Many people has compared the Venezuela political persecution to what was known in the world as “apartheid”. It sounds like an exageration but you should research before forming an opinion. The strongman uses his power to effectevely eliminate anyone that feels like having a different opinion. You are here probably searching for Chavez or Venezuela, read it will be good for you.
Venezuela strongman uses database of opponents to turn ideological discrimination into a science
Rocio San Miguel had worked as a Venezuelan government attorney for 13 years when, in December 2003, she signed a petition to recall President Hugo Chavez. Two other colleagues in her office signed the petition as well. All three believed Chavez was abusing his power, turning his presidency into a fiefdom or dictatorship.
One month later, all three were fired from their positions.
Welcome to the world of Venezuela’s Maisanta program, in which Chavez employs 21st century technology to perfect the art of blacklisting, to bring real material harm to those who oppose him, and, as one observer put it, to “turn ideological discrimination into a science.”
Ironically, Chavez is a favorite political figure of Hollywood celebrities such as Sean Penn and Oliver Stone who still rail against what they perceive as the injustice of a Hollywood blacklist against Communist Party members dating back to the 1950s.
Equally ironically, it is Chavez who characterizes his opposition as “fascists.” Chavez’s blacklist is not merely symbolic. According to a new study, it results in actual material harm to those who find themselves on it – an average net loss of 4 percent of annual earnings.
It all began in 2003 with that petition calling for Chavez to be removed from office. It twice gathered more than 3 million signatures. While it failed to dethrone Chavez, a legislative backer posted the list on an Internet site. Later, the names were compiled in a software database known as Maisanta.
Today, it is one of the most popular pieces of software on the streets of Venezuela, where it sells for as little as $1.50 and continues to be used by the government and Chavez supporters to blacklist his opponents.
Using the Maisanta database and the national household income survey, researchers have been able to compare and contrast the earnings of 87,000 individuals – both Chavez supporters and opponents. What they found was that between 2003 and 2006, “signing (the petition) cost you 4 percent of your income,” says Francisco Rodriguez, a Venezuelan economist at Wesleyan University and co-author of the study.
“There was a very clear message that there was a cost to signing against the government,” he added.
The study also found that companies with pro-opposition boards have been forced to pay significantly higher taxes than firms supportive of Chavez.
Rocio San Miguel is back working as an attorney in private practice and has taken her evidence of blacklisting to the Venezuelan courts. But, she says, they’re packed with Chavez-supporting judges. She has also taken her case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.