Quick dossier on what's going on in Venezuela
Rarely a boring month happens in my country. And this last week has been a doozie! Let me give you a quick update on what's happening in the once called "pearl of the Caribbean".
- •The Government has put the Supreme Court against the National AssemblySince they lost the majority in 2015, and being the sore losers they've always been, President Nicolas Maduro's government has decided to try to ignore the votes and present laws, budgets and ask for authorization to travel yo the Constitutional Chamber of the High Court.
- •A Supreme Court elected illegallyThe Assembly chooses the justices that go to the Supreme, which, unlike the USA's nine, are a total of 32 in six chambers. (Let that sink in.) The election for these justices (magistrates) was literally the last act of the last Assembly, and they did it leaping over every legal requisite, the night before the new one was scheduled to take over.
- •Last Thursday, they went to farThe High Court had already determined that the Assembly was "in contempt", but on March 30th they stripped the Assembly of its legislative functions — and gave them to themselves.
- •The outcry was immediate...This decision essentially erases the will of the people who voted for the Assembly. This is par for the course for the government: When they lose, they immediately form a parallel entity. They lost the High Major of Caracas, they formed the Capital District Government; lost the states of Lara and Miranda, they formed Corpolara and Corpomiranda. But this time, every one cried coup. Dictatorship. Respected lawyers asked for the immediate destitution of the magistrates.
- •...including from one very surprising sourceOn Friday, Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz announced out of nowhere that she considered that, with the Supreme Court's decision, "the Constitutional chain had been broken". This was a woman who routinely had sided with the government, unerringly. Why she decided to do the right thing now is beyond me.
- •Mexico and Peru recalled their ambassadorsArgentina called theirs temporarily. Twenty countries of the Organization of American States decided there *should* be a discussion of what to do in the country. Bolivia, who currently presides the High Council in the OAS and is one of the Venezuelan government's biggest allies, tried to block new discussion, but the other twenty countries would not have it. The discussion continued, even when both Bolivia and Venezuela left.
- •There have been protests almost dailyMost have been medium sized, but a few have turned violent. A journalist who I know was shoved and slapped by National Guardsmen; she's a 27-year-old woman. (She's ok). The president of one of the oldest parties was arrested. And today, a young lawmaker got hit with a bottle, which almost cracked open his skull.
- •And finally, this is the President of the Supreme CourtIn 1989, Maikel (pronounced Michael) Moreno, then a member of the main police force in Venezuela AND one of thenpresident Carlos Andre.shot and killed a man during a raid. He served one year. When he got, out, his first job was successfully defending a group of men (government supporters) that had fired to a crowd in 2002