In my own warped and simple minded brain, I have this vision of who I think should be in the Venezuelan Supreme Court. First of all, the person, he or she, should be someone with a long career as a lawyer, long and brilliant, someone that even those that have been on the other side of the judicial fence, express their admiration and even awe of them.
The second thing I would expect would be that the person is known as a man/woman of integrity. Ethical beyond reproach, no skeletons in the closet, not even the slightest suggestion of one. Such high ethical principles that after years of practice as a lawyer or in the bench, nobody can even dare accuse the person of anything even bordering on the improper.
Too much to ask? Not really. One would think that in a country of 24 million people one should be able to find a dozen or so people. Give them lifetime security so that they are freed from any partisan preferences and let them rule from the Supreme Court, so that everyone will obey the laws and follow the Constitution.
I may be naïve, but in many countries, the behavior of Justices and those named to the Court is followed closely and any deviation from the honest and legal behavior expected from such a high position is punished.
Thus, the nomination of the former Head of the National Electoral Council (CNE) to be a Justice would not have even been considered in any other country but Venezuela. Francisco Carrasquero presided over the CNE with mediocrity. He was partisan to the end, bending to the whims of the Hugo Chavez at each step, both in the petition to gather the signatures and the recall vote. He was the man that in the wee hours of August 16th. announced to the world a result that to this day is being questioned. There had been no audit as agreed; even the other Directors of the Electoral Board were not allowed in the room where the votes were being totaled. It was a typical political operation in the middle of the night and the gray and obscure Carrasquero presided over it.
His partisan behavior earned him a position in the Supreme Court, which his credentials as a lawyer did not qualify him for. But he did the Government’s dirty work. He deserved it; he earned it, he got it.
But it is now becoming clear that the former Head of the CNE was so unethical, that he not only hired family members right and left, but ran the CNE like a corrupt warlord running his castle. Mind you, this is not my opinion, this I not my anti-Chavez posture getting the best of me. This is the truth as expressed yesterday by the new Head of the Electoral Board, when he announced that he will void 1,086 personnel movements approved by the former President of the CNE after he was named to the Supreme Court. No, I did not make a mistake, it is indeed a four digit number one, zero, eight and six. One thousand and eighty six people in an institution of 2200..
You see Mr. Carrasquero who has the ethics of gangster, was named to the Supreme Court on December 13th. , but stayed in his post at the CNE until January 17th. where he simply acted like the gangster he is. He approved hiring 354 new people and gave salary increases or named to other positions some 732 members of the staff of the CNE. Now, this was no small matter. The CNE has 2200 employees so Mr. Carrasquero increased personnel by 16% and without having the funds promoted 30% of them. This without consulting anyone! Way to go Francisco!
But see this is nothing new. Before this took place, Mr. Carrasquero had named two of his brothers Edwin and Enrique, to important positions in the CNE, one to a regional office and the second one as Head of Personnel of the CNE! In this position the CNE hired nephews and nieces of Carrasquero, his wife and even his bodyguards.
Let’s look at some of them as detailed by Tal Cual.
-Sor Elena Luzardo was executive secretary of the CNE since October 2003. She is the sister of Julio Luzardo who also started working there in 2003. They are the niece and nephew of Edgar Luzardo. All three are relatives of Carrasquero wife.
-Then, there is Jesus Duran who started working at the CNE in 2003, he is a cousin of Andreina Fuenmayor who also works there and Karelys Fuenmayor, also staff of the CNE. The two sisters are nieces of Carrasquero; their second last name is Carrasquero.
-Then, there is Soraya Gonzalez a lawyer for the CNE who is the niece of Nestor Perez, Carrasquero’s bodyguard and childhood friend. Oh! Nestor’s daughter Ana Karina also has worked at the CNE since 2003.
-Then there is Carlos Martinez, son of Altury Tavarez who was Carrasquero’s assistant. We also have Ana Carrasquero his niece. Ramiro Finol, Carrasquero’s neighbor.
Oh! I forgot, the CNE’s regulations do not allow any two relatives working there up to the fourth level of cosanguinity.
Thus, you can see that Carrasquero has no clue about why nepotism is not ethical and loaded the CNE with relatives and friends during his tenure there and after he was ready to leave.
Will Carrasquero be removed from the highest Court of the land? Of course not, it has already become the lowest Court of the land. What would be considered normal behavior in any other country would never happen here. In fact, rumor has it that he will write the opinion of the majority in the case of the reversal of the decision of the Constitutional Hall in 2003, which said that there as no coup in April 2002, but a power vacuum. This is remarkable jurisprudence; it is the reversal of a decision made by the Supreme Court itself!
Article 273 of the Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela, written, passed and approved by Chavez and his comrades, created the “Moral Republican Council” to consider cases like this. They should, but I am sure they wouldn’t, as that Council is composed by three of the sorriest characters of the revolution: The People’s Ombudsman, the Attorney General and the Comptroller. All beyond reproach about their absolute loyalty and dependence from almighty Hugo Chavez. Thus, Venezuela’s Supreme Court will continue to have the presence of this unethical, incompetent and unprincipled man. Please don’t ever forget that this is the same man that rushed to announce on the night of August 16th. that the No vote had won handily. Why? There was no need to do it. But he had to and was rewarded for it.
Carrasquero, a true hoodlum in our own Supreme Court!