The Habilit-ation condemnation overreaction

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Flores, in the middle, will supposedly be the 99-th vote. Time to dust off the old red shirt?
Flores, in the middle, will supposedly be the 99th vote. Time to dust off the old red shirt?

Nicolás Maduro went to the National Assembly to ask for special powers, i.e., the ability to rule by decree. He doesn’t yet have the votes, but it sounds like they are going to get the last vote they need one way or another.

Of course, the opposition is up in arms. But does all of this really matter?

Nicolás Maduro can do whatever he wants. That was true yesterday, it is true today, and it will be true the moment he gets special powers. His only real constraint is his increasingly emaciated checkbook, but other than that, it’s pretty much free rein for the guy.

So he’ll pass a few laws. So what? Does it change what they are doing now?

Some say Maduro will use the Enabling Law to criminalize dissent, or put Capriles in jail, or do away with city councils. Fact is, he can do all of that now. It’s not like he, like Chávez before him, faces any significant institutional constraints to do whatever he pleases.

Yes, the Enabling Law is one more nail into the coffin of what remains of our democracy. It is an indictment on the extent to which institutions remain at the beck and call of Maduro … well, of Cuba really. It is an apallingly undemocratic act.

The great thing about having a government with all the power at its disposal is that the opposition has nothing to lose!

But it’s not the end of the world. It’s just business as usual in the Bolivarian Catastrophe.

Side-note: A great analysis in Prodavinci of why our National Assembly looks the way it does can be found here. Kudos to Anabella and Bárbara (amigas de la casa) for some powerful insight.

1 COMMENT

    • I don’t understand Juan. Firstly he thinks we should insist on Maduro’s birth certificate, as if it mattered and now he comes with this.

        • Thanks for clarifying that. I completely misunderstood you.

          As Francisco said, there is a wee bit of this primate thing.

          There is another thing: they might be trying to do such things as speeding up the choice of a totally Chavista comptroller and of the CNE representatives. They would have been able to do that now but at least they would have had to go through some additional motions at the Supreme Court. Now Maduro can solve that “de un plumazo”.

          It would be interesting to see if the opposition knows how to use its idea about the referendum. If they came up with this idea, they should go full Monty and carry out a campaign for it.

    • Ah, therein lies the rub. I think it’s a show of power within chavismo. Either that, or he will use it to make some changes within the military.

      • There seems to be 3 layers of the onion you need to peel, in strict sequence:

        1. The top level government is composed mostly of true revolutionaries

        2. Revolution is being compromised by corruption and sabotage

        3. This is a pivotal moment in the government’s attitude to inefficiency and the reformists

        Of course, if you don’t think the government is truly revolutionary you are stuck at zero and have to resort to guessing (as you just did).

        • Hey yoyo, I agree with almost everything you said… except for the words ‘being compromised by’, I think the whole text is richer if you edit them out. cheers!

        • Yoyo you can’t seriously believe they need an enabling law to get rid of corruption and the so claimed “sabotage”, those things are already punishable by law, the only thing needed is will to enforce the law, it is another sad ruse like chavez’s rain disaster excuse, obviously the enabling law is to ease the way to go a step further into the centralist control of all political power, it’s pathetic how all of you believe that crap

          • I’ve been wrong before but I guess I’d be happier if I’d shared your naivety, just whish that when Maduro do designate the new cne rectors by finger and pass the comunas law without noone knowing the content you’d share my rage, but then you’re liklely to justify it and applaud it

        • I agree with you yoyo, there are 3 layers to this onion.

          But what comprises those layers in my interpretation is slightly different from yours.

          1. The top level is composed of truly corrupt and cynical beings who are quite comfortable with giving away our sovereignty, our resources and treasure as long as they get to stick their hands in the till.

          2. The Revolution is the excuse to hoodwink many who truly wish to effect positive change. They are either taken in by “wonderful goals” that always seem to be just around the corner (but are never arrived at) or they learn how to jump on the gravy train, wear red while inside they are as capitalistic as the next guy.

          3. There is no “pivotal moment”. There is infighting amongst different factions over how to split the remains.

          It is a shame that y0u are one of the hoodwinked waiting to get to the “wonderful goal” that will never arive.

          One day you will look back on this and feel truly disgusted with yourself.

          I hope you are able, at that time, to be at peace with yourself and pick yourself up and do something useful.

          Good Luck

  1. There’s this odd Primate Dominance game going on with the Habilitante. It makes no sense in policy terms, as you say. The point is somewhere else.

    One important twist here is the way they barely conceal that they’re out shopping for votes, and when their millions didn’t get them to 99 votes, they went for the alternates and started stripping their main deputies of immunity on random trumped up charges to get there.

    There’s a question of revolutionary *principle* at play here. Subjecting to any kind of check on their power is anathema to these guys, because it implies a level of acceptance of dissidents’ constitutional prerogatives. That’s what they’re not willing to countenance. That’s what this is about.

  2. On purely practical terms, doesn’t Maduro gain a bit more discretion and efficiency if he governs by decree? Even if it’s in his hands, going through the AN still takes time, and reveals to the oppo (and anyone paying attention) exactly what they’re planning. While “everyone paying attention” might usually be a handful of people, if things get bad (i.e. broken noses) it gets much more attention. Now Maduro can just sign 50 decrees in one day, publish them in page 100 of the official “gaceta”, which is hosted on a website that can’t handle more than two people, and voilà. If the only thing that goes through the AN are superficial matters, the oppo will be forced to only discuss those, taking away time, energy, effort and knowledge from the big issues being passed by decree.

    • agree, with the enabling law he will pass the laws secretly on the 24th december night and no one will bat an eye, that was chavez’s speciality, force down laws on holidays when no one is paying attention and the next monday is too late to protest

    • I think you are right: firmazo limpio día a día. Probably Cilia is asking him to be more decisive, so many relatives to hire and oil is not forever.

      OT: a decent newspaper of Colombian affairs these days?
      My dad used to buy El Tiempo in Valencia decades ago. I think he might have been one of the few Venezuelans buying a Colombian newspaper back then. It would be interesting to get some more sources. I read El Tiempo from time to time, but it seems a bit too close to certain interests. It would be nice to get some sources that are pitiless with all extremes and idiocies.

  3. Is there a connection with Maduro’s actions and the upcoming municipal elections in December ? If there is an overwhelming support for the opposition candidates it might be impossible, or near impossible, for Maduro and co. to apply the Chavista factor to the electronic vote.
    Maybe they are unwilling to chance again an election similar to the last one which apparently everyone knows they lost. Maybe second time around the solution is to ban elections.

  4. It seems that the most likely thing to happen is that with the enabling law they’ll appoint a new even more radical all-red cne and that they’re going to dissolve states and municipalities and just “run” everything throught the unknown mechanism called “cumunas”, certainly dark times ahead, lets see how far and how fast they can push the country into an all out dictatorship

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