The Spoilers

 We’ll get to our Down The Rabbit Hole segment in a sec but first…Reuters reports that Venezuela “spoiler candidates” pose a threat to the opposition in the November elections. To those of us familiar with the situation this is nothing new. A good example is Javier Bertucci. He’s billed as a member of the opposition. He ran against Maduro in the last highly fraudulent presidential election supposedly as an “opposition candidate” although the major opposition parties didn’t endorse him. He’s opposition only in the technical sense in that he ran opposing Maduro and this go ’round he’s running for governor. This election is rife with Bertucci clones. CNE (electoral council) has barred many real opposition candidates while in all 23 states there are at least two “shadow candidates” calling themselves opposition. The “Minority Opposition” (whatever that is) has nine gubernatorial candidates  with their party head being named by the TSJ (Supreme Court…you know…the one with the ‘Chief Justice’ being a convicted murderer).

 And in other less than transparent election news Vente Venezuela asked for the report from the EU exploratory mission two months ago regarding the possibility of deployment of an electoral mission in November. No response from the government.

 We also have Leopoldo Lopez meeting with the VP of the European Parliament saying that if European observers go to Venezuela without major guarantees and conditions it would signal that European standards have lowered. This election is going to be (already is) a mess.

 Remember last week we talked about Venezuelan universities having difficulty finding personnel to prepare classrooms,auditoriums, and toilets for the upcoming return to in person learning? Well, now we have The UCV’s  (Venezuela Central University) National Sindicate (union) telling us they won’t comply  with the proposed restart  due to no minimal infrastructure,biosafety, vaccination, transportation,social security, or salary conditions. In short, nothing is ready to go including (as previously discussed) getting paid.

 Let’s get Down The Rabbit Hole…

 …And so it began. It wasn’t a law enacted or anything like that. He just told the stations what to do and they did.Then,after a couple of years,came the law, The Law Of Social Responsibility in Radio and Television, called the “Resorte Law”.It contained a lot of vaguely worded, restrictive rules on incitement of breaches of public order. The first offense carried a 72 hour suspension and the second offense would cause the broadcaster’s license to be revoked.

 It also contained language regarding material considered to be an affront to the integral education of children or adolescents. Violators would be fined between 1/2 and 1% of their gross revenues. It also required the broadcasting of government educational,informative, and public safety material, to be monitored by the Directorate of Social Responsibility.

 The “Resorte Law” was amended in 2010 banning content “that could incite or promote hatred”… “foment citizen’s anxiety or alter public order”… “disrespect authorities” …”constitute war propaganda”. Now call me crazy but I don’t think the odds of getting any kind of stay,injunction, or appeal on a decision by the bureaucrats overseeing compliance to the law would be very good. That’s the great thing about vague wording. The law means whatever they want it to mean… and don’t forget those TSJ numbers…rulings favorable to the government – 40 something thousand …rulings contrary – zero!

 Before we move on I want to mention that between the enactment of the “Resorte Law” and the amendment of same Chavez,in 2006 had a law passed (he didn’t rule by decree, he simply told the National Assembly what he wanted done and they would pass whatever law would accomplish his wishes) barring insult or criticism of high officials.

 In 2013 the oppression of free speech (and oppression in general) snowball continued rolling downhill.Created by official decree (the president began ruling by decree due to the emergency in the country,yes that’s the same emergency they deny exists…you can’t make this stuff up) CESPPA , the Strategic Center for Security and Protection of the Fatherland, would be given broad powers that again were vaguely defined,following their recipe for rights abuse. “The law is what we say it is and our powers are what we say they are.”

 When 2014, the year of the Guarimba,rolled around we got a glimpse of what the future held in store for the Venezuelan people. Remember, these protests were primarily related to food and medicine shortages and occurred before even Obama’s initial sanctions in 2015. Maduro used the “Resorte Law” 103 times during this period. It was the first time I ever heard of someone being jailed for “fomenting economic chaos” when the manager of a pharmacy chain committed the unforgivable sin of not having enough cashiers to handle the long lines.

 To be continued….

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