Photo: El Nacional

The events surrounding the request from the “legitimate TSJ” for the National Assembly (AN) to authorize the trial against Maduro is a symptom of the current leadership crisis ailing our society.

First, let’s try to understand what this legitimate TSJ or TSJ in exile is.

In December, 2015, the outgoing chavista-controlled National Assembly appointed 13 main justices and 20 deputy justices. The process to appoint these justices was carried out in flagrant violation of the Constitution, the Framework Law of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice and the National Assembly’s Rules of Procedure.

In July, 2017, the current National Assembly decided to revoke the appointments of these justices and appointed their own 13 main and 20 deputy justices, replacing those those who were revoked. This detail is especially relevant: the National Assembly didn’t appoint a parallel TSJ, much less in exile, they appointed the justices so that they would take office along with the existing TSJ that we all know, headquartered at Av. Baralt in Caracas.

The Constitutional Chamber, through ruling N° 545 dated July 20, 2017, nullified the appointment of these justices and accused them of “usurpation of authority.”

Practically all of the AN-appointed justices managed to leave the country. In a ceremony held at the offices of the Organization of American States (OAS) in October, 2017, these justices named themselves the TSJ in exile. The 20 deputy justices became main justices in order to “complete” the amount demanded by the Framework Law of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, 32 justices.

Since then, the TSJ in exile has issued several “rulings”. The most recent of them declares that there are sufficient merits to open a trial against Nicolás Maduro for acts of corruption.

In view of a “ruling” that’s not a ruling, issued by a “Tribunal” that’s not a Tribunal, we all embraced a discussion that would’ve been deemed ridiculous a few months ago.

According to article 266.2 of the Constitution, once the TSJ declares that there are sufficient merits to prosecute the president, the National Assembly must “approve” the trial, as part of the political control that the AN exercises over the TSJ.

And that’s what the TSJ in exile asked the AN to do: authorize the “trial” against Maduro. Exiled Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega Díaz requested this TSJ in exile to start this trial, but she’s also been responsible for human rights violations for years.

Even though most lawmakers agreed to reject this “approval”, they unanimously decided to authorize the preliminary hearing on merits.

In view of a “ruling” that’s not a ruling, issued by a “Tribunal” that’s not a Tribunal, we all ended up immersed in a discussion that would’ve been deemed ridiculous a few months ago.

It’s easy to conclude that the TSJ in exile can’t issue rulings demanding any action from the National Assembly. However, the pressure of public opinion persuaded many AN lawmakers that they had to authorize this, so they changed their minds.

It’s absurd to create false expectations for citizens regarding a “trial” that lacks even the simplest political or judicial foundation. Does this mean that our political strategy is now in the hands of Luisa Ortega and this TSJ in exile? What will be the next thing this pseudo-TSJ will ask of the National Assembly? Appointing a parallel government?

Beyond the judicial debate on whether this TSJ in exile can prosecute Maduro or not, I think that what happened is an alarming symptom of the lack of political leadership in our society. We don’t have references on how to fight the regime. After so many failures and disappointments, it’s obvious that neither the leadership, nor the public opinion, nor common citizens have any clue on how we can protect ourselves. After the coming “election” on May 20, when repression is likely to get worse, we’ll be defenseless as a society.

Beneath the cantinflada of the TSJ in exile, there’s something deeper and quite serious that we must realize: we’ve never been this exhausted, hopeless and weak to resist this regime.

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37 COMMENTS

  1. We are NOW defenseless as a society, and have been for some time. Once the AN let the horse bolt from the barn (beginning with the invalidated 3 Oppo Amazonas Congressmen), it was impossible to get it back in. These discussions of legalese in a Rogue-Run Nation are useless. What counts is the international perception that NM/Co. are illegitimate, which these latest TSJ Exile/AN moves will underline for those outside of Venezuela who do not know the niceties of convoluted/hijacked Venezuelan justice.

  2. Forget the out of country trial by your TSJ in exile. The case would be retried if and when your democracy is restored. But that doesnt mean do nothing. You should form a government in exile and then either get out in the streets for peaceful demonstrations or simply go on strike….stay home. Show us something. This egg shell doesnt need to be hit with a hammer. It’s ready to crack. A firm tap ought to do it.

  3. It has to be a cultural thing. All this symbolism and no substance.

    If this TSJ in exile wasn’t in exile, it STILL wouldn’t be Constitutional.

    • From what I read, the AN duly appointed the TSJ. It is the other TSJ, the regime TSJ in Venezuela, the one that may have reins and whatever it says goes within the regime because it is a puppet of the regime, but it is the one that is unconstitutional. The TSJ in exile is the constitutional one. What the TSJ in exile rules is currently the law of the land.

      • I thought they had to be sworn in before the AN within a specific period of time). This didn’t happen (as far as I know), therefore Venezuela has NO legitimate TSJ.

        • Waltz – If true, that would be why the regime didn’t waste a day arresting a couple of them to chase the rest out of the country. As far as legitimate … take your pick. Seems to me that to insist on letter of the law in Venezuela today, while ignoring circumstances and who has the guns, is a fool’s errand, wouldn’t you say?

          • My point being that one can not cite the TSJ in exile ( if they have not been sworn in according to the constitution, as I believe to be the case) against another body which is also to be considered unconstitutional, the ANC and TSJ in country.

            None of this is really relevant the country is ruled by a band of criminals who have said they will not leave by peaceful means. I believe this to be the only fact that needs to be understood. The rest of these discussions are, sadly (myself first and foremost), just mental masturbation for some of us on the outside.

          • Waltz – To be sure, it’s the money and guns keeping the regime in place, but those can be as fickle as the winds. As far as the TSJ legitimacy, companies do on occasion declare a “force majeure” as reason for non-fulfillment of obligations, as it includes language “when inadvisable” e.g. A FedEx guy isn’t going to enter a burning building to deliver a package, and I don’t think he’d leave it by the front door. It would have been ill-advised or impossible for the legitimate TSJ to have remained in Venezuela to be sworn in [jailed]. So I do not have any problem seeing the TSJ in exile as legitimate – but I’m not a regime card-carrier, so my opinion is bulls**t – as you say. If the opposition takes over, then by all means bring the TSJ back from exile and complete the swearing in.

          • I did not write nor mean that your opinion does not matter because you do/do not have a “carnet de patria”.(clearly you would not).

            I completely agree with your point of the “more legitimate” (my term).

            Maduro et. Have said they will not leave but that may just be hyperbole, like going to Peru last week. My opinion, believe him and plan based on that reality.

            Sorry, if I offended above.

          • Waltz, Not offended at all. I was afraid that with internet posts and me not being Shakespeare you might possible misinterpret what I said, but I noticed that only after it went through, and figured you’d not take it “as you say” to refer to “my opinion” – I just momentarily wanted to avoid the phrase “mental masturbation”. We can’t do anything more than write our opinions, we don’t have insider on the ground back-room skinny on who’s who. We just have a view from the outside that might be valuable if anyone were to factor it into their considerations. Here in the U.S., we have a vote (still).

            I shouted through the screen that the opposition did in fact indeed have a supermajority even after the nullification of the three diputados from Amazonas and the one Chavista guy, because the count is based on members present, and not on number of seats. My argument (shouted) is still 100% valid logic. But, noooo …. Only Maria Cornina Machado (that I am aware of) echoed that correct logic. No one here on this blog joined the shouting. The majority (literally) threw up their hands in resignation. Almost as if most were saying, “Shush with the logic, we must deal with practicalities and obey the regime. You see, in order for us to get them to agree with us, we have to agree with them.” Not until two years later, and the not-so-graceful exit of some million plus citizens (and a lot of other destruction), did a TSJ get appointed, and quickly exiled.

          • Well, MUD seems to enjoy seeing who will drop the bigger anvil on their foot. If that is because some have been bought off, naïveté or political infighting I am not sure. MCM is willing to confront the beast but it does not appear she has “many” supporters, her Soy Venezuela can not even get an article here. Why is that?

          • “…her Soy Venezuela can not even get an article here. Why is that?”

            Because she’s considered too much of a “die-hard” for the comeflores, because “we must pay utter respect for shiabbe’s legacy”

  4. Chavismo for years teased Venezuela into thinking that it was a democratic movement. It was certainly popular given the petro dollar profligate days, so its commitment to democratic manners was never tested, until it was tested, at which time they dropped all democratic pretenses, however slowly, to show its true authoritarian face. Well done by the opposition here, they proved the existence of a dictatorship.

    The government controls the military and it controls the petro dollar, it has no need to obey laws nor does it need to be popular. All it needs is to be the most powerful actor in the Venezuelan universe with no compunction for violence.

    Civil society can make moves to embarrass the gorillas in power. Protests, cantinfladas such as the TSJ help but are far from delivering the knock out punch. The most optimistic view is that the accumulation of such moves, in the end will ‘break the camel’s back’. If nothing else, it makes you feel you did something.

    Chavismo has proven to be very effective at staying in power but they have likewise proven to be terrible at governing. Their mismanagement has made of Venezuela a notch above a failed state, just because the military is still the strongest violent actor. This may change if private militias like collectivos get stronger and the military weakens as a consequence of the general Venezuelan decay (mid level officers are defecting in droves while there is about a thousand generals!).

    In the meantime the international community is playing a smart game.

    On one hand they are offering all the help needed to address the immediate crisis, IF THEY DITCH MADURO. Several international pronouncements have surfaced in the past few days. On the other they are trapping Chavistas in the Mad Max reality of Venezuela, but even in such a hellhole, their money can buy them a lot of luxury and comfort.

    So in the meantime, if you are an escualido you can emigrate from Venezuela, or embarrass the government with some creative cantinflada exposing yourself to bodily injury or death. But in the end, la tranca is held by Chavismo. It just may be that Mad Max Venezuela is good enough for Chavistas.

  5. The comment left me confused , the Maduro controlled TSJ is illegitimate beause the procedure used to designate the magistrates was not in conformity with the Constitution , likewise the TSJ later formed by the National Assembly is illegitimate because ..its in exile or for some other reason whih the author does not specify , hence if both TSJ’s are illegitimate then there is no TSJ with the authority to issue binding decisions but the Constitution does not provide what happens then……so we are in a sitaution which lacks constitutional regulation …a void. One might argue then that the president can do anything , commit the most monstrous crime , sell Venezuelan territory to the ruskies and still there would be no TSJ to annull his appointment or revoke his mandate …….thats a bit absurd !!
    I think that the decisions of the exiled TSJ however much we argue about its legitimacy affords the opposition political grounds for revoking the presidents mandate but then who is the replacement president . Mr Tarek El Aissami or someone else …….!! Believe that there is no clean legal way out of our conudrum and whatever you do is meant to have a purely pyschological effect on peoples mind inside and outside Venezuela that can help open the door to other political possibilities …..!! Will the author clarify ??

    • TSJ in exile is in exile because the illegal TSJ began seeking to jail them as soon as possible. So they left the country as soon as possible.

  6. Well, the problem with oppo leadership so far is that it has been reactionary, and are now pidgeonholed in that position even if they wanted to change, which they don’t.

    A revolution happened. Hearts and minds were won. The military was purged.

    Wake the fuck up and vote for Falcón.

  7. Según “la bicha” la AN tiene la atribución para nombrar los nuevos miembros de los cargos del TSJ que ya estaban vencidos en diciembre de 2015. No entiendo la crítica del autor del artículo contra el TSJ legítimo. Nombrar el TSJ legitimo era uno de los pasos para cumplir con la “transición pacifica, democrática y bla, bla”, el otro era nombrar los rectores del CNE. Los dos pasos importantes para lograr la fulana transición por el voto. Es obvio que el régimen no lo aceptaria pero no debe dejar de hacerse. Estos movidas fueron tan importantes en sus efectos que llevaron al régimen a convocar el fraude ANC para sacudirse la propia legalidad chavista que limita su accionar dictatorial. Ellos mismos derogaron la constitución chavista que los limita y puede sacarlos del poder. Aunque es obvio también que sin apoyo del Ejercito u otra fuerza armada por ahora el antejuicio de mérito a Maduro por el TSJ es un saludo a la bandera. Pero es un primer paso y mi parecer mas efectivo que la “votadera por Falson” en el evento fraudulento convocado y controlado por ANC, en el cual inclusive “ganando” pierdes – el “presidente” debe someterse a ANC-FAN chavista.

  8. “What will be the next thing this pseudo-TSJ will ask of the National Assembly? Appointing a parallel government?”

    Why not? While, you can certainly argue that the TSJ in exile is illegitimate, you can argue the same about the one in Caracas, appointed in the wee hours before the installation of the newly elected and Oppo controlled National Assembly. We left “constitutional” and “legal” in the dust a long time ago.

    In my opinion, all of this is to provide a quasi-legal authority to request international assistance, when the time comes. No one is expecting the Chavista regime to respect the TSJ in exile.

    If you actually support the Opposition or at least the goal of a real democratic government one day, why would you spend more time and effort questioning the ligitimacy of the Opposition instead of the legitimacy of the Maduro regime?

  9. Que desastre de escrito, el problema es politico no legal, es increible como los intentos de oposicion para restablecer el orden constitucional los tratas como algo fuera de ley pero los actos nulos e inconstitucionales del gobierno los tratas como ajustados a un derecho supra-constitucional valido, o eso es lo que se entiende, las leyes estan escritas para reflejar intenciones de la sociedad y por eso la pregunta constante de “la intencion del legislador” ¿ te pregunto, crees que la intencion del legislador era la destruccion de la republica? yo no lo creo.

    • Fernando concepcion – Estoy de acruerdo. Pareceria que en la vida en general a los buenos se les encuentran errores minusculos, pero a los malos no se les mira lo que hacen. Lo mismo sucede en los Estados Unidos, que le buscan de lo mas minimo al Presidente Trump, pero no buscan entre los que fabricaron cuentos acerca de el para “investigarlo”. Hay una falla humana en todo esto. El policia que le da un boleto de estacionamiento a un motorista, pero “ne ve” los tipos vendiendo drogas a escolares en la esquina.

    • Roy – B.S. news article making an inaccurate point. The TSJ in exile is the only legitimate court, just as the AN is the only legitimate congress. Period. I could argue that before any rational court and win – and I have no idea how you argue anything in any court. I’ve only been in one twice, once as a witness to a traffic accident and once because I got lost in a court building and opened the wrong door (but it was empty, so I did not get shot at dawn for tampering with the law or obstruction of justice).

      “It please the court, I submit the Venezuelan Constitution as evidence! It states on page … um … darn … it says the TSJ shall be appointed by the National Assembly, not by a dictator / questionably-elected-president who is currently sanctioned by 20 countries around the world for being a dictator! It is almost lunch time and I do not want to waste your honopr’s time with convoluted arguments about whether a duly appointed / elected-by-congress court, under threat of jail must remain in a country to be jailed before they are sworn in after being appointed. They cannot very well be sworn in on the floor of congress if they are being held in jail. Force majeure. The regime isn’t here to counter-argument about it because there’s an order out for their arrest for looting the country, and the president/ dictator has just been found liable for trial by the congress! ‘Nuff said, so let’s not get knee-deep in this, here. Let’s go eat lunch – Dutch treat, I don’t get paid as much as you do because I make short arguments that make sense. They are the only legit TSJ in Venezuela in abscentia honorifica justificatium righteousnatum legalnum etc.. and a newspaper out of Miami has absolutely no say in the matter whatsoever. Fake news! They have great steak two blocks away – new joint.”

      Cono.

  10. ** “In July, 2017, the current National Assembly decided to revoke the appointments of these justices and appointed their own 13 main and 20 deputy justices, replacing those those who were revoked. This detail is especially relevant: the National Assembly didn’t appoint a parallel TSJ, much less in exile, they appointed the justices so that they would take office along with the existing TSJ that we all know, headquartered at Av. Baralt in Caracas.”

    Actually, the true TSJ now in exile was appointed to REPLACE Maicol “lady killer” Moreno’s TSJ that was appointed in the LAST DAY of Diosdado’s chicken-whorehouse period.

    ** “In view of a “ruling” that’s not a ruling, issued by a “Tribunal” that’s not a Tribunal, we all ended up immersed in a discussion that would’ve been deemed ridiculous a few months ago.”

    The actual discussion that should have been settled years ago was that chavismo made fraud in every election since 2004’s recall referendum and thus ousting them by any means necessary was pretty and fine.

    ** “…open a trial against Nicolás Maduro for acts of corruption.”

    The actual trial should be made for crimes against humanity and genocide, but since Luisa-bleached-hair’s hand is involved, it’s to be expected that she doesn’t want to kill chavismo that badly by “tainting it with the proof of it being a true dictatorship”

    **”…After the coming “election” on May 20, when repression is likely to get worse, we’ll be defenseless as a society.

    Beneath the cantinflada of the TSJ in exile, there’s something deeper and quite serious that we must realize: we’ve never been this exhausted, hopeless and weak to resist this regime.”

    Actually, the only cantinflada here is that the people in Venezuela is hopeless and defenseless against the dictadorship because it’s so-called leadership has BETRAYED THEM TIME AND AGAIN.

  11. I agree with the lack of leadership assessment. We’ve known that. That’s not news. However, your arguments against the decision of the TSJ in exile and the AN to open a trial against Maduro because it lacks “legality,” I believe should not be the focus of the debate. The decision by the TSJ and the AN is a POLITICAL decision. Whether it is the right political decision, can be debated. But don’t debate the “legality” of the decision. I believe people are looking for the best political solution to the situation in Vnzla. To think the regime will leave by sound legal reasoning is absurd.

  12. Entonces, según la lógica de este artículo, la ANC de Delcy Rodríguez es legítima y el Tribunal Supremo de Justicia de M. Moreno también, los chavistas tienen razón y debemos ir a las elecciones y votar por Henry Falcón.
    ¿De verdad?

    • Es que todavía viven en la época donde supuestamente “los gringos no reconocerían ningún gobierno producto de un ‘ggggggolpe'”, donde el fulano “golpe” era “gobierno que no salga del organismo electoral obviamente comprado y pagado por los comunistas”

  13. after the regional election debacle last year, the opposition simply stopped being a fighting force and its leadership vanished completely, they’re not even making an impact in twitter anymore, the chavista victory seems to be complete by now

    • That so-called “leadership” stopped being opposition in april of 2002 when they refused to take over after shiabbe fled miraflores for the slaughter he ordered: 25 murders in a few hours, all in the same day, every single of them caused by the chavista colectivos or cuban snipers.

  14. No sé que me parece más absurdo y ridículo: Si el que el redactor del artículo pareciera haber salido de aporrea de todo el estiércol que le echa al TSJ legítimo y lo que ha hecho, o el hecho de que la AN decidiera pasarse por el forro la sentencia del TSJ legítimo cambiando la solicitud de antejuicio de mérito por una de “continuar la investigación”.

    Todo para que el miserable HRA venga a decir después que “ya va, es que eso no fué lo que se pidió, lean la letra chiquitica acá”, justo como con el 16-julio, donde preguntaron 3 cosas a la gente, la gente respondió y ellos salieron balbuceando que “eso no es lo que habían preguntado en realidad.

    La única cantinflada acá es la de la AN controlada por la “oposición aceptada por el gobierno ” (Luis Florido dixit) siga quedando como un montón de ceniceros de moto hasta 2020 y que los chabestias vengan a reemplazarla con otro megafraude electorero marca tibizay.

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