March 11, 2004

The whole recall mess ends up at the Supreme Tribunal... was bound to happen. Eventually the constitutional injunctions started to fly, and by now it looks as though it will be the Supreme Tribunal who will decide on the recall's fate. True to form, the government immediately set out to meddle in the composition of the body that will make the decision.

At 1:22 pm yesterday, the Comando Ayacucho leadership was at the Supreme Tribunal trying to get two of the three judges in the electoral chamber to take themselves off the case due to excessive antichavismo. At 2:48, the CNE legal advisor was at the Tribunal for the same reason.


The government is terrified that the electoral chamber will reverse the planas decision and order CNE to hold a recall. Their strategy to defeat this is twofold. First, pressure independent-minded Electoral Chamber magistrates to take themselves off the case so as to leave the decision fully in the hands of chavista activists. If that doesn't work, appeal the Electoral Chamber's decision to the Supreme Tribunal's higher ranking Constitutional Chamber, where the 3-2 chavista majority looks more solid. The notion of accepting a decision made by a body that does not take orders from Chavez runs so deeply counter to the bedrock ideology of the regime that it's not even been considered.

One way or another, chavismo refuses to stand in front of any judge it cannot control. The government continues to work to put the final decision in the hands of ideologically pliable cronies. It's what they've been doing for five years: why stop now?

Moreover, opposition journalists spotted CNE head Francisco Carrasquero once again meeting TSJ chief justice Ivan Rincon. The fate of the country in the hands of two chavistas maracuchos. Que desgracia.

[Note: if you're desperately curious about the Schumpeterian take on the dynamic effects of international trade on economic growth, you might want to look at this new Maastricht Chronicles post.]