Álvaro Vargas Llosa, author of Liberty for Latin America: How to Undo Five Hundred Years of State Oppression, co-author of the Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot, and steady critic of Hugo Chavez, was detained by Venezuelan authorities when arriving in Caracas
On the evening of May 25, Independent Institute Senior Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa was detained for questioning for almost three hours by Venezuelan authorities following his arrival at the Caracas International Airport.
Since the officers in charge of his custody forgot to take away his cell phone, he was able to answer a call from Globovisión, a Venezuelan television network opposed to Chavez´s regime, which broadcast the conversation live. Alvaro believes that call was key to his release since it rapidly spread the news of his detention through media outlets worldwide, placing pressure on the ruling dictatorship.
Alvaro traveled to Caracas to attend a forum on freedom and democracy organized by the Center for the Dissemination of Economic Knowledge (CEDICE), a Caracas-based free-market think tank. He is scheduled to speak at an event commemorating the organization’s 25th anniversary, along with other distinguished lecturers including Alex Chafuen, Manuel Ayau Cordón, Enrique Ghersi, Jorge Castañeda, Guy Sorman and his own father Mario Vargas Llosa.
In a radio interview, Alvaro told how without any explanations the police withheld his passport and took him to a room reserved for smugglers, where they interrogated him and among others things asked him to identify his “accomplices”. He also anticipated that his father Mario will surely undergo similar treatment when he arrives in Caracas on Wednesday.
Here’s Alvaro’s telephone conversation (in Spanish) with Globovisión, the TV station currently under attack by Chavez:
Anthony Gregory at the Independent Institute’s Blog has more.
Upon his release, Álvaro headed straight to Globovisión. Here is the interview, where he deplored the accelerated decline in Venezuelan democracy:
Today Álvaro’s father, eminent writer Mario Vargas Llosa, is expected to arrive in Caracas. He’s already let it be known that he won’t be holding back any criticisms of the regime.
I’ll be talking about this in today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern. Chat’s open at 10:45AM and all podcasts are archived for your listening convenience.
Via commenter Rodrigo, the official Venezuelan news agency didn’t take long to call both Vargas Llosas and Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza characters in the service of the empire. By “empire” they mean the US.
Perhaps Le Monde’s South American correspondent Jean-Pierre Langellier also is a “character in the service of the empire,” too?