Like all good socialists Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez believes private property is theft, so he wants to steal it back in the people’s name. Chavez remains on an expropriation roll, having gobbled up huge sections of the Venezuelan economy, reportedly $22 billion in transactions in the past four years. For the powerful and prominent he has offered compensation, drawing on Venezuela’s oil wealth, but for many promises and litigation lead only to misery and despair.
Franklin Brito was a 49-year agronomist and modest property owner with a grievance against the Venezuelan government who wanted is day in court but became a victim of Kafkaesque frustration and denial of justice.
In December 2009, the hunger-striking Brito was taken into custody and placed in the care of the State. He died August 30th in a Caracas military hospital. The family intends to make the details of his “incarceration” and medical mistreatment known via the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, which has already issued a comprehensive report on the aggressive destruction of individual rights occurring in Venezuela.
The Chavez regime denies Brito had a valid land claim. It argues he was mentally unstable and had become a tool of the Venezuelan opposition. The official communiqué states: “we are obliged to reject the pharisaism of the media machine, the opposition with only electoral ends, and the authorities of the Church, which encouraged Brito’s extreme decisions in order to cause a death serving their dirty flags.” Case closed!
The machinery of “the Bolivarian Revolution” and “Socialism of the 21st Century” continues to grind on, running roughshod over property rights and rule of law, ignoring the legitimate complaints of citizens, and quick to label anyone who opposes the increasingly brazen concentration of power in the hands of an authoritarian regime as either crazy, a class enemy, or a tool of U.S. imperialism.
Brito paid a high price for the injustices committed by a State that is increasingly without rule of law. In Venezuela he has become an instant symbol of the growing opposition to Chavista misrule. Brito’s sad fate and the forced march to Cuban-style communism will influence voters’ decisions when Venezuelans go to the polls on September 26 to select a new national legislative body and seek to regain a real voice in shaping Venezuela’s future.