By: Lisbeth J. Prieto G.
Lic. en Ciencias Políticas y Administrativas
“An injustice made to an individual is a threat made to the whole society”… Montesquieu
Justice and politics have been historically linked. In that sense, it is pertinent to remember that biblical episode about Jesus Christ’s drama, particularly the events before his crucifixion. It is well known that at the moment of Jesus’ trial it was requested, by order of the State’s Attorney Pontius Pilate, that the will of majority was taken into account and this elected Barrabás, the burglar. That mix (justice and politics) has proved to be unfortunate since there is frequently one despot who wants – and in fact, succeeds – to control others by means of judicial manipulation. In fact, grave injustices may be perpetrated under the excuse of listening to social masses.
Autonomy of the Judiciary has different degrees in Latin America countries. In countries such as Nicaragua, Equator, Bolivia and the present Venezuela, it is clear that Executive actions interfere with those of the Judiciary; even more, Executive’s authority exceeds that of the remaining powers.
Venezuela is the leader of Latin American countries as far as political prisoners and ineligibilities for public office is concerned. To be vetoed is the lightest sanction against the ruling oppositionist class, with the endorsement of the General Comptrollership Office. Theoretically, this is an agency with a functional, administrative and organizational autonomy, belonging to the Civic Power. Said entity is supposed to look after the transparent administration of the national treasury. However, it acts under the orders of the President of the Republic; it is his performing arm for politically vanish anyone filling an office of popular election and managing public funds who potentially is an efficient oppositionist to the National Government. On the other hand, so far no one being loyal to the regime has been processed for corruption.
There are several mechanisms, apparently “legal”, used to make politics in the country, with juridical practices of a tricky, truculent and threatening at any moment character that invite to be cautious to anyone wanting to make a ride in politics. The path traveled by a Venezuelan politician is a thorny one. If we talk about a decent person whose principles are compatible with those of a free society, he will have a tougher way. Honesty is costly and it is paid for with prison many times. Corruption, submission and political favors are rewarded in monetary ways, promotions and employment security. How laws work in Venezuela and to whom measure will be outlined in this essay.
Chronicles of blackmail and submission
President Hugo Chávez impudently uses the Judicial Power as he pleases. He orders to condemn persons, establishes sentences and points out the names of individuals who, in his opinion, must be imprisoned. He sends private and public correspondence to judges to influence their decisions. He knows that there is always someone ready to quickly execute his will. Chávez’ finger resembles God’s finger to those working in the nation’s Judicial Power. The dividing line between the Executive and the Judiciary has been torn. Although slowness has always been a characteristic of the Judicial Power and corruption has become worse than ever, it must be admitted that autonomy is something of older times. Decisions in favor of the governmental project are rapidly issued while sluggishness remains reserved for those having a posture other than that of the President. But not only that: abuse of authority is a common practice even within the Judicial Power itself. Justice is corrupt, perverted and inefficient.
Although long-winded arguments and slogans supporting the National Government are widely heard, every once in a while there is someone attempting to look like impartial and professional. This attitude, however, does not deserve any credit because what independence a lawyer working in a court can boast of when he is not allowed to decide as an autonomous professional? Very deep inside they all accept to be deprived of authority in matters concerning the President or the revolutionary process; judges know they are not those deciding. According to the Foro Penal Venezolano1 (Venezuelan Criminal Forum), four out of ten judges may be dismissed if their decisions do not please the Executive. During the year of 2008, 400 judges had to leave their office without any administrative procedure.
Regarding the relationship between a dismissal or its default and the revolutionary process, DPLF2 (For its abbreviation by initials in English, Due Process of Law Foundation) found important information; the entity cites: “From investigations conducted, we consider very worrying declarations from Luis Velásquez Alvaray at the time he was a member of the Supreme Court. He said Vice-President Rangel used to call him every day to ask dismissal of specific judges, which Velásquez would do immediately”3.
Masks of the Judiciary came out during the Opening of the Judicial Year in 2006 when the President of the Supreme Court at the time declared that the whole body was committed to the Bolivarian Revolution. Right away, the 31 remaining members of the Supreme Court stood up and began shouting: “Uh, ah, Chávez no se va” (Uh, ah, Chávez does not go). This clear act of submission evidenced the previously existing control. Impudence and hunt for privileges are of account in the Venezuelan juridical-politic scene but, as Dwight Eisenhower sentenced “a nation that prizes its privileges over its principles, will loose both” and Venezuela does not miss that reality.
Venezuelan judges who submit to sink someone in prison are not the typical villain thought of in other countries. They are common people and are just cowards. They simply may be a neighbor, some relative, a friend or even a colleague or a schoolmate that everyone considered a decent person. Now, he is a “revolutionary”, he belongs to the “process”. At this moment, he is the hangman of political or common cause prisoners.
All in favor of a one-man political project. Attorney General, Luisa Ortega Díaz, of communist formation, is openly unconditional to Hugo Chávez; in some occasion she said that she would ask for a legal procedure for “all those disturbing the nation’s public peace”, referring to marches of the oppositionist class. Public Defender is Chávez’ Defender, persecutor of those opposing the President, in service of the Executive and a small group of citizens while questions and labels others as in favor of coups. Nation’s Comptroller in office until some months ago was also openly communist and at the Commander in Chief’s service.
Even more, President of the Supreme Court “TSJ” Luisa Estela Morales acknowledges that laws promulgated since 1999 “respond to a clearly established ideological purpose”. Cecilia Sosa, ex-President of the former Supreme Court has criticized that the current President Luisa Estela Morales “goes to Cuba to receive orders from the island’s First Magistrate and see what things from Cuba can be adapted to Venezuela. It is very clear to me what the functioning and orientation of the Supreme Court is lined up to”4. For Sosa, the system of justice administration is in a “deplorable” condition and who does not meet the government’s orders is “swept” because President Hugo Chávez made separation of powers disappeared “in fact”.
There have been evidences of how instructions of the Head of State influence actions of the Head of the Judiciary. In 2007, the Venezuelan ex-judge Yuri López, now a political refugee in the United States, received a court file involving a government’s oppositionist; it never crossed her mind, she would have to flee the country soon for her defense of judicial autonomy. There is a saying within the Judiciary “orders are orders” and she did not want to meet them. Another order was given in December 2009 in a radio and TV chain; in it, President Hugo Chávez asked “maximum penalty” for the 31st Control Judge of the Caracas Metropolitan Area, María Lourdes Afiuni Mora, in the name of Venezuelan people’s “dignity”. “This judge and those doing the same must be given maximum penalty. ¡I ask for 30 years in prison!” The order was not enough for Chávez; he called the judge “a bandit”. In said talk, Chávez proclaimed that the judge submitted to free the businessman Eligio Cedeño; according to him, Cedeño’s freedom was planned by his lawyers, the judge, secretaries and court officers through summons for a hearing in absentia of the attorney of record. The President added that in said hearing Cedeño was allowed to leave the court through a side gate.
After the words of the National Executive, the judge’s imprisonment did not wait. The Attorney General rapidly accused her of freeing the businessman and making easy for him to fly. Cedeño, owner of Canarias Bank, did business with the National Government but had been arrested in 2007 under the charge of doing illegal exchange transactions and defrauding the State. Judge Afiuni’s allegation to free Cedeño was coherent with the Venezuelan body of laws; on the other hand, no representative of the Attorney’s General Office had ever been at the hearings. Eligio Cedeño had been arrested for over two years with neither trial nor sentence and this was one of the reasons for the judge to suspend the deprivation of freedom upon the businessman.
In another direction, Fernando Vegas Torrealba, member of the Electoral Court and Honorary Speaker at the 2011 Opening of the Judicial Year asserted that the Venezuelan Judicial Power must develop “an intentional and planned action to conduct a Bolivarian and democratic socialism”. In that occasion he added: “laws must be strictly applied to punish conducts or redirect actions going against the Bolivarian and democratic socialism”. This is enough to know who is and in whose service is this new member of the Judiciary; enough to see the dependence and lack of transparence characteristics of, particularly, the Electoral Court. Vegas Torrealba went even farther, he said that “laws are not entities that keep a perpetual concept of justice”. In this respect he said that justice in laws changes according to the moment: that being correct yesterday, it is not so today “because circumstances bringing it about are not the same anymore”…In another words, decisions are not taken according to law and principles but depending upon their convenience to the regime.
In a country with no government of laws, things are, consequently, managed differently. This has been the reason for a woman to be deprived of freedom and rights, judged with a previously made libretto, sick of cancer and with no medical assistance, the same as people are tortured in Cuban prisons. Under this type of regimes, those breaching the government of laws do not act by themselves and in this case, there are executors that can be called marionettes; this has been the reason for Judge Afiuni Mora to veto Alí José Fabricio Paredes, judge in charge of the trial: he has publicly demonstrated loyalty to the socialist revolutionary process of the Venezuelan President, elements which place her beforehand to be judged by an ideologically and politically biased justice.
A President giving his opinion on sentences of justice courts as well as on judge’s appointment and removal, indirectly influences their decisions. A President who openly points at a citizen without any proof and ordains what should be his penalty, does not only interfere with the Judicial Power but clearly violates the precept of separation of powers devoted in the 1999’ Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. A President who usurps functions, draws up laws to his measure, and despicably appeal to blackmail to keep acolytes, impairs rights of citizens who should reap the benefits of a transparent and free of interferences justice.
Offense: to be an oppositionist promoter
It is not only that justice in Venezuela is politically used to attack persons acknowledged in the political world: Venezuelan society may be considered atomized because fear has reached even those proclaiming not to care about politics. Any businessman or promoter may go to prison for being “a hoarder”. An ideological concept perverts the minds of the political sector and controls the Judicial Power in Venezuela. Just anyone may be abusively treated, even being “chavista” although mistreatment in this case is a lesser one.
For Hugo Chávez “a banker cannot be doing politics as well as a politician cannot be doing banking” (…) Media owners should not be doing politics, partisan politics, first-line politics”. Based on this, a law was designed for the President, prohibiting mass media owners to do politics. Since he is who commands, everyone else the country must obey and when it is not so, severe reprisals appear. This happened to César Camejo, owner of Casa Propia, a savings and loans institution. Camejo was arrested at the International Airport Simón Bolívar in Maiquetía on January 23, 2011, with no order of detention and to this date is deprived of freedom in the cells of SEBIN (For its abbreviation by initials in Spanish, National Bolivarian Service of Intelligence), without trial, without his properties and submitted to psychological terror for being an oppositionist. It can be said that red revenge is slow but it always come; in the mentioned case through a set of laws giving the appearance of legality. He is accused of financial crime but this concept does not exist in the Venezuelan judicial system.
In an open letter, César Camejo asserted “I have been subject to retaliation and this must be rejected by any Venezuelan citizen or institution”. Further on, he adds “I was imputed of felonies included in a non-existent law. I also was imputed, and later extemporarily accused, by representatives of the Attorney General’s Office already objected for felonies; accused for crimes included in the General Banking Law, derogated in December 2010. Every citizen in the Republic should be very worried for this juridical uncertainty”. 5 Besides this, Camejo is a shareholder of 6to Poder, a weekly publication whose director, Leocenis García, has also been politically imprisoned for not accepting regulations imposed by government to mass media.
Another oppositionist businessman being a victim of interference of politics with justice is Guillermo Zuloaga, who is also owner of the oppositionist editorial line mass media “Globovisión”. He is accused of generic usury and sheaving after 24 vehicles were found in his residence; the vehicles were to be negotiated in the concessionaire market, in which Zuloaga and his family are shareholders. This case shows that not even appearances are respected and that because he is a “political objective”, the entire administration of justice is used to slowly make him disappear from the scene, attacking him from different flanks. The Attorney General’s Office bases its accusation on the grounds of supposedly practicing actions prohibited in article 286 of the Penal Code and contraband of extraction established in article 143 of the former INDEPABIS6 Law, although the current law is that being amended on April 24, 2009 and refers to generic usury in article 144.
Groups fond of the National Government act like wild beasts, like looters, based on laws such as that of Renting, the one of INDEPABIS (For its abbreviation in Spanish, Institute for the Defense of People in the Access to Goods and Services) and Law of Lots, among others. But against their worst actions, the Attorney General’s Office do not have a pronouncement (not even the slightest one), even less issue a decision or file a criminal lawsuit against those who devastate what others have worked and these housebreakers feel mighty with a juridical system perversely designed to impose the political power of the elite for whom the rogues work. This way, the National Government arises more legitimate and gains more legal force to act, levered on incompetence and cowardice on part of many who do not see in the attack to minority their own destruction.
Decline of freedom of expression
It is not the same to express ideas when there is not danger for thinking freely than when there is a risk of becoming trapped behind bars imposed by a tyrant adjusting and using justice according to his own interest. It would be better for us to be in prison than not to freely express what we think because of fear to “justice”.
The term justice is distorted and even, washed- out and vanished when different meanings are given to it and citizens are not equally valued before law. When there is misuse of terms and eagerness to change the essence of justice, outrage easily appears. It is very common in socialist systems to twist concepts and supersede ideas. These regimes propose a novel justice; it has been the same in all socialist experiments. Said regimes, however, stand out when it comes to make up felonies and create one only power: a single person is the maximum leader and chief and the system takes advantage of fear infused to silence, in general, disagreements.
Venezuela lives under a new concept of dictatorship that tries to look like democratic while criticism is atomized and wiped out. Opinion is controlled by the regime through censure and disseminated self-censure through statist laws and communicational supremacy. Fear is a mechanism making thousands be silent, others emigrate and many say half-truths. There are new ways to destroy opponents and these are now, enemies. Criticism and opposite ideas may be judged as opinion crime and treason.
A proof of this is that the oppositionist politician Oswaldo Álvarez Paz was accused of conspiracy, dissemination of false information and criminal instigation after he, in the program “Aló Ciudadano” of the Globovisión channel, gave the opinion that President Hugo Chávez was linked to FARC and the ETA group. Five days later, at a meeting of his political party, Hugo Chávez asserted “A man, I will not say his name, dared to say in Globovisión that Chávez, the President of this country, supports narcotics trade. He also dared to say that there are proofs that a bunch of courses have been given here, in Venezuela, to terrorists belonging to ETA and FARC… This is very grave, it cannot be permitted… I cannot send anybody to jail but State powers ought to take action”7, a very clear call to the Judicial Power to act, to imprison Oswaldo Álvarez Paz, just as they did.
Actions have been filed many times against citizens having an opinion contrary to what government expects: it happened too to Rafael Poleo who said in “Aló Ciudadano” that el President will end up “like Mussolini, hanged with his head downwards…” or General Francisco Usón who declared that the Army used flamethrowers as a penalty. This was considered by a military court as an “insult against the National Army”. The humorist Laureano Márquez was also a victim for sending a “Letter to Rosinés8, the President’s daughter; published in the journal “Tal Cual”; a criminal investigation was conducted on him for harming “the honor, reputation, image itself, private life and intimacy” of the minor. To make jokes about the President had never been so thought over again because even in the Penal Code9 amendment of 2005, offense or disrespect, written or oral, to the President of the Republic, were identified as crimes in article 147.
Freedom of expression is a keystone for the regime, although there is space to say things these are said with fear. The only existing guarantee is a clear threat to think and discern covered with a coat of prevention and those daring to express an opinion before an audience, deep inside know that their actions are not safe because judging depends upon what government thinks. Journalists are probably who mostly suffer this restriction; they have become used to a systematic harassing and many of them have already been imputed for “crime of opinion” and sentences of other type although everything is sustainable and apparently “legal”. For International Amnesty, lack of independence of the Judiciary, harassment to human rights defenders and use of administrative and fiscal procedures restricts freedom of expression.
An extinguishing civil society
During the events of April 11, 2002, a crowd of opponents to the National Government encouraged by several organizations and political parties marched to the Miraflores Palace to ask the President of the Republic to resign; Metropolitan Police accompanied the march to prevent confrontations between this group and followers of the government. However, a little later, both groups encountered and persons completely identified with the government shoot the crowd. Officers of the Metropolitan Police “PM” also shoot to defend citizens; in the event, followers of government as well as oppositionists died. Although those followers of the government that shoot were completely identified, none is deprived of freedom; on the contrary, they are “nation heroes” and police officers are now who serve a sentence.
The Due Process of Law Foundation “DPLF” prepared a report based on observation of trial and interview to persons close to those accused of aggravated homicide and injuries. The imputed are: Iván Simonovis, Henry Vivas, Lázaro Forero (these three are PM Commissioners), Arube Pérez, Julio Rodríguez, Erasmo Bolívar, Alfonso Zapata, Héctor Rovain, Marcos Hurtado, Neazoa López y Luis Molina (PM Officers). The report did not seek to establish guilt or innocence but elements inherent to due process of law. It was concluded that the right of accused to be judged with full respect to due process of law and defense was violated since the courts hearing the cases were not competent and they were not allowed to present evidences; they even were judged outside lapses established by law and there was lack of transparency in the selection of jury members. There also was an important political burden in the trial since by then, the Metropolitan Police belonged to a mayoralty opposite to President Hugo Chávez and the trial was conducted arbitrarily, with deprivation of freedom.
In examining the report prepared in 2008 by Bertelsmann Stiftung10, it is confirmed that in Venezuela, protection to civil rights is precarious. PROVEA (For its abbreviation in Spanish, Venezuelan Program for Education-Action in Human Rights) has recorded almost 4,000 cases of violation of individual freedom, physical integrity and freedom of expression; for the organization, there are just a few chances for victims to achieve a cure to these violations. And let’s not talk about search of premises performed by police organizations without any court order and the consequences of said searches.
Alejandro Peña Esclusa11, a politician president of the ONG (For its abbreviation by initials in Spanish, non-government organization) Fuerza Solidaria12 is an example of how government has the nerve to invent any type of offenses, joining hands with the Judicial Power and entities like SEBIN13. His right to due process of law was violated from the first moment: Francisco Antonio Chávez Abarca14 accused Peña Esclusa of association with criminal purposes. Said testimony was enough for the Attorney General’s Office to admit the accusation and entail Peña Esclusa with terrorism without permitting his defense to question the witness.
Peña Esclusa, convalescent of a prostate cancer surgery, was expecting a search to this home and immediately came back to Venezuela after the before-mentioned witness declared. Alfredo Weil Reyna, Peña Esclusa’s defense attorney, points out the following irregularities during the procedure:
“a) Non-authorized officers showed up at the house; b) Peña Esclusa’s lawyer came to the house but the Attorney General’s Office representative prevented him from going in, a violation of Article 49 of the Constitution which establishes the right to be assisted by a lawyer “at any degree of the investigation or process”; c) When persons in a) came into the house, handcuffed Peña Esclusa and confined him to a corner in the living room, making impossible for him to supervise, follow or even witness the procedure; d) they, likewise, confined his wife and their three minor children in the master bedroom, everything in a clear violation to the “rules for police proceeding” which demand the presence of those being investigated in the areas being searched; e) the commission brought two witnesses in spite of Venezuelan Penal Procedural Organic Code privileges neighbors of the person being investigated, many of whom were present” .15
War weapons were supposedly found, presumed detonators and C-4 explosive bars. Later on, with no control or observation, an “examination” was practiced by a SEBIN officer to verify the authenticity of the explosive; the principle of “proofs control and contradiction” was violated since the penal process demands supervision. SEBIN, undoubtedly, acted by itself and under previous orders.
For the Forum Penal Venezolano, the principles of right to due process of law, right to defense, equality under law and impartiality and autonomy were violated; this clearly shows politics has penetrated institutions and interferes with the access to a transparent justice.
The number of attacks to persons and organizations defending principles which are characteristic of a free society is higher every time; these persons and organizations are questioned and attacked to make them disappear from the political scene through the use of the entire state’s repressive and judicial system. In the specific case of SUMATE, a civil association whose purposes are “to promote all types of democracy as a system for socially living together within the frame of freedom and respect to human rights, to lead or contribute with practices tending to achieve that Venezuelans fully exercise their human and constitutional rights”, has been labeled as an organization traitor to the nation because it is connected to and receives funds from “NED” (For its abbreviation by initials in English, National Endowment for Democracy) 16, which, in turn, receives funds from Republicans and Democrats in the United States Congress to promote freedom and human rights in the countries abroad.
In sentence No 796, dated July 22, 2010, issued by the Constitutional Room of the Supreme Court, Francisco Antonio Carrasquero López, the member who wrote the Court’s decision, assures that is “a characteristic expression of the interventionist policy of a foreign power to influence domestic matters in Venezuela… the monetary incentive is a way to permeate the domestic matters of a state since that organization receiving funds becomes dependent…”17
In said decision, the magistrate emphasizes that political parties and electoral groups are permitted in the Venezuelan body of laws, what is not permitted is “financing from foreign nations for political activity in the exposed terms” that is to say that financing from an organization abroad to another one in Venezuela is prohibited. SUMATE is a civil association and not, a political party or electoral group and this was ignored by the member of the Supreme Court. He also states that “to lead initiatives or contribute with them, “lessens people’s leading role since it does not only seek to bring up or animate the civic spirit of population but to lead society” in order that “political positions” are adopted. It is evident then, that the purpose is to surround those organizations in the country with principles opposite to socialist revolutionary ideas or anyone having doubts about the democratic attitude of the President of the Republic.
In those conditions, civil society is atomized, divided into pieces and reduced to be a prey of tentacles extended by government countrywide; what is called ‘people’s power” is only groups supporting the National Government, satellite of the Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela “PSUV”, such us the Consejos Comunales (Community Councils) and different types of organizations which, in its eagerness for demonstrating support to Hugo Chávez, perpetrate the worst atrocities to put an end to “capitalistas”, “pitiyanquis”, “golpistas”, “palangristas” and incidentally, to look for some privileges which, they think, could be kept if socialist laws be fully executed.
“Privileges must be secured” it is often said and that happens because very deep inside chavistas (those sympathizing with Chávez) and oppositionists live something in common: uncertainty. Life does not depend upon everyone but upon government; the difference is that some surrender it because they fear to be responsible for their own existence, to rebel to laws that each day subdue and subject more some with the support and execution of few that function as regime’s recycling matter.
Venezuelan institutions are politicized, in a political sector’s service. A political system like the Venezuelan, believes are totally changed and persons loyal to the government but formerly thought of as decent, act like barbarians due to their submission, omission and conformism just for some salary. It happens very frequently, daily, that people shout phrases they questioned before. Although State must administer justice, most of those working in the public sector, give up and surrender to a political and ideological partiality; citizens are very seldom fairly treated.
The system is perverted and used to bias terms, justice is polarized and divided according to types and sources of benefits because victims are not considered the center of justice. In said sense, Venezuelan government does not even admit there are political prisoners and calls them “imprisoned politics” and followers of the regime repeat the term.
When the 2008 Bertelsmann Stiftung’s report is reviewed, it can be concluded that Chávez’ regime is in the way of becoming an “electoral autocracy in which separation of powers just exists on the paper and not, in practice”. Citizens survive within a fictional autocratic regime, different from Cuban castrism as much as it strives, in some cases, to give a democratic appearance not only to keep international support and reduce rejection but also to “legitimately” put down oppositionists inside the country.
Even farther, although majority has voted in favor of an authoritarian democracy for whatever reasons (this may be the subject of another topic), it is also a victim of outrages, delay in processing of causes, corruption of officers, biased judicial decisions, obstacles to have access to justice, violations to the right to defense and due process of law. It is not necessary to belong to a specific social class or be a public person to be a victim.
There is no difference between State and National Government, at least there does not seem to be, and limitations of power are highly questionable. Reality has proofed that is on separation of powers that an independent and transparent judicial power rests. Paraphrasing Montesquieu power must stop power so it cannot be abused of. State ought to be focused in its functions, with no desire of tyrannizing or polarizing society, with no intention of creating its own philosophy of justice, different from that accepted by the civilized world.
The general hue over Venezuela at this time is opaque, dark…controversial, generally speaking. Those reaping off the benefits of the historic joint as well as those suffering it or those having to undertake the reconstruction process in the future, do not have easy answers. It is not easy either to share the conditions of a reality in which citizens have been suited by a way to exert power through installation of weapons, body of laws made to measure of who is governing, power concentration through destruction and dismantling of the liberal state which, in itself, holds the principle of separation of powers, essential for the evolution of modern societies.
Translation made by Eng. Pilar J. Faria email@example.com
1 Consult Report presented by the civil associations: Foro Penal Venezolano, Fundación de los Derechos Humanos (of the State of Anzoátegui) and Red de Abogados por los Derechos Humanos, page 20.
2 “DPLF”, Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF, for its abbreviation by initials in English) is a non-government, non-profit organization with headquarters in Washington, D.C., which promotes the reform and modernization of national systems of justice in the Western hemisphere. It was founded in 1998 by Professor Thomas Buerghental, current judge of the International Court of Justice, and his colleagues of the Comisión de la Verdad for El Salvador. The work of the organization is divided into three programs: a) equalitarian access to justice; b) rendering of accounts and judicial transparency and c) international justice.
3 Informe de la Fundación para el Debido Proceso Legal. Dependencia Judicial en Venezuela: http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:8TFIZqCMAMkJ:www.dplf.org/uploads/1227640933.pdf+jueces+abren.
4 Sosa, Cecilia (2011). Report at the “I Jornada sobre mecanismos judiciales de Protección y Tutela de Derechos Humanos Contemplados en la Constitución”. Valencia, Venezuela.
5 Camejo, César (2011). Carta abierta. http://www.cesarcamejo.com/?p=1.
6 INDEPABIS Law: Law for the Defense of People in the Access to Goods and Services.
7 Ven-Economía (2010) Magazine, Vol. 27. num. Caracas, Venezuela.
8 Márquez, Laureano (2006). Carta a Rosinés.
9 Penal Code. Amendment of the Penal Code in April 2005. Extraordinary Official Gazette No 5768. Caracas, Venezuela.
10 Bertelsmann Stiftung, BTI (2008). Venezuela Country Report.
11 Alejandro Peña Esclusa was the first person to present an accusation against Chávez on the grounds of treason (year of 2006) before the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (CIDH). At the moment of his arrest, he was coordinating an international team to accuse Chávez before the International Penal Court for Crime of Lese Humanity arising from his nexus with FARC (For its abbreviation by initials in Spanish, Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces).
12 Alejandro Peña Esclusa’s web page: http://fuerzasolidaria.org/?pageid=1.
13 SEBIN: National Intelligence Bolivarian Service.
14 After his testimony, which is supposed to be false, against Alejandro Peña Esclusa, Salvadoran Francisco Antonio Chávez Abarca was extradited to Cuba, in agreement with Venezuelan authorities.
15 Weil Reyna, Alfredo (2011). Case Alejandro Peña Esclusa. http://www.analitica.com/va/politica/opinion/9225788.asp
16 NED. Official web page: www.ned.org . The organization is supervised and receives funds from the United States Congress, in the terms transcribed as follows: Mostly financed by the United States Congress, support given by NED to groups abroad sends an important message of solidarity to many democrats working for freedom and human rights, frequently in darkness and isolation. Foundation is ruled by the conviction that freedom is a universal human ambition that may be achieved through development of institutions, procedures and democratic values. From its creation, NED has firmly remained bipartisan. Jointly created by Republicans and Democrats, NED is governed by a balanced board of both parties and is supported by the whole political spectrum.
17 Sentence of July 22, 2010. http://www.tsj.gov.ve/decisiones/scon/julio/796-22710-2010-09-0555.html