|All for Evo's MAS|
In the socialism of the XXI century we have merely an updated version of a totalitarian communism of the XX century, adapted to an age of mass media where Gulags and massacres cannot be used as convenient ways to dispose of those who annoy you. The word has changed more than what you think the day that CNN was waiting for the marines ashore in Somalia over a decade ago. So Chavez and his 1998 advisers, then perfected by his 2003 Cuban ones, found a way to avoid the Gulag ritual: take over the judicial system. With a judicial system controlled for all practical purposes by the executive no law suit against the state may prosper and human rights can be easily trampled as no court will redress abuses. True, you cannot avoid all that unpleasantness of people protesting and the press plastering over all the regime's abuses, but they all remain words, just words, no real consequences for the regime except for an occasional momentary step back.
Of course, there is the problem of international courts where people eventually go and win, but the regime is busy working at a solution to this problem by getting ready to denounce all past treaties, to leave all international restraints behind and by creating new international organizations that will not only forget about human rights but might even favor such abuses.
The moment when Chavez did his successful coup was December 1999 when a country traumatized by the Vargas disaster did not pay attention when under the protection of the new constitution "transition period" Chavez appointed all the judges of the new high court. Everything that has happened then as to the regime's abuses and its power consolidation can be traced to that moment, when chavismo took over the judiciary to the point that today the head of the court is criticizing the notion of separation of power as an antique bourgeois concept. The scheme has been more or less applied to Nicaragua and Ecuador who now have a much more compliant judicial system that allows even constitutional changes by judicial fiat in Nicaragua.
There was still Bolivia. Since it is a multi ethnic country always on the verge of braking up, Evo Morales and his accomplices could not take over the judicial power just with the constituent assembly. Some concession had to be made to ensure that Evo would become president and control at least the legislative. But the judiciary had to be dealt with eventually.
A more convoluted system was chosen out of necessity and propaganda: judges would be elected, or rather, ratified by the people. In short, high court judges would be selected upon objective criteria by the national assembly with a 2/3 vote and then the people would pick among the selection the judges they did want. On paper it looks brilliant and democratic in an age of indignados that want to vote on everything; but in practice, in a very polarized country the result was that ALL the candidates submitted to vote were from the Evo Morales group.
Evo's party controls the 2/3 of the assembly even though he does not control 2/3 of the vote. And in their greed they could not even allow a few token opposition associated judges. You know, for the "dissent" voice that gives an aura of respectability to any judicial process. In an already weakening position, prodded by his Venezuelan advisers, as the arrogance of the Evo entourage kept increasing, they could not resit to try to get all the high court judges in Bolivia. All. No compromise, no appearance saving scheme. All. They even decided to forbid any campaigning, so as to have people vote directly out of party's instruction since it seems that people had a hard time to get access to the CV of the candidates.... So much for XXI century socialism democratic talent!
So the opposition did the only sensible thing left: vote null. It seems that they won the vote as the blank and null votes could reach 60% of the votes counted. True, they get stuck with the all but appointed pro Evo judges but they reach office discredited and Evo gets his first electoral defeat, losing his Chavez like aura of invincibility.
What is in store for the future of Bolivia this blogger cannot predict, but hard days are ahead for Evo now that his revolution moral ground died in a dusty road way a few weeks ago. And after the example at Geneva last week on how the world has caught on the Chavez scheme of justice control I suspect that Evo is going to start losing fast all the sympathy he had in many capitals as he will look more and more like just another power hungry creep. Even "Liberal" media in the US are noticing it tonight......
UPDATE: with the TSJ ruling in Caracas today you can understand even better why Evo wants a submissive judicial power.