by Pejman Yousefzadeh on August 31, 2009

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: I cannot believe that we actually had an argument over whether Chavez possessed any democratic instincts whatsoever. The evidence against such a proposition keeps piling up:

Venezuela’s top prosecutor said Saturday that recent street protests were legally tantamount to “rebellion” against President Hugo Chavez’s government and that demonstrators will now be charged.

The dramatic move by Attorney General Luisa Ortega capped a week of huge street protests, mostly directed against a new education law that critics say is politically charged.

“People who disturb order and the peace to create instability of institutions, to destabilize the government, or attack the democratic system, we are going to charge and try them,” Ortega said in a statement, referring to the government of leftist-populist Chavez.

William Ojeda, of the opposition A New Time party, argued that “the very right to protest is being turned into a crime.”

“The justice system is now being used as a tool of political and ideological persecution,” Ojeda added.

On that last particular point, Ojeda needs to be corrected. It is more accurate to say that the justice system has been used as a tool of political and ideological persecution for quite a long time under Chavez’s rule.

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