In Defense of Andres Izarra

This is a tale of a twitter feed gone mad.

Yesterday, I noticed an evolving twitter tiff between somebody named Vendetta_V and the president of chavista broadcaster Telesur, Andres Izarra.

Apparently, Izarra and his wife were expecting twins, and they were spotted getting a medical check-up at a private clinic. For some reason, Vendetta_V found out about it, and promptly prodded Izarra as to why he was going to get his check-ups at a private clinic, the same industry this government is so adamant in attacking.

Izarra intemperately responded that Vendetta should come clean, and called her a “fascist” and a “cochina perra.” Something like “swine bitch.”

Well, Vendetta went to town  with that, re-tweeting the message to several reporters. Suddenly, El Chiguire Bipolar was in on it, even revealing a picture of said swine bitch. #CochinaPerra became a popular hashtag. The swine bitch got her own twitter account. Even CNN’s Patricia Janiot was left wondering about Izarra’s uncivilized response. An avalanche of twitter messages ensued.

Of course, to those of us who have seen Izarra’s performance through the years, this reaction was no surprise. This is the same man who mocked opposition arguments about the soaring crime wave by laughing his ass off. Needless to say, we are no fans of his, and neither are many Venezuelans.

Later on, Izarra published on Twitter that his wife had in fact miscarried his twins.

For me at least, there are several lessons in cochina-perra-gate.

The first is that it once again proves the enormous power of social media such as Twitter to get people involved in a conversation and to facilitate the flow of information. You might be right in thinking this is all irrelevant, but let’s not pretend the power of Twitter, Facebook, or even blogs in shaping popular discourse is inconsequential.

But the most important lesson is that it shows, once again, how we have lost any semblance of civility. Mr. Izarra and his family are going through a personal tragedy, and this has not prevented people from backing off or providing an apology.

Regardless of how disgusting we may find them, chavistas are human beings, and as such they are deserving of dignity and respect. Whether it’s the death of Luis Tascon, Willian Lara, or the Izarra twins, every time we diminish these events, every time we fail to act with proper respect, every time we fail to apologize for crossing the lines – we only demean ourselves.

Let’s hope there’s a lesson in here for the rest of us.

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