HAVANA TIMES — By order of the new president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Henry Ramos, numerous posters and large pictures of the late president Hugo Chavez were ordered removed today from the legislature, reported dpa news.
The action, packed with symbolism, received an angry reply from the governing party minority in the Assembly, which defends the memory of Chavez. Ramos ordered the workers to remove all such posters from the Assembly building.
“Take them to Sabaneta (the hometown of Chavez),” said Ramos. “He who wants to light candles for Chavez can do that in Sabaneta. Take the images to his daughters and widows. This place is no cemetery,” he noted.
The legislative leader urged workers to either take the posters to the Miraflores presidential palace or simply throw them out.
“I do not want to see [images] of Chavez or Maduro here. Take away all that shit to Miraflores or put it in the trash,” he said.
The posters went out one by one from the federal building and walked past dozens of government supporters who gathered around the Assembly.
The issue was brought to discussion at the first session of the new Assembly, after its installation on Tuesday with an opposition majority. The pro-Maduro minority protested the decision, taking it as an “insult” to Chavez supporters.
Government deputy Victor Clark demanded respect for freedom of thought and expression of those who admire Chavez, who died in March 2013.
“Hugo Chavez is not a picture, nor furniture; he is a political subject and he is represented here by a bloc of 54 parliamentarians.” Clark told the opposition: “You will never be able to disappear a man in modern history.”
Clark called Ramos’s decision an act of “disrespect and intolerance” taking down photographs of Chavez as well as images of independence hero Simon Bolivar modified by the government after his bones were exhumed in the national pantheon.
“We alert and denounce the climate of disrespect and intolerance they intend to install in the National Assembly. They are disregarding the political identity not only of a bloc of legislators, but a project and a political and democratic expression, which is active and is in the people, “he said.
The new opposition majority in the Assembly came riding in on the slogan of “political change” and one of the first announcements was that Ramos would promote a plan to oust President Maduro, Chavez successor, in six months, by a mechanism that is “constitutional, peaceful and electoral.”