I grew up in a young democracy called
It has not happened, yet. Despite my dislike of President Hugo Chavez, I consider it irresponsible to equate him to one of those brutal dictators that flourished in the seventies in
Recently, the Venezuelan National Assembly increased the number of Supreme Court Judges and nominated them using a single majority instead of the usual 2/3 of the vote, despite the protest of the opposition that constitutes a very large minority in the Assembly. We all knew that that was a dangerous move towards totalitarism and even international organizations like Human Rights Watch voiced their concern.
Today, after reading the declarations of the newly elected Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Omar Mora Diaz, I realized that what we feared has become a reality. This judge, of which writer Manuel Caballero exposed the “excellent credentials” (see also The Devil’s citation), was elected almost unanimously, with 30 votes, by the newly designated Court. This, per se, is a bad sign. It indicates vote collusion rather than independence of spirit.
The new Chief declared in the press conference that he agreed with the view of revising the Supreme Court sentence that stated that what happened on
He also gave opinions about the judges that were responsible for liberating the military personnel involved in the events of
Justice Mora made another surprising announcement. He confirmed that from now on the directive of the Supreme Court will have regular meetings with the Parliament, representatives of the Citizens’ Power, the Minister of the Interior as well as the Minister of Justice and the president Hugo Chavez. Therefore, that cherished independence of powers that is so important in modern democracies and that I learned by heart when I was growing up in young democratic
Some readers may argue that this is not “yet” the end of democracy. To them, I would answer that Chavez has been strategically placing his pieces for six years and, after this latest move, we are rapidly closing the gap towards a full bloom totalitarian regime.