The National Assembly is installed. The day has been generally peaceful. All the chavista huffing and puffing about the Parlamento Nacional Comunal, about colectivos blocking access to the Palacio Legislativo, it was all so much hot air.
We’ve had drunk speeches and the first walk-out of the new legislative session, all in just the first hour of the new Assembly’s term. Chavismo argued a technicality about the need to call an Extraordinary Session before political speeches could be given as the basis for their protest, and were roundly ignored by incoming President Ramos Allup. It was absolutely wonderful to see a livid Diosdado Cabello arguing technicalities with reporters after he’d walked out of the chamber.
Only 163 Assembly members were sworn in, though the opposition is adamant that the remaining deputies will be sworn in soon. The first day of ordinary sessions is tomorrow: committee assignements will be handed out, and legislative action should follow before the week is out.
We leave you with question who’s time has come:
2:47. Aaaaaaand we’re out.
2:44. HRA’s speech is done. The session’s not quite over though.
2:38. “Where there’s no affection, there’s no team.” Henry says it was only when the different players around the MUD table began to build their personal relationships that the coalition began to work properly.
2:36. “Aquí desde hoy la cosa cambió.” -HRA
2:33. “The Constitutional Chamber must not believe it is a kind of alternative Legislative branch.”
2:32. Henry cites the Talmud “woe onto the people whose judges deserve to be tried.” His speech is a kind of declaration of war on the Constitutional Chamber of the TSJ.
2:30. Henry vows again to rein in the re-packed Supreme Tribunal.
2:29. Leaning hard on themes of oversight and comptrollership over the rest of the state.
2:27. Henry Ramos says the National Assembly will not be a trench used to shoot at the other branches of government.
2:19. Henry Ramos Allup launches into his maiden speech.
2:15. Diosdado Cabello threatens to throw journalists back out of the Assembly before the year is out. Classy!
2:02. After Ramos Allup took his oath, Chavismo lasted a whole 42 minutes in the Assembly Chamber before they walked out. Weak.
2:00. The PSUV Caucus is walking out of the Assembly chamber.
1:58. Borges ploughs through his speech with a chavista hubbub behind him. The PSUV Caucus strategy is clear: make the assembly unmanageable.
1:54. Chavismo gradually retakes its seats. Borges tries to give his speech.
1:52. This looks like it could degenerate.
1:51. Chavista deputies crowd the dais to stop Borges from speaking.
1:50. After a bit of a rigamarole with the election of the A.N. secretary, Majority Leader Julio Borges takes the dais. Minority leader Hector Rodríguez refuses to sit down and obstructs Borges’s speech.
1:41. “Diputado Carreño, el tiempo lo llevo yo, no lo lleva Ud. Tiene un minuto para postular.” -HRA.
1:39. Pedro Carreño on the Parlamento Burgués beat. “Un gran fraude y una gran estafa electoral.”
1:37. “Diputado Hector Rodríguez, estese tranquilo que aquí cambiaron las cosas.” -HRA is a pig in shit today.
1:35. The political speeches are coming thick and fast now. Tipo: normal.
1:24. Sort of amazing how half of Venezuela is watching this…
¡Chócala Marico ganamos! pic.twitter.com/qHocFllRgT
— Jóse R Guzmán (@JoseRGuzman) January 5, 2016
1:20. Henry Ramos Allup swears in 163 deputies, including 109 for MUD. We’re told a further three will be sworn in later.
1:18. Henry Ramos Allup takes his oath of office as President of the National Assembly.
1:14. Los que opinen que Héctor Agüero necesita un café bien cerrero que lo indiquen con la señal de costumbre…
1:09. Henry Ramos Allup elected President of the National Assembly.
La estrategia de Héctor Agüero es que dejemos de ver esto.
— El Chigüire Bipolar (@ChiguireBipolar) January 5, 2016
1:03. I get it. If I’d been given this job, I might have had a few drinks first too, but…
1:00. Chavista Grandpa Simpson just. Won’t. Stop. De pana, he’s drunk.
(Tania Diaz, I hate to say, had a proper point about the shameless absence of women or young people in the MUD A.N. leadership…no puede ser, coño.)
12:52. The Chavista Grandpa Simpson takes the dais.
12:41. Henry Ramos Allup’s face during Hector Rodríguez’s speech:
12:40 Speaking for PSUV, Hector Rodríguez explains that Henry Ramos Allup is responsible for the 1994 financial crisis (!?!??)
12:35. Chavista grandpa just cut off Omar Barboza’s mic! Es que no aprenden, de pana…
12:34. Chavista grandpa le toca la campanita a Omar Barboza. “You have five minutes.”
12:31. UNT cacique Omar Barboza does the honors of nominating the new A.N. leadership.
12:23. The Session is back on. Pedro Carreño announces 163 deputies will be sworn in initially. MUD has vowed to swear in its three further deputies later in today’s session.
12:12. Credential check ongoing. MUD supporters chanting “112”! Rubbing it in.
Cuando llegas a una fiesta donde no conoces a nadie y le pides a tu amiga que no te deje sola. pic.twitter.com/gubWxJyj1s
— Mafecita (@Mustia__) January 5, 2016
11:59. The first of many:
11:50. New Member Credentials being checked. Recess called. The peo starts here.
11:44. The session gets going. Chavista grandpa (oldest member of the house) presiding. Is he drunk? I think he’s drunk.
11:37. Elimar Diaz, MP, the Madroñero Slayer.
11:30. The government’s plan is pretty straightforward: if the opposition swears in the three “de-proclamated” MUD deputies, they will ask TSJ to invalidate everything they do. The Opposition, for its part, is committed to swearing them in. A Constitutional Crisis probably can’t be avoided.
11:28. Chávez left a tweet for every occasion.
Epa no se vayan a perder el debate de hoy en la Asamblea! Ya mi equipo ajusta detalles de nuestra artillería! Respeto y altura! Venceremos!!
— Hugo Chávez Frías (@chavezcandanga) February 17, 2011
11:25. The Opposition rally in La Hoyada.
11:21. Cilia Flores (First Combattant/MP): Many are regretting having voted for the ultra-right and Acción Democrática. Henry Ramos knows that if if those three deputies are sworn in, it’s null and can be annulled by the Supreme Tribunal. If they begin by delegitimating the National Assembly they are in contempt of court, and they can be sanctioned. If they don’t recognize the other powers, why do the other powers need to recognize them?
11:19. Diosdado C: We know any decision taken by people who are not duly elected is invalid.
11:12. Diosdado in da House. #CoolAsIce. The guy looks constipated. Cilia and Pedro Carreño by his side.
11:09. Nobody sent Gilber the memo about the Liqui Liquis.
11:07. Sarao on the A.N. floor.
11:05. Bolivarianism you can believe in:
11:02. Head of Venezuela’s Telecoms Agency is only too aware the Internet access his agency oversees sucks:
#AN Se instala sesión de selfies y periscope. Favor no colapsar el ancho de banda.
— William Castillo B (@planwac) January 5, 2016
11:01. Did Pedro Carreño just say MUD leadership is legitimate? #SurelyIHeardThatWrong
10:58. Parliamentary session scheduled to start in two minutes. Surely punctuality is too much to hope for. #ElPaisCambióPeroNoTanto.
10:55. Pedro Carreño in da house. They found him an über-safe seat in Delta Amacuro. #Inamovible.
10:52. After five years of a shocking media lockdown, journalists are back on the floor of the National Assembly. Knot in my throat.
— Jose Pernalete (@jpernalete) January 5, 2016
10:48. Smolansky on UnionRadio: “historic day.” PSUV deputies have not come into the A.N. chamber yet.
10:43. Who in Voluntad Popular decided everyone had to show up today in Liqui Liqui? #LiquiLiquiWatch.
10:42. Watching an opposition march on Globovision. Time warp.
10:39. Freddy Guevara: “On December 6th we didn’t merely won an election, a transition process started.” Yes, in a black Liqui Liqui.
10:37. Henry Ramos Allup speaking on Globovision. “We will review the BCV Law Reform decree and if necessary, we’ll change it.”
10:30. Journalists. Inside the National Assembly. #NuevosTiempos.
10:28. Freddy Guevara in a black Liqui Liqui cannot be unseen.
10:24: With ANTV off-air, the opposition MUD is livestreaming from the National Assembly on YouTube. They seem to be having some tech problems.
10:21. No significant violence. Yet.
10:19. Incoming Assembly president Henry Ramos Allup on his way into the Palacio Legislativo.
10:11. AD Deputy Alfonso Marquina alleges the National Guard assaulted a group of MUD deputies on their way into the National Assembly.
10:00. Fifty Shades of Urgente
9:59. Richard Blanco, MP, in La Hoyada.
— Yohana Marra (@Yohanamarra) January 5, 2016
9:51. Simón Calzadilla, MUD MP, incandescent on UnionRadio about the takeover of the Central Bank.
9:49: Voluntad Popular deputies dusted off their Liqui-Liquis for the occasion. #NotMaoSuits
9:46. UnionRadio – Huge National Police operation all around the A.N. perimeter. Blockades all around the National Assembly’s Legislative Palace. All businesses in the area closed. No reports of violence. New deputies being allowed into the Legislative Palace, but no one else.
9:38. “Just stopping by to say hi, guys!”
— Luis Florido (@LuisFlorido) January 5, 2016
Amid tension in downtown Caracas, MUD deputies begin to trickle into the National Assembly building to take their oath of office.
8:45. The approach to the Palacio Legislativo has not been easy.
Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported.
Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.Donate