Archive for June 6th, 2005

Reality versus the cynical words of the Venezuelan Foreign Minsiter at the OAS

June 6, 2005

illustrious Foreign Minister said the “people” have the mechanisms to control democracy
and, of course, we don’t need any new mechanisms from the OAS to observe
democracy in our countries,

wonder what he means. Let’s make a check of the newspapers of just today in Venezuela:

1) A
group of lawyers denounces
that 1% of the prosecutors have all of the
political cases by the draw of the luck. One prosecutor has 43% of the cases,
another 32% and a third one has 25% of them. This in a country with 1,200
prosecutors! Moreover in 76% of the cases, you find the same Prosecutor, taking
the case to the same judge and later to the same Appeals Courts. In the case of
the 19 people who died on April 11th. 2002, people have been charged
in only two of those cases, where the Prosecutor determined that the victims
were shot by police bullets and it has therefore jailed the Heads of the police
at the time, who are “opposition”. Note that the cases are supposed to be
assigned to Courts randomly; therefore the “blind” process is clearly being
interfered with.

Conclusion: The Prosecutor’s Office is suspect, guilty of
bias, something we have known all along, since it does not prosecute any
pro-Chavez Government officials for corruption, but opposition Mayors have been
accused of even allocating funds from one part of the budget to the other
following “irregular” procedures, while, for example, billions of US$ are
“missing”, “unaccounted for” and/or not exchanged for local currency via the
Central Bank. Way to go Isaias!

2) The People’s Ombudsman, a new position in the new
Constitution, which was supposed to defend the interests of the people, blasts
without any investigation
charges by the US Government
that trafficking with human beings is still a problem in Venezuela.
Curiously, Venezuelan authorities told the US Embassy that they had taken
measures to fight it, admitting its existence. But to Mr. Mundarain who seems
more interested in defending the Government, the charges are simply political.
Meanwhile, he has said nothing about the fact that a prisoner dies every day in
a jail in Venezuela
(yes, they are Venezuelan too, even if criminals)

This is the same cynic who did nothing about the Tascon
list or proposed last week to introduce a Bill so that NGO’s can not receive
foreign funding, but failed to accuse President Chavez for receiving millions of
US$ from Spanish banks for his political campaigns, something which has been
proven in Spanish Courts and people have been jailed for. (Why wasn’t this
included in “The Chavez Code”?). This Bill is aimed at stopping Sumate from
receiving miniscule amounts in comparison. Mr. Mundarain clearly cares little
about those killed in marches either, as he has never shown up in any when
there have been problems. Typically, he is traveling with public funds, a
curios conception of his sadly useless position.

Conclusion: The People’s Defender or Ombudsman seems to be
concerned about defending the President as if he did not have enough people
sucking up to and defending Chavez. There is little the people can do to change
that. Two weeks ago there was a march to protest political prisoners and the
Ombudsman was not only not there to receive the document, but had his
headquarters surrounded by the National Guard against a harmless march.

3) Last Friday, a Judge ruled that the fine imposed by the
telecom regulator on TV channel Globovision was illegal and ruled that Conatel
had to pay legal fees in the case. That judge was removed today, much like
every judge that rules against the Government’s desires. Even Supreme Court
Justices have been removed for ruling against the Government’s whims. This has
gotten so ridiculous that
85% of the judges
in the country are now temporary, meaning they have no
job security and better follow the party line.

Conclusion: The Judiciary is totally controlled by the
Government as shown by this point and 1). Those few judges that rule with their
conscience are removed expeditiously.

Finally, not from today’s news, the Electoral Board,
questioned by everyone for its acts, was hand picked 18 months ago by the
Venezuelan Supreme Court which also named a new member of that Board when one
of them resigned. This does not follow the Constitution in how such a Board
should be elected. This requires 66% of the Deputies of the National Assembly.
The current Board is composed of four pro-Chavez members who are party hacks and
one opposition member. Its Director, for example, blasted Sumate for meeting
with Bush, proving he is not independent and has no respect for others.

This Electoral Board has now redesigned voting districts
without approval of the National Assembly and without waiting the twelve months
for the new districts to go into effect, both of which are required by law. It
has accepted, without the fulfillment of the legal conditions required, a new
pro-Chavez political organization which will be used by Chavez’ MVR to
manipulate the results of the election by fielding two separate parties: One
for the candidates elected on their own right under their name and another for
those elected by party slate. In this way, the principle of proportional
representation guaranteed in the Constitution will be bypassed, Chavez will get
a majority of the National Assembly and then elect an Electoral Board with five
of his supporters and thus preserve forever the “origin” of this “democracy”.

So, I ask our distinguished Foreign Minister: How can the
people do anything, as
you claimed at the OAS
, about this autocracy that you and your kind have
established in our country? Do you sleep at night? Is this why you were in the
guerillas for over thirty years? To lie, manipulate and violate the rights of
your fellow countrymen? To assume the role of wise man that “knows better than
the people” so it is OK for you to think for them and manipulate them? You
should simply be ashamed of what you are, but especially of what you have

Because in the end, the excuses are the same ones always argued
by totalitarian regimes: Respect for our sovereignty, we can solve our
problems, give us self-determination, do not intervene in our affairs and the
like. The truth is that not only can the excuses be recognized, but the tools
are also the same. These states tend to be belligerent, create external enemies
and use money to attract allies. As we say in Venezuela, we have seen this movie
before, both here and abroad.