Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Profile in Courage from Next Door

Not a 'yes woman.' Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega.
Look at authoritarian states around the world, from Belarus to Russia to Turkey to Egypt and you'll see not only a near-dictator, but also a crowd of yes-men (and women) around him eager to praise every decree and pronuncement, no matter how offensive.

That's why the stands taken by Luisa Ortega, the attorney general of increasingly authoritarian Venezuela, are so impressive.

Generally, in authoritarian regimes, those surrounding the leader support him because the leader rewards loyal allies, while those who oppose him get fired or worse.

But Ortega has defied that calculation.

Ortega called the decision by the Supreme Court - packed with government loyalists - to dissolve the
Wannabe dictator Nicolas Maduro.
oppposition-controlled parliament and assume its powers "a violation of the constitutional order." That's a bit of an understatement, but good for her, anyway. In the face of her opinion and international criticism, the court reversed itself, although it continues to annul the parliament's laws one by one.

Ortega has also declined to prosecute anti-government protesters, causing the government to send them to military courts, an evident violation of the Constitution.

Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro pointed out that trying civilians in military courts was done by Latin America's right-wing dictators.

She has also accused the Maduro government of lawbreaking and even of killing at least one protester.

Ortega is no right-wing anti-government fanatic, but leftie loyalist to the deceased Pres. Hugo Chávez.

And Ortega called Pres. Nicolas Maduro's plan to convoke a constitutional convention as "unnecessary" and risky, and charged that the delegates chosen to rewrite the Constitution would not be representative of Venezuelans, who overwhelmingly oppose Pres. Maduro.

Others have pointed out that Maduro's constitutional convention idea is a naked power grab.

We can count on at least one thing: under the new Constitution Ortega won't have a government job.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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