In short the regime is holding a coup d’état except that instead of having tanks rolling down the avenues it is packing the courts and removing representatives recently elected through that packed court. Il suffisait d'y penser (1)
The regime had been remiss in packing the high court, TSJ, a chance it would have got a couple of months ago even though it was illegal as it was at the cost of forced early retirement for the judges whose term ended soon and would be replaced by the new assembly where the regime was sure it would not get the 2/3 and not even the 3/5. For reasons that we do not know the regime did not proceed and now that it lost the election it is going full speed at it even though it is breaking all of the legal parameters that the regime set itself. Now conveniently the TSJ just issued a ruling saying that Diosdado Cabello, the outgoing Assembly chair, can do all the legal violations he is doing.
Yet there is a problem with that attempt at securing for half a decade a unanimous support for the regime at the TSJ: it is so blatantly illegal that the new assembly after some struggle could manage to revoke the new judges. It still would not be able to get a political majority in the TSJ but the mere thought of a dissident opinion is enough to send shivers through the regime spine. Remember: nobody in Venezuela recalls the last time the regime lost a case in court, and nobody has a notion that there could just be such a thing as dissenting court opinion.
Add to this that the recent arrests in Houston and Miami are promising yet more corruption revelations of such a magnitude that, well, time si running short for those who allowed it to happen here. And we can also add that the negotiations between Cuba and the US are at a standstill due to the complex electoral system of the US that makes the year before a presidential year a lost one where no controversial measures can be taken. It is likely that Raul has decided that power has to be retained at all cost so that he keeps getting his monthly allowance (2).
So the regime has decided to go in full coup mode. Today, even though the TSJ is on legal and formal holiday vacation, it reopened for a few minutes to allow the regime to send a writ to suspend at least 22 of the representatives of the opposition elected on December 6.
This is totally illegal for so many reasons... To begin with, the recourse must be set first with the CNE, electoral board, who has to judge on the merits before it goes to the TSJ. The regime is claiming nakedly electoral fraud even though its control over the electoral system is total and the elections unfair conditions toward the opposition have been widely discussed overseas. What the regime is doing is accusing the opposition of a electoral fraud that it simply has no means to do, even if it wanted to do so; and thus the regime gets a sentence in its favor before the parties get their day in court. Etc., etc...
What the regime wants immediately? If the new assembly finally gathers on January 5 (which is yet to be seen as the Parliament seat is actually occupied by an assembly of the appointed "poder comunal" which the regime is toying with the idea of it replacing the elected assembly) it would be incomplete. Having less than a 2/3 majority the regime could even block its working by walking out and forfeiting the minimum attendance required to vote laws. Also, the opposition worried on regaining its 22 seats will not have time to investigate the Cabellos and Rincon and Ramirez of the regime. And while all of this takes place the regime can come up with more provocations making reactions to such acts an excuse to disband outright the elected assembly.
And more, but this is long enough as it is.
I think that at this point the opposition should come out explicitly announcing that it will go to the OAS and Mercosur to denounce a constitutional violation and annulment of a legitimate power, duly elected though supervision of the enemy.
This is a coup, we must call it so, in the hope (vain?) that the regime will back down from a provocation that will descend the country into chaos and will speed up the bitter end of those who seek protection though that coup. Indictments are coming in the US (and elsewhere), so the best that Cabello and his corrupt narco cohorts can hope for is to transform Venezuela into a jail from which they cannot go out. Then again they are pranes so they may be OK with it. (3)
We just learned that the TSJ said it has not received any writ for cancelling the election of the 22 opposition representatives? What the f....?
Now, the curious thing is that this late the TSJ decided to reply, to say no, and to accuse the 2.0 of creating destabilizing rumors. That is, if there is no writ the TSJ could have well waited tomorrow morning, or not replied at all, or elliptically state that they were close for business until January 11 so they could not possibly have any answer. But no, they replied and took the opportunity to lance barbs at the opposition.
The reaction may have been fast enough to the point that a few phone calls made through at Maduro's office and the order was stopped (for the time being?).
Or it is a reflection of the internecine warfare of chavismo as such a measure is bound to affect one side more than the other. The side not controlling that event put a stop to it.
Or it could be the military repeating that there is nothing to be done until January 5, that the regime needs to wait for a offense from the opposition before retaliating, and no offense can be done until January 5).
Heck, it could even be someone at the CNE with half a brain that told them that they should let the CNE rule on that first, that they will oblige gladly but that they should have the first go to make the thing look like a valid judicial trap.
Or simply it was a mere trial to test the opposition readiness for bigger things planned.
Or a distracting tactic so people talk about that instead fo the 12 justices that will be illegally replaced.
Or a combination, or something else totally.
The only thing that is certain is that the regime is looking for ways, and looking, and looking et qui cherche trouve. (4)
1) One just had to think of it
2) Credit to Rafael Poleo of Zeta. Then again for me the case is that these people are probably not even thinking of Cuba now, just thinking as to how to save their butt. So the fortunes of Raul and Fidel are not that pressing for me right now.
3) Pran is a leader in the Venezuelan jail system. That is, a thug/mafiosi/gangster/whatever that directs his gang from inside the jail where he actually gets more protection than if he were outside the jail. Jails in Venezuela even have discos and swimming pool. You may not be able to go out (some do) but life inside is OK and through cel phones you can keep operating your racket.
4) Who seeks shall find