Photo: Hugo Chávez
First Cuban President Raúl Castro announced the pardon of more than 2900 prisoners; now Hugo Chávez has followed suit and freed 141 inmates.
Raúl Castro said the upcoming visit by Pope Benedict XVI inspired the mass amnesty in Cuba; among the prisoners that will be freed in the coming days, there are 86 foreigners from 25 countries, Castro said.
Monkey see, monkey do and so Chávez announced amnesty for a group of 100 men and 44 women inmates in Venezuela, but failed to grant a Christmas pardon to former Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni, who was jailed after she released Eligio Cedeño, a banker with ties to the opposition from prison.
Judge Afiuni, a single mother and cancer patient, was imprisoned in Los Teques female prison in the Venezuelan capital, and then placed under house arrest in February, following repeated death threats against her.
Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but in this case, Chávez is demonstrating that he is fully in control of his government while attempting to convince voters that he has a heart. The Venezuelan leader’s return to his usual preposterous and flamboyant self in the last couple of weeks is evidently a campaign ploy, intended to be a message to the Venezuelan people, that indeed he has defeated cancer and is ready to govern until 2021.