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A corrupt, gutsy and stupid judge of Venezuela

By Miguel Octavio

Judge Jose Ramon Villanueva has just set a new Standard for corruption, stupidity and gutsyness in Venezuela. The judge, who happens to be the one considering the case against Primero Justicia Mayor Henrique Capriles, was caught red handed trying to blackmail none other than the Head of the investigative police (CIPC) Marcos Chavez. Reportedly the judge was handling a case in which Chavez (no relation to the President) was being accused of corruption and asked the Head of CIPC (the equivalent of the FBI) to give him Bs. 15 million (all of US$ 5,000 at the parallel exchange rate) to drop the case.

Judge Villanueva is famous (infamous?) for a number of cases, such as freeing Colombian hijacker Ballestas in 2000 or ordering the detention of the Altamira Square Generals without any accusation from the prosecutor’s office. Two weeks ago he came out and said he could not rule on the Capriles case because he had been sick and had not had time to look at the file for the case. The next day he ruled on it, granting all of the requests of Prosecutor Danilo Anderson. Capriles´ defense accused the judge that day of meeting that evening with three judges who told him how to rule. The judge went on TV to deny this ever happened.

Villanueva was in the initial list to be one of the new additional Supreme Court judges, but did not make the final list. Definitely a gutsy guy to blackmail Chavez, I guess for the good of Venezuelan Justice he will not be judging anyone anymore.

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