I guess Petkoff resonates very well with my post last night on Garzon’s decision in today’s Editorial in Tal Cual:
Garzon Attacks by Teodoro Petkoff
The grandmother had twins. As if it were not enough with the scandals that lately plague the Government, we now have to add the charging by Judge Baltazar Garzon of the Directors of Spanish bank BBVA for “contributions to the electoral campaign of Hugo Chávez to the Presidency of Venezuela” that may have violated Spanish legislation.
But, the point is not only that Spanish bankers violated Spanish laws, something that will have to be determined in a trial, but that candidate Hugo Chávez and his party may have violated Venezuelan laws, when they received financing from a foreign company for his electoral campaign in 1998. There is a presumed crime in Spain, that will be tried there, but there is also a presumed crime in Venezuela, about which, despite the injunction requested by lawyer Tulio Álvarez, years ago, in front of the Supreme Court, Venezuelan justice has not acted.
In fact, the Court sent the case to the Prosecutor to open an investigation. Of course, Isaias put the case in the drawer. Although it is not possible to have any illusions with Venezuelan justice, it is going to be very difficult for the Prosecutor and the Supreme Court to ignore the consequences of the trial that is developing in Spain. Because, let’s assume that the trial determines that indeed the bank made those “contributions” (one for US$ 525 thousand dollars on 12/1/98 and another for one million on July 5th. 1999, my comment: note Chavez was already President on this last date), then how do things stand?
Venezuelan legislation is very precise with respect to this.
On the one hand, political parties are obligated to keep accounting books about their income and expenses in electoral campaigns and present them to the CNE. Well, in the books of MVR, delivered to the CNE, the contributions by BBVA do not appear. We would have one crime right there: hiding information and falsifying data. But there is more. The Law of political parties, in its article 25, paragraphs 4 and 5, compels political parties to “reject donations…from foreign companies or with holding companies abroad”. Not observing this disposition is punished with prison from two to three years and the penalty increases if the funds came from a crime. If the trial in Spain determines that those “contributions” , then, those that received those funds , here in Venezuela, if it is proven that they committed a crime when they asked for them and received them, would also have to receive the punishment foreseen by law. Who is responsible in front of the law? The candidate and Head of the respective party. In this case it happens to be Hugo Chávez Frías, who at the time was the candidate and, simultaneously, the Head of MVR. Who should also receive the punishment foreseen in article 258, paragraph 5 of the Suffrage Law which punishes with prison from two to three years to “the candidate that hides information or provides false data to the CNE about his campaign expenses. By the way, what happens to our sovereignty in all this? Isn’t hypocritical to persecute an NGO for receiving financing abroad when those accusing have such a large skeleton in their closet?