As it is often the case, democracy dies in the dark hours of the night.
Last night the National Assembly voted the third discussion of the Constitutional Reform proposal of Chavez. Third discussion is a very relative term since half of the articles were discussed briefly only once and by very few people. Thus the new constitution is born in a major constitutional fraud, from the very start. Regardless on its undemocratic content and how it consecrates the power of Chavez on every aspect of the Venezuelan people everyday life, the birth of the new constitution is simply illegal and no popular vote can ever hide that fact. Any Venezuelan has simply the right to refuse that constitution, and violate it when needed. Something that we are sure Chavez will be the first one to do as he violated the 1999 constitution repeatedly. Legal systems that start in such ways always end up in blood.
While the eerie scene of the National Assembly "discussing" the amendments took place, we could see how unconnected from the reality of Venezuela this one is. Can we blame it? It was elected by barely 15% of the Venezuelan people.
Yesterday at a Mercal, A MERCAL, numbers were given to people to have the right to buy 2 pounds of milk. They had to wait in line for up to 6 hours to make their numbers good. Mercal customers elsewhere were not that lucky. If milk and sugar are irremediably missing now, what else will be missing now that the 2007 constitution allows the state to take over any sector it wants?
In a press conference the head of the Nazional Guard, a certain general aptly named Carrión, denied three times, THREE TIMES in a Saint Peteresque way, that the Nazional Guard has established barriers to stop protesters to go to Caracas to march in pacific political protest. It is public knowledge, there are plenty of videos on it, there are accusations from elected officials, and Carrion denies it three times, until pissed off he finally left the room. Considering that the controls on such public servants were not applied in the 1999 constitution imagine what will happen to us with the 2007 constitution where there is no more control over public administration.
The Central Bank, now stripped of any autonomy, presented yesterday the new coins and notes that will start in January 2008 when three zeros will be loped off the bolivar. With an inflation almost sure to reach 20% next year we wonder about the need to change the currency. The new currency self called Strong Bolivar will preside the collapse of the economical system in the near future as the government expenses keep increasing faster than revenue.
While the new constitution forbids anyone to receive any help from outside Venezuela for any political purpose, the new budget includes a few million dollars for promoting political dissidence in Mexico and elsewhere. No discussion on that of course. From now on Chavez controls discretionally more than half the national budget.