Statement by Ambassador Diego E. Arria in response to attacks by President Hugo Chávez stemming from the invasion and theft of the La Carolina farm by the state.
10 May 2010.
In his statements of May 8th, broadcast by Venezolana de Televisión at one of the events of his political party, the President of Venezuela, Lieutenant Colonel (r) Hugo Chávez Frías confirmed that the misappropriation of my farm, La Carolina, in the State of Yaracuy, is solely and exclusively due to a political decision on his part.
President Chávez said verbatim, “if he wants the farm he will have to “topple” Chávez because this now belongs to the revolution.” He likewise confirmed that it was under his orders that officials of the National Institute of Lands (INTI) stormed my house with weapons in hand and, without any kind of legal pretext, took control of Hacienda La Carolina.
With his precise statements, President Chávez contradicts the affirmations of his officials concerning the legal or agrarian premises of the decision to take control of my property and clarifies the fact that there is no other motive than that of political retaliation against me.
The President of the Republic made it very clear that he is an accessory in the theft of my property. His own words demonstrate, irrefutably, that by that decision due process was violated and there has been no respect shown whatsoever for my most fundamental rights as a citizen and much less so as evidenced by the outrage committed against our workers.
President Chávez will be my most valuable witness in the lawsuits I intend to file in order to recover the rights which I rightfully have as a Venezuelan. These actions cannot be allowed to go unpunished in Venezuela, nor in the international tribunals where I am going to take steps in defense of my rights and those of thousands of other Venezuelans whose property has been ransacked with impunity as a result of decisions arbitrarily made, supported, promoted or tolerated by Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Chávez Frías.
The lieutenant colonel has no need to challenge me to topple him: I give my house to him so that he may retire there – provided he returns the country, as well as peace, to the Venezuelan people. It is time for him to leave.
On our part, this week I will comply with the ritual of delivering – yet again – all the title documents for La Carolina that give absolute proof of our legitimate rights. I shall do it at a public event for Venezuelans and for the national and international media.
It is more than well-known that I am a fervent critic of the Chávez government and of the way he is impoverishing and restricting the freedoms and civil rights of Venezuelans. Likewise the President’s order to invade my farm has come about because of the repeated and documented denunciations I have been making everywhere about his régime.
Concerning that point, I haven’t the slightest doubt that sooner than later Hugo Chávez will be the subject of utmost interest for the international judiciary – and in particular in judicial proceedings that are familiar to me because I am one of the widely renowned promoters of such proceedings.
For years it was my duty to do battle with and participate in problems much more serious and with notorious persons of the worse kind, but of greater shrewdness than President Chávez, such as those he calls “his brothers”: Saddam Hussein, Muhammar Gaddafi, Robert Gabriel Mugabe. President Chávez cannot imagine how small Slobodan Miloševicć looked in the courtroom at The Hague when I was one of the main witnesses at his trial.
In September I will return to that same court as a witness at the trial of Radovan Karadzic, another criminal from the Balkans who evaded justice for fifteen years. This recent bit of history should be a reason for reflection in order to demonstrate the end met by those who thought they were above the law and beyond the reach of international justice.
President Chávez seeks to abolish private property because he knows that it is the foundation and sustenance of freedom. The vast majority of Venezuelans cry out for the legitimate and constitutional right to be the owners of their country and of their own destiny. It is intolerable to live in a country where the only property owners with rights are the President, his family, his hierarchs and his associates.
We the people of Venezuela are fed up with President Chávez’s incompetence, his lack of responsibility, his vulgarity and his abuses. After squandering, misappropriating and giving away 950 billion dollars in 11 years, there is no coffee, no meat, no cooking oil, no milk, no electricity for cooking, illuminating our homes or watching television. Millions of Venezuelans are living on rations and under fear much as in cities and towns which are at war. Inflation has ruined the quality of life for everyone. We cannot endure violent death as a way of life, impunity as a state policy, disaster as a certain fate.
To this tragedy that deepens by the day, one adds the dozens of political prisoners, the curtailment of freedom of speech, the high jacking of the communications media, the criminalization of the judiciary as a state policy meant to persecute dissidence, and the abuse of using the Armed Force in order to subjugate and tread upon the rights of citizens.
The reality is that Hugo Chávez Frías has condemned the future to death –most of all the poorest and the youngest. Preventing him from executing that sentence is the highest priority in order to be able to live in peace, reunify the country and rebuild it for the benefit of all Venezuelans.
Upon inviting me to topple him as a condition for having justice done to me, Lieutenant Colonel Chávez rises up in defiance just like the Berlin Wall. History is clear. The wall fell when the people became fed up. The power of the citizenry is unstoppable when it is set into motion.
My blog is: http://maruangarita.blogspot.com/