14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, Miami, 19 August 2018 — The Venezuelan Supreme Court in exile condemned Nicolás Maduro to 18 years in prison. Great. He would have to serve his sentence in Ramo Verde.** Excellent. That’s where he detained Leopoldo López and other political enemies. In addition, he must pay a fine of 25 million dollars and compensate the State for 35 billion dollars in bribes and surcharges received or paid to Odebrecht.
Odebrecht is a malignant and efficient Brazilian bandit. Tired of the inability to commit crimes like the dishonest Latin American politicians, it organized robbery on a grand scale in a dozen countries (that were not maimed, of course) and, perhaps, in the south of Florida, which has among the largest number of Latin Americans in the U.S.
That’s all well and good. The Supreme Tribunal of Justice (STJ)*** of Venezuela is entitled to act the way it did it. The Organization of American States (OAS) and the European Parliament recognize the failures. It accused the Attorney General, Luisa Ortega, a convert to democracy with a cloudy past of persecutions to which the opposition, intelligently, has given a welcome, perhaps because there are not many Venezuelans free of the original chavista sin.
The 33 magistrates of the STJ were named by the National Assembly, as mandated by the current Constitution. The problem is that they all have gone into exile. The Constitution, which Chávez called la Bicha (the “Bitch”), and insisted was the best Constitution on the planet, did not specify where the STJ should be located.
Logically, if there had been an earthquake in Caracas, the STJ would have to hold its session somewhere else. In Venezuela, a political earthquake has occurred that swept away everything. Understandably, the STJ left for other sites (Colombia, Chile, USA and Panama). Fortunately, the Internet exists, and the magistrates can hold a session periodically by showing their faces on Skype.
Maduro, obviously, will laugh at the sentence and say something stupid about it, although in his heart he feels chills. As we do when we discuss with an undertaker whether our relatives will see us in our present bodies, with makeup and glasses, or if they will cremate us and return us to the family in a box with a kilo and a half of ashes from our bones, after explaining that the meat, viscera and soft parts, including the eyes, went up in smoke. Of course, the 14 countries that constitute the Lima Group will look very favorably on the STJ sentence, but that isn’t sufficient. They will have to take action if they want to free themselves from the dictatorships of the Socialism of the 21st Century: Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia.
They must do it, given that these nations try to metastasize and conspire with their local comrades in order to destroy the fundamentals of democracy.
The Lima Group should base their actions on the Democratic Letter signed, precisely, in Lima in 2001, in a solemn convocation organized by the OAS. They have a lot of work to do. Those three regimes, all signatories of the agreement, want to appear as if they are democratic. They twist the laws so the caudillos can remain in power indefinitely. They kill, imprison and send their opponents into exile, accusing them of being terrorists.
Cuba directs the group from behind the scenes, but the Island of the Castro Brothers is a tyranny that is consolidated and (vilely) accepted by everyone. It didn’t sign the Democratic Letter and has refused to be reincorporated into the OAS, an invitation that, incomprehensively, Mr. Insulza sent them.
Cuba doesn’t pretend to present itself as a democracy, but rather proudly exhibits its condition as a one-party satrap in which individual rights are subject to the ultimate goals of the State, and these are defined by the Communist Party. Thus, there is neither hypocrisy nor fundamental contradiction between law and practice. It’s Stalinist crap and has been for almost 60 years. It’s 20th century socialism, which has cost 100 million lives, and it comes directly from Leninism.
What can the Lima Group do, excepting Mexico, which finds refuge in the paralysis of the Estrada Doctrine?**** It can break or dilute the hierarchy of diplomatic relations. It can explain that laws and tradition justify the use of force when democratic avenues have been closed. It can arm opponents, so they can defend their freedoms. What would be suicide is to remain complacent.
*Translator’s Note: The Lima Group was established by the Lima Declaration, August 8, 2017, when 14 countries met in Lima to discuss the crisis in Venezuela. The group demanded the release of political prisoners, called for free elections, offered humanitarian aid and criticized the breakdown of democracy in Venezuela. Member countries are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Santa Lucia.
**Prison in Los Teques, Venezuela.
***The highest court of law in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
****Mexico’s foreign policy from 1930 to the early 2000s, which claims that foreign governments should not pass judgment on other countries’ governments. It was based on principles of non-intervention, peaceful resolution of disputes and self-determination.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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