, retaliatory and open practitioner of political apartheid, all Venezuelans should be very concerned that this database of purchases is crossed with the very sad Tascón List and the importance of preventing this from happening, why is the regime announcing this card now and why is the Cuban scheme being deepened at this very moment? Some might say that the economic crisis, for which they are certainly responsible, forces them to ration and control the sale of basic necessities. But from experience and from the blows we are suspicious that this is the only purpose of this system”.
And indeed, that was not its only purpose. Now they want to control who can collect their pension that workers were entitled to receive during their working lives, who can buy gasoline, who can or cannot have their money from abroad, and in the future who can or cannot do anything in this prison that Venezuela has become.
Faced with countless reactions wondering what to do with this, the answers are not easy. The regime is encircling the few remaining spaces of freedom and people are beginning to understand that there is an authoritarian regime here that seeks to rule over the most intimate aspects of their personal lives. Something I was already warning about when I refused to census in 2011 (see in Spanish Porque no les abriré mi puerta, at http://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2011/07/porque-no-abrire-mi-puerta.html), and in 2013 when I refused to vote and to collaborate with a corrupt electoral system from that year on, until the rule of law returned and we have genuine elections in Venezuela (see in Spanish Porque no les daré mi voto, at http://ticsddhh.blogspot.com/2013/11/porque-no-les-dare-mi-voto.html).
On those occasions, make a very personal decision, without recommending anyone to do anything. Every Venezuelan must have a clear position on how to proceed with what the regime is doing and act accordingly. My position has been and will remain the same: Civil resistance against these criminals.
We must make decisions based on the fact that we are kidnapped, and in a situation of resistance to the kidnappers, waiting for help that should appear soon and in some way. The police outside may or may not decide to enter, but in the meantime, I will not cooperate as a hostage with the criminals who broke into my home, nor will I be thrown out of it because it is my 200-year-old heritage.
They may also impede me from receiving a pension that I paid and to which I am entitled, even if it is not very much. But just as in a hostage situation no one thought it would happen, but it did; and anyone who cooperates does not help end the kidnapping. And if that means I don’t get my pension, because I don’t sign this card that violates my rights, I will consider it the aggression that the hostages who don’t cooperate with the kidnappers receive, and against whom I will continue to fight with the only thing I handle: ideas and convictions. That’s impossible to take away from me.
Caracas, August 30, 2018