Both Quico and I have had a busy week, hence the light posting, but here is one news item I did want to comment on.
As I was pondering chavismo’s legislative deluge, I allowed panic to overtake me. In the process, I made some inappropriate comparisons.
In these heady days, it is easy to get carried away. I know, I did it with my last post. Chavismo is many things, but they have yet to reach the brutal efficiency of the Nazis.
Instead, I’ve come to realize that in a country of lawlessness, more laws are not going to make that much of a difference. The problems in Venezuela are not going to get worse because of more boneheaded legislation. The problems in Venezuela are going to get worse because those in power are boneheads.
Chávez had absolute power before, and he has absolute power now. There is little in these laws that changes that.
We need to remind ourselves that laws in Venezuela are never worth the paper they are printed on. This particular package of laws is simply putting in paper something we already know: Chávez can do anything he wants, and what he wants is usually f-ing insane.
The new laws don’t automatically imply the government will begin censoring the Internet – they are merely allowing the government the possibility of censoring the Internet. But the government already has that power – there is nothing stopping them from doing it.
The new laws don’t actually mean dissident chavistas will automatically lose their jobs if they vote the wrong way. It simply puts in paper the power chavismo has to do so whenever it feels like it.
The new laws give absolute, unconstitutional powers to an absolutist, unconstitutional regime.
The new legislation, as alarming as it is, has limited practical effects. What the plethora of new legislation constitutes … is a sign. A symbol of what’s ahead. A red light so key players can align themselves with the new realities.
Chavismo is unpopular, and it is mightily afraid of traitors in its own ranks – in the Armed Forces, in the Judiciary, and most of all, in its own political trenches. As it moves forward with more authoritarianism and greater control, it needs to separate the doubters from the true believers. Hence, it throws out red capes – the atrocious anti-talanquera law chief among them – to see who gets worked up, and who falls in line.
The article I linked to in the first paragraph, where a current chavista deputy discusses internal strife within chavismo and calls for the President to scale back the radicalism, points to that. It wouldn’t surprise me to see similarly strange happenings in the Armed Forces in the next few days, and the same thing in the Judiciary.
Chavismo needs to tighten its ranks for the coming battle of 2012. People who aren’t comfortable living in, profiting from, and defending a Communist dictatorship – well, the door is that way.
So, Eustoquio Contreras, your days in the Revolution are counted. Prepare yourself to be weeded out.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.