Commune Activists File Appeal with Supreme Court Over Mayorship Ban

They are demanding that the Supreme Court recognize El Maizal commune leader Angel Prado as mayor.

By Rachael Boothroyd Rojas
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Bogota, December 21 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Hundreds of communard activists from the Simon Planas municipality in Lara filed an appeal with the Venezuelan Supreme Court (TSJ) Wednesday, demanding that the body recognise El Maizal commune leader Angel Prado as mayor.

Prado, who was elected by more than 80 percent of his community as a delegate to the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) in July, had also put himself forward as a mayoral candidate for municipal elections on December 10. But his candidacy was blocked by the ANC, who denied him permission to stand without giving a reason.

In spite of the ban, the Homeland for All party ticket fielding Prado’s candidacy took 57 percent of the vote, but electoral authorities have so far refused to recognize his victory, instead deferring to the ANC.

“We are going to send a strong message to the President of the Republic [Nicolas Maduro], that we exist and we need to meet with him, that we need to talk to him,” Prado told supporters outside the Supreme Court.

“Because we are no traitors, we are not anti-Chavistas… on the contrary, we are the moral reserve of the Chavista project,” he continued to cheers.

Prado’s supporters have been demonstrating outside of their local mayoral office for more than ten days, where they are refusing to allow entry to Jean Ortiz and his team. Ortiz – who has been labelled the “usurper” by Prado’s supporters – was sworn in last week as Mayor of Simon Planas for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela in spite of protests.

Meanwhile, a national petition backing Prado signed by prominent Venezuelan activists and intellectuals has so far failed to get the ANC to budge on its decision. The lack of a response led El Maizal’s communal parliament to vote Tuesday in favor of a trip to Caracas to file the appeal.

“We have followed all the legal steps and fulfilled them all. With this appeal on grounds of unconstitutionality, we demand that justice be done for the people of Simon Planas,” El Maizal Commune tweeted.

Commune members already made the expensive trip to the capital in early December in a bid to convince the ANC to allow Prado’s candidacy. El Maizal is one of the most organised examples of communal power in Venezuela, and includes 22 communes councils, as well as agricultural production units.

Prado has confirmed that the Supreme Court’s Constitutional Tribunal has admitted the commune’s appeal.

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