Venezuela`s Supreme Court of Justice has committed yet another dictatorial act by emitting a ruling confirming the sentence of almost 14 years of jail against Leopoldo Lopez. Dictatorships of the 21st Century Socialism control and use the judicial branch as the main tool for submission and repression in Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Nicaragua. What this boils down to are these regimes` political operators who with the title of Judges issue “infamous rulings” that are flawed in form, content, and process that violate the accused`s human rights and are aimed at eliminating opponents, threaten the people, and maintain the corruption and impunity of those in government. The dictatorships` infamous sentences are void of due legal process and must not be neither accepted, nor acknowledged, by the world`s democratic nations.
The case of Leopoldo Lopez in Venezuela is -among other things- the paradigm of the use of justice to commit injustice, it is the misuse of judicial power to pursue political objectives such as eliminating political opponents, it is proof against a dictatorship that controls the judicial branch in order to cover up its own crimes, it is the barbaric misuse of a system that instead of protecting human rights it deliberately violates them, it is the greatest evidence of the nation`s institutionalized insecurity, it is the sure way to commit “the murder of the reputation”. It is about giving infamous sentences the appearance of a “lawful process” that we have been taught to recognize as “a ruling by a judicial authority that in form or content violates human rights.”
The judgment and sentencing of the Venezuelan political leader happens to be the most visible amongst hundreds of cases in Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and in the Kirchner`s Argentina where through the use of legal proceedings that should be called “lawful” and through the issuance of judicial rulings that should be called “legal due process” those proceedings and rulings were anything but lawful and violated the principles of “legal due process” “the presumption of innocence” “the equality of the parties” “the impartiality of the Judges” “the non-retroactivity of the law” “the assessment of the proof” and everything that is normally needed for due process so that these governments can obtain a predetermined judicial ruling thus confirming the inexistence of “the separation and independence of the branches of government”.
Leopoldo Lopez was accused of the death of 43 people that happened during pro-democracy demonstrations in Venezuela in 2014. Technically speaking this is a “lynching” because his sentencing was preceded by a public announcement made by the Venezuelan dictator and the accused`s human rights were blatantly ignored. Leopoldo was judged and sentenced by those responsible for the crimes he was accused of. With his sentencing the government and its goons went unpunished, they used him as their escape goat and the defender of democracy is today a jailed and stigmatized inmate.
This dramatic story is not the first and won`t be the last because it evidences the use of the “repressive methodology” that Castroism has implemented in its 21st Century Socialism. Cuba applies it systematically and most noteworthy are the cases –amongst thousands of cases- of Armando Valladares who had been jailed for over 22 years, the judicial manipulation of Rafael Correa to obtain sentences in trials against El Universo, the 10 from Luluncoto, Isaias, Francisco Endara, the 29 peasants from Saraguaro and more, or Evo Morales` massacres in Bolivia starting with the one in October of 2003 with those who committed these crimes benefiting from them and now parlaying as accusers and as members of the government (benefited by amnesty decrees to keep them from getting prosecuted) and with their victims persecuted, exiled and sentenced with “infamous sentences” such as the case of the military high command of 2003 who today are inmates, or the Governors of the states of Pando, Beni, Tarija, Chuquisaca, and Cochabamba all persecuted by Judges from the dictatorship, and new trials seeking to arrange the perpetuation of the dictator, Ortega in Nicaragua has arranged for his permanent reelection with infamous sentences, the situation of thousands of prisoners in Argentina due to political persecution by the Kirchners who took advantage of the internal strife in the seventies and turned Argentinean justice as a tool for vengeance and corruption.
The crux of the matter is that any ruling or sentencing that violates the basic human rights of anyone –an infamous sentence- does not have any legal standing, it is void of lawfulness, and is meaningless under the rule of law because it can only be enforced in an environment of force, abuse, and violation of human rights that a dictatorial regime imposes on its people while the dictator controls the power. The worst of it is that while the dictatorship has the government, it applies its infamous sentences and the victims suffer the consequences, loose their freedom, their families are tortured and condemned to poverty, they are deprived of their civil and political life and sometimes are driven to their death. When the dictatorships cease the cases, they have already been forgotten, the damage is already done, any “retraction” is impossible, or if it occurs, it produces very little real effect.
The way to confront infamous sentences is to publicly identify them as such, publicizing and explaining the violations these contain and tirelessly denouncing them because there are lots of Leopoldo’s, victims of the dictatorships of the 21st Century Socialism. The henchmen judges of the dictatorships must be identified, so that they and their sponsors know they will not remain unpunished. The battle of Lilian Tintori, the wives and mothers of Venezuela`s political prisoners are worthy of praise. For the sake of respect to the “Rule of Law” upon which countries with democracies sustain their legitimacy, it is necessary to remember and demand from countries with democracy that THEY CANNOT ENFORCE or acknowledge these sentences. Infamous sentences are devoid of the due legal process.
Published in Spanish by Diario las Americas on Sunday February 19th, 2017.
*The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author.*