Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Venezuela: Embassy in Spain defends Chávez from gay rumors

OK, I'm pretty sure that Mr. Luis Maria Ansón probably did mean to put Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez masculinity into question with his essay on Friday calling him gay but that doesn't mean that he was correct in doing so (I mean, masculinity is not necessarily a function of being gay or straight). Unfortunately Elba Martinez Vargas (right), the Venezuelan ambassador to Spain, seems to think that Chávez virility was indeed called into question and doesn't necessarily explain in which ways the Chávez government has been good to da' gays. But she does have a response to Ansón's ludicrous essay, as reprinted by Rebelión today.

Here is the translated text of her full letter to El Mundo:

Mr. Pedro J. Ramírez
Director, El Mundo

Mr. Director,
Last Friday, your newspaper published a wretched [opinion] note by Luis Maria Ansón, in which he identifies as a member of the Royal Spanish Academy. I read it feeling shame for others and noted the change in tactics in the already well-known vileness of the most backward of right-wing forces; now that they have exhausted all the lies and manipulations used to promote an image of President Chávez as a dictator, autocrat, populist, human rights violator and all those strings of dirty tricks with which they have failed, Mr Ansón now tries to break into the most intimate of spaces in the life of President Chávez, accusing him of being homosexual.

I will not turn this missive into a defense of Hugo Chávez’ virility, of the man I deeply respect and admire, what is of interest to me, as to the great majority of Venezuelans, is his condition as an honest and noble man, connected to his people, his stature as a statesman, his braveness, his moral high-ground. Ansón’s article has little mention of this man’s world-respected stature, especially in the badly called Third World, which is fighting to generate a democratization processes based on its own realities (Mr. Ansón and his ilk should once and for all abandon their attempts to dictate how we should build our democracies, those Western “models” have too many knots that we would not like to import). Hugo Chávez holds the banner in leading a process of change in the Venezuelan society, framed by a widely democratic proposition, with full participation, in which minorities are, for the first time ever, being visibly respected and their needs being met by the State.

I am going, then, to refer to the inclination of the note, which clearly illustrates Mr. Ansón’s condition, who on this occasion presents himself as a standard-bearer of the rights of homosexuals (I suppose that he lived a bitter life during the Franco years and during the democratic period in which their rights were not recognized). In said note, he makes reference to “respected homosexuals” who have spread the rumor. And so it is that once again, as the right has made us used to, the burden of proof is reversed and using a false argument, he asks that Chávez to declare if is true or not that he is homosexual – instead of being the others who contributed [declarations], in the supposed chance that they exist, proof [for their claims], as would be logical.

I imagine that Mr. Ansón, as a distinguished member of the Royal Spanish Academy, has not had to make a public declaration about his sexual condition, religion or any other condition. As a personality who is used to swimming through the waters of "organic democracies" I can assume that for a long time he had to repress his spirit as defender of the sexual minorities.

Nevertheless we still have doubts about Mr. Ansón’s intent with this article. If homosexuals are people who do not deserve to be discriminated, why should they be asked to openly declare their condition? And if they have to make it known, could it be that in the heart of it lies [plans] to create lists of “homosexuals” just in case new eras arrive? Why use the figure of President Chávez to “defend” the rights of this respected collective? Perhaps it’s because it’s the last list of damning issues (proscritos) elaborated by the right in which they had yet to involve him.

Knowing the trajectory Mr. Ansón the reader might be overcome by doubts about the defense of a minority such as homosexuals. I suppose at the heart of it, it’s one more way to try to tear down the image of an elected president who incorporates some ways of governing and of social development that are bothersome for the right. Much in spite of Mr. Ansón, there is a revolution taking place in Venezuela that cannot be stopped by even his most atrocious of lies.

Mr. Director, I hope that this letter will be published in your medium in clear fulfillment of the right to respond.

Elba Martinez Vargas

Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
before the kingdom of Spain
PREVIOUSLY: Is president Hugo Chávez - gulp! - gay?

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