This is about 99% an essay on futility but why not.
In time of major political crisis everybody seats down and even if the laws and the constitution cannot be used to solve the crisis, a solution is invoked and agreed upon that may go deeply against the constitution, if needed. I think that after Saturday gigantic show of force from the opposition, we are about to reach such a point, if we have not crossed it already.
The political problems are:
- Maduro has proven incapable to rule. He cannot finish the 5 allocated years.
- An economic crisis of major proportion is on the wings.
- The country has reached a point of despair that there will be for a while constant process that can turn increasingly violent.
- We are a strong presidential system so solutions that remove a president before its time are naturally traumatic.
- There are no independent institutions, all is by the regime.
- The opposition is not untied and strong enough to give a clear push ahead, while the regime is divided enough that it cannot come up with coherent political responses to stay in place, besides repression.
- And last but not least, very feeble freedom of expression and lack of justice complicate the panorama.
The constitution offers no easy way out
- If the president resigns we need to call elections within a month which means in practice two months. But elections we must have.
- We can call for a constitutional assembly but its mere convocation and election would take 3 to 6 months in the best cases. And approval and implementation of a new constitution will not happen until 2015.
- We can have referenda. On what?
- We can dissolve the National Assembly but this would require at least a couple of weeks for this one to vote down two vice presidents in a row allowing thus the president to dissolve it. By the time a new assembly is elected and installed at the very least 3-5 months have passed. Too long.
This is the solution I offer, but that will be turned down by chavismo that will accept a solution only when Catia dwellers besiege Miraflores palace. But I digress.
The political solution is a two part solution.
Part 1: Return to the 1999 constitution. That means cancelling right now a few of the measures the regime has taken and violate the 1999 constitution. Namely,
- Return to decentralization and let governors and mayors exert their function with their budget returned to them along the competences taken away.
- Reinstitutionalize the country by electing as the Constitution demands a new CNE electoral board, a good third of the High Court and a new comptroller of the nation. That means both sides need to compromise and accept those that are not up to renewal to stay but that the majority of the new personnel is from the opposition. specifically the opposition gets 2 seats at the CNE, 10 seats at the high court and the office of comptroller of the nation, the only way to fight corruption.
- Remove Cubans and army from public administration. Announce a plan that will cut down progressively Cuba's stipend to 0 in 2 years.
Part 2: an economic national agreement.
- Have the opposition agree on a gas price hike, a plan that rings it to cost value in a year.
- Stop any new expropriation and allow evaluation of retro-cession of some of the expropriations done in the recent past, at least in management away from the state (Los Andes, Sidor, cement in particular).
- Create an open system of currency control with an expiration date of no more than 2 years.
All of this can be done in less than three month, can restore enough confidence to cool down the country spirits and may go a long away to temper some of the worst of the economic crisis. The beauty of this is that Maduro stays in office, the bulk of regime bureaucrats stay in office, and the regime keeps managing the country and has time to start putting some of its house in order before external control start bearing in. Then, late in 2014 we can start discussing other options such as constitutional reform, early elections through special laws, etc...
A possible quickie solution.
If dialogue proves impossible there is only one thing that we can legally do: the national assembly resigns and thus we must go to new elections. I doubt that mediocre representatives will want to risk losing their jobs and pay checks but that is where extra constitutional agreements can be done and the national assembly is simply dissolved in the hope that the new one will, well, be less dysfunctional.
The real solution?
It will never happen but it would mean that Maduro names Aveledo vice president and let's him rule. In short, become a parliamentary regime de facto. In shorter, a transition government of 6 months at least, with a special commission naming provisional people at the institutions until new elections can be held at some point, after some order is restored, without paying attention to the constitutional deadlines.
What will probably happen?
Probably a coup from inside chavismo to replace Maduro. Or a surprising steadying of protest and incorporation of more an more chavistas to it and a revolution. Much bloodier but the Cubans will not have it otherwise.