EspañolThe process by which Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro is organizing his Constituent Assembly — which will replace the country’s long-standing constitution — has been full of absurdities. It has been not only, in most cases, totally illegal, but also full of controversial candidates who lack proper experience or clean criminal records.
Elections for the National Constituent Assembly will be held on July 30, and include a series of questionable participants — 545 in total — in charge of drafting a new constitution that will, undoubtedly, keep Maduro in power.
Santana, the criminal
Imagine a group of fugitives that suddenly became responsible for drafting the constitution of your country — one that will most likely eliminate any popular vote, the National Assembly or the right to private property.
Such is the case of Valentín Santana, the leader of the armed group La Piedrita. Santana has three arrest warrants dating back to January 2007, March 2008 and January 2009. Even late President Hugo Chavez described Santana as a criminal for threatening to kill President of 1BC Companies Marcel Granier.
In an interview, Santana even admitted that he had killed people in defense of “the Revolution.”
Cilia Flores and “Nicolito”
Both first lady Cilia Flores and Maduro’s son Nicolás Ernesto Maduro Guerra are pre-candidates for the Constituent Assembly, despite the fact that neither of them have legislative experience.
“We are headed toward a Constituent National Assembly that is deeply democratic, citizen-focused, popular and socialist,” Guerra said. “We are going to reform the state.”
Guerra, who has held many executive positions in his father’s administration since 2013, called on citizens to support him in maintaining “the social rights that the people deserve.”
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Meanwhile, Cilia Flores not only wants to draft the new constitution, but also intends to be a candidate. In order to do so, she committed an electoral violation by lying to the National Electoral Council.
Flores was elected as a member of the National Assembly for the state of Cojedes in 2015, stating that she had been living there for four consecutive years, one requirement for participating in the elections. But she is now running as a representative for the Libertador Municipality of the Capital District, where where she has never lived.
Additionally, she hasn’t resigned her seat in the National Assembly, which is necessary to obtain eligibility in the Constituent Assembly.
Iris Varela, in bad company
Former Minister of Penitentiary Services Iris Varela has requested permission from Maduro to run for a seat in the National Constituent Assembly despite her close friendship with known criminals in Venezuela, such as Teófilo Rodríguez Cazorla, also known as “El Conejo” (The Rabbit), who ran the “Tren del Pacífico” cartel.
On January 24, 2016, Teófilo died from cardiac arrest after being shot at a nightclub, but everyone wanted to know what he was doing there instead of jail. Something similar happened with “Wilmito,” who was sentenced to 20 years in prison but was seen enjoying a family vacation on Margarita Island.
Apparently “Wilmito” had a Benefit Trust Scheme granted by the Minister of Penitentiary Service herself: Maria Iris Varela.
Diosdado Cabello, under investigation
Vice President of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela Diosdado Cabello has formalized his candidacy to the Constituent Assembly. However, in May 2015, a report by the Wall Street Journal revealed that Cabello could be at the center of the operations of the Soles drug cartel.