By Carlos Camacho
CARACAS -- Venezuela’s Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz went before the Supreme Court Tuesday, asking that eight of its justices be impeached for “conspiring against the Republican form of the nation”, meaning the justices allowed or issued decisions that attack the oil-rich nation’s current form of political organization, a punishable offence under Venezuelan laws.
“They are to separate themselves from their posts, immediately,” Ortega said in remarks to the local press outside the Court. This is the third time Ortega has gone before the Supreme Court since last week to ask for a measure and so far she has been denied. “What they are looking for is to dismantle the state.”
Titular justices Juan Jose Mendoza, Arcadio Delgado, Carmen Zuleta, Calixto Ortega, Luis Damiani, Lourdes Suaez and alternates Federico Fuenmayor y Rene Degraves are all members of the Court’s Constitutional Hall, which has published dozens of pro-Maduro decisions since the opposition won the Assembly, according to government critics.
Additionally, Zuleta, Suarez, Ortega, Mendoza, Delgado and Damiani all became “Specially Designated Nationals” (SDN) by the US Treasury Department weeks ago, together with another six justices (including Supreme Court President Maikel Moreno) and current and former Venezuelan officials, completing a group of 12 new SDN individuals.
Ortega repeatedly referred negatively to the Constituional Hall justices and their recent decisions, saying among other things that they had dictated “grotesque decisions, that attempt against the Constitutional order” in Venezuela.
“Luisa Ortega Diaz” became the top trending topic for Venezuela on Twitter and was at the number two spot (after the hashtag for Tuesday’s date, #13Jun) as of this writing.ESCALATION
Ortega asked that all six members of the Court’s Constitutional Hall and two of their substitutes be impeached for, among other actions, publishing in late March a decision that aimed to usurp the power and functions of the opposition-dominated National Assembly.
“The rule of the law is being denied”, Ortega told reporters on Tuesday. “That’s why I had to request these impeachments. It is not possible that they aim to eliminate the National Assembly just because they do not like it, changing the constitution out of sheer caprice…It’s a reiterated policy, dictating decisions that have caused a breach in Constitutional order”.
Tuesday’s actions by Ortega escalate on what has been her official action against the government of Nicolas Maduro since late March, when she first denounced it. Already on Monday, Ortega had asked that the administrative act through which 33 Supreme Court justices had been appointed by the outgoing, lame-duck 2015 National Assembly be declared null and void.CHIEF OF THE FASCIST OPPOSITION?
In a tweet published minutes after her remarks, Venezuelan Vice President Tarek El Aissami savaged Ortega, accusing her, among other things of being the “chief” of the “fascists opposition”.
“Stop making excuses for your LACK OF CAPACITY and stop this fascist opposition, which now has you as its chief, from keeping on murdering the people”, El Aissami wrote, cc’ing Ortega’s Tweet handle.
El Aissami was designated a “kingpin” in international drug trafficking by the United States Treasury weeks ago, together with Venezuelan businessman Samark Bello, supposedly his partner in the illicit trade.