Today, the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) issued a ruling ordering the National Assembly to stop any attempts to declare Maduro’s post as President of the Republic vacant through the holding of a “political trial” against him at parliament. The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) had announced in late October that it would hold the so-called political trial against Maduro at the National Assembly, and suggested that the conclusion of the trial might result in Maduro being removed from his seat.
The Constitution does not afford the National Assembly to hold “political trials” against anyone. However, article 233 outlines the conditions under which the President of the Republic may be found to be “permanently unavailable”, including death, resignation, or “abandonment of his position, duly declared by the National Assembly”.
Today’s ruling, No. 948, partially reads:
The [TSJ] orders the National Assembly deputies to abstain from continuing the unconstituional, null and inexistent “political trial” against the President of the Republic (…) as well avoiding declaring any kind of act, either an agreement or any other type, that finds itself at the margins of its abilities and, to that end, outside of that which is outlined in the constitution.
The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by Reinaldo Muñoz, the Procurator General of Venezuela, who argued that the National Assembly was acting outside of its powers by attempting to hold the “trial” against Maduro.
Minister of Penitentiaries: Venezuela Scored Perfect on UN Review
Minister of Penitentiaries Iris Varela claimed today that the country’s prison system received a perfect score in a yearly review of human rights in the country that took place at the United Nations on November 1.
Referencing the Venezuelan school grading system in which the maximum grade one can earn in a class is 20 (the equivalent of an A+ in North American schools), Varela said:
We scored 20 on our periodic Universal Human Rights test. We’re transforming the prison system.
Varela did not cite the results of the UN’s report, leaving her claim completely unsubstantiated.
Venezuelan prisons are notoriously nightmarish. Drugs, weapons and other contraband flow freely through their walls, and they are often run by a “king” prisoner named the pran. Last month, residents in Tachira state denounced that inmates at a prison there had murdered and cannibalized another inmate there.
Gov’t Rolls Out New Police Vehicles, Gives Miranda State Only Two
Last Friday, the Ministry of the Interior, Justice and Peace distributed 294 new police vehicles to several police agencies in the country. However, Miranda state – one of only three states in Venezuela that are governed by an opposition politician – received only two vehicles, leaving it in dire need of more.
According to the head of the Miranda State Police, Elisio Guzman, 60% of the police force’s vehicles are out of commission due to a lack of repair parts, including tires and batteries. El Nacional reports that the last time that the force received vehicles was in 2014, when the government assigned it 10 cars, 20 pick-up trucks and 35 motorcycles.
Guzman said that the government’s meager allotment of vehicles fell short of what the police force required:
Several months ago we asked the Ministry of the Interior, Justice and Peace to assign us 9 vehicles and 18 motorcycles (…) with the goal of continuing to provide security to the citizens, but we haven’t received any response.
The governor of Miranda state is Henrique Capriles, a key opposition figure who ran for the office of president against Maduro in the 2013 elections following Chavez’s death.
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