Smudging the line between public and private

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She left an impression on me, too.

Private pictures of Hugo Chávez’s daughters and other assorted members of their inner posse were leaked this week on a Twitter account that was subsequently closed. In them, the girls and their friends are shown in various countries and parties, enjoying the perks of their salaries, I presume.

A lot has been made about these pictures, but I didn’t want to echo them because, quite frankly, it’s tacky.

I’m sorry, but Chávez’s relatives are private citizens, and they are entitled to their privacy. Chávez’s daughters shop at the Gap and go to Disney World, good for them … And yes, the President’s family uses private planes. It happens all over the world.

In spite of my apprehensions, I’m posting a link because Chávez himself appears in several of these with his family, unguarded and relaxed.

In that sense, the leaked pictures are part of the historical record of the era. Inasmuch as the pictures contain Chávez, Raúl Castro, Minister Arreaza, and other public figures, they belong in the public, just as much as private pictures of Stalin, Hitler, Castro, Franco, or Pinchet should.

At any rate, you be the judge. Here’s the link.

PS.- Toto Aguerrevere has an outstanding piece on one of the pictures, which contains the masterful Diana La Cazadora by XIXth Century master Arturo Michelena. Don’t miss it.

1 COMMENT

    • Boring generic family pics. They seriously have no
      redeeming or newsworthy qualities, other than to
      the immediate family members. Thanks for posting
      the link!

  1. Super rich kids doing what super rich kids do. The family shot with Bashar al-Assad is especially touching. Its funny how mass murders pose for family pictures like normal people.

    • Yeah, that Assad picture is surreal. There he looks like anyone’s uncle, not some mass murdering tyrant. Despite the understanding that his family is essentially off limits and to involve them in these political attacks would be somehow wrong, I still get quite livid to think that it’s essentially kleptocracy that keeps them living that way. I mean, what’s the difference between a Bolivarian with Swiss bank accounts and Stroessner or Somoza and their embezzled funds?

      • Yes, I agree, the issue is the kleptocratic nature of this regime (a subset of its essentially mafia-like character). Whether it is necessary to publish facebook photos or whatever to make the point, I don’t know. I do know that many people either ignore it or dismiss it, and the press generally avoids looking into it in the case of the first family.

    • The Assad picture was the one that impressed me the most. Thousands- perhaps millions- of people get their picture taken at Disney World/Disneyland, but the number who get on on friendly terms with Assad Jr. is rather small. Not everyone becomes friendly with a butcher who, by virtue of being the son of a butcher, is himself a second-generation butcher.

      Gustavo Coronel’s point is well taken.

  2. “And yes, the President’s family uses private planes. It happens all over the world.”

    Déjate de payasadas JC. . . Acaso no era este tipo de cosas las que se iban a terminar con Chavez?

    • Yeah, it was known as “Las colitas de PDVSA”, which is the VIP version of a former malaise: “viajar gratis en VIASA, y sin pagar exceso de equipaje”.

  3. In civilized countries public officers or their families do not use national property for their personal benefit. A public employee an his,her family that living beyond their means have to PROVE they are not corrupt. They are considered guilty unless they can prove their innocence. This is the so-called inversion (I think this is the term) of the burden of proof.
    When we start accepting this style of living beyond one’s means as “normal” and say “Why not” , or “this happens all over the world” we are in danger of becoming part of the problem.
    Please think carefully about what we condone

    • Seeing them in the private plane reminds me of the scandal Chavez made just starting his administration with Pdvsa’s planes and how they could only be used by the People , and how corrupt Pdvsa was at allowing its use by its employees . Hypocrites!!

    • My father gave me similar advice and always refused the normal “perks” of public office such as gifts, dinners, tickets to cultural events, “junkets” and other things that most elected officials take for granted. While not publicly judging others who did so, he told me privately that he was elected to serve the constituency rather than be served by them. Reciprocity is a natural human condition and when you take gifts, you open yourself to being beholden to others; the so-called “special interests”.

      Other advice that he gave, relevant to this particular issue: “You are always, at every minute and at every place, a public figure. So is your family. Always remember that, because the minute you don’t, you open yourself to a compromising situation.”

      Of course, if you are sinverguenza, then neither really applies.

      Still, while I don’t necessarily disagree with Chavez and family enjoying the access that being the ruler of a country grants, abuse of such access or the embezzelment of public goods I find quite abhorrent and totally repulsive. The President, whether comatose or in good health, is a public figure along with his family and he (as well as they) should be judged by their actions and held to a higher standard than a normal person.

  4. No Juan I disagree this are not normal people doing the normal thing to do. These are people preaching something and doing the opposite…

  5. JC,

    I won’t be diplomatic here.

    It is most definitely NOT the same thing what Chavez and family do( compared to other non- socialist countries) when it comes to spending on luxury.

    They are ICONS for people against Capitalism.

    You have most decidedly collapsed all hierarchies here.

      • Una cosa es que el hijo de Petra vaya en el avion privado, y otra es que lo hagan los hijos del Presidente. Sorry, pero mantengo mi piosicion. A los hijos del Presidente no se les puede exigir que vuelen en Aserca or whatever.

        Si nos vamos a poner tan exquisitos, por que entonces no pedimos vender la casa de La Orchila? La casa en Kavanayen? Todos esos son perks presidenciales que heredamos DE LA CUARTA, asi que no nos pongamos con esas finuras.

        • I’m torn on this, on one hand, yes, you can’t realistically expect the presidents family to travel on tourist class, attend a bolivarian school or get treated in a Barrio Adentro, but, lets observe the following:
          Obama’s entourage its enormous, bodyguards, assistants, etc. he travels only on the most secure and modern wonders of vehicle engineering, his daughters attend the most exclusive and expensive private schools and I’m pretty sure him and his family wear designer clothes to go anywhere. HOWEVER, You don’t see Obama doing 10 hour speeches on how evil capitalists are and then turn around and tweet “Ser rico es malo” On his latest generation Iphone 10 or whatever.
          Its the classic case of “Do what I say, not what I do”, its deplorable that private pictures of Chavez’s family got leaked on the internet, but it is also deplorable how hypocritical they are by talking shit every opportunity they get on the lifestyle of the rich when they themselves live that way.

        • What about the nephews, nieces, and hangers-on? Is that ok too? There’s enough photos of Chavez family excesses to make quite an album.

          I opposed “las colitas de PDVDSA” before it was cool for oppos to do it (call the me the oppo-hipster). I have always opposed the extravagance of a private island resort for the president. Politicians, even the president, live off of public monies, and as such, should exhibit a modicum of modesty when spending it. And sending the president’s children on trips that no Venezuelan could afford if they played by the rules regarding currency access, is exactly the kind of display I would criticize even on the most free-wheeling capitalist of politicians, let alone the one selling himself as a latter-day socialist messiah.

          • Esa es la vaina, a mi tambien me molestaria que me suban fotos mias o de mi familia viviendo la vida loca (Y elitista) Pero tampoco me la paso haciendo discursos interminables sobre como ser rico es malo.

          • Asi es, por eso es que son relevantes, porque hablan tanta paja del imperialismo y la bichita con sus bolsas de GAP sin ningun problema ideologico, claro que si son importantes de que todos las vean, por esa misma habladera de paja loca de los chavistas.

          • Not to mention the one in pantaletas and the ones in pelotas… they should know better but again we r talking gentuza in here.

  6. Is there any truth to this?
    Los médicos envían a Chávez a casa por el avance de un nuevo tumor
    EMILI J. BLASCO – DÍA 01/03/2013
    el presidente de Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, habría sido trasladado hace varios días a su residencia presidencial de la isla de La Orchila, con el fin de pasar en un entorno familiar los últimos compases de su enfermedad. El traslado desde el Hospital Militar se habría hecho después de que el pasado viernes los médicos evaluaran muy negativamente el resultado de…

  7. I read the “Diana” article. I get it: “presidential niece in the nude, presumably oblivious to the masterpiece in the background I love, because I am oh-so-cultured.” Lumpen-schmumpen. Whatever.
    Small quibble, the phrase “con las manos detrás de la espalda por si acaso habían huevos de avestruces” should be taken outside to a firing squad. When making a cultural indictment, Complemento Directo 101 should be respected. (Si “hay” huevos, en vez de “han” huevos, entonces “habia” huevos, en “habian” huevos — al menos que hubieran hecho algo.)

  8. “Una cosa es que el hijo de Petra vaya en el avion privado, y otra es que lo hagan los hijos del Presidente. Sorry, pero mantengo mi piosicion. A los hijos del Presidente no se les puede exigir que vuelen en Aserca or whatever.
    Si nos vamos a poner tan exquisitos, por que entonces no pedimos vender la casa de La Orchila? La casa en Kavanayen? Todos esos son perks presidenciales que heredamos DE LA CUARTA, asi que no nos pongamos con esas finuras”

    Noooooooo! mi querido amigo. No son finuras. Cuando un presidente que tiene un salario anda con un reloj de $25000 en un avión de $65 millones comprado de manera ilegal y viaja con cocineros, guardaespladas, médicos, familiares y allegados lquilando pisos enteros en los mjors hoteles del mundo, cuando los hijos y sobrinos andan rascados en los aviones de PDVSA via DisneyWorld o París, eso es corrupción! No es que nos andemos con finuras, ni que nos pongamos exquisitos. Es que si aceptamos ese estilo de vida como algo normal y permisible corremos el riesgo de ser tragado po el tremedal.
    Una casa de descanso presidencial está bien. Pero es claro que debe haber un uso moderado y ciudadano del poder presidencial. Truman compraba sus propias estampillas. Ese es el otro extremo, quizás, pero sirve para ilustrar el punto.

  9. Repeat after me: ‘ser rico es malo, ser rico es malo, ser rico es malo …’. The word ‘hypocrisy’ is inadequate to describe the behaviour of the president and his extended family. The argument that ‘everyone else does it’ reminds me of the mild-mannered grumbles I often used to hear from Mexican taxi-drivers (in reference to their own ‘clase politica’) – ‘Esta bien que roben, pero no taaanto…’. It might be easier to swallow if we hadn’t been forced to listen over the past 14 years to self-righteous claptrap about the virtues of poverty and humility. A political leader who poses as a fount of virtue and hurls insults at his adversaries for doing just what he does in private richly deserves to be exposed as a pompous liar. And that goes for his family too. Because they’re only able to live like plutocrats thanks to his light fingers and the public purse. They’re entitled to privacy, but not the kind of privacy that serves to conceal the fun they’re having at the expense of everyone else.

  10. Charity begins at home. Grief might strike a few hearts.
    Yet Fear with a capital F will stalk our country until
    the reins of power can be equitably shared by the
    political class.
    As an ordinary citizen, I would like to see predictability
    in my daily life when buying essentials; I’d like to see
    less violence inflicted on my immediate family; I’d
    like to work and participate in developing the riches
    that my country owns, and prevent them from being
    given away.
    May the transition be a positive step for Venezuelan
    society.

  11. I dunno Juan, their privacy is somehow limited… I have to say the one with Hugo’s BFF Bashar Assad is priceless.

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