Actually Jim, I have no particualr political bent and was attempting to respond to a post by someone who was
trying to politicize this thread by making spurious comments about the leadership in Venezuela. My point was (and is) that we should forget about the anti-Chavez political rhetoric in assessing whether or not it is safe to go to Venezuela. At no point did I say that I support Chavez, his policies or his own rhetoric against that USA
. I merely pointed out various facts that tend to undermine the suggestion that the leadership in Venezuela supports (particularly against Americans) the sort of activity that gave rise to this thread.
Let me assure you that I would have also criticized anyone from Venezuela who suggested that it is no longer safe or pleasant for foreigners (and especially Venezuelans) to travel to the United States under the Bush presidency as he supports violence against Venezuelans. Neither proposition is accurate or helpful.
I think Pelagic had it right: "sweeping statements about countries not friendly to the USA does an injustice to the majority of decent people who live there." If you find my comments about the situation in Venezuela offensive because you are opposed to Chavez, then so be it. Let me say that I found the comments about the leadership in Venezuela to be offensive.
I had the privilege
of attending a conference held by the I.A.P. (International Association of Prosecutors) that coincidentally was held on Isla de Margarita in July of 2007. Let me say that I (and various other prosecutors in attendance from the USA, Europe
and Asia) were pleasantly surprised by the projects that are being undertaken by the prosecution services in Venezuela and other South and Central American countries. The Fiscal-General de Venezuela (equilavent of the Attorney-General) was present, as were numerous prosecutors from the various states in the country. They impressed as being sincerely interested in advice
from North American and European prosecutors on methods of dealing with corruption by police officials and others who hold public office (and indeed, have undertaken several recent prosecutions against allegedly corrupt officials). They have also established special prosecution services dealing specifically with offences against women
Overall, I and most others left with the impression that they have made great strides towards the promotion of what we know as 'the rule
of law'. Furthermore, in many respects they impressed as being abreast of us in recognition and promotion of equality of the sexes ( a significant number of high ranking political officials in South and Central America
; a large number of prosecutors from Venezuela were women; indeed, both my lawyer and architect in Venezuela are women).
In the final analysis it does not surprise me, therefore, that the widowed wife of the poor sailor who was murdered in Venezuela was treated well by the police; it also does not surprise me that an arrest has already been made. While the police response to a petty theft (an outboard motor
, for example) might disappoint there, it would also likely disappoint here (do any police forces actually dust for prints on thefts, or run of the mill burglaries any more?). But based upon my own limited experience, I would suggest that Venezuela is a country committed to detecting, solving and prosecuting violent crime, rather than promoting it against any group.