Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Onward the final constitutional crash: amnesty law and high court reform

The Easter lull came and went without making much of a difference.  The "calima" suffocated us in Caracas while the country went on a standstill to try to spare a few meters from the water gauge of the Guri dam, before El Niño, and regime's utter incompetence, forces a shut down of 50% of the country's electricity.

But the country is back at work, as much as it is possible, and the National Assembly has started the road to open confrontation not only with the executive, but on the true meaning of the Venezuelan constitution, as this one may be.

A few minutes ago the National Assembly voted the final version of the amnesty law which aims, among other things, to free political prisoners incarcerated in kangaroo courts. An amnesty is needed since there is no way to get a truly fair trial in Venezuela these days.

But this law, which intents is also the start of some form of national reconciliation by forcing every side to face the reality that justice is in the hands of the executive (even though this cannot be said in the law), is far from being applied and Leopoldo Lopez is not out of jail yet. Maduro's regime has announced that he will not sign the law, that it will not be applied. Presidential veto power is limited in Venezuela, at best a delaying tactic. Thus within days, with or without the signature of Maduro the law will become the law of the land. Maduro can only stop this law application if the high court TSJ rules it to be unconstitutional. This is certainly the case as the TSJ has always managed to find any "unconstitutional" way to make a given an unconstitutional one, even if the means used is itself unconstitutional. Repetition intended.

Which brings us to the second point of this entry: after the vote the national Assembly went straight ahead in the modification of the  laws describing how the  TSJ is designated.  The aim is to find a way to go around the latest crop of appointees who got their job through unconstitutional ways to allow for the pre-electoral packing of the court.  Yes, it is that naked but then again the TSJ submission to the regime is that naked: nobody remembers when was the last time that the state/regime lost a case in court.

In short, the regime is going to be placed in front of this dilemma: either accept the revision of the latest appointments so those can be made according to the original intent of the law, or accept an expansion of the TSJ members so that there is at least dissenting opinions. A dilemma the regime will refuse by declaring that legal reform unconstitutional, even though it will violate the very own regime jurisprudence that was itself a constitutional violation. This is how things work in Venezuela: several wrongs are required to improve the odds of making a right.

In a way it is irrelevant whether the regime will release Lopez from jail, or allow for a limited dissent at the TSJ. It is quite clear now that the regime faction aligned around Maduro and Cabello will go out of its way to avoid any move that could undermine its power and drive through regime change, a change that would find soon in jail Maduro, Cabello, Ramirez and scores of other corrupt and abusive office holders.

The regime has made it abundantly clear that it will not let the new National Assembly function as it should be. The TSJ has already gutted its control authority. It is finding a way to avoid votes on financial resources (which may be difficult at the Assembly has already stated that credits not approved by the Assembly do not put the state under the obligation of repaying them). More blockades to the Assembly are not obvious yet as its election is, after all, still recent. But the tone is set: the TSJ will provide what the regime cannot get through the Assembly.

Since the regime has embarked into such a course to void the National Assembly then this one has no choice but to face down the confrontation by voting on legal laws (redundancy intended) to dismantle the regime. Either the regime will have to back down or it will have to come up to terms with its own dark intentions and, well, proceed once and for all to the "autogolpe", self-inflicted-coup á la Fujimori once upon a time in Peru.

For the regime going all the way to a constitutional crisis is a gamble. Not only the Amnesty Law and the TSJ reform are politically unacceptable for the reduced chavista hard core, but more laws in the work (on recall elections and referenda) are even less acceptable. The political cost, here and abroad, maybe simply to high for the regime to pay. Times are changing, Obama visited Cuba, Argentina is gone and Kirchner is not able to make the opposition that some thought she would be able to do. In Brasil the corruption of Lula is now public knowledge. Talk of applying the democratic charter agaisnt Venezuela is now open talk. But what is worse for the regime is that there is no food nor medicine, and soon there will be no electricity besides providing homes with a very few hours a day, forget about energy for production. Amen of the political capital lost abroad: the regime has no political capital left to spend at home.

Common sense would make the regime start negotiating a political solution to start taking measures to avoid the nation's collapse. But it seems that Maduro et al are seeking actively such collapse as there last desperate gambit to retain power.

La politique du pire, they called it in the agonizing French Ancien Regime.


  1. I think it will take a series of national strikes to convince regime supporters they can either allow change, or install a full scale military dictatorship.

    Now you see why I believe Obama's friendliness with the Castro family dictatorship is mistimed and a blunder. Obama and those around him seem to ignore that giving Castro everything in exchange for nothing gives carte Blanche to the Cubans to help install a submissive clone in Venezuela. This has gone so far I even wonder if Obama may not be a stealth communist after all.

    As long as there's no firm way to press the regime into accepting democracy the Cuban example will be their guiding light.

    Many years ago I warned a couple of "high level" Venezuelan friends that Chavez was copying Castro and the country would end up in ruins and enslaved. They laughed at me and pointed out "we aren't Cubans". As it turns out, they were right. Thus far they have been a bit milder than Cubans.

    1. How do you have a clue what the true motives and behind the scene play by the Obama administration is? You think he went just to suck up to Castros? Who knows what the behind the scenes play is. A very intelligent person pointed out don't believe anything you see in the news just look at trade to see the truth. IE the USA and Egypt were calling each other axis of evils claiming to hate each other during the Bush administration yet Egypt was buying all their wheat from the USA when many cheaper options were available. Why would 2 countries who hate each other trade anything if they didn't need to? All lip service for politics. Now Communist Cuba and Russia extra established themselves and so did Chavez during tough talking and acting USA Presidents.
      Also remember countries like the USA who are ultimately ran by the rich are happy for regions like Venezuela, the Middle East etc to be in disarray, keeps the rest of the world behind them.

  2. In Ecuador, the President has confirmed that he prefers socialism. Presently Ecuadoreans are subject to 34 taxes. We will see next year, if we want Socialism or Democracy.

  3. Roberto Carlos4:41 PM

    Lameme Obama's friendliness was not mistimed and not a blunder. Obama intended to do this from day one, but he had to go through re-election first. You are right Lameme Obama is a crypto communist, just like Sean Penn is. Both had communist/america hating parents and in Obama's case an additional extremely influential "mentor" Marshall Davis who was a card carrying communist. Obama loves anti american dictators as much as Sean Penn does, but he has to hide it. He laughs and mocks people that call him a socialist, "My opponents call me a socialst ah ah ah". Yes he is a socialist/communist.

    Look at Obama's comments in Argentina just last week that "communism and capitalism are just the same, just pick the one that works for you". Now I would love to see a post by Daniel analyzing that statement.

    Do you need more proof?
    The deal with Iran, why would he give Iran all they wanted without getting anything other than a piece of paper with worthless promises of future good behavior. Iran is not communist but it is anti american which after the fall of the wall is what communism has evolved into.

    Obama rewards all the anti american governments and punishes the supposedly friendly ones like Britain and Israel to name just two. Although I suspect many readers of this blog would not disagree with punishing one of them.

    Look also at his domestic policies, all based on class struggle, textbook marxist strategy.

    Why people tend to give Obama the benefit of the doubt? I guess it is because they hate the communist "haters" more than they hate a real communist.

    Just keep thinking, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is duck!

    1. really, Roberto, why the fuck are you still here reading my blog? ask diosdado to give you some moringa

    2. Roberto, you are delusional and obviously know nothing about US history and politics. As Lincoln said, "Better to remain silent and thought a fool then to speak out and remove all doubt."

  4. Anonymous5:16 PM

    "Obama intended to do this from day one, but he had to go through re-election first." is true. Obama disguised his leanings towards communism and non-democracies that he adopted in his younger years. Obama automatically accepts dictatorships and kingdoms and their ideas while discounting democracy. Obama needs to go live as a pauper in Cuba, Iran, N. Korea and see the horrors.

    1. Where do you people come up with this crap? Last Tea party meeting. We face same crap accusations with no realities from the socialist in Canada against our good Conservative leader ousting him by selling a delusional perspective. Now we got an immature kid handing out billions like candy to every cause.
      Yes Obama touts the more socialist line of a democrat, guess what that is what he is and that is who voted him in. But to say the ?USA is worse off now then at the end of Bush term is a joke. The economy was in an absolute free fall and is finally recovering. Yes with some better conservative policies and less socialist ones it would be better but raging havoc all over the world with force as Bush did in order for your oil and military investment companies to do well at the expense of the USA certainly did not work. The cold war behind the scenes CIA crap is the way to go.

    2. Roberto and Anonymous must be Republicans spouting BS. Only thing missing in their post in the ACA!

    3. Is the US economy in better shape now than at the end of the Bush presidency?

      Since the US is not now in the midst of a depression the answer is yes.

      Did the current administration "fix" the economy?

      In the last weeks of the Bush presidency, a financial bailout law was passed that prevented the “derivative” based financial contagion problems from crashing most of the large banks.

      Bush and republicans had tried to fix the banking laws for 6 years in total but only managed to bring the bill to the senate 4 times. All 4 times, they were filibustered by democrats. Therefore, no banking bill fix was put in place before the crash that might have helped to prevent the crash. The banking bill that controlled the financial industry was put in place the last year of the Clinton Presidency.

      The banking problems and financial issues were caused by both political parties. The democrats wanted to keep the old banking law in place as they saw it helping minorities get loans for homes. Republicans spent too much money on the wars.

      The current administration passed a new banking law but they left in place the problem that caused the last crash - that is the type of financial derivatives that caused the problem last time are left as unregulated as before. The current administration has also has not fixed the main economic problems in the US. Those problems are increasing budget deficits and borrowing along with "offshoring" of jobs.

      The offshoring of jobs is partly a consequence of the same policies that cause the budget deficit. The reason that the financial issues are not fixed is that the there are several things that need fixing. Some of the problems are supported by democrats and some by republicans. No one can strike a compromise that addresses the problems and the current administration didn't really try. The current administration rather than fix the deficits has added to them enormously.

      The current administration gets away with not fixing the deficits by essentially measuring deficits against the last year of the Bush presidency when there was the enormous costs of the banking bill to fix the financial system added to that years deficits. According to obama, if the deficit is less than that under the last year of Bush, he says he lowered the deficit. The reason he does this is to maintain the huge spending on social programs even though the spending is not ultimately something that can continue.

      The answer to the question of whether the current administration fixed the economy – the answer is no. It spent a lot of money and pushed the problem down the road.

    4. Why post about the Obama administration on a VZ blog sight?? Boggles the mind!

    5. Was thinking the same..

  5. Daniel I cannot see how the National Assembly is relevant at all, regardless of what they do. The constitution has not existed for a long time and the world will never step in. It comes down to whether the people will rise up against the regime in force or not. And every time the opposition gets involved the people back off. Every time Lopez, the NA etc support any uprising the uprising backs off as they are not doing it in support of the opposition. Already support has climbed for Maduro and lessened for the NA as all the NA to the people care about is getting rid of Maduro and freeing political prisoners. An intelligent person knows this is needed to move forward but the ignorant just see it as politics and not caring about the people. They want to see policies that improve the country that are for the people. And that should be the focus of the NA just pass endless policies for the people that Maduro won't do and let the support increase for the assembly and against Maduro. The ones they are attempting will be shot down by the TSJ and the people could care less.

    1. You are not fully informed. The National Assembly is also passing measures such as offering in full property public housing. Let me remind you that it was sworn in not even three months ago and legislative progress takes time. Also, they need to put a priority on the political laws that will allow them to be more effective. Which is exactly what the government is shooting down. Without reform of the TSJ there is little point in even discussing new laws and reforms.

    2. Thx Daniel for the input. I just feel the NA needs to realize the only way to get rid of Maduro is through the people nit the constitution. Hence they should be pushing an agenda focusing only at this time laws etc that support the people. Ie food stamps, open dollar promising much food and medicine, many crime initiatives etc. Things people will desperately get behind but Maduro wont do. This will rally support behind them so they can lead the people. Initatives lime friends out of jail and kicking out Maduro makes them look selfish only caring about themselves and not the people. Yes a smart person knows they need rid of him to make any meaningful changes but a smart person also knows you need the people to get rid of him. Right now the people believe Maduro sucks but has no more love for the opposition. Opposition gets behind any movement by the people and it loses interest.

    3. no, they should bombard the the government with all the laws they need as if they were being implemented. Because at some point, they will be and the flood gates will open with the laws already passed and ready to go instead of the wrangling that might go on and waste precious time during the inevitable government collapse. Now is the time to pass those laws. And so when the govt collapses they can focus n emergency laws that will most likely be needed. And as they pass more and more laws that go unimplemented and unrealized, the world clamor gets louder and the people get anxious to see those laws implemented. They will blame Maduro, the TSJ and the Regime for NOT implemented, blocking and/or annulling those laws. Anger will rise at the Regime. The AN should keep doing as they are doing. So it becomes more and more apparent to even the strongest of holdouts and Chavistas that Maduro is blocking and shattering their personal Dreams for life, Family, and Happiness. Dios Los Bendiga VZLA. Y Gracias Daniel para tu blog.

    4. Canadian looking in7:42 PM

      Mitchell what laws other then the one about people owning their gifted houses are you referring to that the AN is doing that is getting all the Chavistas mad at Maduro and rallying behind the AN? My in-laws must be greatly mis-informed if these are happening. All they are hearing is that the AN is selfishly primarily worried about the release of political prisoners and the removal of Maduro. Neither of which do they see as being done for them. They do not see the AN as caring for the average folk. Yes the educated know the regime needs to go but with all branches of office on their side including the military, the only way this happens is with a revolt by the people. This may happen but as it sits now will have nothing to do with the AN. If another election is held and the regime creates a new party and it appears as Chavez to care about the people but portrays a reasonable platform it would crush the current opposition/NA. The NA and opposition need to get the mass of the people supporting it and it is failing to do that. Yes people want change and recognize the suffering but for most part they don't see the opposition as a solution for them.

  6. As I understand it, many Cavista leaders want Maduro out! I imagine military is likewise. I'll bet that Maduro can't last. As soon as Maduro is booted, there won't be any obvious solution to keep things from getting worse! So, then what?

    I believe that there will be two competing forces within Chavismo, the corrupt trying to avoid prosecution against the rest. Meanwhile, the military will have to emerge from the chaos to prevent total anarchy. The opposition will eventually get an opening to power. After that, I have no idea!

    1. Actually, I have two relevant predictions: 1. Venezuela currency will be worthless, so foreign trade will become a bartered commodity exchange, 2. The economy will depend more and more on internet transactions rather than physical shopping, or some hybrid combination. 3. Students with technology skills will create the path to Venezuela's future! Venezuelan society will emerge stronger than ever!

  7. Obama made a great move for South America; Cuban is no longer relevant!


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