Washington, D.C. 703.268.



11/8/2010 015-2010

HUGO CHAVEZ- Impunity to Act above the Law? By: Jerry Brewer


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s strong-arming of the nation’s populace, as well as his threats and intimidation of virtually all that disagree or have contrary opinions to his actions; stand on soil that prevents a clear path with much treacherous footing potential. The embarrassment of slim victory for majority rule in the 2010 parliamentary election in Venezuela on September 26, 2010, sparked a tirade of Chavez anger that led to his usual non-stately and crude political demeanor of confrontation. He quickly embarked on travel to meet with his mentor and revolutionary partner Fidel Castro in Cuba, as well as to the embracing arms of Iran’s Ahmadinejad. Too, his stops did not forget his pals in Russia, Syria, and others. In Syria, after a sincere message of disapproval exhibited by one of the strongest showings of Venezuelan voters in Chavez’s more than 11 years in power, stated to a world audience that he and his Syrian counterpart are "on the offensive" against Western imperialism. Too, he had his usual message for Israel as to Gaza’s future. This, a pretty heady verbal agenda from a leader continuing to lose support at home, and facing disastrous implications of food shortages, rolling power blackouts, and the answers as where the massive oil revenue has gone. Chavez, in lieu of attempting to listen and communicate with a Venezuelan people that clearly showed their democratic votes indicating a demand for change, staunchly vowed to radicalize his socialist revolution. The high voter turnout of 66.45% in Venezuela was indeed impressive. The PSUV won 96 seats, the MUD 64 and the PPT 2. The PSUV thus lost their two-thirds majority in the assembly, and thus would not be able to pass organic legislation on its

 jbrewer@cjiausa.org


own, without the support of at least some members of the MUD opposition. The PSUV also did not attain a three-fifths majority, which means it would not be able to pass enabling legislation without the aid of 3 non-PSUV members of the National Assembly. However, the newly elected will not take their seats until January. Consequently, Chavez has a compliant Assembly for three months more to push through legislation and his free will. An arrogant Chavez, ignoring crashing oil prices and “his” economic crisis quickly turned to chaotic power plays. He quickly embarked on an unwise and reckless course of expropriation to nationalize several rice and food manufacturers, seizing farms and land, threatening to personally destroy one of the country's largest business groups known as Empresas Polar; and also seized one of the country's most beloved “gastronomic institutions with Commerce Minister Eduardo Samán's attack against the Areperas - the makers of the country's most popular sandwiches - demanding that they sell their products at a fraction of the price.” A reform bill being passed through the National Assembly to alter the Law on Decentralization, placing greater powers into the hands of the central government, stripping the regions of authority, and conveniently allowing the chavistas to seize control of all major ports - including the lucrative oil export infrastructure; {decentralization law} “was the crowning achievement of 50 years of democracy, returning the country to a concentration of power not seen since the dictatorship of Juan Vicente Gómez.” Chavez’s governance is popularly referred to as “the service of an ideology and not law and justice.” He is accused of reinventing the law according to the interests of the regime. This bias has led to prison or exile for many Venezuelans and has gone from directly blaming innocents of crimes to imprisonment for crimes of opinion, and containing political opposition The world has previously seen leftist leaders and regimes telegraph their true intentions through their anger and arrogance while consolidating power. Those acts routinely weaken democratic institutions, and trample on the guarantees of human rights. In the absence of a credible judicial control in Venezuela, the Chavez government has implemented “systematically discriminatory policies that have limited the exercise of freedom of expression of journalists, the right to freedom of association for workers and the civil society capacity to promote human rights in Venezuela. The Chavez government has implemented discriminatory practices against its political opponents and critics. At times, the president himself has openly endorsed acts of discrimination.” Chavez has further defined his sinister agenda through a manifest disregard of the principle of separation of powers and, especially, the idea of an independent judiciary that is “indispensable for protecting fundamental rights in a democratic society.” What more proof is necessary? It came with the political takeover of the Supreme Court by Chávez and his regime.



This regime clearly is inventing corruption charges; according to Venezuela’s opposition. It is evidenced with a state leader such as Chavez personally threatening to jail other opposition. There is clearly no healthy separation of powers that traditionally shape the institutions of a democratic state in Venezuela. There remain viable fears of arrest for the current Mayor of Caracas, as well as other opposition. Freedom of expression remains a very confusing issue to Venezuelans today. Chavez’s regime wants to tell the world “no one has the freedom to defame and slander others publicly with no evidence and no consequences.” This may be true in civil courts with monetary damage awards possible. However, to claim that comments made- “jeopardizes the security of a nation or its leaders,” and thus seek to impose criminal sanctions, defy the rule of law and violate human rights in a democratic society. Much of this stems from international accusations, with purported evidence, of Chavez’s alleged involvement/toleration of the FARC (and other) guerillas and international drug trafficking, as well as statements from other previous Venezuelan official(s). Chavez will continue into a downward spiral as he continues to stifle dissent and order political persecution. Venezuelans, as do most democratic and free nations, desire the rule of law to prevail. This is why they vote. Chavez’s regime claims “There are no political prisoners in Venezuela.” Yet, Chavez vociferously calls everyone else liars.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATES United States of America —————————— Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm located in northern Virginia. Website is located at www.cjiausa.org . jbrewer@cjiausa.org TWITTER: cjiausa