So Chavez decided that his fear of Leopoldo Lopez was more than whatever international consequences he would face if he did not follow the ruling of the Inter American Court on Human Rights, IACHR. Today the Venezuelan high court, TSJ, decided to ignore the IACHR ruling on the same grounds that it used a few moths ago at San Jose, grounds that were deemed not acceptable by the IACHR.
For those late in the game the IACHR ruled, in a proceeding that involved the Venezuelan state at every level, that Leopoldo Lopez (and hundreds with him) could not be barred from running for office on a mere administrative sanction, that for that a crime had to be committed and that such crime had to be sanctioned by a court of justice, not some bureaucrat following orders from above. For the TSJ to use the arguments it presented at the trial to dismiss the ruling is, to say the least, childish and will not impress jurists of the world whatsoever: if you agree to participate in a trial you also agree to abide by the ruling. Period.
It is too early to figure out the far reaching implications of this ruling of the TSJ which, besides being unconstitutional, places Venezuela squarely on the position to have to break its hemispheric treaties, namely the treaties of membership with the OAS and Mercosur for starters.
In other words Chavez's regime has decided on a high stakes bluffing game and it is for the other countries of the hemisphere to decide whether they will accept such a disregard for norms established over decades. Accepting Chavez bluff today is EXACTLY as accepting Hitler's bluff at Munich. It means, immediately, that Chavez will cheat in next years elections to make sure he wins no matter what. It means that once a Human Right is deliberately violated, then it is easier to violate all sort of human rights, as needed. It means that the remaining media in Venezuela can be silenced once and for all if necessary.
It means that the Chavez regime has declared publicly to the world today that it is a dictatorship, that it will do as it pleases from now on, that no treaty can rein its actions. Notice has been served, will people open the envelope?
It is the time to chose between Chamberlain and Churchill, whomever they are today in DC, Brasilia, Buenos Aires, Asuncion, Mexico DC, Panama, Bogota, etc...