Trying to pick out any one bit of Chávez’s 2010 Paquete Navideño (a.k.a. the current storm of lame-duck session laws) as the most unconstitutional of the bunch is a little like arguing about which player was the worst out of France’s 2010 World Cup squad: you could make a strong case for every single one of them, rendering the whole exercise pointless and macabre somehow.

So, fully aware that it’s a mug’s game, I’ll go ahead and nominate the “Anti-Talanquera” Law which threatens elected members of the National Assembly with suspension and a ban on holding elected office if they buck the party line on the floor of the A.N., despite this never well pondered bit of constitutional detritus:

Artículo 201. Los diputados o diputadas son representantes del pueblo y de los Estados en su conjunto, no sujetos a mandatos ni instrucciones, sino sólo a su conciencia. Su voto en la Asamblea Nacional es personal.

Article 201. Members of the National Assembly are representatives of the people and the states as a whole, not subject to orders nor instructions other than those given by their conscience. Their vote in the National Assembly is personal.

I’m with Vinz on this one: the very act of going through the dozens of reasons why this idea is both idiotic and virulently undemocratic tends to give the entire disparate an unwarranted aura of legitimacy. Critical scrutiny is something you reserve ideas with a minimum level of coherence, which means engaging in it lends an patina of sense to any thought that receives it. The anti-talanquera law just doesn’t rise to that level.

The one bit of good news to come out of this whole, sorry, sordid, seedy mess is a bit of clarity. The 72.78% of Venezuelans who voted on December 15th, 1999 to approve the current constitution have been outrageously scammed.

Under these circumstances, invoking articles 333 and 350 is no longer a hobby for the disociado fringe. It’s just common sense now.