The Venezuelan Ambassador’s Dangerous Joke

Amid the shooting of protesters in Venezuela, Roy Chaderton's dark humor is inexcusable and dangerous
Amid the shooting of protesters, Roy Chaderton’s “dark humor” is inexcusable and dangerous. (El Columnero)

Español“Jews are without a doubt a race, but they are not human,” Adolf Hitler once remarked, before proceeding to implement systematic mass murder in Nazi Germany. It’s no secret how the Nazis sought to degrade Jewish people: in every speech, the Führer delivered a torrent of insults and slurs.

It’s much easier to kill someone after dehumanizing him, or at least convincing others that he’s not like the rest of us. Terrorist, dictators, mass murderers, and sociopaths all use the technique to justify their actions.

In this vein, Venezuelan ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) Roy Chaderton told Chavista TV mouthpiece Zurda Konducta last week that “bullets pass faster through opposition heads.”

Chaderton, not content to let his “joke” lie there, explained it further. The noise made when Venezuelan security forces shoot unarmed protesters in the head, he explained, “sounds hollow” because the opposition’s heads are so “empty.”

Chaderton has shown again just how sadistic he is. In Venezuela‘s current circumstances, these sort of statements by a high-ranking official are downright disturbing.

Chaderton is dehumanizing opposition sympathizers, just like the Nazis or how Valérie Bemeriki disparaged the Tutsi prior to their slaughter in Rwanda. His remarks are the first step towards legitimizing murders. More than disgusting, his statements are dangerous, encouraging security forces to shoot protesters without hesitation.

I wonder what must have been the reaction of Kluiverth Roa‘s mother, the teenage boy killed with a gunshot to the head by a police officer in February, alongside multiple other young students found dead after being arrested by police.

Perhaps even more deplorable is the lack of condemnation from any government official. Silence has reigned. Apparently it was just a minor slip of the tongue, deserving not even a verbal reprimand. The Bolivarian Revolution is apparently content to joke about killing its detractors.

Our OAS ambassador — no less — seemingly enjoys detailing the nuances of bullets going through civilian heads and how the life of an escuálida (the derogatory term he used to describe opposition supporters) is worth less than that of a Chavista.

His remarks incited hatred, justified slaughter, and dehumanized large sectors of the Venezuelan population. And all of this from our representative before the rest of the Americas.

Feeble Apology

On March 12, Chaderton offered a mealy mouthed apology in an interview with Gladys Rodríguez, claiming that his words were “taken out of context” and that his customary “black humor” could have lead to “a mistake.”

“I don’t have any problem, I present my apologies if I offended well-intentioned people.… But I insist that the substance of my commentary was the most important thing, which had the goal of alerting my countrymen from the opposition,” the ambassador said.

With that, Chaderton seems to think that the damage has been controlled and the true meaning behind his words concealed. But his attempt to dehumanize Venezuelans was not a “mistake,” and his justification of the killing of young people was no joke in bad taste.

Such comments are embarrassing and inexcusable for someone who represents Venezuela abroad, and are dangerous for those who call for greater freedom at home. If Chaderton wants to develop his career in sick comedy, he should do so off the public payroll and resign immediately.

Translated by Daniel Duarte.

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