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Venezuela: the pariah State

By Aleksander Boyd

London 20 Mar. 04 – Act 1. Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez made, in rather explicit terms, comments about the “Mega Fraud” that took place on the occasion of the signature collection drive. “This is a Mega Fraud” said a defiant Chavez. Then showing extraordinary shrewdness he addressed the diplomatic Corp in the country saying that Emiliano Chavez was dead, “here we have this gentleman ID No 2.550.083 when in fact that ID No belongs to Angela Ruiz; well that lady is dead.” A couple of days later a reincarnated Angela Ruiz appeared saying that she did sign and would do it again. Same occurred with Mr Emiliano Chavez.

Act 2. Venezuela’s Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel stated to the international press that the signature drive organized by government’s supporters had collected 7.9 million signatures [the BBC echoed the comment]. The National Electoral Council resolved to dismiss such an incredible amount of signatures that would have commenced referenda processes geared at recalling governors, mayors and councilmen/women. In any case these are yet to be handed in to the Electoral Council.

Act 3. Venezuela’s Attorney General Isaias Rodriguez, Venezuela’s Ombudsman German Mundarain and Venezuela’s Comptroller Clodovaldo Russian decided to present a legal complaint against the justices of the Electoral Chamber of the Supreme Court owing to the decision by the latter of striking parts of an illegal resolution taken by the three chavista members of the Electoral Council. Said resolution cast doubts upon the legality of 847.000 signatures, unconstitutionally placing the burden of the proof on the electorate. The Electoral Chamber’s ordered the Electoral Council to add those signatures to the ones already verified as valid, thus upholding the constitutional rights of the citizenry.

Act 4. The Constitutional Chamber of Venezuela’s Supreme Court incurring into violations to the Organic Law of the Supreme Court issued an indictment to the Electoral Chamber, requesting it to refrain from learning about electoral cases. Furthermore constitutional Maestro Ivan Rincon Urdaneta ignoring precedent accused justice Alberto Martini of violating the constitution and demanded all files related to the issue to be sent to him.

Act 5. Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez denied vehemently the existence of political prisoners in the country. General Carlos Alfonso Martinez has been detained in Fuerte Tiuna since December 30, 2002. Elsy de Peña, Wilfrido Tovar, Jacobo Supelano, William Forero, Orlando Pantaleón, Saúl Lozano, Jorge Hinojosa, Omar Guillen, José Neira Celis are arrested in Tachira State since June 2002. Moreover President Chavez sent his emissary (Ombudsman German Mundarain) to Washington to ‘convince’ the American administration that there are not any political prisoners in Venezuela. At the time of writing this note (to name but a couple) Luis Guillermo Perez Amoros continues captive in El Helicoide; Rodrigo Alegrett continues captive in La Planta and Omar Arturo Morales, Juan José Pérez, Juan Ernesto Sánchez, Andrés Bastidas Guedes, José Luis Rodríguez, Eduardo José Miranda and Julio César Gómez are still missing after three weeks.

Act 6. Francisco Carrasquero -Director of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council- accused the OAS mission to the country of being biased and partisan with the opposition. He went further saying that he had proof. OAS mission chief Fernando Jaramillo asked him in a public letter to produce or publish proof of his allegations.

Act 7. Assemblyman and attorney Gerardo Blyde introduce an appeal against the decision of the Constitutional Chamber vis-à-vis the Electoral Chamber’s ruling only to be surprised by the inexistence of documents related to the subject matter in the case’s files. It turns out that justice Ivan Rincon Urdaneta of the Constitutional Chamber after having ordered the Electoral Chamber not to interfere with the Electoral Council’s resolutions and having accused publicly justice Alberto Martini did not file his conclusions and rulings.

Act 8. Venezuela’s government officials, including the President, are yet to present irrefutable proof of destabilisation plans executed by the Bush administration.

Act 9. Francisco Carrasquero -Director of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council- said that he would not start with the repair process of the signatures until the Constitutional Chamber rules about the conflict of interests between the Electoral Chamber and the National Electoral Council. He took the decision single-handedly for no other director approved of it.

Act 10. Venezuela’s regime, having failed to silence the country’s TV networks with the Gag Law, decided to fine them via the inland revenue’s office (SENIAT). The amount levied to RCTV is 2 billion Bolivares. Curiously enough the regime accuses the network of not charging any money to opposition parties and giving them extraordinary exposure. Hence a private network offers TV time for free to opposition politicos incurring into loses and on top of it, it has to pay a fine. Viva la Revolucion!!!

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