I got 99 Problems, but an Habilitante ain't one [UPDATED]

The Habilitante won’t really change anything about anything that the government can and will do. So it's not worth getting our panties in a bunch about.

On Tuesday’s National Assembly plenary sesión, opposition legislator Maria Mercedes Aranguren’s parliamentary immunity was eliminated. This basically means she was expelled from the National Assembly and her “substitute,” a certain Carlos Flores, took her place, giving way to the majority vote the PSUV needed to push through Maduro’s Enabling Law.

[UPDATE: It was approved today by a 3/5 majority on first discussion, and will fly through the second discussion of the plenary, announced for next Tuesday.]

So why is no one raising a fuss about this?

In a nutshell…because it’s bullshit.

If the government’s agenda is to effectively destroy whatever modicum of respect remains for the sanctity of institutions, let me be the first one to congratulate them on their win. Who really thinks the Enabling Law is standing in Maduro’s way? The Habilitante won’t really change anything about anything that the Government can and will do.

By this point it is painfully clear that the legislative branch is but a lame façade for the separation of powers, which even the government sucks at maintaining.

Notice Maduro speaking as the Executive about the Enabling Law as if it was already a fait accompli.

Notice PSUV legislators gloating over the assailing of opposition parliamentary immunity with no regards for keeping their diputado 99 agenda under wraps, or at least trying to make it appear as if the judicial branch is doing its job.

Notice the state media machine already selling the merits of how this Habilitante will help the people win this “economic war.”

Aside from obvious, flagrant affronts to democratic principles like separation of powers and due process and all those other really cute and adorable concepts—which we’re supremely well beyond at this point—the Ley Habilitante really stacks up to … well, nothing we should waste our devalued time thinking about.

It will pass. And it will give Maduro powers to do…exactly the same as he’s been doing since he came into office.

Which begs the question, why go through all this hullaballoo in the first place?

Well, distraction is a first thought, although at this point, what with the looting and the price controls and forced Christmas and Miss Universe, and, um, elections…who the fuck cares, right? We’re distracted plenty, thankyouverymuch.

The way I see it, the Enabling Law is meant more for chavistas than anyone else. It’s Maduro’s bratty attempt to affirm his power when faced with a divided base; a wag of the Presidential finger to wavering loyalties, people like a certain dark figure that rhymes with Malvado Sin Cuello.

It’s more a symbol of political triumph than a tool in and of itself.

My advice is to worry about the other problems Venezuela has. I can assure you there are waaaaaay more than 99 of those.

Emiliana Duarte

Emi is a cook, a lover of animals, politics, expletives, and Venezuela. She is the co-founder of Caracas Chronicles LLC and Managing Editor if the site until December 2017.