The Venezuelan Electoral Board is Responsible for Executing the CIDH’s decision

September 18, 2011

While I had been assuming that it was now up to the Venezuelan Supreme Court to decide on the Leopoldo Lopez case, after reading the decision by the CIDH, it turns out that this does not seem to be the case. I am no lawyer, but I read the whole document to understand what was argued and ruled. My conclusion, given my limited legal understanding and abilities, is that the Court is ordering both the State in general and the Consejo Nacional Electoral specifically to obey the Court. In page 83 of the Acrobat document (you can find both formats here), the Court says:

  1. El Estado, a través de los órganos competentes, y particularmente del Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE), debe asegurar que las sanciones de inhabilitación no constituyan impedimento para la postulación del señor López Mendoza en el evento de que desee inscribirse como candidato en procesos electorales a celebrarse con posterioridad a la emisión de la presente Sentencia, en los términos del párrafo 217 del presente Fallo.

That is: The State, via the relevant organizations, and in particular the Consejo Nacional Electoral, must insure that the disqualification does not become an impediment for Mr. Lopez Mendoza in the event that he wishes to register as a candidate in electoral processes after the issuing of the current sentence.

Thus, the members of the Electoral Board (CNE) would be personally responsible for the continued violation of Lopez’ rights as well as for failing to obey the Court’s mandate. Each one of them individually.

Given the uncertainty about Chavez’ health and the fact that these people will personally feel the pressure, the case and the decision,  become even more interesting than I thought. Chavez may want them to vote one way, but they have their future to consider…

49 Responses to “The Venezuelan Electoral Board is Responsible for Executing the CIDH’s decision”

  1. Jeffry House Says:

    Does the MUD primary exist as a function of legislation? In other words, could MUD simply say WE are following the Court’s decision and he will be allowed to participate in the primary which is solely an internal matter to MUD? There may be advantages or disadvantages for Lopez but it takes the timing out of Chavista hands. If he wins or becomes the candidate or the VP nominee, then Chavez will be faced with disqualifying the opposition ticket in direct defiance of the Court/Constitution. If he comes in fourth or fifth, his rights have nonetheless been honored by MUD.

  2. Just wait…to me the language is clear: No decision has been made and it my be to their supposed advantage to let him run, add the personal responsibility and…I dont think Chavismo knows what will happen.

  3. bruni Says:

    Miguel. your level of …naiveness amazes me. Do you really think that because the ruling says it is the CNE the organism in charge of fixing LL’s rights and that the Constitution is very clear about the issue that there is ANY chance Leopoldo be allowed to run? Really?

    There are three scenarios: in one the CNE decides to ask the TSJ to interpret the situation before deciding on the registration of LL. In another one, the CNE says NO upfront, then LL has to go and ask for an Amparo to …the TSJ! The third case is the CNE saying Yes, and the Procurador then asking the TSJ to pronounce himself because he feels the whole thing is illegal.

    So in all three instances this is going to be decided by the TSJ…and guess what? Have you EVER seen ANY ruling from the TSJ that is not what Chavez wants?

    Sorry my friend. The only chance LL has to enter the race is for Chavez to approve it and I am VERY skeptical about Ch making such a maquivelic consideration to accept LL in the race.

  4. Maria Says:

    For all it is worth, my mother was in a cab today, in San Felix, Edo. Bolivar, and the taxi driver knew who Capriles was! He is voting for him. That has to count for something, does it not?

  5. No US politics please, we have our hands full…

  6. Leopoldo will not run as an independent, you can bet on that.

    • jau Says:

      I believe that too, but Chavistas will use him as a bomb to the MUD, you can bet on that. They will delay his inclusion in the primaries as much as possible until he and his followers believe that the primaries are unfair. Or keep him inhabilitado until after the primaries.

      The leading candidates of the primaries should pressure the CNE to include LL in the primaries, if not they could lose credibility. On the other side, you would not want to go out of your way to help LL. So its a lose lose situation for the MUD and a win win for Chavez, unless Capriles and LL pair up and go together against Chavez as MO suggested in an earlier post. That would be great.

  7. island canuck Says:

    Here in our municipality there have been 3 candidates for mayor in the last 2 elections.
    1 was outright Chavista
    1 was Unidad
    1 was independent but said he was with Unidad. They couldn’t get him to back down

    The obvious result was that the Chavista mayor won with just 38% of the vote.
    It’s so damn frustrating to watch the manipulations.

    The campaign for this independent was being paid for by the Chavistas to split the oppo vote.

    Maybe this is what is happening now. As Kepler & others have opined they will wait until after the primaries to habilitate Perez hoping he will continue to run.

    That’s when we are going to see the moral backbone of Leopoldo. If he accepts the primary result & steps aside I will vote for him for the rest of my life in Venezuela.

    If he doesn’t he will hand the country back to the gangsters.

  8. Not true, this is considered a human right and they are violating his, despite the order, they could be on shaky ground one day…They could be judged in Venezuela if Esteban leaves for this violation.

    but who knows…:-)

  9. Bloody Mary Dry Says:

    From a legal point of view, they (CNE directors) cannot be personally liable. As far as I remember, there isn’t personal/individual liability from officers when violations of administrative orders are coming from the state or its organizations (that’s not true for war crimes and others like crimes against humanity, but disobeying this desicion isn’t even a crime)….
    So consequences are diluted in the state as a whole in a burocratic entanglement…
    I don’t see any case scenary in which CNE, CSJ, or government obey the decision, unless Chavez tries to show that there is separation of power in Venezuela making the court to decide something different than what he said…. But at this point, he doesn’t care anymore about using a mask (look the position tha Chavez has being assuming with the Libian rebels and the fact that he is bringing the gold from UK to avoid future sactions, among others clear signs of his violations of the establishment).
    ………………….. But who knows

    • Alek Boyd Says:

      Ley Orgánica de Administración Publica:

      Artículo 8. Todos los funcionarios y funcionarias de la Administración Pública están en la obligación de cumplir y hacer cumplir la Constitución de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela. Los funcionarios y funcionarias de la Administración Pública incurren en responsabilidad civil, penal o administrativa, según el caso, por los actos de Poder Público que ordenen o ejecuten y que violen o menoscaben los derechos garantizados por la Constitución de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela y la ley, sin que les sirva de excusa órdenes superiores.

      • Bloody Mary Dry Says:

        Thanks. I also try to be optimistic, but:
        1- The enforcement of this article correspond to the Venezuelan courts (the international jurisdiction cannot enforce this article);
        2- “Segun el caso” in this article means that the officer must have committed a crime when violated the Constitution (…) (for example they took money or kill) to be prosecuted as a criminal under this article: you need another article that expressly describe the actual crime. Violating human rights is not a crime per se…..imaging prosecution for breaking the right of education in Venezuela : (
        Of course there is suppose to be administrative sanctions if officers don’t do their job…. and here they are not going to do their job so they could (and must) be fired

        • Alek Boyd Says:

          Optimism, believe you me, has nothing to do with this. Habilitado or not, Leopoldo has become the king maker, if he plays his cards right.

          I did not imply that article cited is enforceable by international bodies. However, international treaties have supraconstitutional hierarchy, and, regardless what Luisa Estella says, are binding in Venezuela.

          Therefore, whether CNE allows Leopoldo to register or not, whether Luisa Estella gives the order or not, the point remains: according to our legislation none of them can argue that they were following orders in the future to avoid civil, penal and administrative sanctions, for the ruling of the IACHR is explicit on its instructions to CNE.

  10. Kepler Says:

    Miguel, I think it is important to try to think like them: how long do most Chavista honchos believe will their rule last? This doesn’t have to do with logic or probability, but with faith and at what point in fear they are. I think a lot of them may see at this stage no other way but forward in the authoritarian ways…

  11. Sorry, that will not cut it, the decision is clear, the Court orders the CNE to allow him to register, there is no “decision” to be made. He goes to register, if they dont allow him to, the CNE Board members are in violation of the law. When Chavez leaves or whatever, they are liable internationally and nationally.

  12. jau Says:

    In typical Chavista style, I bet that they will let him run, but ONLY after the MUD primaries.

    Chavistas save face (at least in front of ignorants), and they throw a huge problem at the opposition. Lets face it, LL is in the top 3 without being able to run, imagine how high he would be if he was allowed.

  13. Kepler Says:

    I think they are just waiting for the “right” moment…discussing what is the optimal day, how that can go against Capriles or against both.

  14. Juan Cristóbal Nagel Says:

    The Venezuelan state should just give it up and let Lopez run. I don’t know what game they’re playing or why they fear him so much. Is the cost of disobeying the CIDH really worth it? It boggles the mind.

    • I think they will, they can not argue that Court is not valid after sending their lawyers to argue the case. Chavez was careful with his words, I doubt the CNE will not let him register, but we will see. This opinion is new, I thought they would not let him run, but after reading the decision, they just can’t not let him run.

  15. firepigette Says:

    Speed Gibson, No need for needless insults, based on what?

    JMA, No need for needless insults based on what??

    • JMA Says:

      What insults? Are you talking about the well known attributes of republicans? Those are not insults: they are well established facts. It’s in the press, dear.

  16. CharlesC Says:

    This weeks horrorscope-

    Major distraction headed our way this week.
    Mr.Amandida(bad)job is supposed to arrive.
    Will there be an announcement about m-i-s-s-i-l-e-s
    from Iran to Venezuela?
    Will Chavez be too ill from chemo to dance
    with is brother…
    Expect some strange tweets from Tweetiebird in Cuba, also.

  17. Buster Hymen Says:

    but at least your president isnt selling dog leashes with his name on it……right?

    • Kepler Says:

      Why don’t you go to a US blog to discuss your US-related traumas?

      • Speed Gibson Says:

        whatza matta kepler is the injection of some dark humor too much for you…. lets look at it this way…what you people do or specifically dont do affects my life up here….instead of growing some balls and taking this clown out years ago you all are content to conduct intellectual masturbation on these blogs…whinning, complaining, posturing, analyzing, but not actually doing anything to change the direction of your banana republic….and I have to wonder how many of you actually even live there anymore…

        we have a fellow traveler clown for Prezindent here but we are gonna dump his goofy ass next year…..we are doing something about it… and learn

        • JMA Says:

          You are going to dump his goofy ass next year??? … and replace it with what??? Oh yes, one from the following list of mentally retarded, extremely ignorant, right wingers: perry, bachmann, palin, romney (yes, all with lower cases). I am laughing my ass off. As much as I don’t like Obama, I prefer him instead of one of those in this list of dimwits, and I am sure that either of them wouldn’t stand a chance against him. Talk about republicans delivering the election to the democrats …. Again, I am laughing my ass off at them and at you … troll.

          • Ricardo Says:

            So JMA, where do you live?

            What he says is true. While Chavez wrecks Venezuela, my friends in Caracas are still content with their trips to Roma, homes in Palm Beach, and helicopters. I am a Venezuelan and American citizen and can say with great certainty that most of the middle and upper classes of Venezuela are very educated, but very spoiled and lazy. As long as that Air France plane leaves to Paris every morning, as long as the FIA is happening, and as long and as long as El Country is open, your not going to see any positive change.

            BTW, very rude to insult the republicans who have helped Venezuela so much in the past. Perry is going to win but I’m biased because I love Texas!
            If you dislike these silly right wingers, that stfu and kiss Chavez’s ass. Gosh, you must have gone to Jefferson or something.

            Ciao from New York!

            • JMA Says:

              Oh yes, I just forgot! The majority of Venezuelans are:

              “still content with their trips to Roma, homes in Palm Beach, and helicopters. I am a Venezuelan and American citizen and can say with great certainty that most of the middle and upper classes of Venezuela are very educated, but very spoiled and lazy. As long as that Air France plane leaves to Paris every morning, as long as the FIA is happening, and as long and as long as El Country is open, your not going to see any positive change.”

              Like you and your chumps are needed to bring change to the country. Do us a favor, shut the hell up and leave the work of rebuilding the country to those who really have manned up to the task! They don’t need you.

              “BTW, very rude to insult the republicans who have helped Venezuela so much in the past.”

              Jeez! Exactly how they have helped Venezuela so much in the past? I’d really like to read that one!

              “Perry is going to win but I’m biased because I love Texas! If you dislike these silly right wingers, that stfu and kiss Chavez’s ass. Gosh, you must have gone to Jefferson or something.”

              “So, Perry is going to win because you love Texas.” Is that a logic argument at all? Is that the best you can do? Do you know how to create a logical sentence? Did you ever get an education or you wealth came about as a product of some murky contracts with the government, be in the 4th or 5th republic?

              And, finally, you MORON, I won’t kiss Chavez’ ass because I despise him as much as the next one.

              Next time you want to address one of my comments, try to use someone with a much higher I.Q. to do that for you.

            • Ricardo Says:

              Jeez, you realize you are fighting with 17 year old freshman right?

              Calm down.

              Venezuela is not anymore yours than it is mine. What exactly is your plan to change Venezuela’s future Jose Manuel (I’m assuming that your name?)?

              Venezuelans have NEVER stood up for themselves in masses. This is coming from a person whose grandfather was exiled decades ago to Costa Rica for doing just that.

              Seriously, this isn’t Lincoln Douglas debate, you don’t have to systematically address every sentence I write. People like you are so arrogant with your high “IQ’s”, what makes you so smart? Ts it any wonder Chavez was elected in the first place, sometimes, I think Venezuela deserved it.

            • JMA Says:

              Just go and change your diaper. You just crapped it and it stinks.

        • JMA Says:

          And liars. Boy! how they do lie all the time! The funny thing is that their lies keep being exposed all the time!

        • JMA Says:

          Banana Republicans!

        • Roy Says:

          I am so happy that the Americans on this blog are able to demonstrate such a great example of mature political debate. It is truly an inspiration…

  18. Javier Says:

    MIguel: I would complement your observation with Art. 22 of the Constitution that says:

    Artículo 23. Los tratados, pactos y convenciones relativos a derechos humanos, suscritos y ratificados por Venezuela, tienen jerarquía constitucional y prevalecen en el orden interno, en la medida en que contengan normas sobre su goce y ejercicio más favorables a las establecidas por esta Constitución y la ley de la República, y son de aplicación inmediata y directa por los tribunales y demás órganos del Poder Público.

    The treaties, pacts and conventions related to human rights, subscribed and ratified by Venezuela have constitutional rank and will prevail internally if the norms that regulate them are more favorable than the ones established in this Constitution and laws of the Republic, and should be applied immediately and directly by the courts and other branches of the government

    Because it says “by the courts” who knows, maybe any court could reestablish his rights ( poor judge though ) and when it says other government branches then the CNE would be the one

  19. CarlosElio Says:

    Would they consider their future? A notable difference between the developed brain of the adult and the developing brain of the child is how they understand the future. The kid goes for the candy right away, while the mature person defers gratification in light of anticipated consequences.
    One by-product of obedience to authority is the regression of moral judgment to infantile stages. The real tragedy of Venezuela is the inability of senior managers in public offices to exercise independent judgment. That’s the reson why almost all public projects end in failure.
    It would be wise for them to heed the CIDH ruling, but I am sure they would go for the candy that the chief honcho throws at them when they kiss his ass.

    • A year ago, they would have followed Chavez’ orders because he seemed to be immortal, this is no longer the case and will throw doubts into their minds…

    • JMA Says:

      The regression of moral judgment to infantile stages is complete within the government’s apparatus, and this will not change just because their leader is sick and likely to die. They won’t develop independent judgment just because Chavez someday could leave the scene. More likely, they will keep behaving like that under a new leader, who will rise to power if and after Chavez dies. To think that they will relinquish power if they lose the elections (quite difficult because they will commit outright fraud if need be) is just wishful thinking. We have to remember that the country is being “managed” by a band of criminals, well advised by Fidel Castro.

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