Translated by Javier Liendo
The Supreme Tribunal’s Constitutional Chamber admitted a request for legal interpretation of articles 339 and 136 of the Constitution, as well as articles 27 and 33 of the Framework Law on States of Emergency, put forward by members of the Communal Councils, Communes and other social movements associated with PSUV, regarding the Decree which declared nationwide economic emergency.
The decision sets out the Chamber’s powers and admits the proposal. It then establishes that the Decree came into force from the moment it was issued and its legitimacy, validity and efficiency remain “irrevocably unchallenged” (irrevocablemente incólume), ignoring the Assembly’s oversight role by declaring the period of time it took the deputies to study the Decree violated the legal procedure, judicial guarantees and due process, nullifying the Assembly’s decision. The Supreme Court ordered the decision to be published in its entirety on both the Judicial and the Official Gazette.
To Nicolás, the National Assembly is “pura paja” – just bullshit. Celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision “en caliente” – because it’s inspiring that it ignores the National Assembly’s authority – he read excerpts from it, ordering that the holy word of the Supreme Court be carried out at once: “I hope they don’t complain. As people say, no quiero show ni comiquita.” Well, he better get ready, because this is going to be a sensational bailanta sponsored by Disney and Discovery Kids.
It seems that the only thing that was holding him back from “starting implementing the measures”, was this decision. However, he criticized the Law on Food Bonuses (cestatickets) and medicines for pensioners, because according to him, it was written without any financial criteria, and an oil barrel at $21 doesn’t allow this benefit. His perspective is: we must retire as many people as possible even though they don’t get paid enough to live.
Enthusiastic about the possibility of “getting his hands inside the pockets of millionaires,” he wants the tax on the country’s big capitalists profits to be approved or else, where are they going to take the money from? He also proposed the creation “a sort of ID, a special card” – like the Cuban’s ration card – for food, because he already has a plan for improving supply. He also proposed the creation of a law establishing obligatory attention of all pensioners in private clinics at no cost.
The explanation about Zika was a mess. Nicolás thinks that an epidemic is fought with acetaminophen and images of fumigation. In numbers, 5,221 suspected cases, out of which 319 have been confirmed as of Wednesday. He admitted three deaths, but he didn’t mention the Epidemiology Bulletin. The Minister of Health celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision from Carabobo, not mentioning our severe situation in which zika gangs up with malaria, dengue and chikungunya. Todo bello.
The Path to Conflict
In blithely passing over article 7 of the Constitution, the justices forgot that Venezuela is ruled by the Principle of Constitutional Supremacy. It’s absurd that quoting Locke and Montesquieu, the Constitutional Chamber argues that their judicial control is superior to the Assembly’s political control because it’s more objective. They trample over the Rule of Law, but objectively.
Let’s see, if the Supreme Court had the power to determine the validity of the decree, why did Nicolás even presented it to the National Assembly? On January 22 this decree was rejected by 107 votes in the now 164-seat assembly. It’s our indignation that should be irrevocably unchallenged. A bunch of justices can’t have more power than the people.
Nicolás is out looking for conflict. Someone must have assured him that, by accelerating his exit from power – through ever clumsier means – he can get chavismo to regroup around him. As if chavistas weren’t also standing in lines, looking for food and medicine, with no electrical power, no water or cooking gas. Show y comiquita is exactly what’s coming, my friends.
And what happened with the Assembly?
The parliamentary majority approved this Thursday an agreement on the food crisis in the country. Deputy Luis Pedro España launched the debate with significant numbers. Learn this one by heart: one out of every four Venezuelans makes a living by standing in line to buy products. The first draft of the Law on food and medicines for retirees and pensioners was approved unanimously. The benefit that Nicolás doesn’t agree with would be equivalent to 67 tax units a month, and is projected to cover a little over three million beneficiaries.
The Committee on Internal Policy received a formal request to investigate Nicolás’ nationality because, on top of the doubts about his birth, he himself has refused to exhibit his birth certificate. The committee postponed the meeting where the Law on Amnesty would be discussed due to lack of quorum; it was rescheduled for next Wednesday, February 17.
More gold going abroad
With the “Recognition of Gold Agreement” dated January 18, 2016, there’s now proof of the gold export operation being carried out by the Central Bank. The agreement indicates that 972 “Feld Melted” bars of gold, with a total weight of 11,888.43 kilograms, “will be taken out of the country to be adapted to international standards, with the approval of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Venezuela in their meeting N° 4868 dated 12/01/2016.”
Presumably, the Central Bank has exported gold four times so far this year. Meanwhile, the international oil price closes in on its lowest level in 13 years. “Sweet light crude” barrels dropped to $26.22, which was the price back in 2003.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.