Today, Elías Jaua posted a letter on Twitter (yes, Venezuela’s main news source) inviting the opposition coalition “MUD” to a meeting in Miraflores.

…in my condition as President of the Presidential Commission in charge of drafting a proposal for the sectoral and regional electoral bases, as well as the main aspects that will serve as a foundation for the establishment and functioning of a National Constituent Assembly…

Once again, Mr. Jaua finds himself in a role that violates the Constitution. Perhaps that’s why he’s so eager to replace it. By now, one would think he would be used to living on the fringe.

The purpose of the meeting is to inform MUD of the motivation of the initiative and the “programmatic objectives” of the Constituent Assembly.

Renowned constitutional lawyers have insisted on this point: Maduro’s plan to reset the Constitution is unconstitutional. Article 347 is clear: only “the people” can convene a Constituent Assembly. Other instances —the president, 2/3rds of the National Assembly, etc.— can take the initiative in asking the people to convene that Constituent Assembly. But without the authorization of the people, expressed through a referendum, none of them have the power to actually convene a Constituent Assembly.

The Math is Straightforward: No referendum, no Constituent Assembly.

Maduro’s proposal is in clear violation of Art. 347.

This is something that you need to keep top of your mind when discussing the subject.

When do you think that the referendum will take place?

NO, it’s unconstitutional, next question…

Will the constituent process be held under the same rules as in 1999?

NO, it’s unconstitutional, next question…

Do you think general elections will be held because of the constituent assembly?

NO, it’s unconstitutional, next question…

Considering Maduro’s popularity, we may have a chance…

NO, it’s unconstitutional. If you keep at it, I may have to kick your ass.

Article 347 is clear: only “the people” can convene a Constituent Assembly.

I stressed this point over on The Daily Beast, and I want to double down on it: many people are turning to the how and the when of this non-sense, skipping right past the why and forgetting the disruptive effect that Chavista strategies have on political turning points.
This is not a solution. This is chavismo bringing us to its court. This is the same exact same rabbit they’ve been pulling out of their hats for 18 years.

The opposition has been clear about their demands. Losing focus right now would be a deadly blunder.

26 COMMENTS

  1. This is how it all began – the Old Constitution was dismantled unconstitutinally- they’ve done it before

  2. We all know that, even they do know that. The question is what are we going to do about and how much support do we have for other key players, read military/international community.

    I think the MUD shall request the meeting on live TV so everything that is said is seen by everyone. In theory the ANC represent all sectors (we know.. we know..) but it could be a way to call their bluff.

    Again, the focus should not be that we don’t want an ANC, that is beyond point. We need to say over and over that without a referendum the ANC cannot be called and they format the government is using does not represent the entire society. Last but least, we need to keep fracturing the remaining Chavistas by telling that Maduro’s ANC is the last step on completely destroying Chavez legacy which is (as their own words) the best in the world (so why change it?).

    Long game comrades, long game.

    • First, there is no “international community” to speak of. Nobody wants to be taking a direct side (even POTUS Donald Trump) since there is no way to interfere with a sovereign nation, even one as broken as VZ.

      Second, the only way to get others on board is to boycot/blockade shipments into/out of VZ which would put MASSIVE pressure on Madura. But, see the FIRST issue. Nobody wants to play that hand as nobody wants to be that involved.

      Russia and China (Hillary’s $$$ buddies) will just step in and bail them out again.

      The only thing to do now is go after the banks and places where VZ has credits/debits and play hard ball with them.

      Make no mistake, more innocent lives will be destroyed with what ever path “the international community” decides… even sitting on the sidelines is just causing more death in the streets.

      So, what would you have us Americanos do at this point?

      • “So, what would you have us Americanos do at this point?”
        I would stop buying Oil from Maduro. Fortunately, there is plenty of oil in the market to go around.
        If that fails, which I think it will, then use the trillion $ in weapons at your disposal in a Military intervention, that is why those are for, right?.

        Obviously, such operation cost money and there should be no problem for a Venezuela post-Chavism to happily reimburse the expenses.

        I know there is no appetite in the US for an armed conflict and it would be a mistake to get involved in a multi year war like Iraq, but here the situation is different, much simpler and we are facing a weaker enemy military speaking.

        Historically, past military interventions in Latin American have been resolved successfully in days. Panama and Grenada for instance.

        The alternative is neglect the issue move to another planet or bury your head in the sand hoping that it will go away, but it won’t, it would only get worse and destabilize the entire region including Mexico. This Castro-Communism is like a Cancer and should be not underestimated…
        If that happens it would be to messy to even try to fix it later.

  3. This is also exactly what Manuel Zelaya did in Honduras; he insisted upon organizing a constituent assembly that he controlled, despite a clear statement from the Supreme Court that the Constitution did not allow him to do so.

    Chavez was outraged when the army ousted him. But they were right, it was a coup.

  4. Chavismo can’t risk elections for mayors and governors, and certainly not a presidential election. It’s really that simple. This is obviously just a diversion, but yet again the opposition looks like they were caught flat-footed.

    I wish that would stop happening.

    • ‘Diversion’ is putting it mildly. Oppo will always be surprised for surprises is the name of the game. If the US Government would release what the Intel agencies know, are we going to be surprised? The US is as guilty as the opposition in repeating mistakes and getting caught off guard

  5. If MUD was caught off guard by the new constitution ploy, so were all the experts on this board. We have vigorously debated whether various elections would proceed and nobody ever suggested that they would be supplanted by a constitutional assembly. And I say that with great deference because a lot of the folks who participate here are very well informed. Sometimes people are tough on MUD. It is really hard to bring down an armed dictatorship through lawful means. It requires patience and discipline under frustrating conditions.

    • Thats not what Raul is warning about. Yes, this last maneuver was unexpected, but what it is expected is that the government now wants the MUD to consider if they want to play this new rigged game, and past performance makes him fear they may think of it.

      Getting to the point you normalize this by thinking how to participate in it or make “dialogue” about how to be sure it is done “democratically” would be an error. Without a referendum ANY constitutional process is unconstitutional, so it is not a victory if, say, you get them to forget about the “pack 1/2 the thing with chavista apparatchiks”

  6. Chavismo wants to select 60% of members of said constituency. Whatever it approves they will write something else and offer some governorship to Henry Falcón, Rosales and the like. Will the MUD accept that?
    As it was said before, it is the Soviets all over again

  7. Good point! All people should read this article and digest its content very well …..the general comment or answer should be: “NO, it’s unconstitutional, next question …” and forget about placing scenarios or make thoughtful analysis about it ….FOCUS: It is unconstitutional, what’s next in the programme…

  8. “It is really hard to bring down an armed dictatorship through lawful means.”
    No it’s impossible in my opinion, especially because it’s a cuban-chavista-communist dictatorship. I still don’t see 1.000.000 + Venezuelans in the streets all day every day so we must presume that things aren’t bad enough yet. By the time the people realize what has happened it will be too late. We are witnessing a new Cuba being born and “el bravo pueblo” is swallowing it while haciendo colas and going on with their lives as usual, bcuz thats what the majority of Venezuelans do …… they do fuck all …. and have done so for almost 18 years. Viva Castro, Viva Chavez. Last but not least, why would the “international community” be bothered if the people them selfs don’t seem to be.

  9. At this point, Maduro can jail all the AN opposition members, kill all babies and rule by decree and he would still be in power.
    It is a f*ing dictatorship folks !!
    I wonder why they still bother with a Constituyente ? lol
    The charade game to appear “Democratic” is way over…
    After all this time protesting other than Civil War, Guerrilla tactics, etc Venezuelans have exhausted all peaceful means to get rid of the illegitimate regime.

    The situation can only be solved with strong and decisive actions by the International community and I am confident it would have to be with Military Intervention, unfortunately.
    In my opinion the opposition should switch tactics and focus now on this last goal and stop wasting time playing games with the Maduro regime while he buys time to encroach in power.

    All Venezuelans living in the USA should organize in one body and star lobbying Congress and Trump for intervention to avoid more death and misery.

    Politically this is a win/win for Republicans, since Victory can almost be guaranteed.
    They can pass us the bill for the operation later.

    • Did you not see the most recent bill proposed by Sen Marco Rubio?

      Go after the banks and their oil is what it does. Make their leaders criminals in INTERPOL. Better to work from the outside than put boots on the ground.

      In reality, all VZ is really doing is trading one group of Marxists for another.

      • Unfortunately, that won’t work, but it has to be tried.
        Agreed, boots on the ground should be the last resort.
        However. my assessment of the situation, that many Venezuelans share is that the Criminals wont give up without a deadly fight.

        So at this point we two alternatives now.
        1. Don’t do anything and accept to live with yet another criminal failed state in the region.
        2. Act militarily to defend and restore freedom and democracy.

        I choose the later.

  10. I am a little confused. Everyone here is going on about Article 347, which does not actually say that the referendum is necessary. It just says that a convention, once called, needs to be elected.

    But it does seem that Maduro is directly violating Article 348. Article 348 seems to state that to call a constitutional convention you need:

    (1) A decision by the president and cabinet;
    (2) A two-thirds vote of the National Assembly;
    (3) A two-thirds vote of all municipal councilmembers, voting in a group; AND
    (4) signatures from 15% of registered voters.

    Only AFAIK he has taken the action with only requisite (1). Am I wrong in my reading of the article, or are there people I’ve missed blasting his action on grounds of violating Article 348?

    Perhaps “y” means something different in Venezuelan legalese than it does in Mexican or Puerto Rican legalese, the kinds I’m familiar with?

    I would really appreciate some clarification from an informed reader. Help?

    • Jeez, don’t waste your time about the legal details of any of this.
      A Thug Dictatorship is not bound by the constitution, the rule of law or the will of the people.
      No opposition leader would waste time on it. It is all a charade to gain time and dug in.

      • Well, yes! Read my blog in a couple minutes.

        I was still curious. Turns out that Georgetown posted a Spanish version of the Bolivarian constitution that used “and” when every other version uses “or.” So there’s no there there.

    • It says “The people of Venezuela is the depository of the original constitutional power”. 1-4 are possible options of proposing a constitutional assembly. It’s true that it doesn’t specify much more, however considering that the president or 2-4 have only the power to propose a CA and the first phrase together with basic law principles like Article 5 (sovereignty resides in the people, who exercise this right indirectly through vote) is pretty obvious and would be assumed so in any normal country that the process requires an election. It’s also common sense, how would it be possible to change the constitution of a country just because the president or 15% of voters, etc. say so? I know this is a dictatorship and they’d do whatever they want, but falling in the “trap” of the imprecision of the article is unjustified.

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