Thursday, January 24, 2019

Simple technical explanation of January 23 crisis in English

My excuses for a bad typo: for some reason Blogger repeated the first two paragraphs, something that did not happen in the French and Spanish versions.  When I proof read it it was a cache copy and thus I did not detect it.  Sorry for those who already had read this post entry. But the arguments still remain equally valid.
- The election of Maduro in May 2018 has no legality or legitimacy. The election was convened outside the legal system (election in May to be sworn in in January, convened by an illegal constituent assembly, extremely unfavorable conditions for any candidate against Maduro, etc.)
- The May election has not been recognized by the main democratic countries of the world. In fact, the defenders of Maduro are Russia, China, Turkey, Cuba and their satellites. Neither has it been recognized by the opposition parties present in the National Assembly.

- The only Venezuelan political body that possesses the legitimacy of the ballot boxes and the constitutional legitimacy is the National Assembly. All others are 100% filled by the madurista regime sympathizers.

- On January 5, 2019 the National Assembly began its 2019 constitutional term and appointed a new board of directors supported by ALL opposition political parties. Juan Guaidó is the new president of the National Assembly.

- On January 10, by constitution mandate, an elected president has to be sworn in before the National Assembly (article 231). If he cannot do it because said assembly cannot sit, he will do it before a judge of the TSJ (supreme court). This was not the case in January since the National Assembly was in normal sessions. Nor is the argument of "contempt" of the Assembly valid since the oath is a symbol, not a law, and therefore the National Assembly is always valid for such ceremonies.

- The re-election of Maduro in May 2018 was not recognized,and thus  he could not be sworn in before the Assembly, nor did  this validate his oath of office  before any other body. Note that Maduro was not sworn in before the supra-constitutional Constituent Assembly (which is not recognized internationally either). At least it would have been more logical to be sworn in before that constituent assembly since the government only reports to that assembly. That is a tacit admission by the government that the swearing in of Maduro has vices of form.

- Therefore the National Assembly according to article 233 recognizes the lack of president in Venezuela and proceeds to the automatic assumption of the president of the National Assembly (Juan Guaidó in this case) as interim president until new elections are held in a period of 30 days.

- In this article 333 of the constitution supports the decision of the assembly since the Maduro regime has repeatedly violated the national constitution (appointment of judges at the wrong time, convocation to a constituent without a referendum, elections without guarantees, etc.) and therefore the Assembly is in duty to rescue the constitution.

- On January 23, Guaidó did not "swear" or "self-proclaim". What Guaidó did on January 23 was to accept the responsibility of forming a 30-day interim government. This was done in a way to allow Maduro to offer some arrangement. By not doing so and threatening  even more (short arrest of Guaidó among others) lead the National Assembly, through Guaidó, to temporarily assume the executive power of the republic.

- NOTE 1: the 1999 constitution was poorly made, with many inaccuracies and gaps. The goal was for Chávez to increase his prerogatives, establish re-election and control the judicial power. The rest did not matter. This political struggle today results from these contradictions, not the least being the impossibility of convoking serious elections in 30 days in a country of presidential regime that requires holding primaries, electoral campaign, etc..

-NOTE 2: it is not a coup. At any rate the tanks in the streets do not obey Guaidó.


  1. Thanks for good analysis and notes. What about neighbor Brazil?

    typo: paragraphs 1 & 2 are repeated in 3 & 4.

  2. Hi Daniel,
    I have two questions:

    1) The Article 231 says that if for "whatever" reason the president cannot be named in front of the National Assembly, it will do it in front of the TSJ. So it seems that Maduro's oath can be viewed as valid.
    2) Is the sole legal argument for the Article 233 that the presidential elections were illegal?

  3. NO

    The president can be sworn in by the TSJ only if it cannot be done by the National Assembly. This one is in session so there is no excuse.

    Yes Maduro election was illegal. You need no other argument.


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