Paging Miss Marple

I rest my case, Your Honor.
I rest my case, Your Honor.

A few weeks ago I was researching all the material I could find about Venezuela’s human rights violations, both pre- and post-Chávez. Lo and behold, I came across this report put out by the People’s Ombudsperson, the main human rights protection agency of the Venezuelan state, also known as the place where the “talented” Gabriela del Mar rules the roost.

The thing has to be seen to be believed.

The report does not beat around the bush. After a brief introduction, it starts out … with its main conclusions. Terrible things happened in Venezuela in the period going from 1958 to 1998. Human rights were “systematically” violated. This included basically all rights, including rights to meet, to life, to a home, to health, and even the rights of kids. There is no nuance there – it was a veritable nightmare.

I was eager to see how they would argue their case.

As I advanced further in the document, I realized the basis for their conclusions was simply a series of disorganized newspaper clippings, many of them illegible, from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

I kept advancing in the document, waiting to find some sort of analysis. For example, did they corroborate the information? Did they extrapolate from the amount of reasearch they did?

No. Their idea of “analysis” is simply a massive, highly selective dump from some microfilm, lost in the hidden archives of the National Library.

In doing this, the Defensoría has set an irresistibly low standard for itself. If this is what constitutes proof of “systematic” human rights violations, what will we do once this nightmare is over? Can we play this game too? ‘Cause if you give me a bit of time, I can produce an equally massive dump of newspaper clippings, blog posts, and other material, showing the hell that is chavista Venezuela.

I have no doubt that human rights were violated during this period. But the laziness with which this project was approached by the Defensoría is an affront to all the victims, no matter their political alliance.

Hack job doesn’t even begin to describe this report. This putridly banal document only confirms that chavismo’s worst sin may perhaps be its callous indifference to the very idea of “doing your job.”