Protests erupted in response to the Aug. 14 Venezuelan Supreme Court decision to drop the case against the four military officers accused in the April coup. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he would respect any decision and urged supporters to stage nonviolent demonstrations, including to join in an Aug. 24 march for justice to the National Assembly, as a protest against the decision. The President praised members of Congress who launched a probe into the top court’s judges, who they accuse of corruption and favoritism.

Capturing the widespread public opinion, Jose Pina, a 31-year-old electrician told reporters, “That ruling was bought.”

The Communist Party of Venezuela (CPV) and the Communist Youth of Venezuela (JCV) condemned the 11-8 decision, which dismissed rebellion charges against army Gen. Efrain Vasquez, Navy Rear Adm. Hector Ramirez Perez, Vice Adm. Daniel Comisso Urdaneta and Air Force Gen. Pedro Pereira, citing insufficient evidence.

In their Aug. 15 statement, signed by Oscar Figuera, secretary general of the CPV, and David Velásquez, secretary general of the JCV, the two organizations said, “Article 347 of the Bolivarian Constitution states: ‘The People of Venezuela are the repository of original constitutional power. In the exercise of this power, they may convene a National Constitutional Assembly for the purpose of transforming the State, creating a new judicial order, and drafting a new Constitution.’”

They urged a Constitutional Assembly as “the only way to avoid the social unrest” and stay within the Venezuelan Constitutional framework.

The statement warned of the reactionary forces, “financed and directed by U. S. imperialism, [that have] bought enough votes on the Supreme Court to try to impeach President Chávez and thus to deal a body-blow to the Bolivarian process.” Reuters reported that opposition leaders to Chavez have increasingly turned to the Supreme Court as they seek ways to oust Chavez, including a referendum, shortening his term or lawsuits alleging corruption, insanity and crimes against humanity.

The communists called the Supreme Court decision “a continuation, by ‘institutional’ means,” of the April 11 coup.

“Of 20 Supreme Court judges, 11 opted to support a decision that clears the fascist military officers of all charges, and, against all logic, reality and legality, ruled that there was neither a coup d’etat nor a military uprising this past April,” the statement said.

The statement also warned that these same forces “are buying enough votes in the National Assembly to deepen the constitutional crisis that Venezuela is presently experiencing.”

“A Constitutional Assembly is the constitutional alternative to resolve the struggle for power that is taking place in our country, to deepen the revolutionary process that is confronting the interests of the U.S. empire,” the statement said.

The CPV and JVC said, “The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will follow the road of Bolivarian Revolution, the road of the Latin American and Caribbean Revolution, against the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas), against the Andean Regional Initiative and Plan Colombia, against Bush’s and the CIA’s neocolonialist war, and against the establishment of a meddling “transition bureau” to install the Empire in Venezuela.”

“The Communist Party and the Communist Youth of Venezuela, together with the political and social organizations that support the Bolivarian revolutionary process, call for People’s Assemblies and for the collection of 2 million signatures to ask the President to convene (pursuant to article 348 of the Constitution) a new National Constitutional Assembly to transform the state, create the judicial order that has not been created by the National Assembly, and to make needed changes in the Constitution, in favor of the Venezuelan people and the Bolivarian revolution,” the statement urged.