Caracas Metropolitan Mayor Antonio Ledezma -- elected to office last November 23 but prevented from exercising office in what is claimed to be a clear case of post-electoral fraud in Venezuela
During regional and local elections, which took place on November 23 2008, 4 out of 5 Mayoralty offices in the Caracas Metropolitan Area were won democratically by the Oppostion (Chacao, El Hatillo, Baruta and Sucre). It was only Libertador municipality that was won by the Venezuelan Socialist United Party (PSUV).
According to Constitutional mandate, the duly elected Caracas Metropolitan Mayor, Antonio Ledezma is the coordinator of the five municipalities that make up Caracas .
BUT ... since opposition Mayors took power, the national government has targeted them in ferocious attacks, blocking them from exercising office and creating huge obstacles for their proper management. Since November 23 ... when Ledezma was elected ... thru December 7 2009 ... when Ledezma officially took power ... the Caracas Metropolitan Mayor's Office was systematically looted, command over the Metropolitan Police revoked and hospitals, health centers, municipality offices, institutions and official landmarks were transferred to the national government. In an attempt to imposing a centralized regime, the government destabilized the management of the Caracas Metropolitan Mayoralty and ignored its constitutional authority ... the Chavez regime also stands accused of attempting to turn Ledezma's role into something that purely ornamental.
The opposition claims that central government is also stimulating illegal action by para-police and para-military groups that violently assault and occupy the Mayor's official offices and prevent the Mayor from entering City Hall ... there have been many attacks on Mayor Ledezma and his offices by radical pro-government groups which, counting on jurisdictional immunity, and in some cases with the support of the commandeered Metropolitan police and military forces have effectively destroyed the fittings and fixtures at City Hall and are even charged with kidnapping employees such as Metropolitan Culture Secretary Victor Carrillo.
On Tuesday, April 7, the National Assembly passed an Organic Law of Decentralization, which takes away all attributions from the Metropolitan Mayor ... this constitutes a true coup d'etat on the Mayor and is in clear violation of the 1999 Constitution since, on November 23 last, voters democratically elected Antonio Ledezma as Metropolitan Mayor.
Ledezma says that "this totalitarian and anti-constitutional attitude disturbs local democracy ... in a general manner it challenges the Democratic InterAmerican Treaty which states its support for democracy and defense of human rights. It also promotes a state of law and opposes domination tendencies in the world with decentralization as a core value."
He adds: The new law is flagrant attempt against popular sovereignty, citizen participation and decentralization. It establishes a 'Chief of Government' of the Caracas Capital District, which will be of a higher order than the organizations and officials elected to be in charge of the administration of the Capital District. A part from this, the new authority will be appointed by the Venezuela President himself in a council of ministers ... this humiliates, diminishes and disregards citizen participation and the electoral vote. It is a reverse movement that brings us back to despotic and autocratic practices of the most condemnable parts of our Venezuelan history. In fact, the idea of vice presidencies for regional states comes from the Juan Vicente Gomez government ... the most repudiated dictatorship in Venezuela in the last century.
"The office of Metropolitan Mayor ... as opposed to this new Chief of Capital District ... is an elected official!"
As Metropolitan Mayor, Antonio Ledezma, sees himself forced to file different legal appeals to the Attorney General, the Supreme Court, the National Electoral Council, the Official Ombudsman and other jurisdictional instances. He denounces violent acts against him and sabotage ... and, most importantly, he rejected the passing of the new Organic Law of Decentralization but has received no response. In spite of this, as the Metropolitan Mayor, he confirms his commitment to responsibilities given to him by the majority of Caracas citizens and profusely rejects the government's illegal actions as a clear and unmitigated case of post-electoral fraud.