lunes, julio 11, 2005
Ortega trial to begin next week
The trial of union president Carlos Ortega for civil rebellion and instigation to commit crimes has been set to begin next Tuesday, July 19th. (Last week it was announced for July 14th; guess it's been pushed back a few days.) Ortega was the leader of the Confederation of Venezuelan Workers (CTV in Spanish), the country's traditional union confederation tied to the long-ruling party Accion Democratica (now out of power and part of the opposition to Chavez).
Apparently Ortega is considering not attending his own trial in protest. This according to Henry Ramos Allup, Deputy in the National Assembly and member of Accion Democratica. Odd that such a declaration would be made an elected official, not from Ortega himself or his lawyer... Who knows if this statement really came from Ortega.
Ortega's charges stem from his leadership, alongside the national chamber of commerce FEDECAMERAS, of an oil industry stoppage from December 2002 to February 2003 demanding that Chavez resign the presidency. Venezuela's government estimates that the stoppage caused $10 billion worth of losses and damage to the national economy.
For background on Ortega's case, see "Exiled labor leader Carlos Ortega arrested in Caracas" and "More on Ortega arrest".
People should also keep in mind that Ortega played a important role in the April 2002 coup against Chavez by sending the marchers on an illegal march to Miraflores with the words "lets take out the tyrant". As a results dozens of people died and a coup was carried out. Ortega definitely has blood on his hands from that day.
I get confused because "billion" and "trillion" in US English have a different meaning than "un billon" y "un trillon" en castellano. In this case I overcompensated [sheepish grin].
And yep, Ortega was involved in the events of April 11th too, though that's not part of the charges against him. I have heard though, that aside from Ortega the CTV was notable for its absence from the coup. Of course the CTV played a leading role in the demonstrations, but in the coup itself, my understanding is that no CTV representatives signed the Carmona decree, nor (I think) were present in the palace. Can anyone confirm this?
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