The government’s ombudsman

One of the new state institutions created in the 1999 Constitution was the figure of the People’s Ombudsman, in charge of defending citizens’ rights against the state. Fourteen years after its creation, the role of the Ombudsman has diverted significantly from its constitutional duties. It has simply become (just like the rest of the State’s…

The Mardo mistake

Primero Justicia congressman Richard Mardo was stripped of his parliamentary immunity yesterday. In a 97-68 vote (that’s 59-41 in percentage terms, in case you’re wondering) the chavista majority in the National Assembly (read: Diosdado Cabello and his minions) pretty much took away his popular mandate, and in the process used Article 187 of the Constitution as…

Luisa Estela is down, but not out

The Venezuelan Supreme Court (TSJ) selects its leadership at the beginning of the judicial year, every January. This time, it took them until May to finally reach a consensus on its leadership. Even if incumbent TSJ President Luisa Estela Morales proved her undying loyalty over and over again – with extra points for grovelling –…

Prosecutor, judge and jury

Supreme Tribunal chief Luisa Estella Morales says: “There won’t be a manual recount.” All of the sudden, she starts feeling guilty about people dying on the streets, and threatens Capriles. For a different take, I suggest José Ignacio Hernández’s article in Prodavinci. The money quote: “In these Presidential Elections, there were news of violent inappropriate…

When violence reaches small towns

The city of Boconó, located in the Andean state of Trujillo has seen crime grow fast in the last twelve months. Local police admits that every weekend five robberies take place in the town, and retailers are now being extorted. Two who refused to pay were killed in their businesses. Last week, there were protests…

Tower of terror

Jon Lee Anderson penned an epic article on life in Caracas for the New Yorker, and after jumping through many hoops, I finally dished out $5.95 and read it. It is a devastating piece. There are many ways in which one could tell the story of Caracas’ decay, how life in the city has deteriorated…

Rule of lawlessness

If the previous post wasn’t enough, there is a newly released report that confirms this fact: We don’t like laws very much. The Rule of Law Index 2012 (made by the  NGO World Justice Project) finds that Venezuela isn’t just the worst law-abider in Latin America. We’re also rock bottom in government transparency, regulatory enforcement…

Do it for Socorro

Socorro Hernández is one of those chavista creatures that really tick me off. I can sort of understand people like Aristóbulo Istúriz, or Freddy Bernal, or Elías Jaua, or Diosdado Cabello, or even Iris Varela being chavistas. Their backgrounds, their pre-existing conditions so to speak, predispose them – whether it is growing up poor and…

Luisa Estela Morales, Space Cadet

The chairwoman of our Supreme Tribunal has found herself a new priority: Protecting Venezuelan outer space. “The ultraterrestrial space is one of the aspects established in our Constitution as an important element of the general concept of sovereignty…It’s a commitment and an obligation for us to investigate and promote the development of Space Law…this will…

There’s a new sheriff in CICPC town

Big structural changes for the CICPC, Venezuela’s investigative police force, after Chávez used his enabling law powers to reform it by decree. The president’s first major change? A new police commander. And who better for the task than the Comandante Presidente himself. The idea of having the president as head of the police not only…