Altamira’ story is one story hard to tell; the links and protesters motivations didn’t made much sense, and their fight mechanisms even less. It all started in October, when a group of military decided to declare themselves in “Civil disobedience”. Everyone I knew celebrated the move, presented to the country on live TV. The “disobedient” members from the army gathered in Altamira square for about two months, conducting daily speeches and protests asking for Mr Chavez’ resignation.
A clock was installed, right next to a Virgin Mary altar that still remains if I’m not mistaken. I never quite understood why the high military command were acting like civilians. With their obvious lack of politics experience there was no much to expect. I know I’m touching a delicate ground, but it seems to me that this “civil explosion” end up benefiting Chavez, since the army was easily purged to guarantee that only loyal will stay in it; while the ones who did oppose Chavez were switching microphones in Altamira. Since then, I think it is really hard if not impossible to find anyone inside the army against the regime. With a country as militarized as mine, to my disdain, we have no choice but to have the army on our side if we want a change. So, looking now at the upcoming presidential elections (to be held next year), you can imagine where that left us.
But Altamira’ story is not only a story about huge political lost and costs; it’s also a story about violence and political intolerance, about the lost of three human lives.
I was sitting at home, watching the dissident military speeches from Altamira live on TV. Then we started to hear some screams and the TV images gave us back the look of people running and hiding. It was obvious that someone was shooting against the crowd. Three people died that night and many others were wounded. In particular I remember seeing a young guy holding a light purple sweater with a red spark. He was in the waiting room of a clinic, and explain to the cameras that the sweater belonged to his girlfriend, who was in intensive care.
Soon, the government found the shooter. A red haired simple guy, with Portuguese origins and a strange look in his eyes. The official version is that this guy, apparently crazy, on his own, decided to perpetuate the massacre. Just like those horrible killings in the first world where a dis-adapted, strange fellow is responsible.
Just recently, files from Raul Reyes’ laptop confirm a close collaboration between my government and the FARC to pursue state terrorism acts and to purgue counter revolutionaries. Experts suggests that due those e-mails found in Reyes’ laptop and the modus operandi of Altamira’ massacre; that FARC might be behind it. I don’t know if it’s pure speculation or a carefully thought conclusion that has now spread in the media like dust.
"Subsequently, on December, 2002, at the Altamira neighborhood of Caracas, three opposition members that were taking part in a rally die, and others are wounded.
The IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies in London) suggests that for the “modus operandi” and context, it could have been FARC’ members work." (Read it all here, in Spanish)
Either way, a laptop lost in the jungle, a terrorist group’ propriety that shouldn’t have anything to do with us; has find its way to bring us back painful memories.
PS: Venezuelan bloggers have worked intensely to bring out everything about Chavez - FARC connection, since data from Raul' laptop was released. Check my links below for their compilation and their analysis.
PS 2: The New York Times published a direct and disturbing piece on the topic yesterday. Read it here