Yesterday’s spectacle, with President Maduro once again thumbing his nose at the constitution by giving his yearly accountability speech to a wholly subservient Supreme Tribunal rather than to the people elected to hold him accountable, fits the pattern of institutional involution Venezuela’s been subjected to so neatly it’s easy to just roll your eyes at it. “What’s new?”, right?

As Maduro freelances himself some new powers and attributions that are nowhere to be found in the constitution, shedding constitutional norm after constitutional norm while insisting on portraying himself as a bulwark for the coup he pulls off day after day, it’s hard to even know what the right analogy for what the Venezuelan government is doing to the rule of law in our country right now.

Everything useful that could have been said, has been said, and we’re left to look around for useful visual analogies. Maybe this one:

Our constitutional tradition is on the left: damaged, yes, and in need of repair. But profound, delicate, and instantly recognizable…not to mention beautiful. It connects us directly to profound strands of our heritage, to the best of the Western tradition, to our aspirations to transcend a humdrum here and now and reach for universal values.

On the right, Maduro’s restoration: a grotesque distortion of the original, an amateur’s blunder, an aggressive disfigurement that amounts to a mockery. A slap in the face made worse by the pig-headed determination to insist that no, honest, this one is just the same as the original — better, even.

Exhausted and traumatized, Venezuelans have largely run out of the energy it takes to sustain the level of outrage the government’s violence against the rule of law demands. Staying mad is exhausting, it can feel pointless, it wears us out and it wears us down.

But staying mad is also our sacred duty: a final, intimate token of resistance. The one place the regime can’t reach into and force itself on. Our conscience.

I’m mad at the shit Maduro pulled yesterday at the Supreme Tribunal. I do not and will not accept this way of governing as normal. I refuse them the luxury of my resignation. They have the guns, they can take everything else. But not that.

30 COMMENTS

  1. The regimes constant , flagrant, fraudulent and vicious violation of even the most basic provisions of the Constitution cannot be concealed using the barrage of farcical speeches and transparently false alibis with which they attempt to justify those violations. They fool no one !!

    Just yesterday the Socialist International (grouping hundreds of the worlds social democratic parties) gave out a very strong statement condemning the regimes violation of the constitution and its citizens basic civic and civil rights………., the regimes clownish gestures and speeches are unable to persuade any one that their abuses have any justification ……they only help underscore the crass illegitimacy of their misdeeds …!!

    Those government attempts at a justification , full of insults and distortions , only make their misdeeds more offensive , more insulting , maybe they believe that average people are as dumb as those followers of theirs who have been stupidified by their fanatism and lack of education , what gets most people is not just the fanfare with which they tell their lies but the way they offend peoples intelligence , calling on them to believe those blatantly concocted and clownish fables and fabrications , their childish tall tales …….!!

    That combined by their obvious stupidity in handling the severe economic problems that ravage our lives on a daily basis and that have made living in Venezuela a torment ……..as if those problems didnt really exist of could be solved through the invocation of magical phrases ……its not appears that the use of the 100 Bs note is to be extended for another month , until february the 2oth , the third such extention in less than two months after having forced every one to queue for hours to deposit the bills in a bank ……thats the most conspicuous evidence of the govts blundering stupidity that EVERYONE , even the most stupid of their followers can SEE !! and yet they act as if there was nothing to it ……!! People are fed up , people are enraged, no need for Francisco to remind us of our rage …….its an ever present emotions in all our lives ……, the thing is how do we convert that rage into something that will help us get rid of the thugs that rule us ……!!

  2. The judiciary is a potential Achille’s jeel for democracies. Venezuela illustrates dramatically how important it is prevent ihe politicization of the judiciary by having strong constititional provisions to prevent court packing. More importantly, the congress needs to guard jealously its perogatives against judicial over-reach. Its ironic that we think of the judiary as the guarantor of our constitutional rights but we now see how easily that role can be perverted. One path of an unpopular dictatorship is to resort to the judiciary, an ugly lesson from Venezuela that all democracies mist learn.

  3. The usual liberal analysis of the courts is that they are “the least dangerous branch” compared to the legislature and the executive, because judges cannot initiate expenditures and have no capacity to raise an army. Insufficient work has been done on the fusion of the executive and the judiciary.

    The Communist conception, that law is an expression of the prevailing class relations, leads directly to the subordination of courts to the executive, because the executive is said to represent the proletariat and its dictatorship.

    This subordination of courts to the executive was theorized and justified in the USSR in the 1920s by Evgenii Pashukanis, who taught that courts exist to rationalize and justify the decisions of the Executive as embodied in the Communist Party Politburo.

    In 1937 he was shot as a Trotskyite wrecker after a one-half-hour trial. In 1961 his name was discovered on an order signed by Stalin, resting in the archives: “Must be shot”.

  4. The 99 constitution was already an abortion of brutal proportions, tailor made to set the bases for this disgusting dictatorship, the 61 constitution wins above that bag of manure by knockout any day.

    Even so, chavismo just used it as long as it was comfortable for them, once it no longer serves its purpose, they discard it like used toilet paper, as they’ve done with millions of things before, including lots of people.

  5. The criminal, Kleptocratic narco-regime has a specific audience: the millions of average people who are sadly under-educated, ill informed, brain washed by Chavez, and still mad at the “burguesitos”.

    They don’t care about others, a minority of reasonably well informed, somewhat educated or well educated people, who either left the country long ago (you and me..) or are eventually silenced in Venezuela. Thus all of the absurd speeches from Maduro, Cabello or Tarek. You see, many people still love Chavez, today, and are ignorant enough to listen to that crap, the grotesque lies about “economic wars”, “imperial” invasions, conspiracy theories from ” la derecha”.

    Nothing new. Totalitarian disguised dictatorships do the same thing everywhere in the world. They blame every problem on external and/or internal imaginary foes. And millions of people even believe some of their “cohetazos”, humongous, obvious lies. But why?

    2 possible reasons: Either that audience is corrupt, complicit, Enchufados, leeches of the regime (almost 4 Million public employee’s on Maduro’s payroll) or… they are simply Ignorant, uneducated.

    They have no idea about what the Constitution is, what it’s for, or what it says. (And Chavistas have the guts to raise the little book to the cameras on most speeches, while they blatantly break the rules in it). See, most of “el pueblo” hardly knows what a Democracy or a republic are, hardly understand what Separation of Powers is, to whom the Executive should report, what a healthy Judicial branch should be, what the role of the Military should be, etc. No clue.

    IOW, Venezuela pays for its own ignorance, and that’s why Colombian bus drivers like Maduro or street thugs like Cabello and Tarek get away with all that they get away with. You can scratch your heads all you want, everyday, as educated individuals when the Constitution is broken 100 times over, but you see, you are a minority, and you are not the Chavista intended audience for these barbarities. They don’t care about you, or the world, for that matter, they only care about staying in power, stealing some more, bribing some more, controlling the military and the TSJ, and avoiding Jail, if Chavismo were to fall. They’ll do anything it takes, repression will increase, and will continue to break the Constitutional rules, and bullshit a sadly uninformed, gullible audience of fools.

    • Really, really well-said and summed-up. Cognoscenti writers/readers/commentators on this Blog will find it hard to understand the mindset of “El Pueblo”, which, in addition to what you mentioned, has no idea of their “rights” Constitutionally, much less their obligations as citizens contributing to a civilized society=ideal ideological cannon fodder for Cuban-style Communism domination/double-speak….

  6. No one is fooled , everyone , including most of the people who still count themselves among the regimes followers for whatever corrupt reason, know, the Constitution is being violated , the difference lies in the fact that many of the latter don’t care that the constitution is being violated and the same applies perhaps for some of the cultural iliterates who- even if they have become opponents of the regime (because of the hardships which its mismanagement and corruption have brought to the country) -, have little conscience of the importance of honouring the institutional underpinnings of a democratic system ……!!

    Their indifference is a testimony to the lack of citizenship qualities that afflict so many of our countrymen, but its not that they believe the govt in its grotesque playacting but that mentally they aren’t fully sensitized to the gravity of what these violations entail …..

    What most everyone does realize by a preponderant mayority is that this is a failed regime , a corrupt regime , an inept regime that has destroyed their lives , and that it deserves their loathing and active rejection ……..!! The Venezuela has yet to be built that sees in these violations a crime which by itself ( even if the country were living in the cusp of joyful security and abundance) makes the regime illegitimate and unworthy of continuing in power…!!

    • Ask the average Wilfredo Rosales or Marielita Perez in Barquisimeto, Guatire, Petare, Barcelona, or Ciudad Bolivar what is separation of powers, what constitutional stipulations are being violated, what is a dictatorship vis-a-vis a democracy or a republic.. 9 / 10 will answer ” ah, bueno, de verdad que no se….” Try it on an abastos cola tomorrow..

      • People don’t believe the govts arguments for violating the constitution and infringing on their civil rights , they know they are FALSE , its just that many of them DONT CARE for those abstract concepts , because what they mostly care about is for those things that affect their day to day lives , the so called bread and butter´ issues not the abstract stuff of free governance .

        What sometimes happens however, is that people can find the rethorical blandishment of some lofty issues emotionally beguiling , and then become the passionate banner holders of some abstract principle which they don’t really understand but which somehow pushes their emotional pleasure buttons …..Venezuela fought 5 years of war to institute a so called federal system of govt rather than a centralized one , the governance issue it self they didn’t care a hoot about only its capacity to serve as the rethorical vehicle for charging themselves with wildly exciting epic emotions ……!!

        This is a bane on democracy here and everywhere !! Every one is a voter but few people are true citizens , and without citizens you only produce the kind of regime that now is bent on destroying our lives !!

          • No. He’s correct, as usual, and full of insight.

            1. Research shows that most working class people don’t care that much about things like separation of power, which is hwy they are usually more willing to support authoritarians.

            2. Being a citizens denotes responsibility, but all too often most people don’t take those responsibilities seriously or even care.

  7. With my excuses to Eduardo Fernandez, Henri Falcon, Timoteo Zambrano and other pacifists, bless their hearts, there are only to options left: Total loss of dignity or civic rebellion

    • Venezuelan have been choosing loss of dignity for quite some time. What will tip the scale for them to change? It seems like hunger is not one of them…

  8. I really don’t think it is the people’s fault. How did we manage to turn the popular 6D victory into an almost complete defeat? That is the question, and we will not advance until we find a real answer. As long as we don’t accept the fact that we became powerless thanks to the mindset of people like Borges, Falcón, Capriles and Ramos Allup, we will be unable to organize ourselves in the way that the situation requires. We became powerless because we had the wrong mindset, the wrong values, we were unable (we still are) to see how decadent we really are. To change this mindset is an existencial need. And it is not the people’s responsability. It is the elite’s. I insist on this, because as long as we keep investing time and resources on the same kind of self-destructive propaganda, inspired by the decadent mindset that brought us here in the first place, we stand no chance. If we want some real inspiration, we can find it in our own history. My main worry is that I see no signs of a change of direction. That is the real source of my despair. If only we were able to change this complete wrong mindset that originated in december 2013, we would stand a chance.

    • Come and join the Revolution. We offer hope and humanity – not lies and hypocricy which is the core of the mindset you complain about.

      • Don’t misunderstand me. The reason I complain about them is because they are cowards that will never have the strenght or the wisdom to fight against the likes of you. You do well to negotiate with them, because you will never sit down with people like me or buy me like you did with Rosales and others.

      • No. What keeps Maduro in power is a decadent and corrupt elite. You have to at least consider that option if you are rational. People is not to blame for the mistakes of the leadership. Unless you are capable of realizing that you have no hope. That is the truth. Toda élite debe ser capaz de ver los riesgos existenciales que la amenazan. Nuestra élite permitió que Chávez tomara el control de todos los factores del poder, las armas, el dinero, los medios, y las instituciones. Eso pesa más que los votos, eso los determina, como estamos viendo. Y cuál es la reacción de nuestras élites? Ninguna. El suicidio. O peor, la corrupción y la sumisión. Eso no es culpa de las más de ocho millones de personas que votaron por la nueva Asamblea. A la mitad de esas personas incluso nos llaman radicales peyorativamente. Entonces, sí, aunque te cueste aceptarlo, lo que está ocurriendo es más culpa de los capriles, los quicos, y los luis vicente leones, que de las yuleisis que votaron por Chávez. Las yuleisis votaron por chávez también por la misma inercia de un sistema totalitario que las élites, que sí tenían recursos para combatirlo, permitieron establecer, a pesar de que era una amenaza para ellas.mismas.

  9. And yesterday’s anti-imperialist “military” exercises with thousands of civilians participating were nothing more than thinly vailed signals to the opposition: mobilize your forces, send them to Miraflores, and we’ll be waiting to spilt your heads open”.

    Unfortunately, I see no other way out of this mess.

  10. “On the right, Maduro’s restoration…”
    Characterizing Chavismo as anything but hard-left Marxism is part of the establishment BigLie. Well done faithful servant!

    • Don’t confuse rhetoric with logic. The folks who write that Crap tend not to bother with facts.

      It’s why Maduro will easily win reelection next time. He has only idiots to fight against.

      The AN is a perfect example of the type of opposition every tin pot dictator loves to rail against. He couldn’t ask for a better fool to fuel with.

      I just hope the death toll can be used inimized when everything falls out. I am betting dolartoday posts the exchange rate of 6000bs:1USD before the end of March.

    • who are you calling a “faithful servant”?

      the post was clearly referring to the images of the XIX-century Ecce Homo painting !

      on the LEFT: BEFORE it was “restored” —- i.e. representing the constitutional tradition

      on the RIGHT: AFTER it was butchered! — i.e. representing the LACK of constitutional order!

      I am getting tired of comments like these — do you all have some kind of persecution complex? always accusing everyone of being corrupt, compromised …

      this “accusation” is just absurd.

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