Archive for December 23rd, 2007

The Nixon Moreno case: Political Persecution is alive and well in Chavez’ revolution

December 23, 2007

One of the
things that has characterized the judicial system under Chavez has been
its ability to follow orders from above to exact revenge from its
enemies. Whether accusing its enemies of corruption for minutiae while
protecting its own, to outright persecution, the limits to which
Chavismo has gone in some cases should put shame to those that claim to
support the revolution.

The latest case is that
of Nixon Moreno. Moreno is a student leader of the M-13 movement from
the Universidad de Los Andes. Chavismo has been unable to win many
student body elections since Chavez took power in 1998, but at the
University of Los Andes it managed a win at the first election held, but the second time around
Nixon Moreno was the candidate and Chavismo lost. Last year, The
Venezuelan Supreme Court suspended the elections, which Moreno
eventually won running away a few weeks later. Since universities are
considered autonomous, it was considered an intromission into the
affairs of the University to do so. Moreno won anyway and soon
afterwards he was charged with four different crimes, from rape to
political intimidation in what was clearly an act of revenge.

Moreno
sought refuge at the Vatican’s representation in Caracas. The Vatican
later requested safe passage for Moreno out of the country, which the
Prosecutor refused to grant, arguing that Moreno was a common criminal
and not a political case. Moreno has been living there for months and
two weeks ago, the authorities from the University of Los Andes went there
to grant him his Bachelors degree in political science. Moreno had
completed all but one of the courses for his Bachelors degree and the
university admitted his time at the Vatican’s representative as the
practical training he needed to graduate together by a course he
completed online.

Immediately a group of Professors from that University
asked that Moreno’s degree be voided because nowhere is the Law of
Universities is it approved that students can take a course via the
Internet. Strange argument in a country which has an open university
called Universidad Nacional Abierta where all courses are studied remotely.

Immediately after this, the National Assembly ordered and investigation
on Mr. Moreno’s graduation, going as far as prohibiting the public
registration of Moreno’s degree and saying the decree was given to him
in “irregular fashion” without anyone pointing out what the
irregularity was. Soon after the outgoing Prosecutor
General Isaias Rodriguez, who has directed been the leader of political
persecution during Chavez’ years, opened an investigation and actually said he would attempt to void Moreno’s degree.

Of
course, the same people and institutions persecuting Mr. Moreno, are
the same ones that have done very little since last August to find out
about the Maletagate case, in which laws written by the current
National Assembly were actually violated. We don’t know yet who
provided the US$ 800,000 in cash, how it got through customs on the way
out, who was the mastermind behind it and why there were PDVSA
employees in that flight, besides the presence of Guido Antonini, who
worked for none of the organizations involved.

But
that is how political persecution works in autocratic regimes, you go
after your enemies with the full force of the judicial system, even if
there are no basis for the charges, while at the same time you protect
your own even if the illegalities or corruption are blatant and staring
you in the face.

Moreno’s case is just
another one in a long string of persecution cases, all supported by
Chavez and his outgoing General Prosecutor. While some may question the
earlier charges against Moreno, it is after all his word against that of a
policewoman, the ridiculous attempt to stop him from graduating, should
shame those that support Chavismo and proves, once again, that
political persecution is alive and well in the Chavista revolution.
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