Archive for March 20th, 2003

Chavez on Iraq

March 20, 2003

Hugo Chavez finally spoke on the war in Iraq, using very mild language (extremely mild for the man who said the US had it coming on Sept. 11th.), arguing for peace, respect for internatioanl law and the United Nations. Nowhere in his words did he condemn the US or any of its allies for the, showing once again what a cynic he is…….As I said before Chavez does not want to offend his OPEC partners who are all in favor of the war in Iraq. (Except Iraq, obviously, but Chavez’ friendship with Iraq has diminished significantly since his visit to that country)

Appeals Court frees Head of Fedecamaras

March 20, 2003

An Appeals Court has just freed opposition leader Carlos Fernandez who had been detained accused by the Government for his part in the two month strike. Fernandez, the Head of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Fedecamaras, was relaesed accorrding to the Appeals Court, “for lack of evidence”. According to the Prosecutor from the Attorney General’s office, such evidence was unnecessary because the investigation was ongoing, but that is not the way it is supposed to work in Venezuela. To detain, there had to be evidence for charges like rebellion, which require armed insurgence against the Government, which Mr. Fernandez never did.

There are two clear things from this. First the Attorney General’s office is definitely rushing cases to the Courts in order to please the President. Unfortunately, to do this, he has to use political motivated prosecutors and judges in order to issue detention orders and they have proven to be fairly incompetent so far. . On the other hand, there remains within the judicial system judges who are unwilling to bend the law, even if their politics agree with Chavez. In two cases this week, the Courts have made the Attorney General’s office look very bad, not becaused the cases were reversed, but by using arguments like “manifest incompetence” in the case of the oil leaders or “absence of evidence” in today’s case. There is some hope after all.