“Let the People Decide” is the title of the document that sums up the national accord against Nicolás’ Constituyente, endorsed by various political and civil sectors, which was used to convene an electoral process to let us decide what we want for the country, proposing to hold it on July 16th. National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges said:
“We are issuing a joint statement, going beyond our differences but preserving our values. Today, we are gathered here in defense of the Constitution and the Republic because we know they are at risk. Venezuela demands that we stand together to defend it, in National Unity.”
And added that defending the Constitution is urgent and that, in compliance with articles 5, 71, 333 and 350, they’re convening elections for the country’s future.
Earlier, the National Assembly ratified the appointment of Rafael González Arias as Deputy Prosecutor General, even though the TSJ had issued a ruling nullifying the appointment made by the Prosecutor General last April 17th.
The lawmakers carried out an exhaustive review of all the actions taken by the Executive Branch and the TSJ to dismiss the Prosecutor General and her decisions, restating that the National Assembly has the power to remove her from her post. The Prosecutor General and the Deputy Prosecutor went to the Hemiciclo and Julio Borges gave Ortega Díaz the floor.
Autonomous for harassment
Claiming that the Comptroller’s Office fights against corruption – while he practices it, since nepotism is also corruption – Comptroller General Manuel Galindo said that starting this Monday, the Prosecutor’s Office will be inspected in an operation that seeks: “a tax review meant to evaluate the administrative, budgetary and financial procedures, performed during the economic financial exercises from January 1st, 2008 until July 30th, 2017.” He asserted that comptrollership committees have been deployed in all of the PO’s administrative offices to “verify the legality and sincerity of their their operations.”
The interesting detail is that PO employees denounced that the so-called committees were trying to enter their offices “with abuses and without any authorization,” explaining that they’re open to any kind of inspection “as long as the requirements of law are fulfilled and proceedings are respected.”
— Ministerio Público (@MPvenezolano) July 3, 2017
2/2 El @MPvenezolano no se niega a ningún tipo de fiscalización mientras se cumplan los requisitos de ley y se respeten los procedimientos
— Ministerio Público (@MPvenezolano) July 3, 2017
Luisa Ortega Díaz denounced the Comptroller’s Office’s abuses:
“They come like an OLP. Unacceptable. The Prosecutor’s Office is open to any inspection, but under the principles established by the law and the Constitution.”
The Prosecutor General ratified her stance in favor of reconciliation among Venezuelans and institutions, calling for an end to violence and for unity to recover the democratic track: “The State’s institutions can’t violate human rights nor promote crises to the detriment of those they serve. Their interventions must be peaceful, seeking agreement and avoiding conflict,” she said.
Shortly afterwards, she posted a video on her Twitter account ratifying her commitment to defend the Constitution, fulfilling her role as Prosecutor General, which requires her to “stand at the first line of defense in the fight for institutionality,” because now that liberty and the future are at stake, “giving up is not an option.”
— Luisa Ortega Díaz (@lortegadiaz) July 3, 2017
The PSUV’s chamber
The TSJ’s Constitutional Chamber ruled that the Prosecutor General had engaged in abuse of power and committed an inexcusable mistake, but also issued a ruling nullifying the Prosecutor’s Office’s summons against former National Guard commander Antonio Benavides Torres, in response to a protective measure filed by Torres, who’s now the Capital District’s head of government.
The TSJ’s argument to nullify the summons is that it was issued “irrespective of the preliminary hearing on merits.” Benavides Torres was indicted for allegedly authorizing serious and systematic human rights violations committed during these last three months of protests. Lawyer José Vicente Haro explained that Benavides Torres has no prerogative for a preliminary hearing on merits because he’s not effective exercising his post as General, that by accepting the post of Head of Government, he completely lost that prerogative, since a Head of Government isn’t the same as a Governor. If only the justices understood this.
The Venezuelan Prosecutor’s Office requested the U.S. information regarding the case of the presidential couple’s nephews, Efraín Campos Flores and Franqui Flores de Freitas, a year and eight months after they were arrested, back 2015, and eight months after they were found guilty of drug trafficking charges in the U.S. Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General’s legal team recused 17 justices of the TSJ’s Full Chamber, for irregularities in the process requesting a preliminary hearing on merits against her, which is evidence that it’s them, not Ortega Díaz, who should be prosecuted for abuse of power and inexcusable mistakes.
- Sergio Contreras, Voluntad Popular activist and professor at the Andrés Bello Catholic University, arrested on May 10th for carrying a megaphone and asking the PNB not to repress a protest with tear-gas, was released after having been detained for nearly two months.
- The CNE will receive Electoral Service exception requests starting on Monday, July 10th through Friday 14th. More information on rectora Tania D’Amelio’s Twitter account.
- There are confirmed reports that a sizable group of UPEL-Maracay students arrested on Saturday will be presented before military tribunals.
- Governor Henrique Capriles reported that the military parade scheduled for July 5th may not take place due to splits within the Armed Forces, emphasizing that the government’s most recent public events are no longer broadcast live. He thinks it’s probable that the TSJ will remove the Prosecutor General and appoint a new Deputy Prosecutor General today.
- A National Road Blockade against Dictatorship is called for today, starting at 12:00 a.m. and ending at 6:00 p.m.
This government didn’t ask us if we wanted a Constituyente. Each day I’ve protested on the streets, I’ve expressed my condemnation for the breakdown of constitutional order, the loss of liberties and rights. I’ve protested, even though I’m aware of how profoundly vulnerable I am and despite the inevitable fear of repression. I’ve choked on tear-gas long enough to know how deeply I ache to be able to express myself as what I am, a citizen. I’m going to vote in the plebiscite, because it’s my democratic right and duty. And I’ll block the street today and perhaps I’ll face further abuses from the National Guard and the PNB, but I’ll keep protesting because that’s also my right and duty. I go on.
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