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Fake News: Venezuela Upholds Rule of Law, But Press Calls It Dictatorship

Fake news has been around for quite some time as a USA tool for war, destabilization, for promoting coup d’etat, for derailing governments that the USA dislikes. Nothing new.

The powers that be and the mainstream media are now rushing to say that Venezuela is now “a one man rule”.  However, in what modern democracy can a parliament accept as voting members people who have NOT been duly elected because the voting process in their district was proven to have been grossly irregular? How can decisions taken by that parliament in which these non-elected people are recognized and participate, be in any way legitimate parliamentary decisions?

That is the situation in which the National Assembly of Venezuela, with an opposition majority, finds itself.

On July 28, 2016 the National Assembly swore in as assembly deputies three individuals who had been suspended by the Venezuelan Supreme Court (TSJ) because of an ongoing investigation on gross irregularities involving vote buying in their district, the Amazon state. There are telephone recordings of a high placed official of that state government offering a great deal of money to groups of people in exchange for their votes for opposition candidates.

The National Assembly, ignoring and violating the Supreme Court decision that suspended these people, proceeded as if it was business as usual in the legislature. Therefore, on 28 March 2017 the Supreme Court released a ruling that it will temporarily assume the functions of the National Assembly until that body ceases to be in contempt of court, that is, until the three offending deputies are removed.  This is in accordance to Article 336.7 of the Venezuela Constitution that allows the Supreme Court to take corrective measures in the case of an unconstitutional parliamentary omission.[1]

On 28 March 2017, Luis Almagro, the director of the Organization of American States (OAS) called for Venezuela to be suspended from the OAS opening the way for foreign intervention in Venezuela, alleging a violation of democratic principles. This is the same OAS that kept silent about the parliamentary coups d’etat in Brazil and Paraguay, the coup d’etat in Honduras,  that has kept silent on the hideous assassinations of students and journalists in Mexico, and the multitude of human rights violations of labour unionists in Colombia.

The Venezuelan legislators publicly supported this outrageous proposal. The supposed – and illegitimate- president of the National Assembly, Julio Borges, supporting Almagro, declared publicly that the Assembly was “openly in rebellion” and that it will not recognize the Supreme Court. [2]Almagro failed as he could not get such a decision passed at the OAS.

The Supreme Court advised the legislators that they could be tried for treason as Article 132 of the Venezuelan Penal Code prohibits citizens from soliciting outside intervention in Venezuelan national politics. Furthermore, it reminded them that according to law, they have no parliamentary immunity while the Assembly is in contempt of the Supreme Court.

What would happen in Britain, Canada, or the USA if their legislatures openly defied their Supreme Court and insisted on swearing in people who are not duly and legitimately elected and who are the object of a criminal investigation? Would the press then say that there is a dictatorship in those countries? What becomes of the rule of law when the decisions of a Supreme Court are ignored by the Legislature?

These legal processes are being ignored by the likes of Almagro and the right-wing governments of the region that shamelessly carry out orders from Washington and vilify Venezuela.  In fact, the Supreme Court of Venezuela has tried to get the National Assembly to cooperate with the Executive to jointly try to resolve the serious economic situation of the country.

Venezuela should be lauded for defending the rule of law, not tarred with malicious fake news. But its government is sitting on top of the Hemisphere’s largest oil reserves and it  repudiates the policies of the cannibalistic neo-liberal capitalism. So for the USA State Department and its supine allies and greedy corporations, Venezuela must be defied, deposed and defamed.

Notes.

[1] Rachel Boothroyd Rojas, Venezuela’s Supreme Court to Temporarily Assume Role of the National Assembly, www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/13013

[2] Alba Ciudad, Frente al desacato de la Asamble Nacional: hay golpe de estado en Venezuela? www.aporrea.org/actualidad/n306327.html

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María Páez Victor, Ph.D. is a Venezuelan born sociologist living in Canada. 

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