Some tidbits on the run.
Chavez is getting today his official "enabling law", which has even been enlarged in scope from the preliminary proposal. As of today no man in Venezuelan history will have had as much power, as much discretionary power that is, with the possible exception of Juan Vicente Gomez. now Chavez, for 18 months, will be able to emit decrees that will be laws and can only be overturned by a congressional vote, Something totally unrealistic since the National Assembly has been unbelievably bending over to court him. Then again they were all but appointed by him.
Meanwhile in Ecuador his sorcerer's apprentice sent his newly formed storm troopers to harass the Congress and force it to call for a constituent assembly. It is not useless to remember that Correa got LESS than 30% of the popular vote in the first round of last year vote, a round during which the present Congress was ALSO elected. So right now, for Correa to pretend that the 60% who voted for him on the second round have had a change of mind and the new Congress is not legitimate is rather disingenuous an definitely anti democratic. But that is OK, look at the picture published in EL Tiempo and on the right corner you will see a protester wearing a red shirt with Chavez picture on it. Needless to speculate as to whom is advising/financing this protest.
Meanwhile the US Congress, out of touch with reality as usual, be it GOP or DEM controlled, is announcing through Sander Levin that the free trade treaty with Colombia and Peru must be renegotiated in large sections. Bravo! Miraflores Palace must be cheering in front of such a lousy initiative that only will promote further anti US feeling in countries that are genuinely trying to play the free trade card. Sam Levin has given better arguments to trash the US than the Negroponte declarations of yesterday. Negroponte is certainly right in pointing out that Chavez is a threat to democracy, but Levin intitiatve is equally a threat for the fragile democracies of Colombia and Peru.
It is to be a good week for Chavez when even the Empire works with him.