Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
20 February 2013

Under the smooth guidance of state prosecutor Gerrie Nel, the case’s investigating officer Hilton Botha delivered what seemed to be a damning case against Pistorius in the morning session. But when defence advocate Barry Roux began his cross-examination of Hilton, it took very little time for things to fall apart. As a criminal lawyer pointed out to the Daily Maverick, “the skills of the prosecutor mean nothing if the IO [investigating officer] caves in the stand.” After a full grilling from Roux, the police work on the case was made to look sloppy and careless. – Rebecca Davis at Daily Maverick

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