Venezuela’s long time Attorney General, Luisa Ortega, has recently entered into open conflict with Maduro’s government. Lucas Koerner just wrote up an excellent account of the dispute that (I believe) will end up with her being fired from her post. In fact, Ortega believes this herself according to what she has told her new fans in the private media and among opposition politicians.
Months ago, when Ortega criticized a Supreme Court ruling that allowed President Maduro to by-pass the National Assembly (which the opposition won control of in December of 2015), I thought she might offer constructive dissent from within chavista ranks. That ruling was legally and tactically dubious and it is not the only questionable ruling the government has used against the opposition. However, the elephant in the room (that you won’t hear about from the international media) is that the opposition is now into its fourth (arguably fifth) effort to violently overthrow Venezuela’s democratically elected government in the past fifteen years. Incidentally, Abby Martin just released an investigative report into Venezuela’s protest movement that absolutely blows the lid off the international media’s mendacity.
After initially providing constructive dissent, it soon became apparent that (for whatever motive) Luisa Ortega’s priority was weakening Maduro’s government, not enforcing the law, even if it contributed to the already high level of impunity for opposition violence.
In 2014, Ortega was named by US Senator (and all around right wing creep) Marco Rubio as one of the many Venezuelan officials hewanted targeted for sanctions by the U.S. government. As Attorney General, Ortega was a key official behind the prosecution of people involved with violent protests in 2014, including the international media darling, Leopoldo Lopez, so it was utterly unsurprising that she was on Rubio’s hit list. In February of 2015 it certainly looked like very much like Ortega was added to a list of Venezuelan officials sanctioned with VISA restrictions by Obama. In announcing the VISA restrictions the US State Department saidthat, in order to comply with confidentiality laws, it would not reveal exactly who it sanctioned. However, three days later, Ortega announced that she was hiring a lawyer to sue the U.S. government over the sanctions. She either knew (or perhaps assumed for very good reason) that she was on the list.
Now read recent accounts in Reuters, the BBC, Aljazeera and the Financial Times about Luisa Ortega. None of them mention that she had initiated legal action against the U.S. government, never mind explore obvious questions about it. Did she drop the idea of suing the U.S. government? If so, why? Perhaps more importantly, does she now agree that Leopoldo Lopez is a “political prisoner” – an outrageous claim no matter what you think of the trial that put Lopez away – but has Ortega changed her position like she did about the appointment of several Supreme Court judges in 2015?
The corporate media will avoid obvious questions as long as it can provided Ortega remains useful to the US-backed opposition.