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Reality versus the cynical words of Venezuela's Foreign Minister at the OAS

By Miguel Octavio | The Devil's Excrement

07.06.05 | Our 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,

Umm…I 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 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 become.

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.

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