The Challenge

 We’ll be heading Down The Rabbit Hole shortly for the start of “The Supremes” shortly but first let’s get caught up. To those of us that have followed this for a while this isn’t new but it still made the headlines. Juan Guaido,recognized by the US, EU, etc. (you know, the reputable countries) as the legitimate president of Venezuela, has thrown down the gauntlet to president (dictator) Nicolas Maduro. He has challenged him to step down and he will do so as well. Then Venezuela can decide through free,fair, and impartially internationally monitored elections who should be president. He has done this before and it’s really the whole point of the talks in Mexico. “He and I both step down”…. Since there is nothing to gain for Maduro, except for a prosperous future for the Venezuelan people, it won’t happen, just like the last time he threw down a similar challenge, but it does garner some attention.

 With all the flooding in the last week or two, and don’t forget the big quake, there are some new issues down in Socialist Paradise. This one is just an aggravation of a continuing problem. As if the lack of available fresh water wasn’t already enough of a problem, two water purification plants in Yaracuy,Venezuela have gone down. To put a positive spin on it, at least if they went down they had to be in operation in the first place. For Chavismo that’s an accomplishment. No word on when they’ll be back in operation though.

 The CDJ reports 140 attacks and security incidents against NGOs and journalists in July. In other places that would be big news but in the land of Chavismo such repression is par for the course. It’s funny what you can get accustomed to. The international community doesn’t even pay attention anymore.

 In a related matter the OVCS reports that 22 protests a day were recorded in July. Again, another “Ho Hum”, just more people complaining about starvation and death at the hands of the Chavistas. Nothing to see here.

 From Forbes we have this, “Energy Opportunities Will Abound In Venezuela If Leadership Ever Changes.” Maduro can talk about reforms and make overtures to international investors all day every day but as we saw from Fedecamaras (business chamber) last week, without trust you have nothing and nobody trusts these guys. Without free and fair elections nothing is possible.

 And speaking of elections,you remember how we have discussed the changes at the CNE (electoral council) as being purely cosmetic? We knew that the previous 5-0 Chavista make up of the council wouldn’t effectively change even with the new 3-2 Chavista/opposition make up and sure enough they didn’t disappoint. Although they were promoting themselves as the new and improved “more inclusive” CNE, when they actually had to make a substantive ruling on the upcoming parliamentary elections they said that while previously barred parties would be allowed to participate previously barred candidates would not. As we would say… “So, it was all just BS.” Not to be outdone, PSUV (the Chavistas) has imposed candidates in five states disregarding the results of primary elections. When elections don’t go their way they just disallow the results and put their preferred candidate in there anyway. Just more “It is what we tell you it is” from Chavismo.

 It must be getting harder and harder for the military and the various police forces to make enough money through their usual corruption mechanisms. PNB (National Police) robbed an armored truck of $70,000 last week.

 For more happy talk/variety show stuff we have this from”czar Nicolas”. “We managed to move from an oil economy to a more diverse economy.” What he didn’t say was the “diversity” was due to the collapse of 90% of the oil production capacity.

 Oh, and regarding the new OVCS numbers it’s worth noting that although these daily protests lack the intensity of those in 2014 and 2017 they’re still out there. Just saying….

 And what about Maduro’s new Education Minister? What are the bona fides that lead to this prestigious position? Well, as governor of Monagas public education dropped 50% across the board including students,teachers, and administrative personnel. With such an historic lack of accomplishment the only thing that qualifies for is President of the US. (Joe Biden accomplished nothing in five decades in Washington,DC and it got him the presidency)

 And Down The Rabbit Hole we go …..

 Chapter 12/ The Supremes

 The basic structure of Venezuela’s government was set up by The Great Liberator, Simon Bolivar, to resemble, to a degree, that of the United States Of America.What we see in Venezuela today resembles the government of the USA in name only ie; Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches, each independent of the other.We already know that the Executive branch no longer has presidential powers, it’s a dictatorship. We just discussed the lunacy of the Legislative branch, a legitimate assembly that can’t pass laws and an illegitimate one that does. That leaves us with the Judicial branch, Venezuela’s Supreme Court, or TSJ.

 I hardly know where to begin, it’s so crazy, but I’ll give it a shot. Venezuela’s TSJ sees a lot more cases than the US Supreme Court. I don’t know what it was like back in the day but in recent times the court reviews thousands of petitions/cases a year so just based on the math it can’t take too long to reach a decision (unless it’s contrary to the Chavista’s wishes in which case it may never be heard).

 The TSJ gives new meaning to the term “Judicial Activism”. It’s worth noting that compared to the Maduro years the Chavez years were relatively tame but this is by comparison only. First things first, Chavez changed the name of the court from “The Supreme Court” to “The Supreme Tribunal Of Justice.” It’s a small thing but rebranding is generally a sign of changes to come.Under Chavez the Chavista controlled National Assembly added 9 permanent judges to the court and 32 stand-ins in 2010. Overall, during Chavez’s term 12 judges were added to the TSJ increasing the total number of judges from 20 to 32.Needless to say all added judges and all replaced judges were pro-Chavista and their primary focus was always directly tied to Chavez’s wishes dismissing everything else.A good example of this “protectionism” was in 2008 when the OAS (Organization of American States) court (Venezuela was still a member of the OAS at the time) ordered a judge reinstated stemming from an appealed firing in 2003. It simply never happened.

 To be continued…….

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