Grand Theft Political Party

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Gabriel Puerta Aponte, Secretary-General of Bandera Roja

It’s become commonplace: our highest court gets involved in the internal affairs of political parties. This week the gauntlet fell on two more: Bandera Roja (Red Flag), a once guerrilla group that decided eventually to replace the armed struggle for the electoral one, and Christian Democratic party COPEI, one of the main Venezuelan political parties of the pre-Chavez era.

On Tuesday, the TSJ’s all-powerful Constitutional Hall decided to give full control of BR to chairman Pedro Veliz Acuña, including the right to select candidates for the upcoming AN election.

But the Constitutional Hall didn’t stop there: hours ago, the magistrates accepted a request from several members of COPEI’s National Political Directorate, who complained about a lack of consultation in the selection of candidates for the legislative election. Therefore, they named an “ad hoc” board (involving those behind this request) and told the CNE to only accept COPEI candidates from this board.

The current COPEI leadership, including its Chairman Roberto Enriquez, have been suspended from their posts and have been ordered to implement this decision “immediately and unconditionally”, otherwise facing contempt charges. Enriquez is named as the reason of the plaintiffs’ argument:

…the national chairman of COPEI party has put his personal interests over those of the party, committing his organization in events and political determinations not debated by them and assigning unconsulted candidacies with a precarious majority of the National Political Directorate.”

What’s behind the Bandera Roja case? Veliz was selected as BR’s chairman in its 2011 internal congress, but the following year that process was declared void in another congress, which left the party in hands of its founder and current Secretary-General Gabriel Puerta Aponte.

In 2013, the TSJ’s Electoral Hall ordered a new internal process and the case eventually strahgt up to its Constitutional counterpart. In November of last year, the case was declared as “terminated” and the Electoral Hall’s prior ruling was thrown out.

Bandera Roja’s National Political Committee responded in a written statement, blaming Chavismo of orchestrating this legal maneuver:

Chavista despotism and their united mafias, through the TSJ’s Constitutional Hall, just took away Bandera Roja’s electoral card and gives it, as some exchange currency, to a little character without any profession known since quite some time as a government agent, and who’s assuming the condition of impostor on a political party that resumes a good part of the history of the Venezuelan revolutionary movement and represented in the acronym BR.

This decision, supposedly legal and similar to the disqualifications of the dispossession of the acronym of goverment-supporting party MEP, is a desperate measure of a defeated government in all terrains that goes into a rumbling electoral loss. But this ruling wants to go even further. It looks to destroy Bandera Roja as a political party and putting it at the service of the ruling party’s plans…”

Bandera Roja’s Secretary-General Gabriel Puerta Aponte told news website El Pitazo that Veliz was originally selected only as a honorary chairman, because of his role as a former guerrilla fighter and that it’s up to his post to make to register candidates for all elections.

The relationship between BR and the MUD hasn’t been easy: last year, Puerta announced that Bandera Roja was leaving the MUD, which was denied shorty after by the opposition coalition (with the support of Chairman Pedro Veliz). And more than two months ago, Puerta said BR would go to December’s legislative election with its own brand, regardless of a possible agreement on the use of a MUD Unity Card.

As election time approaches, judicial pressure on political parties is intensifying, as both these cases and last week’s MEP-jacking can attest. Even the first party involved in a similar case PODEMOS is not safe: the Constitutional Hall ordered in June “a provisional structure” to run such party until the December 6th election, lead by former Aragua State governor Didalco Bolivar.

An effective way to keep them on check.

1 COMMENT

  1. This could be the way they undermine a potential opposition victory in 2015: have undercover chavistas decide who the opposition candidates will be in some of these marginal parties with fringe seats, and once the MUD wins by a small margin, have them flip over to the government. Just another damn thing. #LosTiemposDeDiosdadoSonPerfectos

    • Well, or simply just destroy the parties outright. I mean, what would you vote for any of them now, when it is clear they have been coopted by the government.

      Which is very puzzling with COPEI, I have to say. Those guys cant be too popular with the rest of the party.

    • Which is pretty much what I’ve been “predicting” all year:

      The Dictatorship will continue to engage all its weapons of Fraud, gerrymandering, inhabilitaciones, zero carnets de votacion, bribes, death threats, job-loss threats, tigrito threats, (using the infamous Tasco list and Obama list), more last minute CNE rule changes, resuscitating the usual Chinese and Cuban Dead, give them new cedulas, and finally, the secret weapon, the Smartmatic atomic bomb, as necessary, where necessary.

      The objective of such gigantic, yet measured Fraud, (if Capo Cabello and el Mago Ridriguez/Delcy are not utterly retarded), will be to gracefully “concede” a laughable and meaningless “MUD Victory”, say 55%.

      Then they will sell it as proof of Kleptozuela’s great “Democracy”, and crush it, in many, many easy ways.

      Can’t wait till December to see this shit hit the fan.

      • James, allow me to explain in simple terms, to you and a couple of other *geniuses* with negative, if not arrogant energy, why voting is necessary, in spite of the lack of or limited options.

        (1) Not voting will change nothing. Keep dreaming if you think it will.
        (2) In spite of the Pollyannas — and they are legion — who pop up with thoughts that this regime has its days numbered, Venezuelans could be in for the long haul. How so? Exhibit: Cuba.
        (3) It’s important to not lose the civic exercise of voting, in spite of its uselessness. Or, as the dad of one CC reader said, years ago, “Someday voting is going to matter.”

  2. And, as always, why does our “Bravo Pueblo” tolerate such Barbarities, systematic, flagrant violations of the Constitution?

    Some will say “because they are oppressed”, threatened to lose their jobs, repressed by jail or brute force if they hit the streets”. Or because the media is censured, lack of information..

    I say the most important reason is massive under-education. Galactic ignorance. For one thing, the average pueblo people left in Vzla hardly even comprehends what a Republic or a Constitution are. Zero clue.

    • Actually the reason is the antipolitics shit-in-the-brain infection, which makes people secretly enjoy and wallow any disgrace that falls upon the “parties of the 4th”, even when it stregthtens chaburrismo.

    • Supposing the cause of human behavior carries a great risk of being in error. We all have been misjudged in our motives and/or intentions, by people who know us better than we know the people of an entire country.

      The tolerance you mention is obvious. During the tenure of this government how many blatant violations of the constitution, human rights, morals and ethics have we seen go by without it being the red flags for people they should have been. We got into this mess we’re currently in over years and years in gradual steps and along the way the alarm bells didn’t sound for people until it was too late. Maybe it’s the tolerance, acceptance and even expectation of corruption that is rampant through Latin America.

      I would say that the Venezuelan people are by and large fairly well educated, worldly and intellectual. My guess about what we’re seeing is that it’s caused by the people being very accepting of what ever happens in general (it has it’s good side too), combined with an understanding that in Venezuela politicians are bigwigs with power that aren’t afraid of public opinion, that government is not interactive and participatory. When people are upset they bang pots or have a protest. Calling or writing a political leader to complain (interaction) doesn’t seem to be a normal occurrence. What good would complaining do? Government is the “patrón”. The government be it local or national throws at you what ever they want to. Politicians have no shame or fear of public failure. I live in a town where the roads are a mess, recent Chavista party driven road repairs have made things much worse, and the town is littered with signs saying “¡Es una fiesta de asfalto!” alongside the ripened one’s image. Where I’m from they’d either fix the roads OR take the signs down! It’s embarrassing. I’ve often said they don’t aim for failure, but they don’t aim for much above it, and if they hit failure instead, that’s OK too.

      But at some point the blame for the political system has to come back to the people themselves, what they find attractive, what strikes a chord in them, what they will allow and what they demand (or don’t demand) is why the system is what is is.

      • “I would say that the Venezuelan people are by and large fairly well educated, worldly and intellectual.”

        We certainly have completely different concepts of what “education” is.

        If you mean 95% of venezuelans are “alphabrutized” and can read or write a bit, sure!

        Education, to me, means way more than that. Means to learn how to think for oneself, to have some critical and analytical tools to build original opinions, to have to basic knowledge of World History, a bit of basic Geographic or Math beyond “2 harina pan menos una = ejtoy jodio”, or just to have a clue about what a democracy or constitution are, or just that perhaps Cuba isn’t that great and the Miami-Madrid-Bogota-Onu axis of evil is not waging economic wars or about to attack in Guyana soon, as Millions of your “fairly educated” venezuelans still “think”.

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