Sunday, May 3, 2009

Lack of Legal Justice in Venezuela



Giving free rein to the lack of legal certainty

Not to mince words, legal certainty simply does not exist in Venezuela.
No law is respected, not even those dreamed up by the government itself; no treaty, agreement or contract is of any use; and the Constitution, now dead-letter, is not worth the paper it is written on.
The present crisis in Venezuela’s democratic institutions stems precisely from this absence of legal certainty and the annihilation of the rule of law. It is in this vacuum that the destruction of the country’s productive apparatus has been hatched; and this is the ground swell that has swept away the political, economic, social, and citizen rights of the Venezuelan people.
Thanks to this disrespect for the law, the practice of enacting tailor-made laws, and the discretional interpretation and enforcement, or not, of agreements and contracts, lawsuits amounting to billions of dollars have been filed with international courts by multinational corporations that, at one time, were contractors of the Venezuelan State.
This situation is also responsible for the lawsuits before international human rights courts for the violation of the human rights of hundreds of Venezuelans.
Spurious trials are mounted to criminalize the dissidence and coups d’état, frustrated assassinations, violations of national sovereignty, tax evasion, and crimes of all and every kind are dreamed up to put members of the opposition or people deemed to be politically incorrect or who are an embarrassment to the government either behind bars or force them into exile.
People’s electoral rights have been violated wholesale: from disregarding the secrecy of the vote (a universal right) to failing to maintain a reliable, auditable electoral roll or curtailing the right to vote, to violating election deadlines and dates, carrying out amendments to the Constitution that break constitutional rules and even suspending, illegally and without consultation, elections to renew the incumbents of elected offices, as in the case of the municipal councils.
On top of that we have the unconstitutional refusal to recognize the people’s wishes expressed at the polls. So it is that Chávez continues imposing a political system that has already been rejected or orders the enactment of a law that turns the Greater Caracas Mayoralty to an empty shell simply because a leader of the democratic alternative won the seat.
The workers, whose defense was, in times gone by, a banner brandished by the government, are also victims of this absence of the rule of law. The government, deliberately and resorting to every kind of ruse, refuses tonegotiate expired collective employment contracts, does not comply with those that are still current, and even reverses acquired workers’ benefits, something that is unconstitutional.
Land, companies, and properties are invaded under Zamoran decrees that arbitrarily ignore ownership right, even though the chain of legitimate ownership going back for generations has been proved.
So, thanks to this practice of consigning the Constitution to oblivion, ignoring or inventing laws, Venezuelans have been stripped of their rights and freedoms and, therefore, of democracy. And that is how the new-style communist dictatorship is being forged.

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