Thursday, August 23, 2007

Constitutional thoughts: things are evolving faster than expected or how 344 becomes 666

Two thoughts for tonight

I have reread in detail the constitutional proposal and thought about the different items. I could find only one minor item that could actually be good. All the rest is worse than what I thought at first. And I mean really, really bad. When you look into the finer details you can fin all sorts of things that are very dangerous because they open the modified constitution to future changes that will transform Venezuela into a commie country like Cuba. I doubt the success of the ultimate goal of Chavez for one very simple reason: as long as he cannot seal the border with Colombia, people will vote with their feet, contraband will exist, ideas will circulate and eventually anti Chavez guerrilla and terror groups will appear and flourish.

But that Chavez will finally fail is no consolation: the damage he will do to Venezuela will be comparable to what the Soviet Union did to Eastern Europe. And we will not even have the excuse to blame it on the Soviet invasion... thus I think that it is also necessary to discuss openly the constitutional proposal to show people that the presidency for life is not necessarily, in some aspects, the worst proposal, believe it or not!!!! Thus in spite of my initial reluctance I will have to write more on these proposals in future posts. Stay tuned.

The second thought is article 344. In my long post about what to do against the constitutional referendum I mentioned it as one possible anti Chavez weapon. Now I am thinking that it might be the main one. A 24 hours conversion you would say? Well, maybe. Yesterday and today indecent haste by the National Assembly to marshal through the referendum proposal discussion for a vote on December 9 at the latest is of course hiding something major. In normal countries, any constitutional reform is a discussion that takes the best of a year, when the changes are consensual and urgent. Here they are neither consensual nor urgent (at least not for the country, only for Chavez). In no particular order:

- Initial polls are not good for chavismo. Let's not forget that it is not just a matter of winning, the proposal is so grotesque that it needs a strong victory.

- The enabling law is running out of time. The delays in presenting the proposal, due we now know to its heretical nature towards freedom, have cut a lot into the lifetime of the enabling law of early this year and once the reform it approved Chavez will not even have 6 months to enact the dozens of laws he needs to enact to seal our fate once and for all. Even if legal, it is a coup d'etat that we are seeing and as this it must be conducted as fast as possible.

- Of course more economic bad news could happen. That is why we already see all sorts of distracting measures such as changing the Venezuelan time zone, a silly proposal if any! And who knows what the next corruption scandal might be! A trunk full of money in some bolivarian yatch?

And thus the sudden increased importance of the 344. Chavismo knew about the 344 but it did not think that Primero Justicia would take it up so fast. It also did not preview the unanimous rejection of the proposals by not only the opposition but by many ex chavistas silent until this week. Suddenly it seems that a 344 challenge is possible!!!! Heck, even that NYT editorial today must have come as a cold shower, not because it was unexpected, but because the speed at which it came.

The perversion, for chavismo, in the 344 is that the 33 proposals would have to be divided in at least three parts, either equal in number of items or equal in importance (who decides on that is of course a mystery, but it must be decided). Thus, while the 5% signatures are collected, while they are validated, while the discussion drags on, the risk increases every day that a bad electoral result for Chavez could happen, at least on one of the item, the one of the indefinite reelection!!! The more sensible peopel will have a chance to read what Chavez wants, the less they will like it.

But it can even get worse. Imagine that the 5% is reached and that chavismo is not only forced to accept a split in three of the vote, but that the vote is delayed until early 2008. The moral boost for the opposition of such a success would be gigantic, it could give it wings to organize an effective resistance, an effective manning of the polling station to lower the risks of cheating, an effective and convincing grassroots campaign.

Expect a negation to 344 from chavismo, all the legal trickeries will be attempted as the Constitutional Court of Venezuela has already repeatedly violated the constitution. What is the problem about raping it once more as it is about to die anyway?

This is suddenly, by chavismo own body language these past two days, the opposition secret weapon. From the undemocratic and hastily way that the constitutional debate has started to the possibly illegal way in which the National Assembly is already demanding the CNE to organize and schedule the vote for December 9, all points out to a sudden chavismo nervousness. Expect the worst.

-The end-

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