The Slammer

 Before we head back Down The Rabbit Hole here are a couple of items that caught my eye. The UK Government put out a little thing they call the Venezuela Prison Pack. It deals with how to handle a situation with the Venezuelan incarceration system. The British do still have an embassy there,perhaps because the Venezuelans still harbor a fondness stemming back to the Bolivar days when some Brits fought alongside The Great Liberator.The opener is something that we,in the civilized world, are simply not accustomed to if a family member is thrown into the slammer. “In Venezuela notification to the consulate can take an indefinite number of days”. What, no habeas corpus? In reality it can take days just to find out where someone is being detained let alone communicate with them or get a lawyer in there.

 The communique had a long list of ‘do’s and dont’s but the highlights regarding visitation are, “culture shock”, “frightening experience”, and “distressing experience”. In a bit of pure fiction they tell you that if arrested in Venezuela you should be taken to court and formally charged within 24 hours. Who are they kidding? Remember that story from a couple of days ago. Matthew Heath had secondary reports issued by the arresting officers days later and after almost a year in custody still hadn’t been officially charged and then was informed that due to missteps by prosecutors they would have to restart the process?

 How about this…newer prisons have food, older ones no food. They are overcrowded and hygiene is typically poor due to lack of fresh water and frequent power outages. Then they went on to list all the rights you have as an incarcerated person in Venezuela, none of which are observed. The reality is that they will do as they please, you can ease things a bit through bribes, and if you’re deemed a possible bargaining chip to the regime you will be held indefinitely and may never be officially charged.

 CGTN  informs us that the cost of private universities in Venezuela has octupled in the last two years. Public university is free but I’m not sure if they have any professors still around. Most of them are washing dishes in other countries.

 The next one caught me off guard only because I didn’t know there were still any international partners left in the oil business in Venezuela. Offshore Technology reports that Inpex (Japan) has divested it’s  oil and gas assets in Venezuela to Sucre Energy, a local company. I guess now we wait for the Chavista spin about how “Sucre is sole proprietor” in whatever project they were involved in.

 We haven’t covered much Coronavirus news recently so here’s a little something for you. Nature reports Venezuela’s Covid numbers are way off. A good example is Medicos Unidos Venezuela some weeks reports higher deaths in the healthcare sector than the Venezuela government reports for the entire  country. Epidemiologists say drastically lower numbers signal inaccuracy. For example, the number of deaths per million in other South American countries is about 2,700 while Venezuela heralds their 100 rate.

 And in vaccine news we have another comforting announcement from Chavismo. VP Delcy Rodriguez tells us that vaccinations in September should be around 300,000 doses per day. She doesn’t say that to date there have been no numbers even close to that and doesn’t tell us how they will accomplish this. Maybe they’ll utilize the latest shipment of Russian Sputnik V vaccines they just announced have arrived. It was confirmed via Twitter, then deleted. Now the Health Ministry tells us they have no information.

 Enough already…let’s go Down The Rabbit Hole for a little more “The Supremes”…

 …In 2007, in his capacity as Foreign Minister, Maduro gave Moreno diplomatic posts in Italy followed by Trinidad and Tobago. Moreno also spent a lot of time in the Dominican Republic and Miami. When Chavez died in 2013 Maduro called Moreno back to Venezuela and nominated him to serve on the TSJ (remember, Chavez had the convicted murderer Moreno investigated and defrocked). Two years later Maduro named him President of TSJ. Chavez’s 1999 constitution states that the President of TSJ “is to be of good repute”. This must be one of those “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” things.”Good repute” must be in the eye of the Marxist former bus driver. In the two years leading up to his appointment as TSJ President Moreno established a reputation for ruling on cases rejected by both  attorneys and judges. It is also widely known he has ties to corrupt businessman Raul Gorin who is facing money laundering charges. Sounds like “Good Repute” to me.Regarding Maikel Moreno ,former judge Luis Velasquez said, “The greatest affront to the people is to put a criminal in charge of the justice system.”

 When the opposition swept to victory in the legislative elections of 2015 the appointment of Moreno to head the TSJ would become crucial to Maduro. He would lead and the other judges would follow. The pattern would be repeated time and time again.Maduro would issue a decree and the TSJ would ratify said decree as constitutional no matter how blatantly unconstitutional it might be, beginning with his decree powers themselves. His emergency powers were required by law to be renewed by the National Assembly .When the opposition took control of the assembly Maduro began renewing the emergency powers himself (even though,as previously stated, he denied there was a humanitarian emergency) and the TSJ ruled his decision constitutional.

 In 2015 the TSJ disallows the election results of four MPs taking away the opposition’s super majority.

 IN 2016 international organizations G-7, UNASUR, OAS, MERCOSUR, and even The Pope called for health related emergency aid to be admitted to Venezuela. The assembly passed it’s health emergency law and the aid was denied by Maduro citing sovereignty issues and, just as in 2019, said he was concerned with the quality of the food and medicine in the proposed aid. The TSJ upheld Maduro’s decision ruling that the assembly’s declaration infringed on executive powers.Maduro would allow aid from Cuba,Iran,and China but it was very limited as evidenced by the 85% shortage of medicine in 2016,2017,2018, and up to 90% in 2019.

 In 2016 a National Assembly commission declared 13 TSJ judges appointed by the outgoing Chavista MPs should be dismissed because procedure wasn’t followed according to the constitution and 3 more judges were unfit to serve. The TSJ ruled the declaration totally invalid due to the Assembly’s standing with the court and since they had no super majority. (Round and round we go)

 To be continued….

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