The Unsinkable Luisa Ortega Díaz
Swiftly moving down her list of to-do's, the Prosecutor General is now after 13 justices illegally appointed by the last chavista National Assembly in 2015.
There are two things I liked in James Cameron’s Titanic. First, that very quick shot, right after the boat tips, when a man dangling from the the rail next to Rose and Jack falls, and awkwardly hits the giant propeller with his head. Clank!
The second is Kathy Bates’ performance as Margaret Brown (AKA The Unsinkable Molly Brown) – an American socialite who allegedly convinced several rescue boats to look for survivors after the ship went down.
While last week Luisa Ortega had the last word, Monday started with news from the Supreme Tribunal (TSJ). The Electoral Chamber had dismissed her request to suspend the Constituyente process put in motion by president Maduro to purge his opponents from the state. Ortega had been unsparing: Maduro’s proposal violates a slew of Constitutional tenets that set the ground for, well, Venezuelan participative democracy.
“Incompetent accumulation of causes,” they said.
As the news was still searing another joyful hole in our media outlets and people on Twitter were declaring the Nth death of Venezuelan democracy, the Prosecutor General had already shot back.
A plainly, proudly, unabashedly servile Supreme Tribunal has struck down literally everything the overwhelmingly popularly-elected National Assembly has tried to do.
Since she can’t get the support of the hilariously misnamed “Moral Republican Council” – the body made up of the hardcore chavista Comptroller General, the Human Rights Ombudsman, and the Prosecutor General herself, that is legally empowered to dismiss judges – she filed to annul the judges’ appointment in the first place.
Specifically, she’s going after the 13 judges (and their alternates) appointed by the lame duck National Assembly in 2015. You remember that, right? After chavismo had already lost its Assembly majority on the December 6th, 2015 electoral drubbing, it pulled off a fraudulent procedure that plainly violated several constitutional provisions to appoint a slew of utterly pliant yesmen (and women) to the Supreme Tribunal.
It was that event, more than any other, that has shut off any conceivable avenue for resolving the crisis institutionally. A plainly, proudly, unabashedly servile Supreme Tribunal has struck down literally everything the overwhelmingly popularly-elected National Assembly has tried to do, bringing Venezuela to the crisis it faces today.
By zeroing in on their appointment, Luisa is bringing the crisis full circle.
She went from moving against the constituyente to moving against its enablers.
We can expect all kinds of answers from the Supreme Tribunal, except one where justice will be served. Just as we expected that the Constitutional and Electoral Chambers would dismiss her previous motions. Nonetheless, the play-by-play has been exciting. Ortega had these documents up sleeve all along: drafted, prepared for filing.
She’s been crossing off every option, one by one. With every passing day, her public stance, as well as her legal actions, get closer and closer to the root of the problem. Raising the stakes for those involved and highlighting their accountability.
She went from moving against the constituyente to moving against its enablers. She’s been working her way to the top, methodically. I wouldn’t be surprised if folded inside her little black notebook she has a draft of the ante-juicio de mérito request against Maduro.
She’s creating loads of pressure for chavista bureaucrats to jump ship before it sinks, just like she did. Although, depending on how you look at the country, the ship has already sunk, and just like the Unsinkable Molly Brown, Luisa is just bringing the boats about to rescue a couple of her bobbing comrades.
Update 11:29 a.m.: Luisa Ortega just filed an ante-juicio de mérito request before the TSJ (Sala Plena) to review the merits to prosecute the 7 judges of the Constitutional Chamber. If such motion is approved (by 17 judges from 32), these 7 judges would be removed and subjected to criminal prosecution. She’s out for blood.
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