IT NOW TURNS OUT THAT HUGO CHAVEZ AND COMPANY ARE CORRECT. THE REPORT BELOW IS TOTALLY INACCURATE. THERE WAS NO MASSACRE. SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL NOW ADMITS IT WAS WRONG...AND ME, TOO
|Survivors of the 1993 Haximú massacre hold urns containing the ashes of their relatives. |
Chavez says they are making it up.
Credit: Courtesy of C. Zacquini/Survival International
I have said it before and I will say it again, Hugo Chavez is not red, he is a populist and nothing more. Now, that doesn't mean everything about the guy is bad, far from it, but it does mean everything about the guy isn't good. Leftists who pretend that he is the second coming of Che and a saviour of the people are way overboard with their praise. Yes, he is an irritant to the likes of the United States, and yes, he is an improvement over the last bunch of guys, but he has a long way to go and a lot of baggage to get rid of before he makes it onto my most admired list (something that I am sure deeply troubles him).
Anyway, about 20,000 Yanomami people live in small communities in the Amazon rainforest bordering Brazil and Venezuela. From time to time, like so many indigenous people the world over, they are subject to being massacred. In fact, twenty percent of them died in the 1980s as a consequence of the intrusion of gold mining.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
I am sure that those who most admire Chavez will have an explanation for the reaction of his government to the massacre this summer of Yanomami inside Venezuela by Brazilian gold miners. As the Guardian reported:
"A massacre of up to 80 Yanomami Indians has taken place in the Venezuelan state of Amazonas. According to local testimonies an armed group [illegal gold miners] flew over in a helicopter, opening fire with guns and launching explosives into Irotatheri settlement in the High Ocamo area."
Survival International stated in a recent news release:
"Witnesses of the aftermath described finding 'burnt bodies and bones' when they visited the community of Irotatheri in the country's Momoi region, close to the border with Brazil....The attack is believed to have happened in July, but news is only just emerging."
Why the massacre? It is just one more result of the growing war for liimitied resources combined with racism worldwide.
As Truthout aptly puts it:
Unfortunately such events will likely increase in the coming decades because much of the last remaining natural resources left on Earth are in lands inhabited by indigenous communities, or underneath oceans on which indigenous communities depend on—Amazon, Arctic,forests of India... Small illegal bands of garimpeiros or big corporations supported by governments will do everything to destroy and displace human and nonhuman communities to extract those resources.
Okay, let us return to where we started - Hugo Chavez. Venezuela says its investigation shows no evidence of any massacre. Of course, the investigative panel apparently did not actually visit the site of the massacre.
Gen. José Eliecer Pinto of the National Guard told Ultimas Noticias newspaper that he had visited four indigenous communities along with other officials and that "everything is fine there."
Chavez himself said yesterday, "Neither evidence nor accounts from the indigenous people themselves turned up anywhere."
Uh, Mr. Chavez it is the "indigenous people themselves" who are reporting the massacre..
Somebody is lying and to me, it seems unlikely that the Yanomami are just making this all up. Again, it is important to recall this isn't the first instance of violence and abductions faced by the Yanomami at the hands of miners.
Liborio Guarulla, governor of Amazonas state, says the federal government is acting in bad faith and is, "...mobilizing resources just to silence the matter." Advocates for the Yanomami say their demand for an investigation is unusual because their traditions discourage discussion of the dead. "It's a measure of how serious the problem is that they are making these allegations," said Marcos Wesley de Oliveira of Brazilian advocacy group Instituto Socioambiental.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) now wants some information on the investigation carried out by Venezuela...and Brazil into the massacre. The Commission also is reminding Venezuela of the commitment made in March to take steps to protect the Yanomami from Brazilian miners.
I will leave you with this: