Saturday, 2 August 2008

Hugo Chávez's new assault

Hardly any foreign news outlet payed attention to Hugo Chávez's latest assault against democracy: the enabling power he got from his National Assemby wad going to be valid until 1 August 2008 and he decided to wait until the very last moment to introduced 26 new laws more. Very strangely, these new "laws" were not really published in the official gazette of the nation. Only the titles of the laws were revealed.

Probably, Chávez servants and he are still editing the laws and trying to expand them as much as possible, but they decided to publish the titles already because they think that in that way they can still make them valid through the enabling power which finished yesterday.

We only have this:

1) they have not been discussed in public at all, the public is just getting the news
2) they were announced at the very last day of the period in which Chávez had his enabling power
3) the only source of information available are the titles of said laws and the references to things Chávez wanted to accomplished with the proposal for constitutional reform Venezuelans rejected last year in a referendum.

From the titles and what Chávez had hinted already with the proposal we rejected, we can guess the following:

  • Hugo pushes for the further development of some socialist militias, which are likely to be the armed paramilitary that will protect his persona in the future, when he will refuse to accept he no longer has the support of the people
  • Hugo's uniform will have 4 "suns" instead of 3 as "Commander in Chief" of the Venezuelan Army. With this, Chávez gets to the same level as Fidel Castro, the one head of state in Latin America who until now had a higher military rank than any general
  • Among the new laws there is (again) one about Housing and Habitat, one about Security and "Food Sovereignty", another one for tourism, one (a new one, after another one published a couple of months ago) about maritime spaces and one about the defense of people to have access to goods and services, whatever that means. There is also a new law about a new law regarding the "Bolivarian Army".
  • The Supreme Court decided, just hours after the title of such law was published, to declare it is "constitutional". It is quite shocking the (red-red) Supreme Court can come to such a fast conclusion about a law no one knows about when it has not ruled about the decision taken by the (very pro-Chavez) Venezuelan Electoral Council of banning hundreds of opposition politicians from running for November's local elections. Thus: the Supreme Court decides to rule on a law that came up hours earlier, a law that no one but the government has yet read, and yet it is leaving its decision on the political ban until it is too late for the candidates to register. Never mind the Inter-American Court on Human Rights has urged the Supreme Court to take a decision about this ban.

Venezuelans need to go to the streets again and let the world know what kind of farce the Supreme Court, the National Electoral System, the National Assembly and the democracy à la Chávez is.

To all those Socialists outside Venezuela who have remained silent abroad because they expect 10 times the amount of violations from a "socialist" government to react as they would to a "non-socialist" government: shame on you.

Yes, Venezuelans still can say some things on Cable TV and in newspapers that are read by a tiny minority in the big cities, but that is about it. We are going from a mixed system (democracy with autocracy) to an ever more autocratic regime.


  1. It is interesting how Chavez is seen as a tyrant by some and as a figurehead of the revolution by others. If you are interested in this issue you should check out



  2. Hi, Ian. Great link.
    Chavez is losing real supporters abroad and inland. Still, one thing that worries me is the lack of concrete proposals for a sustainable development after Chavez. Venezuelans need to denounce what he is doing and at the same time talk about how we will improve Venezuela after he is gone.

  3. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is planning a new assault on Big Oil, potentially taking a major step toward nationalization of Venezuela's oil industry that could hurt oil-company profits, reduce production and put further pressure on global oil prices.


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