48 Hours in the Life of Luisa

Show trials, viral videos, unappointments and reappointments, former foes turned friends and friends turned foe. More has happened to Prosecutor General since Monday than happens to a normal person in a lifetime.

Luisa Ortega Díaz, the Venezuelan opposition unlikely new hero, has kept herself busy during the last 48 hours. Yesterday, she released this video, which quickly went viral.

The video which, for our conspiranoid readers, lasts exactly 3:50 minutes is a defense of the 1999 Constitution and of the Public Prosecutor’s Office she leads from the recent attacks from the government.

Later in the day, Luisa visited the National Assembly to witness the special session to approve her appointment of Rafael González Arias as Deputy Prosecutor General (vice-fiscal general), which she had requested last week.

In what seemed a parallel universe compared from a few months ago, she received a hero’s welcoming, seizing the moment to troll the chavistas who were protesting her presence there and thanking the Assembly for its support. Earlier, the Supreme Tribunal had annulled González’s appointment due to lack of AN approval another of these Catch-22s, the AN couldn’t approve, because the Tribunal ruled it was in contempt of court.

Ignoring González’ confirmation by the National Assembly and in an action that seems to pave the road for Ortega Díaz’s inevitable ouster, the Supreme Tribunal of appointed Katherine Haringhton as Under-Prosecutor General instead.

Haringhton is a largely obscure figure who has acted as prosecutor in some of the most appalling and unfair show trials staged by Chavismo. For her actions she was sanctioned by the Obama Department of State as a human right violator. However, in an ironic reminder of Luisa’s complicated past, as recently as March 2015 she had publicly supported Haringhton against the sanctions. Haringhton was, after all, a faithful Fiscalía footsoldier.

Could she just fade into obscurity like other disgraced chavistas? Will someone in the Armed Forces take up her cause?

And today, the incomparable Pedro Carreño and the mephistophelian President of the Supreme Tribunal Maikel Moreno staged a bizarre show trial to oust her from her position. Ortega Díaz decided not to attend, and her absence resulted in the Tribunal appointing a public defender to handle her “defense”.

Instead, Luisa gave a blistering press conference where she sardonically mocked Carreño’s history of bizarre and false statements, mentioned the first lady’s nephews convicted of drug trafficking in the US, called the current actions of the government a coup d’etat “more grotesque than Carmona’s” and contradicted the government’s version about her approval of the appointments of several Supreme Tribunal justices in December 2015, among other stinging comments.

The Supreme Tribunal will “decide” on her ousting within the next five days. Although it’s undeniable that her decisive actions have made Ortega a key player in the last few weeks, it remains to be seen what impact her ouster will have. Could she just fade into obscurity like other disgraced chavistas? Will someone in the Armed Forces take up her cause?

Or could we end up with two parallel fiscalías? And then, what happens when civil tribunals try to act and two different fiscales turn up to prosecute the case?

For all her stardom, Luisa remains an enigma. Her statements remain vague and empty, she does not give away what she stand for or who is she is, really. Personally, considering her past actions as an enabler of chavismo, I remain skeptical and on my guard.

And yet, at this point, she seems to be one of the few resources we have left against chavismo. So I hope to be proven wrong soon. Very soon.

César Crespo

Evil corporate lawyer. Amateur adult person. Political news junkie. Economics dilettante.