How far down the rabbit hole is Venezuela? This far down the rabbit hole: the government-controlled Supreme Tribunal just ruled that everything the opposition-controlled National Assembly has done, does and will do was, is and will be unconstitutional…and the nation mostly yawned in return.

To somebody coming at it from the outside, it’s simply befuddling. This should be a major constitutional crisis: the will of the crushing majority of the electorate last December undone by a gaggle of partisan hacks. It looks like a Fujimori-style self coup, it ought to have shaken the nation to the core, right?

Each new lunatic rant the TSJ hands down as a sentence merely adds to the bulging indictment against it.

Except it didn’t. The Supreme Tribunal’s bizarre origin, unembarrassed partisanship and unfailing hackishness have destroyed its standing so completely, we just sort of roll our collective eyes at each new outrage. By now we’re well past the point of diminishing returns: each new lunatic rant the TSJ tries to pass off as a sentence merely adds to the bulging indictment against it.

At this point, the Tribunal barely qualifies as one; it doesn’t do any of the things that make a tribunal a tribunal. It doesn’t actually hold hearings, doesn’t make even a show of considering evidence, doesn’t so much as pretend to rule impartially. Still it huffed and it puffed, threatening constitutional, criminal, civil, administrative, disciplinary, ethical, political and social sanctions.

In the wake of September 1st and #VillaRosa, the juridical pataleta just looks desperate and weak: the Nth temper tantrum from people who know they’re on their way out.


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  1. Quico, my cousins in Venezuela are dying. Let’s stop talking about Fujimori style anything…let’s stop being counters of pinhead dancing angels. My grandparents’ nation is dying…YOUR nation is dying. What can we do to help now? You have connections and you can take the lead and tell us what to do. It’s getting late, my friend.

      • A estas alturas del partido si uno rechaza la antipolítica le dicen leninista.

        Grow the fuck up. You have political leadership. They have a strategy, for once. They’re united, for once. Get over your adolescent bullshit and follow them.

        • Uhh, ¿No será al revés? ¿Que el que “acepta la antipolítica le dicen leninista”?

          Porque la antipolítica es lo que usaron precisamente los comunistas para agarrar el coroto, y lo que siguen usando para mantener a la gente de oposición “sin liderazgo” al despachar todo lo que no les gusta con el comodín de que “es por razones políticas, por lo tanto es mierda y es inválido.”

        • The question is whether you will accept the strategy was wrong if it doesn’ t work. If there is no RR this year, as it seems more likely, then yes, it wil actually be proven you are a leninist! And you are not called a leninist because of your strategy itself, which is perfecly valid, you are called leninist because of the way you treat those who have a different, and, equally valid, point of view.

        • And these are words from someone trying to drag the country out of the rabbit hole:

          “El presidente de la Asamblea Nacional, Henry Ramos Allup, se pronunció sobre la decisión del Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, donde declara nulos todos los actos de la AN por considerarla en desacato.

          Ramos Allup dijo: “No vamos a acatar ninguna decisión del TSJ ni de ningún poder que viole la Constitución”.

          Además reiteró que la Sala Constitucional de Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, no tiene legitimidad de origen, ni legitimidad de desempeño. “Este es un Gobierno que soportamos constitucionalmente, porque constitucionalmente saldremos de él”.

          Se refirió también al supuesto golpe de Estado que habría estado planeado, según el director del Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional (Sebin), Gustavo González López, para el pasado 1 de septiembre, con Bs 200 mil, que no llegan ni a la cuarta parte de una canasta alimentaria.

          “El cerebro del general Néstor Reverol es un arma letal, pero es porque es una piedra” sentenció el presidente de la Asamblea. “El Director del Sebin mostró ´evidencia´ rocambolesca de una conspiración”.”

      • Correct. MUD is doing the best they can to represent the population and bring a peaceful resolution to the mess. It should be appreciated by now that this is a difficult situation, but they are succeeding. Some have fanciful notions that all can be turned around and set right in a few moments by some magic or miracle. You have an entire nation that has gone into a quagmire of rules and regulations that have led to starvation, lack of medicines, lack of schooling, and general dysfunction at virtually all levels. There are those who advocate violence to bring a quick (and imaginary) resolution, and at the same time predict that it will take generations to right the economy and the country. MUD is doing an admirable job. They’ve been opposed, assaulted, and harassed. The country supports them.

        Righting all the myriad wrongs of the country will take some time, and it will never be perfect. There is not a country in the world without those who complain loudly about how unfair and inequitable things are. But it should not take more than one or two years to reestablish a market economy. I’ve urged here for someone to publish an article on engineering some plans to bridge over that awful chasm of communism and get to a market economy.

        One step possible is the return of the alleged $300,000,000,000 stolen and stashed in foreign bank accounts. The IMF can help recover that and transfer it to legitimate government accounts which can be used to help resolve the nation’s debts and import foods as a relief bridge. The U.S. is actively prosecuting some of the “shady deals” that led to private fortunes. Probably much of the alleged stolen money has been squandered, but it’s an awful lot of money, so much of it must still be around.

        A second step which can yield immediate results is establishing guarantees of capital, and one of the best ways to do that is to reverse-expropriate properties of international companies such as Clorox, properties of national companies, and pay amounts due oil service companies to reestablish oil exports. Someone has already outlined what seems like a very viable plan to use the country’s natural gas reserves to upgrade Orinoco crude, and someone has already done what seems like an excellent job outlining how to maintain a supply of electric power. An outline on water supply would be nice.

        A third immediate step is to abolish the absolutely ridiculous government monopoly on foreign exchange – the absurd “divisas” policy. That is so incredibly off-base it strains credibility, and it took me, with a degree in economy, three months to figure out, picking up scraps of information from the press.

        The situation is far from hopeless.

    • Hi J, As a Venezuelan citizen living outside my country and being as frustrated as it seems you are, the only thing WE CAN DO is spread the voice as much as you can …
      It’s for me almost increible to believe how little information about Venezuela situation is told here in The Netherlands (newspapers, TV, etc) it makes me feel so sad. It’s like is not worse enough to tell the people about it !
      Like Quico said, the MUD has finally a strategy and it seems like it takes longer that we wish but more and more we are getting the international attention and their democratic mask is fallen down. Their end has already start …

      • But who the fuck cares about Venezuela? and why would/should they?

        It’s not like anyone needs anything from Venezuela. And it’s not like Venezuelans didn’t choose that system in the first place, over and over again for 17 years.

        And before you even start with the “they-cheated” bullshit let me remind you that the MUD’s only strategy is a referendum because for the first time ever they think they could win democratically. So yes, even the MUD acknowledges that it’s a democratic system. So why should anyone save the Venezuelans from themselves.

        Come 2019, if Maduro stays despite a clear overwhelming majority against him, maybe THEN people in other countries might start taking a second look.

      • Thank you, M. It’s incredible to me that so few here in the States care about our rich neighbor (ex, maybe) living with starvation and violence. Actually, I am sorry to say, most of my acquaintances would need 60 seconds to find VZ on a globe.

    • Dryly translated:

      “In Venezuelan: And nobody pays any mind/attention to anybody”

      Loosely translated:

      “In Venezuelan: And nobody gives a flying f-ck about anybody”

      • Only in V. would una tia loca del Cafetal know that. Good translation. My favorite it still “antiparabolico” (calm, even-tempered, hard to upset – loosely translated, of course).

  2. So can somebody please tell The Nation that when they lead their article with “Venezuela is not a dictatorship” they’re 100% full of it?

    • Your kidding, right? This is the same “The Nation” that said that the ends justify the means as long as the outcome is how they see it.

      I fear that things will only get worse (much … MUCH WORSE) before they get any “better”.

      Dear God, I hope I am wrong and that this ends quickly and peacefully with a sudden self deportation of Maduro and crew, but, that is not likely.

    • we have been telling them for 15 years. The articles are only going to get crazier. In Trinidad newpaper they just published “millions of supporters of President Nicolas Maduro marched through the streets of Caracas to protect the peace and the democratic rule of the government that was constitutionally elected, showing the non-violent behaviour of our revolutionary people.”

      Dont get your hopes up

        • Gringo, Trinidad is an up and running democracy with a proper judicial system, a working public health and education service and a vibrant arts scene. I don´t think we are quite in the position to scoff at our neighbours. They´ve got their act together better that we do.

      • Actually that was an article written and paid for by the Venezuelan ambassador. Trinis know better, everyone has a cousin or a friend across the water.

  3. I get that it hasnt been a moment of shock by virtue of being more than expected (and the only kind of thing the Chavistas show any sense of efficiency and quickness…)

    But, it has to have some repercussions, right? I mean, this cant all be barks and barks and no bite…

  4. Beyond my anger at what the TSJ has become , the submissive minion of a despotic executive power , I am concerned at the fragility of the institutional mechanism whereby its autonomy is normally assured , when a supermayority of like minded parlaimentarians can stack it with their own partisans ( as has happened in venezuela) or for no credible reason can block the appointment of its magistrates ( as has happened in the US) !! There is something about the exarcerbated conentiouslness of democratic partisan politics that tends to corrupt everything it touches …..

    The pursuit of hegemonic power seems to cloud the minds of most pols , instilling them with a malevolent desire to appoint not the best men to an institution but only those who are most subservient to their own parrochial political goals and interests …!!

    An independent judiciary is a must for the political order to operate with some degree of honesty and efficiency , but we are beholden of a system that makes such independent judiciary only possible where the political playing field is composed of different political groups (no single one of them dominating the others) who can work on a multipartisan basis to make those appointments having regard to the strict professional credentials and sterling character of the candidates to such appointments !!

    This is true not only of the appointment of TSJ magistrates , but of those who must head institutions such as the Central Bank , the Army and the Civil Service which performs the basic non political functions of government !! Unless we crack this nut , the danger will always be there for allowing either a paralyzing stalemate in the operation of the State or a corrupt inept manipulation of its activities !!

    • I think it’s pretty clear that the way the constitución is written it’s really easy for whoever is in charge to stack all the branches in his (c’mon, I don’t see Venezuela voting for a woman in the near future) favor, if the next guy in charge makes any sort of attempt to fix this, I will be extremely surprised.

      Sadly this will be a new standard for Venezuelan politics as we’ll see everyone attemping to get into that perfect proportion that’ll allow them to do all of this again…

      It’s a latin american totalitarian regime wet dream.

      • How is the decision made to appoint someone as head of a university like harvard or yale or cambridge or oxford , do they call on all the students and teachers and janitors and gardeners to hold a vote where the most popular man is chosen …….can anyone on the sole basis of his friendship with a very popular group of students get to be chosen as president of the university or as administrators of its estate …….?? Just curious why have we in modern times made popularity the key determinant factor in deciding who gets to be boss ?? isnt there a better way of making these decisions ??

        • The head of the University is chosen by the Board of Trustees or Governors.

          For a private university, new Trustees are usually appointed by the incumbent board, though some universities (Darthmouth) have elections by the alumni.

          For U.S. public universities, the Board of governors is appointed by the state governor (or in some cases elected).

          Oxford? The Chancellor is a top level political figure, sometimes retired. The Vice Chancellor is the actual head. Both are selected by the Nomination Committee of the Council, which is composed of senior officers of the Colleges and academic divisions and some other people.

          • Thank you Rich , it seems as if the system whereby these top universities choose their authorities has very little do with taking a comprehensive poll on their popularity , I assume these are all men of merit who get to choose the authorities …… oligarchical elite in fact, not beholden on the general population of the university to choose whom they think best …….!! despite that it seems to work quite well …!!

  5. ?…the TSJ is not a Venezuelan Court…its a castrochavista mechanism….its laughable that readers believe that change will come because of internainal condemnation….im laughing texting it..haha
    Could there be a more Stalinistic security circle?..from the ground up….no one cares about anyone but themselves….couldnt be a less proactive group .i love to hear …I looove my country from these jokers……its not your country
    anymore…go ahead and hold hsnds and march…everyone get together and chant and scream….take a big bite out of that shit sadwitch…..waste your time…….its to late.

  6. This is not a substantive point, but I think the correct term to translate Tribunal Supremo is “Supreme Court” not “Supreme Tribunal”.

    While literally it might sound right, in common-law the word Tribunal has a different connotation and is used more often to refer to administrative or lower-ranking bodies that don’t have the same hierarchy as regular Courts, so I don’t think it is the correct term for the highest ranking Court in a country. Just a suggestion to avoid confusion for readers in English-speaking countries.

  7. The end game will be played in many different battle grounds , one of them, in the streets, where large and small marches and protests are movilizing the country , they alone may not topple the regime , but they certainly count as part of the multipronged strategies which are tearing at the legitimacy of the regime to weaken it and ultimately bring it down.!! Lets not take heed of the paid trolls here and elsewhere who try and desmotivate those marches as futile or to denigrate the opposition as corrupt ……!! The rot of the regime is within and its hurting them badly even as they scream that they are invincible ……, the biggest enemy of the regime is itself , its self destructive behaviour….its frenzied fear of losing power that makes at in an increasingly brutalized manner!!

  8. I long for the day that Maduro & Company just announce that for the good of the revolution and the future of the Venezuelan people who don’t know any better, they have decided to suspend all civil rights and elections and will rule the country as a dictatorship.

    The honesty would be refreshing.

  9. But who the fuck cares about Venezuela? and why would/should they?

    It’s not like anyone needs anything from Venezuela. And it’s not like Venezuelans didn’t choose that system in the first place, over and over again for 17 years.

    And before you even start with the “they-cheated” bullshit let me remind you that the MUD’s only strategy is a referendum because for the first time ever they think they could win democratically. So yes, even the MUD acknowledges that it’s a democratic system. So why should anyone save the Venezuelans from themselves.

    Come 2019, if Maduro stays despite a clear overwhelming majority against him, maybe THEN people in other countries might start taking a second look.

    • When people sit down to write stuff like this, it honestly makes me wonder what is going through their head. Especially when they feel the strong need to post it twice.

      People still trying to use democratic means is not some prima facie evidence for the existence of a democracy. Why do you think so many Venezuelans turned out in the street? They’re fighting tooth and nail for the recognition of the democratic process and the rule of law. Absent of massive political pressure, the default behavior of the government is to operate well outside of the democratic process as we all very well know.

      A free democracy here may be an illusion, but that doesn’t mean that the people who care about it just stop trying to advocate for representation of the will of the Venezuelan people.

      I don’t know who you’re posing the “Who needs Venezuela” question for. If you’re a Venezuelan, then you need Venezuela. We all need it as Venezuelans. If you’re coming at this as a foreign armchair observer, then often times Venezuela is used as the Internet’s laziest object lesson for the advancement of some low watt parable about the dangers of Socialism or whatnot to smug right wing friends, OR, as a dark conspiratorial object lesson about US cloak and dagger tinkering with Venezuela’s economic flux capacitor to your smug Green left Weekly friends. But either way, if you’re using Venezuela to prove some lazy point to your pals, then Venezuela probably doesn’t need you.

      But at the end of the day, the hemisphere at least needs a stable neighbor. Venezuelans need a stable society. The United States needs little thanks to its shale oil, but it probably doesn’t need a basketcase in the hemisphere mortgaging out its ports and natural resources to its geopolitical rivals. But the return of a stable Venezuela most of all means that hopefully in the future there exists a more constructive model for how to resolve problems in the region when democratic processes break down.

  10. Venezuelans in Venezuela and abroad care and I dare say that others do as well. Colombians come to mind since they may be facing a mass exodus from Venezuela into Colombia. And if things get really bad Venezuelans will be looking to get into the US of A via other countries. It’s myopic to think today that regional problems can be contained locally.


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