The Judicial Coup Advances

Venezuelan writer and lawyer Luis Britto Garcia explores how opposition leader Henrique Capriles hopes to use international judicial bodies to challenge the 14 April presidential election, and predicts that “a grave judicial battle is brewing”.


1. Barack Obama thinks it’s within his authority to affirm that, “the people of Venezuela are able to determine their own destiny free from the kinds of practices that the entire hemisphere generally has moved away from” and thus not recognize the electoral triumph of Nicolas Maduro. Meanwhile, the losing candidate – Henrique Capriles Radonski – submits papers to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) demanding the April 14th election be nullified while affirming to the press that, “if these judges don’t want to respond, international options are to come”.

Capriles’ conduct is proof that he respects neither the National Elections Council (CNE) nor the nation’s highest judicial body. The same people who back Capriles backed Pedro Carmona Estanga in the failed 2002 coup and its vitiation of the Constitution. What better place for them than the judicial entities financed by the United States?

2. In effect, no judicial bodies are more sponsored by the US than the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Inter- American Court and Human Rights Commission (IACHR), which receives 54% of its budget from the northern power. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa recently denounced that 96.5% of the Inter-American Commission’s finances are maintained by two countries (US, Canada, and non-governmental organizations within them) that have not yet signed the American Convention on Human Rights – freeing them of its jurisdiction.

3. He who pays the musicians gets to choose the music, and the IACHR dances to the rhythm of its patrons. As though running behind its owner Obama, on May 10th the Inter-American Commission called on Venezuela to “urgently adopt all necessary measures to guarantee the rights to life and integrity, as well as political rights, the right to assembly, and the rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression in this context”.

Anyone who doubts the IACHR’s bias should take into account that only six cases pertaining to Venezuela were even considered during the entire bloody period of 1969-1998, a period in which Venezuelans suffered concentration camps and massacres such as those at Cantaura, Yumare and the Caracazo. Of these six cases, one was even brought to the commission by none other than knownterrorist Luis Posada Carriles.

In contrast, between 1999 and 2011 the commission processed 63 cases against Venezuela. The Inter-American Court hasn’t done any better. Between 1981 and 1998 it took on one single case regarding Venezuela, the massacre at El Amparo. In contrast, d u r i n g the 1999- 2011 period itruled on 13 Venezuela-related cases, processing another 11. In total, 23 cases against our country. Meanwhile, neither the IACHR nor the court took any action after the failed coup of April 11, 2002.

4. The bitter truth about bias directed against us is worth remembering. In its 2011 Annual Report, submitted to the United Nations’ for the Universal Periodic Review, the IACHR issued accusations against Venezuela in 233 paragraphs. In 205 of them it discussed cases that were still being processed within Venezuela, of no concern to external jurisdiction until internal mechanisms are exhausted. In 225 of the paragraphs it failed to specify things by name, date, place, or any other indispensible data needed for accusations to be admitted in normal courts. In 182 cases it opined on supposed future events that “might” occur. The vast majority of its findings were based on media reports that no dignified tribunal would accept as evidence. The IACHR even went as far as to veto laws that are still pending legislative approval, laws which depend exclusively on sovereign popular will, not on an office found somewhere in Washington. Basing its conclusions on this body of forged accusations, the court included Venezuela in its list of “Category IV” countries with grave Human Rights problems alongside Cuba, Honduras, and Haiti.

5. The tribunal of the Pharisees is known by its rulings. On January 10, 2012 I wrote that at the insistence of terrorist Thor Halvorssen, “the Inter-American Court contradicted the Venezuelan ruling that disqualified this corrupt politician from running for office. As such, the court might also try disqualifying the winner of the 2012 election, or issuing a ruling on who actually won”. A year later, we now find ourselves precisely in that situation. The opposition wants international tribunals financed by the United States, and not our people, to decide who governs in Venezuela.

6. What kind of success might this reckless demand have? Judicially, none. Article 1 of the OAS Charter states that nations join the convention in order “to achieve an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence”. As such, no court linked to the OAS can rule against the independence and sovereignty of a member state. In the event that the court tries doing just that, the July 15, 2003 decision of our TSJ’s Constitutional Chamber already declared that rulings by foreign judicial bodies are not applicable in Venezuela if and when they violate our Constitution.

7. Also worth noting is that the IACHR and the Inter-American Court can’t even consider taking on such an opposition request since Article 46 of the American Convention on Human Rights stipulates that: 1. Admission by the Commission of a petition or communication lodged in accordance with Articles 44 or 45 shall be subject to the following requirements: a. that the remedies under domestic law have been pursued and exhausted in accordance with generally recognized principles of international law. On May 10, 2012, our National Assembly agreed upon a rejection of Inter-American meddling. An unexplainable and inexcusable delay, however, left this decision unreported to the court until September 6 – almost four months later. The court only accepts responses to its rulings for a year after any given decision. If it hadn’t been for the saboteur delay, we’d already be free of this nightmare. But, according to constitutional lawyer Jose Vicente Haro, who spoke to La Verdad daily on April 27, 2013, “the path of contestation is a long one. A definitive ruling could take another year to be delivered”. Once that date arrives – September 6th, 2013 – we will be entirely free of the pharisees’ authority. Hopefully that’s the way it goes.

8. Justice is blind, as is prejudice. The Inter-American Court is considering RCTV’s complaint relating to the non-renewal of its broadcasting license, Allan Brewer Carias’ attempts to delegitimize the Venezuelan justice system, and the recently-announced demand by loser candidate Capriles that he wants the 2013 presidential elections nullified.

This is nothing less than a triple offensive aimed at discrediting the executive, judicial, and electoral branches of the Venezuelan government. Our own agency tasked with defending us, Venezuela’s State Agency for Human Rights before International Entities, often takes four months to pay its staff, which in other cases can’t participate in court hearings for lack of travel expenses. President Nicolas Maduro recently published a Twitter message affirming, “the questioned and discredited IACHR lashes out once again at Venezuela’s people and democracy. Once again we reject and repudiate it”. For this repudiation to work, we must endow our defenders with the means necessary to do so. Grave judicial battles are brewing, and we mustn’t face them unarmed.

Translated by Correo del Orinoco International