Friday, November 14, 2008

(translation) Congressional Finance Commission Summons Manuel Rosales

***a few interesting things here: first of all, Manuel Rosales, leader of the opposition party ‘Un Nuevo Tiempo’ and opposition candidate for president in 2006, has long been accused by the government of having ties to kidnapping rings, drug producers and distributors and right-wing Colombian paramilitary organizations – not that this is an exhaustive nor mutually exclusive list. Zulia is Venezuela’s westernmost state, and it shares a long, rather porous border with Colombia. Colombia is along with Peru the chief ally of the United States in the region, and its peasant-insurgent-trade unionist-killing president Álvaro Uribe and Chávez have at times been rather intense enemies. In 2004 and 2007 the Venezuelan military has discovered and detained members of Colombian paramilitary groups around Caracas – who in one case were located on the property of outspoken anti-Chavista Robert Alonso (brother of actress María Conchita Alonso, who is also a virulent US-based anti-Chavista). Given that Colombian foreign policy vis-à-vis Venezuela is by and large written by the US state department, and given Rosales’ frequent trips to Washington D.C., he has perhaps become a legitimate target of government suspicion.
So, he’s under investigation by the National Assembly. Will he show up? Nope, no he didn’t ( ). As a result, the president of the commission has announced Rosales will be summoned a second time, but after the elections to be held November 23 (!!! Obviously, this is an iron-fisted dictatorship that brooks no insubordination!!!).

The other thing…Rosales is currently the governor of Zulia. Not bad. You done good, son. Then he got smashed in the 2006 presidential election (drawing just under 37% of the vote to Chávez’s nearly 63%). Too bad, so sorry. So now what? Running for mayor of the city you ran BEFORE becoming governor (from 1996-2000)? In most circles, that'd be a bit of a disappointment. In Venezuela, however, it points to the tenaciousness (ineffective as it may be) of the opposition – on which I will write in a few moments.

The article:

[Staff. Úlitmas Noticias 14 November 2008, pg. 17]

Caracas—The president of the National Assembly’s finance commission, Julio Moreno, issued a summons yesterday for the testimony of Zulia’s governor Manuel Rosales.

The summons obliges the participation of Rosales regarding: alleged corruption in the Zulia lottery and in the drawing of contracts for the lottery; the allegation made by a deputy concerning the donation and then sale of a car to a regional police functionary with ties to the governor.

Moreno indicated that he hoped that [Rosales], who is currently also a candidate for mayor of Maracaibo [capital of Zulia state] will assist the commission and give pertinent explanations, and did not rule out the possibility of Rosales’ testimony being made public.

[Moreno] said the commission had followed all the requirements for notifying Rosales of the subpoena. “The commission obeyed with what was established in the Law of Testimony, 72 hours he was sent a request via fax, and carried out the logistical support of a security corps to notify the governor of the proceedings.”

[Moreno] noted that to this point there has been no confirmation of attendance from the governor, but that the date of the hearing will be on the morning of 14 November.

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