The implication of the Linda Loaiza case to Venezuela's Society
24.10.04 - This is not about politics. This is a story about a judicial system and a society so rotten and so putrid that something like the Linda Loaiza case can occur. It is impunity within impunity. A decision so absurd and corrupt that even those that preside over a system that promotes impunity are flabbergasted by it. It is victory of money over fairness, money over human decency, money over a monstrosity, in short, money over the most basic moral and ethical principles of a human being.
The story is simple and complicated. Three years ago, Linda Loaiza was found in Luis Carrera’s apartment. They found her chained to a chair. She had been there for many months. She was found mutilated. She had been abused and raped. She had been hit so often that her ears were deformed, her eyesight ruined. Since she was liberated, she has undergone many medical treatments, both internal and external.
Her captor Luis Carrera was immediately jailed, but the case dragged on and on for the last three years. Fifty nine judges inhibited themselves from the case; thirty times her audience was suspended. Mr. Carrera’s father was implicated in the case, but never charged. It got to be so ridiculous and contrived that Ms. Loaiza started a hunger strike in front of the Venezuelan Supreme Court asking for justice. She finally thought she was going to get it when the head of the Supreme Court promise the case would finally be decided upon.
And it was. Like most recent mysterious judicial decisions in Venezuela it was announced by the judge past midnight. But the decision was a true shocker. The judge said there was no “proof” as if Ms. Loaiza’s battered body was not sufficient evidence that a crime had been committed. It also made everyone wonder if there was no evidence, how come 59 judges had avoided the case like the plague if it was so simple?
What makes it even worse was that the judge (a woman!), accepted Mr. Carrera’s words as more important than all of the other evidence in the case. Mr. Carrera argued that the injuries were caused by someone else, but this phantom criminal has yet to be identified and no suspect exists or has been mentioned by anyone.
There are other edges to the case. The defense argued for a lower sentence on Carrera using a shameful portion of the penal code that reduces sentences in cases involving prostitution, an inheritance from those eras of full machismo and discrimination against women, some of which unfortunately linger on in Venezuelan society.
While all sectors of society are scandalized at the grotesque sentence, from the opposition, to the Prosecutors, even the People’s Ombudsman has been heard from, the wiser question is why? Why did this judge let Mr. Carrera go? Why did she use such simplistic arguments in her sentence? Why did she place so much weight on Carrera’s statements and so little on the evidence? Did Carrera’s father get to her with money? Wasn’t she worried about the impact of her decision?
The truth is that judge Cadiz’s decision smells so dirty that it makes you wonder how much she had to be paid, for her to dare go through with it anyway. She knew she would and will get the full weight of the revolution on her case. She will be fired and lose her jib, so she must have received sufficiently to obviate the punishments ahead in such a public and widely known case.
And that is the wide implication for Venezuelan society of the Linda Loaiza case. A judicial system so corrupt and promiscuous that there is not even fear of the authorities that have used it to their advantage day after day. Impunity at such high levels that no amount of political pressure or the simple fairness of the case can push the judge into doing what is right. It is evidence of the ethical and moral decay of a corrupted judicial system where decisions are beyond the moral or political, in the end it is money that rules. There is a price for every decision, as long as it is commensurate with the danger the judge may be in.
For the revolution it creates a big problem. It has manipulated and controlled decisions in such a rampant way that the whole system is out of control. Money flows around decisions if politics is absent. Politics rules decisions and allows impunity. In fact, political decisions give judges protection from the revolution. But the whole thing has gotten carried away that it is running under control and telling us something very ugly about the system that is supposed to protect the citizens and guarantee their rights. In the case of Linda Loaiza, she has been abused twice, once by her captor and tormentor and now by this parody of justice, called the Venezuelan judicial system.
It also has much wider implications to society as a whole. The lack of morals and ethics extends to much more than the judicial system by a society used to impunity to such an extent that there is little fear of getting caught and even less of being punished.
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