Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chavez slow motion coup d'état: the second part almost there, no more legislative power, near Nazi style

And thus today the Venezuelan parliament voted its own demise, almost completing a full constitutional coup against the legislative power, separation or powers and what not.  Like Hitler did in 1933, unable to put up with a parliament that would dare discuss his "legislative" projects, the regime decided to make the oncoming national assembly an almost empty shell.  With the enabling law passed today on first discussion (there is a second vote in a couple of days but the result is foregone and in fact the final draft might even be worse than the one voted today) the next parliament will be able to discuss only some minor issues, becoming for all practical purposes an empty box.

The enabling law is a device that allows the executive power to emit decrees that are also laws and can only be overturned by the mechanism that are used to overturn a law.  A decree can simply be voted down, a law cannot, the more so if like the tradition is in Venezuela, certain laws must be voted by a 2/3 or 3/5 majorities and can only be overturned by a similar majority.  The enabling law under vote this week, with a bemusing speed for its preparation, is designed to give very broad powers to Chavez on economic and security for at least a year, enough to change irreversibly the economic system of Venezuela and make it impossible to finance a political challenge to Chavez in 2012.  After Chavez reelection in 2012 the enabling law will become permanent as it became in Germany as WWII became a fact of life.

Nobody of course is fooled about the intentions of Chavez and already El Pais has a complete article on the subject, as a sample.  But of course if your heart goes to Chavez you might want to read the propaganda that serves as news in the Bolivarian News Agency, ABA.  The reality is that Chavez has absolutely no need for an enabling law to deal with the current humanitarian crisis.  That crisis is just an excuse, a wonderful gift from heavens, literally.

I do not want to insult the readers intelligence explaining why this is a coup d'état but since there are some dense chavistas reading this blog and since I have made it a point to make sure the well known fascist tart Eva Golinger has enough material to put me in jail as soon as she can get away with it, I will explain you why.

Legislating at the very end of a legislative term, when you are a lame duck ruling coalition, when your coalition already lost the majority of the popular vote is simply undemocratic.  It is not that lame duck parliaments cannot legislate, they certainly can on mundane mattes to ensure that the government of the country keeps running until the new coalition takes charge.  But this happens ONLY in presidential regimes during mid term or special elections because there is already a legal and usually legitimate executive power in office.  In parliamentary systems there is no such thing as a lame duck parliament, only a caretaker administration that has limited powers to deal only with pressing emergencies, were those to happen, until a new prime minister is sworn in.  In any democratic system, an outgoing legislative body cannot pas legislation that will affect the functioning of the oncoming legislature.  The Venezuela parliament that was voted out last September, even if it won in seats numbers, could not have gone beyond voting a budget, special credits or stuff like approving ambassadors.  What it has done is made sure that the only thing left for the next parliament, at least for a full year, is to vote only on ambassador approval.

As such it is a constitutional coup, a coup against the legislative power following by a very few days the coup against the judicial power.

Thus the biggest part of the coup is done since the already other two "pretense power" are already tightly controlled by the regime at least until 2012.  What is left now to complete the coup d'etat is to go after freedom of expression and a few basic human rights.  Already some "laws" are being "discussed" and all of the coup should be neatly packed up by Christmas.


  1. I don't know, Daniel, I read the Venezuela blogs (yours, Miguel's, CC, etc.) and I have the impression that, aside from just a few folks like you and Petrokoff, most Venezuelans could care less about what Chavez is doing. En fin, Venezuela is going gently into the not-so-good night of its own, uncaring volition. I fear that it's going to be a long, dark night for your poor country...

  2. PSUV Diputado Rafael Rios says: "Con alta responsabilidad el Gobierno Bolivariano está solicitando una Habilitante."

    I guess to be revolutionary your idea of responsibility must be to pass the buck. Of course, if you're truly incapable of dealing with issues, that would be the case.

    This section, from the "exposicion de motivos" part of the law, really drives home that they don't know what they're doing: "políticas y acciones, que durante diez años ha realizado el gobierno bolivariano, tendentes a garantizar soluciones adecuadas." If you solutions of the last ten years were adequate, you bozos wouldn't be in this mess.

  3. I see less comparison with Nazi Germany and more to compare with the socialist dictatorship of Belarus, maybe combined with mafia driven Russia.

    In a visit to Belarus, Hugo Chavez praised Belarus as a model of socialist development, one which Venezuela should emulate.

    But culture trumps politics every time and I fully expect Venezuelans to be less controllable causing crime to continue (to Chavez's great benefit).I also think that work and sacrifice- as accepted by the more passive Belorussian people- will not be embraced in Venezuela. In other words we might not have the good with the bad, as in Belarus...but rather the bad with the bad.There can be no ideology or system that works for all.Venezuelans are an unruly, capitalistic society and like to take it easy.They are a free minded people who do not like to be bossed around:

    'Many chiefs, and no Indians'......

    It is an unruly basically capitalistic society that when given vent to these tendencies would probably bring crime down and work a lot better for the Venezuelan character in general.

  4. clobber5:49 PM

    I think you are wrong with your assumption that most Venezuelans couldn't care less. The majority do care but see no way of expressing their dislike. in spite of an attempt to unite the opposition within the MUD for the last elections, The opposition is leaderless and still egoist. There is no leader that can rally the millions of Venezuelans who are opposed to Chavez's dictotorial tendencies. All they can do, for the moment, is complain bitterly amongst themselves. Yes there are millions who do care.

  5. firepigette

    no, the mechanism chosen is the enabling law like in germany. the end result in years or months from now is not going to be belarus, it is going to be myanmar.

  6. Daniel,

    You are probably right that it has the potential of becoming much worse than Belarus...the mechanisms are similar to Hitler's Germany, but the Chavistas a left wing communist ideology that is similar to Cuba where they promise deliverance too all the poor people's of Latin America and empowerment of the indigenous vs the European influence.

    We have yet to see how far Chavez will take his nationalizations and appropriations but Venezuela could end up with hardly any private property, just like Cuba.Of course we are not talking about authentic communism as this does not exist in reality.
    Looks like Chavez is always one step ahead of the opposition.When they finally gain representation in Congress, he takes advantage of his democratic cover given by the elections, then takes all the power away from it in a sneaky way that many people won't even bother to confront or even admit.

  7. Clobber, to be clear, I've never been to Venezuela, so I defer to your views, and I sincerely hope you are right in your appreciation (i.e., analysis) of the Venezuelan people.

    Still, looking at the blogs I mention, and indeed, comments of Daniel and Firepigette right in this same comments section, I see no reason for optimism with respect to the Venezuelan people. Whatever might motivate them (or not), be it agreement with Chavez, passivity, fear, laziness, or a simple sense of hopelessness, the fact is that nothing happens. There's no real reaction to whatever Chavez does, including these despicable "Enabling Laws", and my guess is that there won't be.

    Wherever this takes Venezuela - a Belarus, Cuba, a Nazi Germany, whatever - it's not going to be a good place. And that's the sad, tragic thing about the whole situation, the sense that that's the overall attitude of the people: ah,whatever (unless you mess with my gasoline prices).

    Again, I hope sir/ma'am, that you're right, but I don't think you are at this point...


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