Venezuelan institutional chaos? Venezuela loss of morality?
Tuesday 16, March 2004
The readers of this blog by now must have a pretty good idea of the answers to the questions in the title. And today's even give pretty good examples on how low institutions have fallen, or are about to fall. Since It has been a busy day for me, I will only give you now a few links and comments and try to write an explanation summary at home tonight.
Now, not really in chronological order.
The Electoral Board, CNE, speaks in two voices. The two directors that more regularly speak to the press were out today. The chavista Rodriguez, with a rather puffed face (medication? bad night?) came out saying "innocently" that he was no lawyer but that surely the ruling of yesterday could be appealed. And the CNE would do so. Later on the opposition representative (they should all be impartial but that has been lost long time ago), Zamora, particularly gaunt, came out to state that the ruling could not be appealed. He also took the opportunity to say that Rodriguez has "not stated the truth" about some of his declarations towards himself. They have a board meeting this afternoon. Would be nice to be the fly on the wall.
From El Universal in English this snippet:
Vice President José Vicente Rangel said Tuesday that the sentence of the Electoral Chamber of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) validating the objected signatures that support a presidential recall was typical of a "mafia."
"Electoral matters only have to do with the National Electoral Council and the Constitutional Chamber of the TSJ," Rangel said. "It is like Don Corleone making justice."
He added that the sentence is "basically immoral," and compared it to that of August 14, 2002, when the April 11, 2002 coup leaders were declared innocent, he added.
Asked about the recent declarations of organizations such as Human Rights Watch and the Inter-American Press Society about the violations of human rights in Venezuela, he said those statements are "bureaucratic and have a price."
Rangel, the vice president has sunk so low that now in any of his declarations he doesnoto care about what he says. It has become a propaganda war and he knows it (you can read my series on El Petarazo to have examples on how the man operates). Of course one could ask him why is there anelectorall Court if all eelctroral matters should go to the Constitutional court or the CNE? But we know the answer: matters of importance only go to the courts that are on the government side.
But theoppositionn was not staying put. Previewing a windfall of law suits, it already asked three justices of the Constitutional court to inhibit themselves from ruling on these matters as they have shown their partiality. In the Venezuelan system judges and assembly men have a "second" that steps in when the principal cannot be there, a clever ploy to increase bureaucracy. As chavismo is also inhibiting whomever they can. I wonder if there is going to be ANY judge left to hear the cases...
And at a press conference the opposition spokes people had a hard face and the sternest tone. Harder and harsher than usual, appropriate for the crucial hours that we are living.
Very "helpfully" chavismo had its own rally in front of the High Court. If the rally was not too well attended, it was full ofincendiaryy words, with an assemblyman, Dario Vivas, accusing the judges to have accepted bribes. As usual no proofs whatsoever were offered. I suppose that since they are buying whomever they need to buy they assume that the other side operates the same way. Cada ladrón juzga por su condición we say in Venezuela, "Thieves judge people according the their own values".
Finally the third justice in the Electoral Court criticized vehemently his colleagues. Apparently he was at work but they claim he was not, which would explain why he was not there and why they used his substitute. Maybe be true, but if he was not so busy talking and plotting with Chavez agents he might have caught on. However the story does not say whether he put an official complaint. Talk is cheap in chavismo.
PS: an English summary of yesterday's ruling and events is here.