Key Venezuela Supreme Court judge flees to United States

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by WorldTribune Staff, January 9, 2019

A former Venezuelan Supreme Court justice, who had backed the country’s socialist government in every major legal dispute since President Nicolas Maduro assumed power, has fled to the United States.

Former Supreme Court Justice Christian Zerpa

Former Supreme Court Justice Christian Zerpa told a Miami media outlet on Jan. 6 that he fled to protest Maduro’s second term, which will begin with his inauguration this week.

“I’ve decided to leave Venezuela to disavow the government of Nicolas Maduro,” Zerpa said in an interview with EVTV, which is broadcast over cable and the Internet.

The 2018 vote which sealed Maduro’s victory for a new term has been dismissed by countries around the world as a sham.

“I believe (Maduro) does not deserve a second chance because the election he supposedly won was not free and competitive,” Zerpa said.

While serving on Venezuela’s Supreme Court, Zerpa had been a central figure in propping up the Maduro regime after the Socialist Party lost control of the National Assembly in the 2016 elections. Zerpa wrote the ruling which provided the legal justification for Maduro’s government to strip the congress of most of its powers.

Zerpa, in the Jan. 6 interview, described the Supreme Court as “an appendage of the executive branch,” and said that justices were at times summoned to the presidential palace to receive instructions on how to rule on certain sensitive cases.

Zerpa said he did not publicly criticize Maduro’s 2018 re-election to make sure he could pave the way for a safe exit from the country in the company of his family.

Eladio Aponte, a Venezuelan Supreme Court justice who fled to the United States in 2012, said the government of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez systematically manipulated court affairs.

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