Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Ideological-Religious Persecution in Venezuela
A Black Cloud Descends
Upon That Nation
Communiqué on Resistencia, No. 1
THE national leadership of Democratic Action (AD) (Venezuela's ruling party, affiliated with the Socialist International) unanimously decided on November 12 to ask the country's president to shut down the Asociación Civil Resistencia (Resistance Civic Society). This is a society known all over the country for having rendered, for several years, most outstanding services to preserve that nation from socialism and communism by fostering the values of tradition, family and property. All its activities have been carried out strictly according to the requirements of law and order.
With this action, AD's goal was to wrench the decision in the case away from the courts and thus arbitrarily complete the long ideological-religious persecution whose various stages we will briefly describe below.
A dark cloud of tyranny and persecution has thus fallen upon that nation, whose liberties are beginning to be trampled underfoot for unmistakably ideological reasons.
On October 6 of this year, a massive media campaign against Resistencia began simultaneously in the columns of all the Caracas newspapers which, along with the TV stations, started to spread distortions, defamations and calumnies aimed not only at Resistencia but also at all the TFP organizations. This was done with the sophisticated means of a certain type of modern defamatory propaganda, including wild and completely unsubstantiated allegations repeated amidst a continuous uproar in which insignificant facts were blown out of all proportion. If it becomes necessary, we will give the American public a more detailed account of the whole affair at an appropriate moment.
El Universal, the largest and most respected daily in Venezuela, withdrew from this deafening media orchestration soon after it started, and has been maintaining an exemplary and impartial attitude toward the affair.
What is the origin of this media offensive whose fiery leadership has included, since the beginning, the publications of the main socialist currents and the official bulletin of the Venezuelan Communist Party? The answer to this question, which a growing number of Venezuelans had been asking themselves, began to appear on October 15, when Congressmen José Antonio Martinez, of the Movimiento Electoral del Pueblo (People's Electoral Movement, a socialist party), and Enrique Ochoa Antich, of the Movimiento para el Socialismo (Movement for Socialism), asked the Chamber of Deputies’ Committee on National Policy to verify if the reports about Resistencia being spread on TV and in the newspapers were factual.
Immediately after the Committee decided to carry out the investigation, the target organization, being certain of its complete innocence, declared in the press that it would gladly collaborate with the Committee to bring out the truth of the matter.
However, since the first — and thus far the only — meeting of that Committee, it became clear that Resistencia was not facing a body that aimed to investigate, but rather to persecute.
Indeed, socialist Congressman David Moralles Bello, the Committee's president, opened the session by reading a list of violent accusations against Resistencia. The other members of the Committee present gave unqualified support to Mr. Moralles’ attitude. And when Mr. José Rodriguez Iturbe, a Christian Democratic Congressman, rose to ask that the Committee first check if there were proofs of the actions attributed to Resistencia, and which of them were illegal, the Committee received his upright and commonsensical suggestion with such an aggressive attitude that it created an incident.
Justly concerned about the results that a Committee of this ilk could come up with, Resistencia availed itself of a legal process provided for in the country's penal code: it petitioned the judiciary to matte a complete investigation of the society's activities. The proofs — hitherto brought forward by no one — and the supposed illegality of Resistencia’s activities were thus going to be judged by a branch of the government which is non-political and impartial by definition. The organization's action could not have been more straightforward, peaceful, and legal.
In contrast, the attitude of the socialists ruling Venezuela could not have been more aggressive and arbitrary.
* * *
The December 1983 elections had given a majority to the Democratic Action (AD), a party affiliated with the Socialist international. The latter, by the way, has an active headquarters in Caracas.
As a consequence of its majority vote, the AD delegation, along with a small number of congressmen from other socialist currents and the Communist Party, holds a majority in the Chamber of Deputies. The AD candidate, Mr. Jaime Lusinchi, was elected president, and his cabinet is also made up of AD members. The socialist left dominates the country. It is no wonder, then, that even before the House investigation was set in motion, the Minister of the interior and the Minister of Justice made declarations against Resistencia that were shockingly baseless from the legal standpoint.
Likewise, it is no wonder that also before the Chamber of Deputies‘ investigation, the Federal Prosecutor's Office (Fiscalía) initiated a criminal investigation against Resistencia on the basis of preposterous accusations such as kidnapping, brainwashing, drug abuse and so on. This process, which included prolonged Nazi-communist style interrogations which clearly constituted moral torture, obviously came to a close without finding any evidence of wrongdoing.
On November 12, 1984, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office started another similar investigation.
As stated above, there were two judicial actions in progress, one initiated by Resistencia, and the other by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office. On the morning of the 13th, however, Caracas newspapers broke shocking news: In an action that clearly amounts to wrenching the case away from the courts, the national leadership of Democratic Action, the majority socialist party, meeting on the 12th of this month, unanimously decided to ask the president to decree the proscription of Resistencia. This measure would entail the closing of its headquarters, the confiscation of all goods found therein, and the dispersion of its members.
It is noteworthy that this request from the socialist ranks is not known to have been supported by any significant political entity in Venezuela, except perhaps for three progressivist priests and a tight-knit group of five or six couples whose adult sons are affiliated with Resistencia. This group, which represents only ten percent of the parents who have sons in the organization, acted from the beginning in perfect synchronization with the socialist leaders. And, being ideologically opposed to Resistencia, they leveled against it accusations with neither juridical nor scientific substance, using well-known clichés like "brainwashing," “cult,” and so on.
According to insistent announcements on radio and TV stations in the Venezuelan capital, the head of state was to sign the decree proscribing Resistencia at any time. The decree was indeed signed, not by the President, but rather by the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Justice.
* * *
Considering this dramatic sequence of events as a whole, an aspect of both the media uproar and the debates undertaken by the investigative Committee which stands out is the unheard of emphasis with which Resistencia’s adversaries have made accusations of a religious character. A striking example of this is the imputation, in typical soap opera style, that members of the highest European aristocracy, including the German Prince Thurn und Taxis, Archduke Otto of Habsburg, and princes of the House of Braganza (from the Portuguese and Brazilian branches) had engineered the attempts to assassinate John Paul II in St. Peter's Square and at Fatima. Resistencia was accused of being the long arm of these personalities and of plotting a sacrilegious attack against John Paul II during his coming visit to Venezuela. In addition, members of Resistencia were insistently questioned about the organization's position regarding the Second Vatican Council, the liturgical reforms it established, the renewal movement in the post-conciliar Church, and so on. It was obvious that all this was meant to persecute traditional members of the Church while giving free reign to its progressivist elements. Now then, in a country like Venezuela, in which there is separation between Church and State, such question obviously go beyond the legal sphere and constitute not only a clearly ideological persecution - socialists against anti-socialists — but also a religious persecution.
The signing of the decree banning Resistencia had a prelude: on the 13th, the whole leadership of Democratic Action had gone to ask the President to consummate this tenebrous religious persecution by silencing the judiciary branch and taking into his own hands the arbitrary immolation of Resistencia.
* * *
In light of this, the American TFP has nothing left to do but denounce the fact that a socialist tyranny is settling over Venezuela like a thick dark cloud. One act of persecution always leads to others: “Deep calleth unto deep" (Ps. 41.8).
Quite in the style of his dear but frustrated friend, Salvador Allende, it is to be feared that after having acquiesced to the urgings of the party that elected him, Mr. Jaime Lusinchi will be led by the sequence of events to smother one opposition after another.
Experience has shown that, in South America, socialism is inseparable from a climate of suspicion, intolerance, and persecution.
* * *
Protesting before God and Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, against this ideological-religious persecution to which Resistencia is being subjected, the American TFP presents this fact to the consciences of all those who usually rise up with indignation whenever they consider that a leftist's human rights have been violated. Men are men whether they be of the left, the center or the right. One would hope that the protection of human rights is not less dear to them when those who are persecuted are of the right, as is the case of the well-deserving young men of Resistencia.
New York, November 14, 1984
John R. Spann, President
The American Society
for the Defense of
Tradition, Family and Property
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