Venezuelan government bans all protests starting Friday (also, where is Sean Penn?)

John Sexton Posted at 7:21 pm on July 27, 2017

Human rights, like food and medicine, are growing scarce in Venezuela. With a vote scheduled Sunday to move forward on socialist President Maduro’s plan to rewrite the country’s constitution, the government has announced that as of Friday all protests are banned. From CNN:

“It is prohibited throughout all national territory, all public meetings and demonstrations, gatherings and other similar acts that might disturb the electoral process,” the country’s interior and justice minister, Néstor Reverol, announced on state-run VTV.

Sunday’s election — called for by the government of President Nicolas Maduro — is for a special assembly that would have powers to rewrite the South American country’s 1999 constitution and dissolve state institutions.

“Those who organize, support, or instigate activities that disturb the holding and functioning of the electoral process … will be sentenced to prison for 5 to 10 years,” Reverol, said.

In other news, a former Venezuelan diplomat tells Christiane Amanpour that the vote Sunday could be the start of a civil war:

What’s frustrating about this slow-motion disaster is that all of it was fairly predictable. The writing was on the wall years ago when former President Hugo Chavez embarked on a socialist campaign of spreading the wealth, expropriating private businesses, and turning the nation’s one golden egg (it’s oil supply) over to his political cronies. And yet, the usual suspects, an assembly of far-left useful idiots like Michael Moore, Oliver Stone and most especially Sean Penn kept assuring everyone the revolution was a wonderful development for the world.

Not surprisingly, now that the nation has become a hell-hole of violence, starvation and a lack of human rights, the Hollywood chorus of imbeciles is nowhere to be seen. Shouldn’t someone who invested so heavily in promoting the revolution be expected to ride it down to the bitter end or, at a minimum, express some contrition about the outcome? Even David Letterman thought Penn was going out on a limb with his support for Chavez and his cult of personality:

What is Penn doing these days that keeps him too busy to comment on the situation in Venezuela? He’s just finished a movie about aid workers in love featuring his real life former love interest Charlize Theron. A.V. Club reports this movie is so awful from start to finish that the audience at Cannes started laughing at it right away.

He wants to call attention to the plight of innocent victims in war-torn African nations (Wren delivers a climactic speech to this effect, scolding the West for its apathy), and he also wants to honor the foreigners who put their lives at risk to help those victims. Somehow, though, it never occurred to him that foregrounding an on/off love story between two gorgeous movie stars—while a sound strategy to sell more tickets—inevitably trivializes the carnage that surrounds them. This is a film in which anonymous black bodies, riddled with bullets and shrapnel, function merely as obstacles in the path of white people’s personal fulfillment. It’s embarrassing to watch…

A leading man who treats human misery as a poignant counterpoint to his troubled love life? I think I have an idea why this story appealed to Sean Penn.

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