It's Who They Are

 We’ll go Down The Rabbit Hole in just a bit but first…Sanctions reports that in 2021 the European Court of Justice held that Venezuela had standing to challenge the EU’s  (European Union) Venezuela sanctions regime. The Grand Chamber of the EU General Court has rejected that challenge.

 The article went into detail on the key points of the judgement but the easiest way to understand it is to look at the terms used in describing the Maduro regime : deterioration of democracy, the rule of law, and Human Rights…violence, excessive use of force…brutal repression…non-performance of international obligations…What more do you need to know? It’s who they are!

 It’s quite a contrast to all those countries seeking to “normalize relations” with Venezuela and much of the international media buying into Chavista propaganda and supporters of the Maduro regime categorizing the Chavista’s Human Rights violations and possible crimes against humanity as “a narrative”.

 Outside the courtroom they deal in spin and PR. Inside the courtroom they deal in facts, those being that Maduro and the Chavistas are criminals, which will be proven by the investigation by the ICC (International Criminal Court) and the suit filed by the Clooney Foundation in Argentina calling out the Maduro regime for crimes against humanity, and they all deserve to be in jail.

 Only then will the suffering be over for the Venezuelan people and they will be free and Chavismo and 21st Century Bolivarian Socialism will be relegated to the ash heap of history.

 Then we have CPJ reporting that Venezuela authorities have detained environmental journalist, Luis Alejandro Acosta, and charged him with promoting and inciting illegal mining, being in a protected area, and abetting criminal acts while he was reporting on illegal gold mining in the remote Yapacana National Park in southern Venezuela.

 Venezuela troops have been accused of abuses and corruption in their crackdown on illegal miners and that “for the military, it would be very uncomfortable to have someone like Acosta reporting on what they do”, according to Caracas-based free speech organization Espacio Publico.

 Then we have Offshore Technology reporting that Shell has approved development of the Manatee gas field located offshore of Trinidad & Tobago. It is awaiting approval by Environmental Management Authority before making it’s final decision.

 Like the Dragon Field project (another natural gas project involving Shell, Trinidad & Tobago, and Venezuela), a good portion of the Manatee Field is in Venezuelan territory so until Venezuela’s demands are made clear (usually Venezuela’s demands are what stops deals from going forward) and the sanctions issue is addressed don’t expect anything to happen.

 Now, let’s head Down The Rabbit Hole…

 Chapter 11/ continued…

 …Without the missing MPs the opposition had an imposing majority in the National Assembly but fell short by a seat or two of the 2/3 number of seats requirement for a super-majority and it’s associated powers. They couldn’t unilaterally oust TSJ judges nor Maduro through a recall election. When the new assembly took office the next month things would get contentious.

 The action began just before the new assembly was slated to be sworn in. The out-going MPs, in a preemptive strike at the last minute, replaced 13 judges on the TSJ that they (Maduro) considered were not sufficiently pro-Chavista, even though they always ruled pro-Chavista. The good old days of Chavismo being in total control of the three main branches of government were coming to an end, at least temporarily. Maduro also issued some last minute decrees utilizing emergency powers granted him by the out-going National Assembly, perhaps fearing resistance from the new assembly. (Maduro would continue to rule by decree but lacking authorization from the National Assembly he granted himself emergency powers and it was ratified by his TSJ)

 The games really kicked into high gear when the new assembly took office. They refused to acknowledge the ruling by the TSJ and swore in the four disputed members anyway. The minority party, PSUV (the Chavistas), protested and a protracted back and forth began. The TSJ ruled that any laws passed by an assembly containing dispute membership would be annulled, and so on, and so on. This continued for the next year or so meanwhile conditions continued to worsen for the Venezuelan people. Then the TSJ went too far, which for Venezuela is saying something.

 In 2017 the TSJ announced that the National Assembly would be stripped of it’s powers and they would be assumed by the TSJ. Although this was a blatant violation of the constitution, Maduro and the Chavistas violated the constitution constantly so it’s hard to figure out why everyone went crazy but they did. Maduro didn’t want any competition for his rule by decree due to emergency powers (remember, he granted them to himself). Like so many things in Venezuela, it was a combination of the classic Laurel and Hardy routine “Who’s on first” with a little Marx Brothers thrown in.

 With nobody, Maduro included, in favor of the TSJ being the most powerful entity in the country (this may be the only time Maduro sided with the international community), the TSJ quickly reversed itself, “Just kidding folks”, but it was too late. The people were fed up with the whole situation. The various factions vying for power while the Venezuelan people were dying by greater numbers every day for a variety of reasons all related to inept governance or lack of governance. They took to the streets…again. It was all the same issues as the “Guarimba” of 2014, hunger at the forefront, with a lack of medicine, healthcare, and pretty much everything else right behind.

 The demonstrations went on for months at full strength and lingered after that. Maduro must have figure that the 40 protesters killed in 2014 didn’t get his point across so he upped his repression game this time. 165 protesters were killed, 1,958 wounded, and over 5,000 detained. As usual, Maduro blamed all Venezuela’s problems on the “economic war” being waged on “The Revolution” by the USA, Colombia, far-right oligarchs, etc. He also blamed the same crowd for the violence associated with the protests and even the protests themselves. Certainly it was inconceivable that the Venezuelan people weren’t happy.

 More tomorrow….

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