Thursday, April 19, 2012

The murine judicial system of Venezuela: Aponte Aponte fesses up to Chavez dictating sentences

Preoccupied with some health issues of close relatives I missed tonight's confession of Aponte Aponte, the fired judge of Chavez now talking back to his ex-master(S). But it does not really matter: to summarize it, he is just confirming what we have known all along, that important judicial decisions are not decided by courts but by political hacks at Miraflores palace, when not Chavez himself. And this at regular Friday meeting at the vice president's offices.  You can see it below if you wish and understand Spanish and care for the gory details.

Entrevista completa a exmagistrado Aponte Aponte... por Globovision

The real questions are elsewhere, since he merely confirms what we all knew/suspected.

Why is he confessing at this point?  Just because he feels betrayed?  No conscience, remorse anywhere?
Is he exaggerating, or in fact underplaying the situation?
How conscious he is of what he has done, and does today?  After all he recognizes that his loyalty was more to Chavez than to the Constitution...
How many people in real high positions besides himself were in cahoots?
Why is he sweating so much?  Just obesity?
How come we have not heard any voice from other justices or former justices that should have known better (with current justice Marmol de Leon as the honorable exception)?

Note that I am not wondering what will happen in Venezuela: chavismo will simply dismiss him as an agent of the Empire and try to create yet another scandal to send this one into oblivion. Though I doubt very much that this time around it will work as well as it did for notable corruption cases like Antonini or Pudreval. See, we know now that innocent people have been put into jail deliberately, sometimes with life sentences, for political expediency. That can happen to you tomorrow just because your chavista neighbor does not  like the way you park your car in the street.

I wish to close this note with a kind of personal vindication.  I have taken upon me to detail as often as possible the disastrous judicial system of Venezuela to which adjectives like corrupt and venal do not do full justice.  I was even seen as boring blogger for coming back over and over of what I consider is the real support of the Venezuelan dictatorship, military in its operators but judicial in its workings, "legal" mechanism achieved through judicial decisions.

For example, already in January 2011 I was writing about Aponte Aponte when even in the written press rare those were describing the acts of a given TSJ justice.  I got only two comments.  Not that I seek hundreds of them, I do not, but I would have liked a couple more comments from people realizing deeply that all the evils of the current regime started in December 1999 when Chavez did his first attempt at packing the courts.  It just kept developing my Cassandra complex.

When I hear Aponte talking, his lack of remorse and rather the "let's see how many I can take down with me" motivation for talking I can only worry about how we can recover the country.  With a Capriles saying that he does not plan to shake anything up I wonder if I should just give up altogether and forget about elections.

The real problem of the Aponte scandal is how it reflects on us.  Tonight Blanco Marmol de Leon was on TV and the best thing she said was that she made her occasional warnings and yet she never saw anyone standing up within the judicial system, write a collective protest, even when Afiuni was jailed.  Is she trying to tell us that basically none of the current judges is capable of redemption?  That they are nothing but a bunch of cowards?

I fear.


  1. 1979 Boat People7:42 AM

    Oh yes, they are a bunch of cowards.

    1. Indeed, sir. They are huge cowards.

  2. Island Canuck12:36 PM

    I watched the whole mess last night and my first reaction was "What a worm!".

    Of course we all knew this was happening. Now someone from the inside has come out & told what was happening behind closed doors.

    The man himself is just disgusting. A low end coward whining that he can't call his friends anymore. And if he could - would he be ratting them out? Not likely.

    I note your depression about abandoning the election process - I feel the same way many days. However now is not the time to give up. We need to be stronger than ever although I now wonder if we will really get to an election. We obviously do not live in a democratic country so for them to simply cancel the election & take over would not surprise me in the least.

  3. With a Capriles saying that he does not plan to shake anything up I wonder if I should just give up altogether and forget about elections.


    1. Personally I think that one has to distinguish between political pragmatism of a David-vs-Goliath candidate, 6 mos. before an election, in a society that has been highly polarized over 13 years, and the VAST and critical needs of the country. That is, in the distant possibility of a Capriles win.

      Diego Arria and MCM were discounted for a reason. The nation needs to heal, first. And that, cosmetically, could take about 2 or 3 years, assuming taht in that time frame, Capriles -- if he wins -- can provide proven, good works.

      If after a year or two, there is no mention of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, then the country's collective unconscious will be poorly served for this and future generations.

    2. And there it is, the beginnings of a Truth Commission. It may take a while for full roll-out and application to all corners of chavismo. In the meantime the mental grain is starting to percolate.

      "...UNT propuso la creación inmediata de una comisión de la verdad para revisar todos los casos y denuncias de Aponte...."

  4. What a shock, Venezuela has no separation of powers. I wonder what those comeflores that still insist this is not a dictatorship are gonna come up with.

  5. Charly3:09 PM

    Nothing new there, just another confirmation. Moreover it is just another distraction from the only issue that matters in Venezuela these days, i.e. Chavez croaking. If people think that there will be elections on Oct 7, well they should think some more. Some of the most powerful individuals, the narco-generals have nowhere to go thanks to Makled, Aponte Aponte and who knows who else. They have the power, they have the money and they will make sure it stays that way. The alternative is a one way ticket to downtown Miami jail where they will have an opportunity to read the graffitis left behind by Noriega.

  6. It is wrong to underestimate this. When someone called the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court says that prosecutors call up judges threatening them, and that the Presidency does the same, it's pretty hard to refute, except among fools.

    It's another huge crack in the dictatorship's intellectual defences.

    And the MUD should certainly be calling for an Investigation into the allegations.

    1. Charly4:24 PM

      The MUD can definitively call an investigation but, remember, there is no independent judiciary in the country, so the MUD might as well go piss in the wind. At least they will get some relief with that second alternative.

    2. Oh, I realize there will be no investigation under Chavez. Calling for an investigation keeps the offensive, and keeps the allegations befire the public. And there is really no way out for regime defenders. Either their man appointed a liar and drug lord to the Supreme Court, or the situation is worse than that, it is what the liar says it is, a police state.

  7. Anonymous4:13 PM

    Yes, gang mentality is the obvious comparison and most accurate. Also-cultism,
    led by a fanatic. (Chavez- the thug, the loving family man-ha)
    Years ago I said that when Chavez is gone and a new government is in place-there needs to be a government program all over the country that teaches about “cult deprogramming”
    and helps the many suffering people of Venezuela recover.
    Apointe sees himself a victim caught up in the gang and forced to lose his indentity and self-respecting principles or be killed and his only option was to escape..
    So, the “judge” blames eveyone else and that is what everyone else will do and
    Chavez will even claim that he knew nothing…

    1. good idea on the institution of a government program that teaches, perhaps in the Misiones, about "cult deprogramming".

  8. Island Canuck5:02 PM

    Jeffrey..."except among fools."

    Well that's about 35% of the country. :-)

  9. Daniel,

    Thinking ahead of your peers is not usually appreciated anywhere.So it is good that you point out your foresight.
    When some people begin to catch up, you will already be into a new vision :)

  10. Anonymous12:04 AM

    Fill my eyes with that double vision
    No disguise for that double vision
    Ooh, when it gets through to me, it's always new to me
    My double vision gets the best of me
    Daniel "double vision" Duquenal!!
    -nous vous aimons, mon ami.

  11. Why is he sweating so much? Just obesity?

    By the colouring of the video (towards the orange spectrum), I suspect strong incandescent spotlights, very close by. These can be really hot, moreover under grilling, with the spectre of crime hanging over one's head.

  12. Daniel, please answer, if you can: When AA became judge and president of the Supreme Ct, was he then with the military, or retired from it. TIA.

    1. never mind. found the answer. posted it on Miguel's blog.

  13. " With a Capriles saying that he does not plan to shake anything up I wonder if I should just give up altogether and forget about elections. "

    Hold on a bloody second, stop right there buddy, we don't need that kind of rhetoric around here, the last we need is to discourage people about voting in Venezuelan elections.

    Many people knew or though the influence that Venezuelan president exert over another constitutional powers, AA is just confirming what we knew, though he could possibly give solid evidence to prosecute the man and his underlings. IF (big if) he's really telling the truth and have the evidences he claims to have.

    Nonetheless, we can not lost focus on what need to be done, the removal of any trace of the current government, to clean up the house without spooking all the people that somehow are involved or were involved in these cases of abuse of power.

    Believe me, I would like nothing more than a crusade to remove all the dirty elements in the government (from extreme left commie, to derecha endogena and narco generals) to built the foundation of a new government that respect and promote the most fundamental principles of freedom and inalienable rights.

    But normally for Venezuelan people that sort of things is "paja" at best, and they need other sort of things to be fulfilled as well in order to support democracy as we know it. You see For Americans and Europeans, democracy is not something abstract, most of them, they know how to demand their rights and how they should behave in a democratic society.

    The same thing can not be said about Latin American in general, for example, the last American Summit in Colombia, They were debating whether or not to include a non democratic government, a military government in the exclusive club of democratic governments, they skipped more important issues that needed to be discussed just for the political whims of the commies. You would expect that Calderon and Santos would have at least voted against such madness, but no, they played all along the commie agenda. I was sincerely ashamed to be Latin American.

  14. Charly7:38 PM

    Hey Daniel, do you believe Peñaloza to be credible? I found him pretty accurate in the past. If he is, this is pretty juicy stuff, far better than what 2 x Aponte confessed to on SOI TV.

  15. Douglas10:48 PM

    Fear well Daniel. Any fixing in Venezuela is going to take many years and although Capriles was not my first choice I think any of them would face the same obstacles that would need a subtle approach to things. First put order in the country, second rescue the institutions and improve the economic ecosystem, (jobs, investments, exchange controls and property rights), third, a true truth commission without the passion of the immediate revenge tick I'm sure we all have at some level....

    1. Charly12:35 AM

      Truth Commission looks like a good idea, it worked in South Africa. In addition the fact that the Bolivarian sinners will not be allowed to go see Donald Duck in Orlando by the US authorities should be punishment enough.

  16. There are no clean breaks with the past. Chile voted for democracy within the framework of Pinochet's constitution and the military got senatorial seats for life. In Argentina post Videla the civilians had to scrap the prosecutions of the military in light of the fragility of their institutions (and today Cristina is championing the last ditch cause of those dictators: Las Malvinas). Chavez will no doubt die a martyr for millions and become one more failed (and false) saint of the poor. JV Rangel once wrote a single sentence that sounded like the truth to me. He said that - around the time of Pudreval - even if all of Chavez's failures as a president were true, to the people who truly identify with him this doesn't matter because he is still "their president." No matter how shitty the government, it is their shitty government. I think that Capriles understands this and is calibrating his rhetoric to make it less painful for these people to vote for a change that they may sincerely believe will alter the precarious (and not so precarious) economic realities of their life. I think Aponte's stunned sense of betrayal was also the 'honest' reaction of a 'true believer' albeit a very cynical one.

    1. A lot of what you say makes perfect sense. On the positive side of the no-break-with-the-past argument, I would add that Chile continues to embrace the economic/financial legacy of Pinochet, the God of Chilean bankers.

      I, too, have been thinking of the chavista-enamored poor in Venezuela, but in a different sense. I wonder how they are rationalizing the latest declarations. Surely among them, a few might know of a family member, or a friend of a friend in jail, and they may be wondering, how they can help that blind woman who holds the scales, find her way to pardon them. That is, in light of what they now must know is a sham in the justice system.

      Speaking of Lady Justice... It is a testament to AA's arrogance that he thinks we should help her find the way. (.. por la justicia hay que luchar ... esa dama ciega .. hay que enseñarle el camino...) When it's really up to us, or rather, judges, to follow her lead, and to know that her blindfold represents OJECTIVITY and IMPARTIALITY, attributes absent in AA's judicial career.

      Finally, I agree with you on Capriles' pragmatic approach to voters and AA's stunned sense of betrayal.

  17. Panaaaaa. You are right and have always been about the corruption of the powers in Venezuela. Well, since the Sixties and Seventies this has happened (lease: "4 crimenes, 4 poderes" By Marmol Leon). That's why the "chavismo" or the "21st century socialism" was all bullshit from the beginning. Because Chavez and his minions have been an extension of the old oligarchy dressed up as a socialist system. Venezuela nunca va a cambiar. I have seen these Aponte Aponte's before; in power and out of power. When you attack a Venezuelan, this is how they react to defend themselves. It is so predictable. The problem with Justice, Military, Government in Venezuela as in many other countries is GREED. It happens in the US too. Look at the freaking candidates we have for President this year 2012. Everyone in Venezuela is looking for the easy money. Corruption is the name of the game. Venezuela needs a Mandela, a Gandhi, a Waleska, a Havlec. Someone with real altruistic intentions, without ties to special interests and without a personal agenda to get rich, to lead the country and to lead the institutions inside of the government, from the policeman on the streets to the highest Judge of the TSJ. Where are you going to find people like that now? Capriles is not going to do it. Diego Arrias and Pablo Perez weren't going to do it. Maybe Maria Corina would've started the process. I said it before and I say it again, Venezuela needs a dramatic paradigm shift and is not going to be Capriles, but a change of some kind is needed sooner than later and hopefully this guy can represent the beginning of the transition to that shift. Thanks for posting this. It's important to keep the public informed and you do always.


Comments policy:

1) Comments are moderated after the sixth day of publication. It may take up to a day or two for your note to appear then.

2) Your post will appear if you follow the basic polite rules of discourse. I will be ruthless in erasing, as well as those who replied to any off rule comment.