Predictably, Maduro charges political opponents with treason

Jazz Shaw Posted at 10:01 am on August 31, 2017

The dictator of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, continues to follow the basic instructions left by previous tyrants. Having dispatched with any semblance of representative government, there are still a large number of political opponents out there who remain vocal critics of the new order. How to deal with them?

Maduro is opting for a rather direct “solution” to the problem. He’s reportedly going to bring them up on charges of treason, followed by some sort of kangaroo court show trial and almost certainly terminal imprisonment if not outright execution. (Vice News)

Venezuela’s embattled government lurched closer toward dictatorship Tuesday as the country’s new national assembly voted to hold trials of opposition leaders for treason.

Hours after the vote, the United Nations issued a report condemning President Nicolas Maduro’s use of violence and torture against his opponents.

Venezuela’s national assembly, stacked with allies of President Nicolas Maduro, unanimously approved a decree instructing the country’s chief prosecutor’s office to immediately begin investigating “traitors” from the opposition accused of supporting U.S. sanctions against Venezuela.

At first glance you might think that the opposition leaders would at least be able to stay alive because Venezuela abolished the death penalty by constitutional decree more than 150 years ago. But the new national assembly is currently rewriting all the rules as they go, taking their instructions directly from Maduro. (They’re also on track to rewrite the constitution anyway, but that’s really a technicality at this point.) All they’ll need to do is issue a new order allowing the murder of “traitors” for “crimes against the state” and that will likely be that.

Can anything be done about this? Unlikely. At the same time that all of this was going on, the United Nations issued a condemnation of the Maduro regime for what amounts to crimes against humanity. (Reuters)

The United Nations on Wednesday said Venezuela’s security forces had committed extensive and apparently deliberate human rights violations in crushing anti-government protests.

The actions indicated “a policy to repress political dissent and instil fear”, the U.N. human rights office said in a report that called for further investigation.

It called on the government of President Nicolas Maduro to release arbitrarily detained demonstrators and to halt the unlawful use of military courts to try civilians.

Raise your hands if you think that Maduro will give one flying fig about any condemnation from the United Nations. He’s got China as an ally at this point, making sure that cash is still flowing into his coffers and they’re not going to go along with any additional sanctions against him. I had hoped for a brief time that the military might rise up in disgust and put him out of office, but there are no signs of that thus far beyond a single incident of a few dozen people raiding an arms depot.

Maduro is expanding his militias and consolidating his power. Soon, the remaining leaders of the old government who are willing to speak out against these atrocities will be imprisoned as traitors, no doubt send a chill down the spines of anyone else who was thinking of speaking up. Short of an armed revolt by the starving civilian population, it looks increasingly as if Venezuela is a lost cause.