Archive for April 1st, 2004

Mayor Capriles arrest order suspended by Supreme Court

April 1, 2004

Venezuela is now so polarized that not even our poor judicial system has been immune to politics. Case in point is that of Baruta Mayor Henrique Capriles. The events of the last few weeks have gone something like this:


-Prosecutor Danilo Anderson the star prosecutor for all political cases in the Attorney General’s office, despite the fact that he is an environmental prosecutor, calls Baruta Mayor to testify, as a witness, about the events at the Cuban Embassy in April 2002 when Chavez was briefly overthrown. The prosecutor claims Capriles was later summoned twice as a suspect, but never showed up.


 


-The prosecutor, via the control Court #40, which is also the once that has been used for political cases, issues an arrest warrant for Capriles.


 


-Capriles goes into hiding, while his lawyers attempt to get a hold of the file to study the charges against Capriles, they are refused the case file repeatedly. Capriles never turns himself in.


 


-Two leaders from Primero Justicia, Capriles’ party, are kidnapped and tortured by unknown individuals. They say that during the three days of captivity, they were repeatedly asked to reveal Capriles’ whereabouts.


 


-Capriles’ lawyers go to the Penal Hall of the Venezuelan Supreme Court. The case is assigned to Justice Alejandro Angulo. Angulo writes a decision reassigning the case to a different control Court but ratifying the arrest order. The decision is turned down by the other two judges of the Hall. The case is reassigned to Justice Blanca Marmol de Leon


 


-Judge Marmol de Leon, rules today, reassigning the case and suspending the arrest order. The Justice says Capriles had responded to all summons and states the arrest decision should not have proceeded. Moreover, says the Judge, Capriles could have been tried while free since, given his position as Mayor of Baruta, there was no flight risk as claimed by the court and the prosecutor.


 


-The Attorney General/Prosecutor Isaias Rodriguez, who is sometimes extremely slow to speak out, defend the law or a give opinions, very quickly issues a press release saying that the procedure followed by the Penal Hall of the Supreme Court should not have been followed, because there were no irregularities to correct. He adds that the decision is based on false facts and there was no denial of due process by his Office.


 


Now, I am definitely not a lawyer to say whether on side is right or not on the detailed legal aspects of the procedures. However, there is something very sinister, in my opinion, about arguing that the Mayor is a flight risk, the fact that it is prosecutor Anderson that is doing the accusations, the fact that the Attorney General is so quick to criticize the Supreme Court on the case and the fact that Capriles’ lawyers have had no access to his case file. This is simply another case in which the opposition thinks Capriles arrest order is politically motivated, but the Government would argue it simply involves a guilty politician.

Government representatives and CNE no shows at Electoral Hall

April 1, 2004

Neither the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) nor government representatives went today to the conciliation meeting called by the Electoral hall of the Supreme Court to attempt to resolve the problem with the signatures declared under observation by the CNE, but declared valid by the Electoral Hall.


The CNE legal counsel and former President of the national assembly both argued that the decision by the Electoral hall has no validity and that they will only obey whatever the Constitutional Hall says.


 


The opposition did attend the meeting and said that this shows the Government does not want any form of dialogue or negotiating. Ramon Jose Medina who requested the injunction from the Electoral Hall said that the latest decision by the Constitutional hall has no legal validity as it has yet to be published and the dissenting opinion is not known.


 


OAS and Carter Center representatives were not present due apparently to the fact that they are not in the country at this time.

My list of current incongruous facts about Venezuela

April 1, 2004

This is my list of incongruous things going in Venezuela, I welcome new additions:


-            The Government that wants to block an election at all costs is democratic; the opposition that wants to have an election at all costs is accused of plotting against the Government.


 


-            The poor are with Chavez, 80% of Venezuelans are poor, but Chavez only has 40% support.


 


-            Chavez won an election with close to 90% of the popularity, but never got more than 60% of the vote.


 


-            We want everyone to respect our sovereignty, but ask for Chile to give Bolivia access to the sea.


 


-            We want to be independent and self-sufficient, but are destroying PDVSA


 


-            We hate capitalists, but love American oil companies.


 


-            We are poor, but give away to Cuba 2% of our income every day.


 


-            We want rural land reform, but 80% of the population is urban.


 


-            This nationalistic Government gives foreign investors and banks free money.


 


-            Chavez is so popular he would easily win any election, but he refuses to have one.


 


-            We are socialists, but our social services don’t work.


 


-            Gasoline in Venezuela is cheaper by volume than water.


 


-            Inflation is 30%-plus per year, but you can borrow money at 24% interest per year. Despite this, there is no credit demand.


 


-            One can get dollars at the official rate to import stuff, which one can then export at the parallel rate.


 


-            Government imported food at the official rate is sold at the same prices than private imports at the parallel rate.


 


-            This is a militaristic Government, which reduces the military budget.


 


-            The man who said Chavez had resigned in April 2002 is today his Minister of Interior and Justice.


 


-            The People’s Bank has no deposits.


 


-           The People’s Ombudsman does not defend the people.

My list of current incongruous facts about Venezuela

April 1, 2004

This is my list of incongruous things going in Venezuela, I welcome new additions:


-            The Government that wants to block an election at all costs is democratic; the opposition that wants to have an election at all costs is accused of plotting against the Government.


 


-            The poor are with Chavez, 80% of Venezuelans are poor, but Chavez only has 40% support.


 


-            Chavez won an election with close to 90% of the popularity, but never got more than 60% of the vote.


 


-            We want everyone to respect our sovereignty, but ask for Chile to give Bolivia access to the sea.


 


-            We want to be independent and self-sufficient, but are destroying PDVSA


 


-            We hate capitalists, but love American oil companies.


 


-            We are poor, but give away to Cuba 2% of our income every day.


 


-            We want rural land reform, but 80% of the population is urban.


 


-            This nationalistic Government gives foreign investors and banks free money.


 


-            Chavez is so popular he would easily win any election, but he refuses to have one.


 


-            We are socialists, but our social services don’t work.


 


-            Gasoline in Venezuela is cheaper by volume than water.


 


-            Inflation is 30%-plus per year, but you can borrow money at 24% interest per year. Despite this, there is no credit demand.


 


-            One can get dollars at the official rate to import stuff, which one can then export at the parallel rate.


 


-            Government imported food at the official rate is sold at the same prices than private imports at the parallel rate.


 


-            This is a militaristic Government, which reduces the military budget.


 


-            The man who said Chavez had resigned in April 2002 is today his Minister of Interior and Justice.


 


-            The People’s Bank has no deposits.


 


-           The People’s Ombudsman does not defend the people.

The revolution forward and backwards

April 1, 2004

This is a variation of something that has circulated in Spanish for a while, I have never been happy with the translation I made, but here it is. Read down and you will read the promises of this Government:


In our political party


We fulfill our promises


Only the stupid can believe that


We will not fight corruption


Because if there is something true for us it is that


Honesty and transparency are fundamental


To reach our ideals


We will show that it is very stupid to believe that


The mafias will continue being part of our Government like in past times


We assure you without any doubt that


Social justice will be the main goal of our mandate


Despite this, there are still stupid people that think that


It’s possible to govern with the ruses of the past


Since taking over power, we have done the impossible so that


Privileged situations and influences ended


We will not allow


Our kids die of hunger


We will fulfill our goals even if


Economic resources are exhausted


We will exercise power until


It’s understood that from now on


We are MVR, we are the revolution.


NOW READ BACKWARDS FROM BOTTOM TO TOP AND YOU WILL FIND REALITY

The revolution forward and backwards

April 1, 2004

This is a variation of something that has circulated in Spanish for a while, I have never been happy with the translation I made, but here it is. Read down and you will read the promises of this Government:


In our political party


We fulfill our promises


Only the stupid can believe that


We will not fight corruption


Because if there is something true for us it is that


Honesty and transparency are fundamental


To reach our ideals


We will show that it is very stupid to believe that


The mafias will continue being part of our Government like in past times


We assure you without any doubt that


Social justice will be the main goal of our mandate


Despite this, there are still stupid people that think that


It’s possible to govern with the ruses of the past


Since taking over power, we have done the impossible so that


Privileged situations and influences ended


We will not allow


Our kids die of hunger


We will fulfill our goals even if


Economic resources are exhausted


We will exercise power until


It’s understood that from now on


We are MVR, we are the revolution.


NOW READ BACKWARDS FROM BOTTOM TO TOP AND YOU WILL FIND REALITY

Superme Court Halls quite active

April 1, 2004

As part of its recent decision on the petition for Chavez’ recall, the Electoral Hall of the Venezuelan Supreme Court, invited all parties concerned for tomorrow for a conciliation session. The way I understand it, the Hall in its last sentence encouraged all sides to negotiate, if they do not, then the Hall can force one or all sides to abide by its decision and immedaitely implement whatever was decided by it.


Separately, the Constitutional Hall admitted the request by Chvaez’ Ayacucho commitee to look into the case, intensifying the conflict bewteen the two Halls.

Venezuela beats Uruguay in soccer, bizarre!

April 1, 2004

For almost two years I have been trying to explain to you what is happening in Venezuela. Tonight, the Venezuelan soccer team,. a country with no soccer tradition, beat Uruguay, a country with a great soccer tradition, by 3-0 in the Montevideo soccer stadium. The match was part of the World Cup qualifying process. As if this was not enough, the Venezuelans played a very good game, solid in defense and offense, this was no fluke. The victory is likely to be the most significamt victory in the country’s short soccer history.


Now, this is really, really hard to explain, politics may be easier.

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