The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), the country’s official opposition bloc, continued to react today to the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia‘s (TSJ) decision yesterday to strike down the Central Bank Law. The head of the MUD, Jesus Torrealba, said during an interview with Union Radio earlier today that the decision was “unbelievable”, and lamented the fact that the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) is no longer an autonomous institution.
Until December 2015, the BCV operated under the oversight of the National Assembly. The National Assembly appointed members to the institution’s board of directors, and the BCV was mandated by law to publish economic information on a regular basis.
In late December 2015, the PSUV-controlled National Assembly voted to give up its oversight over the BCV and placed that ability with the executive branch. The National Assembly also stripped itself of the ability to appoint directors to the BCV’s leadership, and no longer demanded that the BCV publish any kind of financial information. The move is widely regarded as an attempt by the PSUV – which had lost control of the National Assembly in the December 6 election – to gain absolute control of the BCV before the opposition officially took over the legislature.
Torrealba said that the Central Bank Law that the TSJ struck down yesterday was merely returning the powers the National Assembly had in relation to the BCV barely four months ago:
The lackeys that formed part of the majority at the previous National Assembly stripped themselves – unconstitutionally – of their abilities, and handed them over to the Executive (…) [The MUD] decided to return things to their original place and regain its abilities when it comes to appointing the central bank’s directors.
Torrealba said that allowing the BCV to operate without any kind of legislative oversight has turned it into an “inflation factory” because the institution’s policies come from the whims of the office of the President.
The TSJ released its formal decision regarding the case earlier today. In making its decision, the Court conducted “a study” of central banks around the world, and allegedly found that many of them operate within the oversight of the executive branch.
The TSJ’s full ruling, in Spanish, can be found here.
Allup: BCV Head Met with TSJ Prior to Ruling
The President of the National Assembly, Henry Ramos Allup, alleged today that the head of the BCV, Nelson Merentes, personally met with TSJ magistrates in the days leading up to yesterday’s ruling, presumably to jointly come up with a decision.
Through his Twitter account, Allup said:
Before declaring the Partial Reform to the Central Bank Law null, which the National Assembly approved [to combat] inflation, the regime’s law firm [the TSJ] met with Nelson Merentes.
Allup also said that once the opposition managed to reclaim all of the branches of government from the PSUV, public officials – like TSJ magistrates and the head of the BCV – “will be tried and imprisoned” for “systematic constitutional violations”.
Maduro Announces “Rebirth of Bolivarianism and Chavismo”
At the event, Maduro repeated his theory that all of the country’s problems can be traced to a massive conspiracy involving an impressive list of enemies:
The economic war that the Venezuelan right wing is implementing is an unconventional national and international war that is trying to destroy the country and all that President Hugo Chavez built.
Maduro was extremely critical of the National Assembly, and lamented the fact that it is currently under opposition control:
[The national government has to hear] all the venomous nonsense that the National Assembly vomits – those spokespersons for the ultra right-wing who think that they’ve arrived to the end of the story. The revolution has not ended.
Maduro also said that the month of April would prove to be eventful:
We’re starting a month and trimester where many things will be decided in the historic battle that Latin America and the Caribbean is fighting, and our people.
Maduro: Country Should Hold “Public Consultation” Over Amnesty Law
I’m opening a public consultation, a truly national dialogue, so that the people and all of its human rights organizations, its social movements, its political parties, institutions of the Republic, can let me know their opinion about what the head of state should do with this criminal amnesty law and is trying to overthrow the government.
Mayor Murdered: Maduro Blames Assassins
Marco Tulio Carillo, the mayor of the La Ceiba municipality in Trujillo state, was murdered last night in front of his home by unknown assailants. Carillo was shot in the face seven times. Carillo was a member of the PSUV.
Although authorities have yet to release any information on the case, Maduro was confident enough to say that Carillo had been murdered by “assassins” operating for right wing interests:
This is part of the unconventional war that we are facing, not just now but for the past few years. Criminal violence happens when the right wing doesn’t achieve its objectives.
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