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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

VenEconomy: Venezuela Needs Books, Not Weapons!

From the Editors of VenEconomy

Venezuela in the times of Chávez has seen how there has been a breakdown in the values of tolerance, equality, and fraternity. It has seen how history has been changed with the wiping out of years spent building up democratic principles and the rights of freedom of action, thought, and speech.

The true heroes of Venezuela’s independence, such as José Antonio Páez, have been replaced by guerrillas such as Ezequiel Zamora. The subjects on the curriculum for primary and secondary education have been changed to bring them into line with 21st century socialism. The desire to excel and healthy competition have been classified as ills of capitalism. There have even been attempts to confiscate the universities’ academic freedom and autonomy.

Now, when Venezuelans see, with pride, how a vigorous generation of university students is fighting to defend those confiscated principles, values, and rights, the government is bent on training future generations as “a people standing at arms.”

Last Thursday, March 24, a decree was published in Gaceta Oficial establishing the National Armed Force’s new Comprehensive Military Education Plan, which stipulates, among other things, that comprehensive defense education shall be the “integrating axis of the National Education System.”

Under this plan, outside the sphere of “military spaces,” Venezuelan children will be trained for war from the start of their formal education, in first grade, until completion of their university education, and that this will be compulsory.

Even more serious is the fact that the people who will be responsible for imparting this military training to children and adolescents will be members of the Bolivarian Militia, a paramilitary corps invented by the government that has no academic training, has been indoctrinated, and receives guidelines from the Presidency of the Republic, to which it is totally subservient.

This militia-style weapons training is an extremely grave matter, to say the least, and a total contradiction from a government that forbids the sale and used of war toys in the country and has decreed a law to control the broadcasting of radio and television programs with violent contents.

This is an historical act of folly and a malevolent plan, in particular because the revolution considers anyone who opposes or is critical of it is an enemy who must be annihilated; and because now, as Rocío San Miguel, the director of the ONG Control Ciudadano, says, there is confusion over the terms “citizen” and “combatant.” Now plans to involve (militarize and arm) the civil population allegedly in “defense of the Fatherland” are being added to this highly volatile mix.

It seems that morality and education are not a priority for Chávez’s revolution.

VenEconomy has been a leading provider of consultancy on financial, political and economic data in Venezuela since 1982.

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