Red justice goes after one of its own

juez-ali-paredes

The only available picture of Judge Ali Paredes.

Anyone remember the case of “businessman”/druglord Walid Makled?

This week, he was finally sentenced to 14 years and 6 months in prison for drug trafficking and money laundering, but he was also absolved of other charges. The General Prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz isn’t happy with the decision, and announced that the Public Ministry will appeal it ASAP.

Shortly after the decision was made public, the Judge in charge of the case, Alí Paredes was detained by SEBIN agents. His secretary was also detained. Paredes will be charged with “favorecimento de procesados” (loosely translated as aiding the accused) in the next few days.

But in case you’re wondering if Mr. Paredes was your average judge and was assigned this case by happenstance, the clear answer is no. Before the Makled case, he was in charge of another high profile trial, the one involving fellow judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni. Matter of fact, he gave her two extra years of house arrest as his farewell before he was “rotated”.

What were the reasons behind this swift action? It’s too early to tell, but given the central government’s judicial record, it’s pretty obvious that they don’t like to lose. And in the few occasions when they actually do, they make sure it doesn’t happen more often.

 

22 thoughts on “Red justice goes after one of its own

  1. Which brings to mind a potential dilemma for any judge in this situation operating in a country where there is no rule of law: which is worse, reprisals from a drug cartel, or reprisals from the regime? It would take me a long time to make up my mind on that one…

    I had wondered what had happened to this case. Thanks for filling us in.

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    • I guess the other question, from a legal perspective, is: has SEBIN made appeals courts unnecessary in Venezuela?

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      • From your own words :…” no rule of Law”…

        Si no te agarra el chingo, te agarra el sin nariz…..
        good luck translating that one!

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          • Usually, if there is a slang or idiomatic saying I can’t decipher, and I am given a translation, I can figure out how the translation was made. [Such as “del dicho al hecho hay gran trecho” becomes “it’s easier said than done.” Yes, that makes sense.] But with this phrase, I have no idea how this translates into “damned if you do..”- though that is the correct translation. Perhaps because “chingo” has a certain meaning in Mexico. Noseless one? No tengo idea.

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            • The proverb was accurately “translated” by NET. proverbs are at the root of wisdom and do not translate word by word. Some do though.

              Chingo has a meaning in Venezuela, I do not know the english definition, but is some one that talks funny a certain way. Both are disguising/ repulsive characters, so yes, you are damned either one you meet!…

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            • The word chingo features in a Manu Chao song buried too deep in my memory for retrieval. Probably for the best.

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            • Thanks for the tip on “chingo.” [In Mexico it is a conjugation of the verb for sex.] El sin nariz? How would that be translated?

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  2. “hoisted on his own petard.”

    I suppose it is some sort of poetic justice, but it only underlines the fact that there is no justice.

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    • For what it is worth, not all judges are bad.

      The murderer of my nephew will spend three years (maximum allowable by law, apparently, as he was a juvenile at the time) in a real prison.

      After his family threatened almost all the dozen or so witnesses into silence and after constant harassing and threatening phone calls to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, he sauntered into court with an attitude and more holes in his alibi than a Maracaibo oil pipeline. (Really, if you were supposedly in Valencia on the night of the murder, and you had just arrived there that morning after buying tickets the day before and you claim you went by bus….you really think that saying you rode a por puesto is going to cover it…or the fact that you didn’t know, geographically, how to get to Valencia and what cities you passed through?)

      He and his family were so sure they he was going to get off that they bought him a whole new “released from jail” wardrobe at some expense.

      Maybe it was his attitude and arrogance more than justice. Either way, the little bastard is going to a very bad place for what will seem like an eternity where he has zero friends and at least one very real and dangerous enemy waiting for him.

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      • pitiyanqui,

        I am happy for you and your family that some sort of justice was done in this case. But, from your story, this is clearly an exception to the rule. If it were not:

        1. The witnesses would have testified.
        2. Your family would not have been harassed.
        3. The little punk wouldn’t have been so smug and cocky in the courtroom.

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  3. The whole suspense for me around this, lo these many years, was Makled’s threat to give evidence about his friends. How did that not happen? How can you have a conviction and sentencing without either a trial or a plea bargain?

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    • “Desde su detención en agosto de 2010 en Colombia, Estados Unidos también había mostrado interés en lograr su extradición. Según autoridades colombianas, Makled está vinculado a una organización que enviaba más de 10 toneladas mensuales de cocaína a Estados Unidos.

      Cuando estaba detenido en Colombia Makled dijo tener en su poder vídeos y “pruebas contundentes” que implicaban a altos militares y funcionarios del gobierno venezolano en sus negocios.

      Asimismo, aseguró haber entregado enormes sumas de dinero a altos funcionarios.”

      http://www.semana.com/mundo/articulo/condenan-14-anos-de-carcel-walid-makled/417516-3

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  4. Justice Afiuni was first arrested in 2009. The implied threat to other justices wears off after a while. In order to keep them subordinate to the whims of the executive, new judges have to be sacrificed every few years. Here, the message is: “If even such a lickspittle as Paredes gets charged, I can only save myself by doing EXACTLY what the prosecutor recommends!”

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  5. Chavismo is all about having total control over institutions and the people that run them , control is power and they are power mad , its their ration d etre . When someone they own ( a judge) takes a decision which doesnt give them exactly what they want they are humiliated , they feel challenged in the power they are so proud of , so they turn very angry and try to take revenge .

    The Judge in this case challenged their control of his decisions so he must be punished for this act of lese majeste against the Powers that be in this regime .

    Why did he do it? , Very simple, Makled is loaded , has all the money in the world and probably got the judge to give him the best deal possible in the difficult circumstances he is in. nothing surprising there

    What is telling is that the regime is seeing for the 1st time people who don kowtow totally to their whims , its a sign that they are not as feared as they used to be , its a sign of increasing weakness and that frightens then bad because it portends the possibility that at some point power will be lost to them .

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