Carlos Sánchez Berzaín
(Interamerican Institute for Democracy) Venezuela’s Castroist dictatorship, through its oppressive apparatus dubbed “The Constituent Assembly” is bent on razing any sign of democracy there. The final objective of the dictatorial “Constituent Assembly” is the building of a system similar to Cuba’s model and their immediate tasks are now to dismantle any and everything that might hinder absolute power. Maduro’s “Constituent Assembly” is a made up, apocryphal, institution that lacks legality and legitimacy, it is a de-facto and impertinent institution, reason why its functions and rulings are criminal in nature and no one can or must comply with them given the fact that anything done by someone who usurps functions or exercises jurisdiction or empowerment that is not granted by law are null and devoid of legality and there are legal acts available to defend democracy.
For actions of an institution or civil servant to be valid these must be based on the legal composition of such institution or the legal appointment of such civil servant. Both, must have the capability conferred by law that is known as competence and their actions must be based on decisions that are framed within their stated empowerment to mean “the control, power, jurisdiction, or authority one has over something or someone else.” When these elements are lacking, the action or ruling, is only crime, criminal acts that are known and typified as “the usurpation of functions”, “supplantation of authority”, “to attribute to one’s self the rights of the people”, “to conspire against…”
Venezuela’s dictatorial “Constituent Assembly” from the very moment it took the facilities of the National Assembly by force, has committed null acts devoid of a lawful right that cannot be complied with, or obeyed by, none of Venezuela’s citizens, none of the countries, and none of the organizations in the world. Moreover, when we consider that besides the nullity of their acts, its members committed criminal acts. This dictatorial mix of null and criminal acts has continued to be committed unlimitedly by Maduro’s “Constituent Assembly” by “attributing to itself all the rights of the Venezuelan people” and those other acts such as the removal of the Attorney General and the attempted elimination of the National Assembly.
All acts committed by Nicolas Maduro as a dictator and now by the dictatorial Constituent Assembly: 1). Are Null and devoid of legal right because the institution that emits them does not have a legal origin, does not have neither the legal capacity, nor the competency, and is not empowered by law. 2). Are flagrant crimes that accuse all its actors and includes them within the framework of Organized Crime that today controls Venezuela with the personal and patrimonial consequences implied therein in accordance with the Palermo Convention. 3). Are de-facto acts by the dictatorship that has elected to use a criminal regime as an instrument of governance with an explosive mix of nullity, illegality, violations of human rights, and the commission of felonious crimes.
Faced with this situation of extreme abuse and criminality against a defenseless society whose basic human rights are violated daily, the theory of the Rule of Law and the principles of political science and history, point the way to the defense of freedom because democracy is not unarmed, is not defenseless and must not be. It is from this perspective that we realize that urgent actions are needed to reinstate the Rule of Law in Venezuela given the fact that the situation in Venezuela is of concern and impact throughout the Americas and the world. Following, are some suggestions based on the need for those defenders of democracy to take as initiatives and so that they not be merely reactive to the actions of the dictatorship:
- The first initiative is that of disownment and civil resistance, which the Venezuelan people are already exercising. No one can acknowledge and least of all comply with the dictatorship’s criminal orders, and starting with the National Assembly, its members the legitimate magistrates, the Attorney General and the legal institutions of Venezuela must continue to function openly, covertly, or in exile and the governments of the world must acknowledge and recognize them as such. To continue is to function; the prosecutors charging, organizing their staff, putting cases on the docket, acting on them, the magistrates exercising jurisdiction, issuing rulings and verdicts, the National Assembly convening and making determinations to confront the crisis, to protect the people and to restore democracy.
- The National Assembly must designate the so often heard and formulated “transitional government” to replace the dictator Maduro’s government because by constituting a new government -whether it be in exile- it creates a lawful internal and international body that must be the subject of acknowledgement and recognition by democratic governments throughout the world. Through this designation the transitional government acquires the legal competency of being the “Executive Power” in the internal as well as international environment and can dispute the nation’s representation in international organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the Organization of American States (OAS), and others. This would quickly delegitimize Maduro’s Castroist regime, compelling clarity in the positions of democratic governments and governments who are enemies of democracy. There are historic and notable examples of governments in exile, such as the one of Charles De Gaulle.
- The National Assembly and the Transitional Government should request the international community, starting with the UN’s Security Council, the OAS, the European Union and every one of the democratic nations, to include in the Criminal Search and Arrest lists, all members of the Venezuelan dictatorship starting with Maduro. To implement the terms of the UN’s Palermo Convention, so that those included in said list may be persecuted and detained by the Interpol and the security organizations of any country throughout the world so they could answer for their crimes committed against the Venezuelan people. The formal type of crime, accusations, and proof must be documented and sent to the Attorney General in exile.
The above are only three suggestions among the many other possibilities to legally compel the international community to rapidly assist in restoring democracy in Venezuela and are based on the principle that defines those acts committed by those who usurp functions of the government to be null and punishable.
Published in Spanish by Diario las Américas on Sunday August 20th, 2017
Translated from Spanish: By Edgar L. Terrazas, member of the American Translators’ Association ATA # 234680.