Today was calm compared to yesterday but equally important.
The news of course is the annulation of political rights for Capriles. When his term as governor of Miranda ends, then for 15 years he will not be able to run for any office, not even for dog catcher. Inasmuch as this is the flashy headline, that Capriles is barred from future office is not quite the main news of the day: this one we will have to piece it together.
But let's start by explaining the Capriles thing. As it is the case in many countries in the world, people who are crooks in office are barred to run again for office, and quite often dismissed from their job on the spot. This, of course, after an independent investigation and some form of trial. In Venezuela this does not happen, it is all at the will of the regime, though what is called Contraloria which is allegedly one of the powers of the state that makes sures corruption is prosecuted. Yeah, right.
Let's start with the most famous case, the one of Leopoldo Lopez. He was banned from running for office until he was jailed for alleged violence and sentenced to 17 years. All on trumped charges of course, already denounced as such by the prosecutor at his trial, to boot. But before he was jailed for violence Lopez did take his administrative case to the Inter American Court for Human Rights where he won his case. The ruling, for all practical purposes, said that the sentence against Lopez was an attack at his rights to run for office because it was conducted unfairly, AND because it was not a sentence obtained after a fair trial, just a mere administrative act that could not be appealed in court.
Not only the regime refused to recognize that decision but it resigned from that court after that and other losses. See, the regime cannot accept to be ruled by treaties that it freely signed but that suddenly became inconvenient. Now it is getting ready to leave the OAS before that one expels Venezuela. But I digress.
The fact of the matter here is that Leopoldo Lopez was barred from running for office because Chavez did not want him to run for office. All the laws used for that were either illegal, misinterpreted, annulled or what not. After that it became "normal" in Venezuela that a bureaucrat decides who may or may not run for election. That bureaucrat being, as expected an appointed chavista and morally corrupt for certain.
Be patient, we are getting to the real news of the day.
If we look at what they did to Capriles today, it is even worse than what they did for Lopez (on an administrative point, not on the jail suffering through Capriles has also had a long stay in jail when he was mayor of Baruta). Let me list the ruling contradictions that are so blatant and thus make it so newsworthy: the evidence that the regime has no pretense anymore. For them "it is what I say, period. And be happy I even bother writing down a sentence so you can go sue me overseas. See if I care."
1) If you can read the communique of the Contraloria in Spanish, do so. There are only a very few lines as to the alleged crimes of Capriles. But paragraphs and paragraphs as to how the Contraloria is allowed and justified in its decision. Interesting, no?
2) It is to be noted that the "crimes" perpetrated by Capriles are not for personal gain. They may have been about funds spent in different projects than planned, but there is no personal gain I can see. Please, correct me if wrong. And when I mean personal gain I mean money in Capriles pocket (note: he is of a well off family and does not need to steal, just for the record).
3) At any rate, if Capriles "crimes" are truly crimes, then the Contraloria should also condemn ALL chavistas governors for the mere fact that they all use public money to finance political chavista acts. This does not even need to be proven in court, it is for all to see.
4) Just for the record. When Capriles was sworn in 8 years ago, one of his first acts as governor of Miranda was to send to courts for investigation boxes and boxes on the misdeeds of the preceding administration. That one was (drumroll!) Diosdado Cabello. Needless to say that these real crimes of corruption reported were NEVER investigated. Probably not even read. And are probably as some ash residue somewhere.
5) I saved you the best for last. If Capriles crimes are so egregious that he should be barred from seeking office for 15 years, WHY, OH WHY is he not removed from office right now? But no, the Contraloria allows him to finish his term. Since he is a criminal and a bad manager, corrupt, he certainly will have time to attempt at the welfare of Miranda state citizens, No? Shouldn't the good citizens of Miranda be protected from such a predator? Or am I missing something?
So there is the news. The "inhabilitacion" of Capriles is a mere artifact. It is not even designed to scare other opposition politicians to behave. This is simply one of the means the regime has to remove political opponents. These range from abominable jail conditions to Lopez, through injuries in protests, to a mere goodbye memo sent to you. None are legal, this has already been established by respected lawyers, But all are coded in chavista legalese that there is no way you can challenge inside Venezuela. And by the time the IACHR gives you a positive reply it is probably too late for you whatsoever. Chavismo also knows that, how to use delays in justice, that late justice is no justice. Chavismo is a specialist in lengthy trials going nowhere like the one for Judge Afiuni that may never end.
When I see at the timing for banning Capriles just a day after the first massive protest in months, and a successful and determined one, I have that image of a big pile of sentences already written and established by all sorts of agencies of the fascist state, rulings that only need to be dated, signed and published whenever they are needed. From what I have heard, for example, there is already more than one proceeding murmured to be ready against Ramos Allup.
Some people naively said that banning Capriles is an artifact of the regime who is getting ready to hold elections soon but just wants to decide who they want to face at polls. Well, I disagree.
Such simple conclusion does not take into account the vile nature of the regime, the pleasure its members at the top have of being able to put someone in jail slowly but surely, or send into exile, or into oblivion. It is an emotional torture that they enjoy greatly. True, they do get rid of a formidable adversary like Lopez or Capriles, but the opposition is leader rich and Capriles will campaign really hard for whomever the opposition nominee is. In fact, I believe that such "inhabilitaciones" have become counter productive for the regime, even inside its own militants (or what is left of them).
The regime today is composed of bandits, narco creeps and the like, people who know their own moral misery only too well and who know what their fate is. They are low and spiteful and cannot resist to vilify people whenever they can, through whichever method and lie they can use. This is truly the news of the day, that the regime is so obsessed by its own mediocrity, by the loss of its support that they act with excess of tear gas or excess of paperwork against Capriles just to try to feel good about themselves. Just to humiliate their ennemies by making them feel powerless. Totalitarianism.
But it is too late for the regime. It may have helped before but it will not do so now. Their only option is murder on the grand scale. They know it.
Will they dare?