Marco Aurélio García vs. Ernesto Villegas

This man thinks Venezuelans are not sophisticated enough to be ruled by a Constitution
You wouldn’t like Ernesto when he’s mad

One of Brazilian President Dilma Roussef’s top foreign policy advisors,  Marco Aurélio García, has gone on the record saying nothing will happen on January 10th, since the government can just call a 90-day “temporary absence” under Article 234 of the Constitution, and could even renew it for a further 90-days if need be.

In fact, Mr. García had better brace for a tongue-lashing from Venezuela’s Information Minister, Ernesto Villegas: although the 90-day “temporary absence” Mr. García refers to may indeed be the least-bad option at this point, it’s also one that the Venezuelan government has vehemently rejected.

So much so that Minister Villegas went out of his way recently to publicly protest against media outlets that refer to Vice-President Maduro as “president in charge”…which is what he would be, if Chávez’s temporary absence under article 234 was in force. Here, Mr. García, is a taste of what Minister Villegas has to say to Venezuelans who go along with your interpretation:

El hecho de que por razones médicas el presidente de la República esté de permiso constitucional, aprobado en forma unánime por la Asamblea Nacional, y haya delegado algunas de sus atribuciones en el vicepresidente, no autoriza a desconocerlo en la titularidad y ejercicio de su cargo.

In a swipe at all Venezuelans, Mr. García said that our transition crisis “needed to be examined in accordance with a political culture and an institutional reality that is different than [Brazil’s].” We suppose that’s a euphemism for “a political culture and an institutional reality marked by outright lawlessness.”

Perhaps Mr. García should read a little more before dipping his toes in other people’s problems.

As Quico pointed out, very red Supreme Tribunal said that taking the oath of office was a “necessary” condition for acts of government to be valid. It called taking the oath an “irreplaceable solemnity,” which clearly refutes the Maduro/Flores position on a magically self-extending, oathless constitutional period.

The same Supreme Tribunal also said that the articles in the Constitution were “explicit” in setting the 10th of January as the date where the oath should take place, and they did not need to be interpreted. They claimed that Chávez taking the oath on August 19th, 2000, was the product of the exceptional circumstance of the Constitution having just been approved.

I don’t know how relevant Mr. García’s endorsement will turn out to be, but the result is the same: he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s not defending democracy. He’s defending his interests.

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    • Seems to me that as a mere adviser, MAG is way out of line mouthing off on this issue. If I were Brazil’s foreign minister I would not be happy. Nothing new, of course, he’s been doing it for years.

  1. But, but, but I thought Lula, Dilma and the rest of the PT always had Venezuelans’ best interests in mind whenever they stuck their noses north of Pacaraima.
    I’ve said it before and I say it again. Do NOT trust the Petistas on anything. If they opine on something, 99% of the time the opposite opinion will be the right one for decent people to support.

    • I don’t think it’s because they are Petistas, it’s because they are brazilians first and as such they have always defended their own interests. I hate it but that’s the diplomacy game, with Chavez giving such great contracts to brazilian companies why would they go against chavismo?

        • No, its because they have common sense. Power isn’t changing hands. It is the same president taking over a new period, and therefore it matters very little what exact date it takes place.

          • But that’s only if they Declare Ausencia Temporal right? But they HAVE to declare it for time to start running, and even then, once the 180 days have passed, the AN can declare, if they see it fit, an Ausencia Absoluta: “Vencido ese lapso, la Asamblea determinará si la ausencia es absoluta.” So I see a great deal of holes with a great deal of interpretations. So after 180 days have passed, and the AN does not declare a Ausencia Absoluta, what happens? Another question, ¿should Chavez’s trip for treatment in Havanna have been declared an Ausencia Temporal? Can he be gone indefinetely without the AN starting the 90 days count?
            GAC, What should be the right course of action in your opinion?

          • The obvious course of action is to wait a reasonable amount of time (e.g. more than a few weeks) to see if Chavez can recover from his surgery and return to office.

            If he cannot, its an absolute absence and new elections are called. This isn’t that complicated, unless, of course, you are desperate to overthrow the will of the people and get rid of the democratically-elected government, as the Venezuelan opposition has attempted to do over and over again over the last 14 years.

  2. Of course common sense is still out of the question, Mr. Garcia and Mr. Villegas…

    It’s not about the absence. It’s about a literal disappearance, without any trustworthy information to decide on the future. They, the high-ranking chavistas need him for they are nothing without him, he saw it to allow only the grayest and dullest next to him. But could you figure it out if it was to the Castros and their advantage that he died “heroically” of illness now? They thought nothing of cheerleading him into near death through campaigning, you know?

    Some people realized that there’s a need for some common sense in Venezuela:

    Let’s see if the TSJ commission, when and if appointed, shall need a forensic pathologist first and foremost. Coz they are going probably to ignore even this sensible step for as long as they can. For they are accomplices in hiding something. From Venezuelans. Including rank and file chavistas, who act more like the little obedient fascists they are than usual.

    • Will they by the way talk to the Cuban (I guess, who knows who they are) anonymous hostages doctors treating The Venezuelan Patient?Just a little casual talk, about the man they are visiting and maybe swearing in for a 24/7 job…

      Even if the rest of Venezuela does not really need to know anything, you know, it’s just the main F****ing public charge in Venezuela, elevated by this same man to the level of Caliph and Sword of the Faith of Socialism.

  3. I think at this point the refusal to hold elections has more to do with keeping PSUV camps from each other’s throats. They all know the old man isn’t coming back from this last trip to Havana so they have to extend the peace as long as possible or until one faction comes out on top.

  4. ‘In a swipe at all Venezuelans, Mr. García said that our transition crisis “needed to be examined in accordance with a political culture and an institutional reality that is different than [Brazil’s].” We suppose that’s a euphemism for “a political culture and an institutional reality marked by outright lawlessness.”’

    Sure, it’s easy to feel outraged by a foreigner’s opinion, especially if his interests are not exactly the best for Venezuelans… but is he wrong? Has chabezuela proven to be something, anything other than a lawless place where one man’s entourage is omnipotent? Quico’s latest piece, the one you link to here, makes a strong case of this – in fact, I believe his intention was to draw attention to it. So what if the Constitution specifically mentions January 10th and something about an “irreplaceable solemnity”, as you point out, when the scoundrels that run the country have proven time and again that they just do whatever the hell they want?

    Perhaps I’ve just grown too cynical at this point, but I don’t see anything happening on January 10th, or the 11th, or February 1st, one way or the other.


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