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Ron controlled a once-powerful network of violent, government-funded, government-armed “Bolivarian Circles,” similar to Cuba’s Committees for the Defense of the Revolution. In order to identify citizens worthy of governmental persecution, the neighborhood-based militias reported on Venezuelans deemed to lack the requisite enthusiasm for Marxism. In true Sturmabteilung fashion, these groups also broke up opposition meetings by force.
Such groups are useful to Chavez because they “do the government’s dirty work without having formal ties,” according to Luis Christiansen of the Venezuelan polling firm Consultores 21. “They use violence to spread fear and intimidate. The government needs these types of activities from time to time but doesn’t want to have responsibility.”
Ron was perfectly happy to play the role of freelance revolutionary enforcer but she sometimes went so far that even her desperado of a boss could get a tad squeamish.
Drunk on her own power, Ron –whose surname happens to be the Spanish word for rum— led a reportedly unauthorized 2009 gas bomb attack on Globovision, an opposition TV station detested by the regime. Sounding like a less eloquent version of President Barack Obama discussing Fox News, Chavez had said Globovision “poisons the mind.” The channel’s sin was daring to show the civil unrest produced by his socialist policies.
But because Chavez didn’t think this particular attack was strategically sound, Ron was jailed briefly. Chavez gently scolded his biggest fan, calling her “a good woman, but she tends toward anarchy.”
Ron could be excused for jumping the gun because the regime had been bashing Globovision for some time.
It was no coincidence that before the assault, government officials had blasted Globovision for generating “panic and anxiety” by covering an earthquake and criticizing rescue authorities for their bureaucratic dawdling.
El Presidente himself had called television executives “white-collar terrorists” and threatened the media. Sounding like a more articulate version of George Soros discussing Fox News, Chavez told the fourth estate, “You are playing with fire, manipulating, inciting hatred and much more.”
Ron’s raid could easily be attributed to gangster miscommunication.
Ron, who is surely now surrounded by the smell of sulfur, also led a group that forcibly occupied the Caracas offices of the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See. The reason why the papal legate’s workplace was invaded? Because someone in the Roman Catholic Church apparently said something critical of the regime.
In another moment of honest self-reflection, Ron embraced her inner harpy. “If I’m a monster, then it’s because I believe firmly that the poor should have the same rights as everyone else.”
Ron was indeed a monster, but that’s not why.
Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative reporter. Vadum’s book, Subversion Inc., on ACORN and its infiltration of the Obama administration, will be published in mid-2011.
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