A power vacuum for a tip

By Luis Manuel Aguana

Two aspects stand out from the sentence of Nicolás Maduro Moros published on Monday, October 29 by the Supreme Court of Justice in exile: a) the reliable demonstration that Maduro appropriated 35 million dollars in favor of his electoral campaign for the presidency of the Republic in 2013; and b) the ratification of the "institutional vacuum" of power that exists in Venezuela as a consequence of that. Since the publication of that ruling, it has become official that there is no government in Venezuela that can be recognized as legitimate by anyone in the world.

From the accusation of the Attorney General of the Republic: "NICOLÁS MADURO asked Odebrecht for an amount of money to finance his campaign, in exchange for favoring the company in future contracts and payments. It is known that as a result of this petition, it received the amount of 35 million dollars, which were deposited in foreign accounts, simulating the payment of claims resulting from fictitious contracts between mercantile companies", came the ruling of the legitimate Supreme Court of Justice: "FIRST: Of the body of evidence incorporated into the file through oral and public hearings, there is sufficient evidence of the commission of the punishable acts that are the object of the trial and a causal relationship that reliably demonstrates the culpability and criminal responsibility of Nicolás Maduro Moros, in the perpetration of the crimes of Own Corruption and Money Laundering, provided for and sanctioned in Articles 64 and 35 of the Law Against Corruption and the Organic Law against Organized Crime and Financing of Terrorism, respectively” (see in Spanish Documento de la sentencia en el Twitter Oficial del TSJ legitimo en, https://twitter.com/TSJ_Legitimo/status/1056859165187076096?s=03, pages 9 and 149).

This sentence reminded me of what Eliot Ness and his Untouchables did on October 24, 1931 against gangster Al Capone, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison and $50,000 fine for tax fraud. In other words, the only thing they could prove to a murderer who terrorized the prohibition era in the United States to send him to prison was a tax fraud for pennies.

And that's what Maduro's sentence really looks like, after the regime's mafiosi and the Brazilian construction company Odebrech defrauded the nation of more than 35 billion dollars in paid and unexecuted works, 35 million dollars doesn't even reach the tip of the feast servers who gave themselves with Venezuelan money. In other words, they condemned him for having charged approximately 0.1% of what they took! Much less the tip of a waiter in a restaurant. What a miserable tip!

What about the rest? Because if Odebrecht charged without executing the construction works and at least 50% of the booty was distributed, there would still be `to process those who took not less than 17.5 billion dollars, with the business of that construction company alone. And all this without the Bs. 2,082,116,226,489.15 corresponding to the Tocoma Hydroelectric Plant, which they also collected and did not execute: "The Court was able to verify the amounts paid by the National Government to the Odebrecht company through accounting expertise incorporated by reading it, from which the work is derived and the amount of money paid" (see table of works and their amounts on pages 138 and 139 of the sentence).

The list of works is painful and explains in good part the crisis we are living through: Line 5 of the Caracas Metro, the Caracas-Guarenas-Guatire, Massive Transport System, Mariche Metro Cable, Cabletren Bolivariano, El Sistema Vial III Puente sobre el Rio Orinoco, Puente Cacique Nigale (known as the second bridge over Lake Maracaibo), Project for the recovery of the main runway at Maiquetía Airport, Tocoma Hydroelectric Power Station, José Ignacio Abreu Agrarian Project in Anzoátegui, La Dolorita Metro Cable, Caracas-La Guaira-Guatire Railway. All these works were paid for without being built, causing impressive collateral damage: "...important labor liabilities were generated, thousands were left unemployed or underemployed, and a large part of the productive apparatus (suppliers of materials, equipment, inputs, raw materials, etc.) that grew at the same time as these failed projects, frustrated their possibilities of growth and operability, attesting an important blow to the economic development opportunities of the country" (page 139).

I would dare to say that it was business to pay Nicolás Maduro Moros that 0.1% tip if Odebrecht had been assured that it would conclude these works in favor of the Nation. I think we Venezuelans would have been happy to pay for them! But that is precisely the problem. We place incalculable wealth in the hands of anyone and without control, and we candidly hope that it will not be stolen and that it will be applied in favor of the collective. And without having learned anything, the intention is again to do exactly the same thing with another election of president after the fall of this satrap, without proposing a constituent discussion of the political system and changing the constitutional rules that give all that power to the President of the Republic. That is why, like Capone, Maduro had to be condemned for pennies, even if it was more than enough to get him out of the Presidency of the Republic.

But where the importance of this document really resides is in the formalization of the Absolute Fault of the President of the Republic. 35 million dollars are a gift that justifies his departure for all the damage he has comparatively done to Venezuela and that officially justifies the immediate appointment of a National Emergency Government.

The National Assembly can no longer hide behind its Legal Consultancy alleging that there was no final sentence. Since Monday, October 29, 2018, there has been one. The parties of the Board of Directors of the National Assembly can no longer claim that Nicolás Maduro Moros is President until January 10, 2019. No. He was no longer President since January 9, 2017, and when they did not carry out the constitutional procedure to replace him, they left the case in institutional limbo. And as of today he is not officially President but a convict with a prison sentence. Already the governments of the whole world must ignore it.

Well, now is the time to appoint another President now because the person who holds the post in Miraflores must be arrested and transferred to Ramo Verde to serve a sentence for corruption and money laundering, according to that sentence. And the fact that Maduro is not arrested is not valid here. That is the responsibility of the State's security forces. And it is up to everyone to fulfil their part of the responsibility. It is up to the Assembly to appoint a new President. And if they do not do so for whatever reasons, the same High Court that issued that ruling will then have the obligation to decide within the framework of Articles 333 and 350 of the Constitution. The time has come for great decisions for everyone. The time has come to fill a power vacuum that gave us a small tip of 35 million dollars...

Caracas, October 30, 2018


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