Alea iacta est.
Venezuelan democracy will be road kill before Christmas, if President Hugo Chavez has his way.
Chavez has formally asked the National Assembly for a law granting him special powers to legislate by decree for one year. National Assembly president Cilia Flores announced today that legislators will deliver what the president wants by Thursday of this week.
Chavez claims that he needs the special powers to speed the recovery of thousands of poor Venezuelans left homeless by recent rains and flooding. Maintaining the charade, Flores said today that the proposed special powers law will be “consulted” with the refugees (“damnificados”) affected by the recent natural disaster.
Of course, Chavez wants the special powers so that he can completely ignore the incoming National Assembly, where he no longer has total control. The new assembly sessions in January 2011.
But por ahora, the all-Chavez lame duck National Assembly is rushing to approve a slew of new laws aimed at consolidating the Bolivarian Socialist Communal state.
The traditional constitutional elective institutions of governance have not been erased officially. Their continued existence serves the Chavez regime’s interests by maintaining a façade of democracy for the world at large.
But the new Bolivarian powers, with Chavez as “El Supremo,” will have the Federal Council of Government presiding over the new communal social, economic and political governance structures that were enacted with the assembly’s approval of the new communal laws.
The lame duck legislators also hastened to appoint new Supreme Court Justices who were chosen by Chavez to assure that everything he does henceforth is upheld constitutionally.
No offense meant to anyone, but I told you so before the 26 September elections. I said then that the outcome of those elections made no difference because Chavez was already building his new governance structures that exclude existing democratic institutions.
Those elections were rigged by gerrymander and law anyway. The oppo won over 50% of the popular vote but obtained barely a third of the 165 seats up for grabs. But not a peep of protest from pro-democracy NGO’s like the Carter Center for Democracy or multilateral entities like the Organization of American States (OAS) or Unasur.
Forget all of the insincere prattle about democracy that we still hear from places like Washington, DC, or the OAS, or Unasur or whatever. The Venezuelan people are completely alone as the still-unknown date of a reckoning nears.
Venezuela’s economy lies in ruins. Pdvsa is destroyed; Chavez has mortgaged the country’s future oil and gas development to foreign powers headed by governments that don’t like or trust Chavez (Wikileaks has confirmed this), but want access to Venezuela’s crude oil, gas and other commodities.
The CVG’s basic industries are road kill, the power sector has collapsed, and the expropriation of millions of hectares of productive farms and livestock ranches has made Venezuela dependent on imports for over 85% of its food requirements.
More people have died violently in Venezuela during the 12 years that Chavez has been in power than in the Iraq/Afghanistan wars combined. But Mexico’s drug wars get more press coverage than the carnage in Venezuela.
But despite all the destruction Chavez has wrought, he’s still got game, whereas MUD – the oppo – has no game at all. If new presidential elections were held today, Chavez easily would defeat anyone that MUD fields. Chavez can’t lose anyway; he controls all the electoral machinery.
The oppo legislators in the new National Assembly that sessions in January will show up for work (assuming that frothing chavista street thugs allow them entry to the legislature), and will learn very quickly that in practical terms there isn’t any real work for them.
Chavez won’t allow anyone to dislodge him from power por las buenas, meaning democratically.
His chief thug, General-in-Chief Henry Rangel Silva, known as a narco-trafficking associate of the FARC, declared already that the Bolivarian armed forces will never allow anyone from the oppo to assume the presidency of Venezuela – even if they win free and fair democratic elections.
That leaves Venezuelans with only three options, which I listed many months ago on this blog: submission, flight or fight.
Over one million Venezuelans have fled into self-imposed exile during the 12 years that Chavez has been in power. The human flight will continue in 2011 and 2012 and thereafter.
But the majority of Venezuelans have nowhere to escape from Chavez and his gangsters. Their options are submission or confrontation. Most will choose submission.
But a minority will attempt to make a stand against Chavez. Some folks like former UN Ambassador Diego Arria and Globovision’s Guillermo Zuloaga recently have warned Chavez that they await him at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
Good luck with that.
This blogger believes that Chavez’s perpetual rule only can be halted violently. The odds of an insider take-down, a palace coup from within engineered by quien sabe who, are much greater than an outsider take-down.
But the final outcome will be Chavez’s abrupt demise, and then all hell will break loose in Venezuela.