Friday, April 25, 2014

Peaceful protests bother you? Just ban them. And force punitive delation.

Once again today we have proof that the judicial system is totally at the service of the executive, that separation of powers is a concept of the past in a revolution where even a dead Chavez seems to be the lone ruler. In an unanimous decision (does anyone remembers a time when a chavista high court ruled with at least one dissent voice?) the constitutional hall has decided that article 68 of the constitution does not apply and that now any protest, ANY, must get a permit.

Now, in all fairness, the right to protest should not be unbridled. For example, if you protest and there are negative consequences as to your protest you should be accountable for them. Or you should not be able to protest when your motivation is based on prejudice. And even spontaneous protest, as the one that could happen because, say, a bank refuses to pays it account holders, should be held in such a way minimum harassment comes out of it. In other words, there should be some legal system that considers these protest activities for their consequences, but not their reasonable motivations. There is the matter of free expression associated with the right to protest, you know...

What the TSJ constitutional hall did today was to legislate where there is a vacuum. And it did so to deliberately favor the side that seems unable to find a democratic solution to stop the justified wave of protests in many areas all across the country.

In other words the TSJ has decided with a single stroke to limit two fundamental rights, the right to peaceful protest and by extension the rights on freedom of expression. Did I mention that as it has been the case for years there was NO DISSENTING opinion?

If this was not bad enough, reading the decision you find a few little jewels. I picked this one, at the end.

Ante la desobediencia de la decisión tomada por la primera autoridad civil de la jurisdicción, bien por el hecho de haberse efectuado la manifestación o reunión pública a pesar de haber sido negada expresamente o por haber modificado las condiciones de tiempo, modo y lugar que fueron autorizadas previamente, la referida autoridad deberá remitir al Ministerio Público, a la mayor brevedad posible toda la información atinente a las personas que presentaron la solicitud de manifestación pacífica, ello a los fines de que determine su responsabilidad penal por la comisión del delito de desobediencia a la autoridad previsto en el artículo 483 del Código Penal, además de la responsabilidad penal y jurídica que pudiera tener por las conductas al margen del Derecho, desplegadas durante o con relación a esas manifestaciones o reuniones públicas.

I translate (my emphasis):

---If there is disobedience of the decision taken by the highest civil authority of the jurisdiction, either because the expressly forbidden demonstration or public meeting was held, or because there were changes in the conditions of time, manner and place that were authorized previously, that authority shall submit to the Attorney General, at the earliest possible time, all information pertaining to persons who applied to peaceful demonstration, and it shall be used to determine their criminal responsibility for the crime of contempt of authority referred to in Article 483 of the Penal Code, in addition to criminal and legal liability that may be for conduct outside the law, deployed during or in connection with the demonstrations or public meetings.---

Let me give you a sense of perspective. The local authorities now have to act as accusing parties for anything that someone may complain, even if originally they supported the said protest. They are to become a snitch. And any excess committed in such a protest will be blamed on the callers for that protest. Let me give you an example.

Suppose that a neighborhood association decides to protest for the recurrent lack of water in its district. Suppose the chavista mayor says no because he has appointed a relative/political ally at the water authority. The protest is carried ahead anyway.  The mayor now can sue the leaders that called for the protest.  And if by any chance the protest was a little bit harsher than expected (they threw a tomato on a civil servant), the mayor will have an easier time for it.  And if the mayor, sensing political danger, authorized the protest anyway but in conditions difficult to meet, it will be easy for the mayor to create some incident (a blocked street on any sudden excuse, forcing the protest to walk peacefully through another street) to state afterwards that the protest was not conducted as accorded and thus the organizers are subject to investigation and sanction.

You get the picture: repression is made way easier.

Of course the regime is unable to enforce nationwide such a new ruling. The intent is elsewhere. For example, Maria Corina Machado states in Tucupita that she supports the authorized protest in Maracaibo next day. Unfortunately something goes wrong with that protest next day and now MCM can be linked, even from Tucupita, and can be prosecuted because her support sent her supporters to that march and we do not know who was the cause of the said incident but since it could be a supporter of MCM then she should go to jail. And even if we find through a video all the guilty party that acted without MCM approval, since they self identified as her supporters, she is liable anyway.  That is the objective of the new ruling, to create a new type of crime, that does not exist in the constitution, but that now can be used against any political target the regime has. The beauty of it all is that there was no need to modify the penal code, there was no need to debate and vote a new law, there was no need to amend the constitution. Just as in the case of the jailed mayors of San Diego and San Cristobal, the regime used the high court to create a new de facto system.  Dictatorship anyone? Fascism anyone?

The question is: what will the MUD do at the next dialogue reunion? Holding my breath I 'aint not.


  1. Charly2:24 PM

    In a way it is a great ruling. It clarify matters. Will there be any reaction from the UNASUR ass kissers? Just watch Latin America go deeper and deeper into moral morass. Garcia Linares intervention yesterday or the day before at some international event in Bolivia was quite eye opening into the direction the sub-continent is taking. Venezuela is just the spearhead.

    1. Charly4:01 PM

      Correction: Garcia Linera

  2. "you should not be able to protest when your motivation is based on prejudice"

    But free speech applies to hate speech, unfortunately. Or is there some constraint in your constitution?

    1. "should not" is, if I remember well, conditional/subjunctive. Reflects wishful thinking. I do not recall if there is something to that effect in the Venezuelan constitution, but who cares, the TSJ will decide as it pleases....

    2. Charly9:19 PM

      How do you spell PSF?

    3. Charly9:20 PM

      Wrong comment, was meant for Monica.

  3. Are not permits for public marches and protests quite universal world wide? If they are sometimes waived, would an occasion where cars, schools and other public buildings areburned, molotov cocktails used , and deaths from varied sources caused, not be an occasion for applying permit requirements, and being vigilant for criminal activity? Be reasonable. Don't pick facts for your internal mental agenda.

    1. Los ciudadanos tienen derecho a la desobediencia civil (an unalienable right) cuando los canales regulares de presentar sus agravios no responden...por muchos anios la oposicion se ha resignado a las reglas impuestos por un gobierno cada vez mas dictatorial- negociando y tratando de mostrar buena fe.Se ha llegado al punto donde la paciencia y la tolerancia del mal nada mas lleva a su crecimiento. Gandhi sabia que con nada mas protestas no se logra nada contra un gobierno inflexible. El alento infringir las leyes como parte de la desobediencia civil.

    2. Monica

      I wonder, have you really read my post in full? In particular the second paragraph?

      Please, consider that this blog is written by someone that thinks, not believes, thinks, that in Venezuela we are under a dictatorship. I do not pick facts, this blog is chockfull of facts!

      If you think that Venezuela is a nice wonderful democracy, then we have a problem.

    3. Boludo Tejano5:43 AM

      From the link in Monica Yritat's name, we find her comment:
      Como dijo su experto electoral, subestimen a Maduro, como subestimaron a Chavez, Maduro durara 6, 12, 18 años. Razón: tienen programa para la salud, nutrición, educación, y empleo del país
      Tr.: As his electoral expert said, they underestimated Maduro as they underestimated Chavez. Maduro will last 6.12.18 years. Reason: they have programs for health, nutrition, education and employment for the country.

      Given that Venezuela ranks 6th or 7th in Latin America in per capita GNP, how do its social programs compare to the rest of Latin America?

      The answer is : not well. Venezuela isn't getting good "bang for the buck" in converting its oil income into social progress.

      I looked at the Social Progress Index to see how Venezuela ranked among the 22 countries of Latin America & the Caribbean. I did not rank every index. In nearly all cases, these rankings are out of 22- unless otherwise stated. The results:

      Social Progress Index 14
      Basic Human Needs 18
      Foundations of Wellbeing 7
      Opportunity 19
      Nutrition and Basic Medical Care 7
      Water and Sanitation 13
      Shelter 17
      Personal Safety 22
      Access to Basic Knowledge 12
      Access to Information and Communications 9
      Health and Wellness 16
      Ecosystem Sustainability 6
      Personal Rights 21
      Personal Freedom and Choice 20
      Tolerance and Inclusion 10
      Access to Advanced Education 13
      Undernourishment (% of pop) 4
      Depth of food deficit (calories/undernourished person) 3
      Maternal mortality rate (deaths/100,000 live births) 11
      Stillbirth rate (deaths/1,000 live births) 13
      Child mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births) 7
      Deaths from infectious diseases (deaths/100,000) 7
      Access to piped water (% of pop) 10
      Rural vs urban access to improved water source (absolute difference) 17
      Access to improved sanitation facilities (% of pop) 8
      Availability of affordable housing (% satisfied) 9
      Access to electricity (% of pop) 100%
      Quality of electricity supply (1=low; 7=high) 21 [Cuba not ranked]
      Adult literacy rate (% of pop aged 15+) 7
      Primary school enrollment (% of children) 14
      Lower secondary school enrollment (% of children) 13
      Upper secondary school enrollment (% of children) 11
      Mobile telephone subscriptions (subscriptions/100 people) 12
      Internet users (% of pop) 11
      Press Freedom Index (0=most free; 100=least free) 17
      Life expectancy (years) 9
      Political rights (1=full rights; 7=no rights) 5- only Cuba lower
      Freedom of speech (0=low; 2=high) 0- also Cuba and Guyana
      Freedom of assembly/association (0=low; 2=high) 1 -one of 8 + two @ 0
      Freedom of movement (0=low; 4=high) 4 -one of 16
      Private property rights (0=none; 100=full) 5 last. Below Cuba?
      Corruption (0=high; 100=low) 22-worst
      Community safety net (0=low; 100=high) top 3 with Paraguay and Cuba

      In most of these indices, Venezuela ranks below its 6th or 7th per capita income rank, which indicates that Venezuela is not spending its oil income effectively. Those vaunted Chavista "programs" aren't doing all that well, judging by these rankings. [Link at the link]

  4. En una Democracia hay que seguir normas y leyes, pero Venezuela no es una.Con este error de pensamiento han llevado a Venezuela exactamente donde esta hoy en dia.firepigette

  5. This article clarifies the serious errors of the ruling by the TSJ:
    I was not clear if the part : " derecho a manifestar,... sin otros requisitos que los que establezca la ley" , could be used to curtail the rights. But there is already a law that establishes the conditions, and the only ones are to notify.

    1. Thanks Edith!

      From that article, written after I fired my post last night where a summary reading already showed flaws in the sentence, we can see that things are ACTUALLY worse than what I already wrote.

      Maybe Monica Yriart may want to read it and make amends to her previous comment?

    2. The decision violates the oath of office of each judge to uphold the constitution. These are grounds of impeachment! What are the constitutional procedures for impeaching TSJ judges?

  6. Aren't they codifying what the government has already done? (jailing Lopez for instance)

    "what will the MUD do at the next dialogue reunion?"

    I'm surprised that haven't made release of prisoners (the mayors, Lopez & students) a precondition to "dialogue."

  7. Anonymous1:35 AM

    maybe that tsj ruling came was mutually agreed in the "dialogo".
    those private meetings will be taped and then used to blackmail the oppo members.
    dr. no

  8. Anonymous3:56 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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