What Rule Of Law?
We’ll head Down The Rabbit Hole in a minute but first we have this from Opinio Juris… Once again, we have an article telling us something we already know but it’s good to see somebody come right out and say it. “The rule of law has collapsed in Venezuela. Prosecutors and judges may interpret declarations of high-ranking political officials as effectively constituting instructions to proceed with prosecutions and/or convictions …Prosecutors or judges may consider that they will be subject to reprisals if they do not comply with such orders.”
Prosecutors and judges in Venezuela do not comply with Venezuela Criminal Procedure Code, The Venezuela Constitution, or international standards of prosecutorial and judicial independence.
The UNHRC-FFM (United Nations Human Rights Council – Fact Finding Mission) has documented numerous instances of the involvement of external political actors in criminal prosecution of real or perceived political opponents.
High-ranking executive authorities and legislators routinely release statements about cases even before indictments are issued and present “theories” about how individuals or civil society organizations have allegedly taken part in criminal acts especially involving terrorism and treason on social media, in press conferences, and before the parliament.
The Chief Prosecutor, Tarek William Saab, who is charged to act with independence, impartiality, and objectivity has labelled persons under investigation as “criminals” and defendants are commonly described as “aberrant, delinquents, or thieves”.
We’ve said many times of the Chavistas, “The law is what they say it is.” This attitude was exemplified early on when Nicolas Maduro took power and named convicted murderer, Maikel Moreno, as head of TSJ (Venezuela Supreme Court). What more do you need to know?
Then we have Law 360 reporting that six creditors of Venezuela, owed more than $2.7 billion, filed an emergency motion pressing the Third Circuit Court not to spend any more time considering whether to pause litigation to enforce the debt during an ongoing appeal saying their chances of being paid are slipping away.
Now, lets go Down The Rabbit Hole…
Chapter 11 continued…
…In the midst of all the upheaval and chaos combined with the confusion and lack of clarity over dialog on the part of the opposition Maduro saw opportunity. The nullification of the National Assembly by the TSJ (The assembly still existed but any laws passed by them would be ruled unconstitutional) wasn’t enough for Maduro. He called for the creation of a Constituent Assembly (referred to as the ANC). Snap elections were called and Maduro, the TSJ, and the CNE (Electoral Council) all confirmed the legitimacy of creating a parallel assembly despite the fact that, according to the Constitution, written by Hugo Chavez by the way, they were required to hold a popular referendum. Maduro was skipping that step proving once again that the TSJ would rule the Constitution was whatever Maduro said it was. The ANC would consist of representatives from all electoral districts and their primary purpose would be to rewrite the Constitution although they would be all powerful and could pass laws etc.
The opposition refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the election process for the ANC, as they should have, so the ANC was created almost exclusively of Chavistas. Now you had an assembly controlled by the opposition that was duly elected by the people but couldn’t pass laws (although they continued to do so). You also had a parallel assembly controlled by the Chavistas that was fraudulently created so, according to the Constitution, they were powerless but Maduro, the TSJ, and the CNE all recognized them as the legitimate law-making body for the country, and besides they were going to rewrite the Constitution anyway.
The ANC almost immediately passed an anti-hate law and created a Commission of Truth, Justice and Peace to investigate violations of said law. The law and the commission are about as believable as “The People’s Democratic Republic of…”. The United Nations never recognized the ANC and declared that the Commission of Truth, Justice, and Peace didn’t meet the basic requirements of transparency and impartiality to conduct investigations. Oh, did I mention that the election of ANC representatives was boycotted by 70% of the electorate?Oh yeah… and FYI…years after it was created nobody at the ANC ever talked about rewriting the Constitution which was the express purpose for which it was created.
Summary : While it is evident that Hugo Chavez had Venezuela’s democracy and economy headed for a cliff it was Nicolas Maduro who stepped on the gas and sent their democracy and economy hurtling into the abyss. Why is it that those who say they’re protecting “the people” and “democracy” show the most blatant disregard for both?
History is a series of conflicts and tipping points. If you want to find the tipping point for Venezuela’s transition from democracy to dictatorship you need look no further than the day the Chavistas had the key MPs for an opposition super-majority in the National Assembly disqualified. From that point on an emboldened Maduro, backed by the TSJ, demonstrated blatant disregard for the Constitution and the well-being of the Venezuelan people. There have been contributing factors here and there but that was the day democracy died in Venezuela.
That will do it for this week’s Venezuela : Down The Rabbit Hole segment. We’ll have more current news tomorrow….
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