In a not surprising decision the subservient Constitutional Court (TSJ) confirmed what Chavez said barely 24 hours after he said it. He said that if the amedement was rejected on February 15 he could push it again next year, and the next, and the next until, we suppose, we get so tired of it that we'd vote Yes just to have him shut up on at least one item.
There were very interesting, and dramatic, implications to the decision of the TSJ two days ago.
First, the author of the decision was Francisco Carrasquero. What is noteworthy is that he was the Electoral Board president during the Recall Election process of 2003-2004, presiding over all the treachery committed then, from unjustifiable delays and Chavez favoritism to allowing the Tascon list. As a reward he was sent to the TSJ which is a better paid job and a less demanding one (TSJ judges get paid about the 500,000 USD Obama is allowing to executives who received Federal help; and they earn it much more than what the TSJ members do). From the bench he is rarely heard and when heard of it is to pen particular partisan and disgusting and incoherent decisions such as the one he signed this week.
Second, Carrasquero told us that an amendment trumps a constitutional reform. That is, if a constitutional reform is rejected, those who propose it can still get it piece meal through amendments, and with amendment votes repeated as frequently as needed until the vote is favorable. In other words, the system of measured constitutional reform has been jettisoned for a system where anything goes whenever it suits whomever. I ask: why bother with a constitution since as of this week it will be so easy to change it?
Third, apparently the TSJ has misplaced its Spanish dictionary as the meaning of "alternabilidad" does not seem to be clear for them. We all understand that alternative government means that a generation of politicians will not stay forever in power, Cuba style. It does not mean that Chavez must go for an opposition to replace him, it means that Chavez must go for another chavista OR and opposition to replace him.
And last but not least, fundamental aspects of the constitution can now be changed with a simple amendment. If the alternative form of government can be done away with a simple amendment, why not with a simple amendment redraw the Venezuelan map or return the Governors to the status of presidential appointees as it was done before or even, gasp, get rid of private property, get rid of the army for a militia or even do away with some civil rights?
Then again maybe Carrasquero wrote this sentence to maek sure that in the future he will have even less to do for his super-fat pay check.