Zelaya’s Stunt and a Tale of Two Judges

zelaya072409.jpgA few minutes ago, ousted Honduran President made a big PR move by going to the Honduras border, stepping about three feet over for 15 minutes, and then coming back over to Nicaragua.  The entire time he was swamed be people, sticking out with his big white latifundio cowboy hat, while talking on a cell phone (to the DISIP?).  The only broadcast news there to own the exclusive was the Venezuelan state TV, Telesur.  I have never seen a more successful takeover of CNN by state propaganda media, giving a nice strong chavista spin to the global coverage of the stunt.  Pretty smart, I have to admit, the most fun we’ve had since he circled his plane above the city while Telesur broadcasted his personal play-by-play.

In only slightly related news, a few hours before all this happened Robert Amsterdam published his latest Venezuela piece on Huffington Post, detailing stories of two different judges in Venezuela who lost their jobs after refusing to follow orders from the presidency.

Although we can expect passionate supporters of Chávez to manufacture arguments as to why kidnapping the children of judges is a necessary part of the revolutionary process (after all, the crime family of Barinas is quite good at it), or perhaps debate the merits of legal actions based on taxidermy, none of this should leave in doubt the overwhelming body of evidence that confronts us on the country’s justice system. Without control over the courts, Chávez loses his ability to act with impunity and without oversight in his dangerous transformation of the region.

If this president is indeed an embodiment of the people’s will, who only seeks constructive and cooperative relationships in his foreign policy, then he should have nothing to fear from an independent judiciary. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case, and one fears that without a genuine Venezuelan perestroika in the near future, the current crisis could send the people tumbling toward yet another terrible collision.