Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The Circus: the new National Assembly

Different dictatorships have rejected multiparty parliaments and pretended to give power to the people. Here a Soviet propaganda poster about the "Bourgeois Parliament". The Soviets wanted only a Parliament without real debates and councils dominated by their party. Now the Chávez regime is taking all the power from the National Assembly and giving it to Councils or Parlamentarismo de Calle which will only be dominated by the Chávez Party

The situation

Today we will see the new National Assembly of Venezuela start its "work". In reality there is little it can do as the previous National Assembly emasculated the Assembly's powers and gave a new Enabling Law to the Comandante. The military regime has a clear albeit not absolute majority in spite of having only 48.13% of the popular votes against 47.22% for the MUD plus 3.14% for PPT.

The previous National Assembly openly violated the Venezuelan constitution by creating a law prohibiting future deputies to vote differently from the party line. The Supreme Court is now made up of Chávez's cronies, so we cannot expect them to rule about the constitutionality of anything, even things as basic as the new Law against Deputies Going Against their Party.

Now the National Assembly only accepts cameras from the Chávez TV stations ("state TV stations") and you can expect them to show only what the civic-military regime wants. You can expect a real circus on the Chávez TV channels, which are the only ones that can reach all Venezuelans, even the great majority that does not have cable or satellite dishes.

The regime has no desire to any compromise, as it has already declared. They stated already they will lead 11 of the 15 Assembly committees and they will refuse to make any compromise about which ones.

A couple of days ago one of Cuba's key honchos, vicepresident Machado, visited Venezuela to give "directives" (officially to visit some hospitals where Cubans are working).


Last year the oil price was 26% higher than in 2009. That means the country should be having much more money for 2011. In previous year, such a hike in oil prices would be translated into a GDP growth of 8% or more. We will probably technically get out of recession, but not by much. The democratic forces should stress this fact and should tell all people in Venezuela, specially in areas such as Maturín and Delta Amacuro, but also in Puerto Cabello and Southern Valencia, in Calabozo and Barinas, that the government will have much much more money this year and it has to deliver a lot.

Pluralism and debate

The democratic forces have a difficult time ahead. One of the key things they have to do is to go to people in the C, D and E sectors, specially outside the three main cities, and tell them about how Venezuela needs pluralism and an open, respectul debate. They have to show the world is not divided into a group called Evil and another one called Good. They have to show their ideas for transforming Venezuela into a developed nation. It is a hard task as the military regime won't play fair at all. The military will, of course, pretend they will now "give power to the people". The democratic forces need to make it clear that the military regime is not "the people".

It will an exciting and rewarding task if we plan things through.

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