The Supreme Tribunal’s Electoral Chamber has found the National Assembly in contempt (desacato) over the swearing-in of the three questioned Assembly Members from Amazonas State. The decision declares “absolutely null” any National Assembly decision might make while the three deputies in question hold their seats.
It’s worth restating that the “Supreme Tribunal” we’re dealing with is no such thing. It doesn’t reason juridically, doesn’t even go through the motions of feigning impartiality, doesn’t enjoy even rudimentary political independence from an executive branch it is wholly subservient to, and doesn’t even pay lip service to sustaining its own jurisprudence.
The five judges of the Electoral Chamber who handed down this decision are all hardcore chavistas, including a PSUV member of parliament who just lost his seat in the National Assembly in the same election he’s now effectively invalidated.
There’s a peculiar kind of illogic to a decision that invalidates acts that have not yet even taken place. Of course, what Miraflores-TSJ is doing is not really “overruling acts”, but disbanding the legislature.
What we have here is a very chavista kind of autogolpe.
Whereas in Perú, in 1992, Alberto Fujimori shut down congress the gorilla way, with tanks on the streets, chavismo’s self-coup comes all decked out in jurisprudential sophistry.
The end result is the same: the democratically elected legislative is under attack at the hand of an authoritarian executive with total control over a puppet judiciary.
When you control enough of the rest of the state, the tanks are surplus to requirement.
No surprises here. Yet no less sobering for it.
UPDATE: The first MUD reaction is defiant. Simón Calzadilla, the National Assembly’s third in command, vows to press on legislating with the 112 deputies elected on December 6th.
Note: Comments are working now.
Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported.
We’ve been able to hang on for 19 years in one of the craziest media landscapes in the world. Now, the difficulty level was raised abruptly with the global pandemic. We’ve seen different media outlets in Venezuela (and abroad) cutting personnel to avoid closing shop. This is something we’re looking to avoid at all costs, and it seems we will. But your collaboration goes a long way in helping us weather the storm.Donate