august 29, 2017
Carlos Sánchez Berzaín
(Interamerican Institute for Democracy)Venezuela’s regime is no longer a political issue and has become an issue of organized crime and this is exactly how it must be treated by the democracies of the world. Each and every day, Nicolas Maduro and his apparatus commit crimes to gain two types of material benefits; the “tangible assets” of money and wealth, and the “intangible, immaterial assets” of wrongful continuance in power in order to ensure his impunity. Democracies from throughout the world can and must apply the Palermo Convention’s mandates on transnational organized crime against Nicolas Maduro personally and against the members of his organization.
The “United Nations’ convention against Transnational Organized Crime” in force for Venezuela and all the countries of the Americas and the rest of the world, has determined that by “criminal organized group it shall be understood to mean a group of three or more persons that exists for a certain time who deliberately seeks to directly or indirectly gain monetary benefits or other tangible benefits or objectives of wealth, power, and dominance through the commission of one or more felonious crimes, or crimes typified in the current Convention.” It points out that by “felonious crimes” it shall be understood to mean such conduct that constitutes a crime punishable with jail for at least four years or a harsher sentence.”
This same international standard, also known as the Palermo Convention, contains “definitions” that describe the behavior of Nicolas Maduro and members of his regime; ministers, military and civilians, ambassadors, local as well as foreign civil servants, and members of the apocryphal Constituent Assembly, when it states that by a “structured group it shall be understood to mean a group which was not fortuitously organized for the immediate commission of a crime…” and for “benefits” it shall be understood to mean “assets of any kind, material or immaterial, tangible or intangible, real estate, and legal documents and instruments that attest proprietorship or other rights over those assets” and for “product (result) of a crime it shall be understood to mean those assets of any kind obtained directly, or indirectly, through the commission of a crime”
Maduro leads a “structured criminal group” which he calls “government” wherein he and members of his cabinet, his military constituent assemblymen, judges, prosecutors, electoral authorities, diplomats, those in charge of repression, directors of state owned enterprises, official communications’ operators, jailers, all the high positions that flaunt power in the regime, act deliberately to commit felonious crimes, persecutions, supplantations, incarcerations, false accusations and complaints, despicable sentencings, torture, betrayal to the homeland, corruption of all types, narcotics trafficking, violations of human rights, assassinations, criminal association, illicit enrichment, coverups, to the point that it appears there isn’t a single crime contemplated in Venezuela’s criminal code, and the codes of other countries in the Americas and punished by jail of four or more years, that this criminal group has not committed.
You only have to look at the news media, videos, and magazines, see the images in the social networks, listen to statements made by Nicolas Maduro and members of his “criminal organized group” see proof of complaints filed with international human rights organizations, and the day to day goings on of the Venezuelan people to verify the “daily flagrant commission of crimes”. Democratic governments from the world, such as; Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Mexico, United States, Argentina, Costa Rica, Spain, and many more, have information and proof of the commission of crimes by Maduro and his criminal group, and have taken measures that are in effect, are continuous, and are applicable in their territory. Some of these countries, such as the United States has begun to apply legal sanctions against this criminal group, but none have yet invoked the Palermo Convention.
Beside the billions of dollars that members of this Castroist-Chavist criminal group have and gain through the commission of corruption crimes, narcotics trafficking, extortion, seizures, influence peddling , supplantation, counterfeiting of documents, and others, we must consider that the commission of crimes such as; the false accusations and legal complaints, the supplantation of public institutions, persecutions, assassinations, torture, illegal incarcerations, intimidation, and others, provide this group the tangible benefit of remaining illegally and illegitimately in power to coverup their crimes. There are, therefore, two types of “material benefits” that Venezuelan empowered criminals obtain; the “tangible benefits” of money as a product of their crime, and the “immaterial or intangible benefits” of the wrongful continuance in power to coverup their crimes.
It’s not about removing a government or ending it because of a bad administration because those are issues of the political kind. It is about the nature of the regime and the criminal acts of Maduro and his collaborators who are criminals who control the political power and must be accused, arrested, and charged personally and individually. It is about criminals who operate as a “group of organized crime” who by force and through crime hold on to Venezuela’s political, military and economic power as part of their booty.
The Palermo Convention stipulates that crimes do not necessarily have to be committed in the territory of affected states and this allows all the Americas’ democratic governments to accuse the criminals in their territory. There are no arguments of “sovereignty” to persecute reoffending criminals who commit crimes with worldwide implications, because crimes such as; assassination, torture, narcotics trafficking, transnational criminal association, do not have political protection and do not involve sovereignty issues because these are not acts by the state but by criminals in the state. All that is now needed is the list of criminals with Nicolas Maduro’s name at the top, to be formally charged and an international order for their capture to be issued so that Interpol or any law enforcement organization, throughout the world, can arrest in their jurisdiction.
The application of the UN’s Palermo Convention on Transnational Organized Crime is a must and its invocation, lest be by one single democratic government of the world, will immediately delegitimize those criminal holders of power in Venezuela, preventing their actions in the name of a state they have subjugated as part of the material benefits of their crime, which is precisely the essence for the application of this Convention.
Published in Spanish by Diario las Américas on Sunday August 27th, 2017
Translated from Spanish by: Edgar L. Terrazas, Member of the American Translators Association, ATA # 234680.