President Jose Vicente Rangel said Wednesday the government would not
abide by what it considered an invalid ruling.
The Supreme Court of Justice had
ruled on Monday to count 876,000 disputed signatures seeking a recall of
president Chavez. The Electoral Council accepted the decision, but the
government opened an investigation Wednesday that could lead to the
removal of the judges.
Venezuela"' government opened
an investigation that could lead to the removal of three Supreme Court of
Justice's ministers who validated 876,000 signatures seeking to recall
president Hugo Chavez. The ruling had paved the way for a vote to shorten
the mandate of the head of State, expected to expire in 2006.
Attorney General's office said
Venezuela's attorney general, the public defender and the controller
general were investigating Magistrates Alberto Martini, Rafael Hernandez
and Orlando Gravina for unethical behavior, after stating that more than
870,000 signatures must be considered valid unless citizens disclaim them.
Supreme Court"s ruling overturned previous decisions taken by the
National Electoral Council that forced the citizens to confirm such
rubrics allegedly in violation of the constitutional procedures.
Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel
said Wednesday the government would not abide by what it considered an
invalid ruling. The ruling came from the Supreme Court's three-member
electoral chamber, and Rangel argued only the constitutional chamber had
the authority to decide on matters concerning the recall.
Supreme Court's ruling meant a
victory for the opposition after a long series of setbacks.>
However, the government will play its last cards to avoid a recall vote
that could take Chavez out of power.
The opposition says the recall
vote is the last chance Venezuela has to peacefully solve the political
crisis that strains the country since 2002. On the contrary, Chavez
believes the recall issue is an antidemocratic attempt launched by the
opposition backed by Washington to remove him from power and drive back
all the social reforms his administration did to improve living standards
of the impoverished population.
Another key issue is the oil. The
South American country, which sits on the largest oil reserves in the
Western Hemisphere, is one of the main suppliers of the United States and
the fifth world"s exporter. Chavez have repeatedly threatened
Washington to cut out oil supplies if it keeps on supporting the
This week, another diplomatic
conflict broke out between both nations when Chavez offered political
asylum to Haiti's ousted president Jean Bertrand Aristide. Aristide said
US marines in Haiti forced him to resign and took him against his will to
the Central African Republic.
In the meantime, the situation in
Haiti is far from being calm after Aristide"s removal, as
Arisitide"s followers often clash with French and US occupation
forces in the island claiming for the return of their leader. Arisitide
left Africa last week and flew back to the Caribbean as special guest of
the Jamaican government. That is, a few miles West from Haiti!
US State Department, concerned on
the situation in Port-Au-Prince, said Chavez offer did not help to
"bring Haiti back to democracy".