The thoroughgoing collapse of law-based government in Venezuela has been a constant theme in this blog since 2002. But this week, in a time-wasting exercise of epic proportions, I decided to try to put a number to the timeless question: exactly how screwed is the 1999 librito azul?
In a quick first run-through, I can spot 161 articles out of 350 that have been very clearly, very publicly violated – which puts the gross unconstitutionality rate at a whopping 46%.
In fact, it’s worse than that, because quite a few articles in the constitution fall into the Pura Paja category: broad statements of principle or definition that aren’t really liable to being either violated or respected. Articles like 202, (La ley es el acto sancionado por la Asamblea Nacional como cuerpo legislador. Las leyes que reúnan sistemáticamente las normas relativas a determinada materia se podrán denominar códigos) don’t strike me as containing the type of norm you can break.
So the net unconstitutionality rate is probably even higher – especially as there are a number of articles where I just don’t have the information to make the call one way or another.
In any case, it’s an ongoing project, and probably the sort of thing you can well crowdsource. So, if you want to poke around at it, have a look here. It’s an open-document, so anybody can edit it, Wikipedia-style.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.