Cartoon in bad taste

Updated 07 August 2017
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Cartoon in bad taste

I wish to use my “right of reply” to complain about the unfortunate caricature that appeared on Aug. 5, 2017, in your well-known newspaper. The cartoon represents President Nicolas Maduro sitting on a military tank and a hand coming out of the tank’s cannon writing on a book titled “New Constitution.” Such a caricature is offensive to my country.
What the caricature seems to imply is that President Maduro wants to rewrite a new constitution with the power of arms. This is totally false. It is immoral to give your readers such a forged image of Venezuela and its constitutionally- and democratically-elected government.
The revision of our constitution, which is among the best in the world, is mainly to reinforce it and make it more adaptable to the new times. It is not an imposition of our president; it has been backed by more than 8 million Venezuelans and has the objective of re-establishing the peace process that has been trampled by a violent opposition backed by interested foreign countries that pretend to give orders to our sovereign populace.
I fail to understand why some international media report fake news about my country, with the purpose of undermining our sovereignty, and the people of Venezuela’s absolute right to decide, in a free and independent manner, how it wants to conduct its internal affairs.
I invite your newspaper to inform about our country with the truth and the same respect that we, in Venezuela, treat to our brothers of Saudi Arabia.

Joseba Achutegui
Ambassador of Venezuela
Riyadh
Saudi Arabia


Syrian civil war

Updated 18 April 2017
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Syrian civil war

Since it broke out six years ago, the disastrous war in Syria has claimed about 400,000 lives, with the victims being more civilians than fighters. Of the civilians, the most affected are women and children. Peace is shattered in and around Syria only to safeguard the most selfish monster in the world: Bashar Assad.
According to a UNICEF report, grave violations against Syrian children during the war have been recorded. The children in Syria are not only maimed and killed as a result of bombings but also forcefully recruited to be part of the conflict. Children as young as 7 years old are pushed into the front line as fighters, suicide bombers and executioners! The actual figures of those injured, dead and forcefully-recruited children are far higher than in the UNICEF report.
The innocent children “used” in the conflict have had the right to blossom, the right to enjoy life and the right to be on a play-ground torn from them. They have been deprived of the right to education and, according to UNICEF, nearly two million children have been forced to stop their education with one-third of school buildings rendered inoperative due to destruction.
With their often physically crippled parents, the children have to be the sole bread-winners in nearly 75 percent of Syrian households. Unwillingly, the children are forced to serve as garbage collectors, hairdressers and cleaners. Keeping aside what Assad gets out of this war, the beneficiaries of the war are weapon manufacturers who may well be dubbed parasites living on the blood of innocents.
Assad, the inhuman butcher of humanity, does not care what the world says, opines, suggests and warns about the catastrophic war in Syria. More than the ruinous acts of Assad, Russia and Iran, it shocks, grieves and pains to see that the world and the Muslim world has done nothing to stop the butcher of this century from his brutal and barbaric destruction of his own nation and his own people.