On April 23rd, during his weekly TV show, Maduro took a walk down memory lane and claimed that back in 1999, Chávez said it was “necessary to promote a proceso popular constituyente by electoral and peaceful means to refound the Republic through an asamblea popular constituyente“.

Maduro was clearly testing the waters and stated he was taking “the first step of a new historical trigger of the popular power for the new stage that I will call upon. I am totally determined to do it, but I need the people to be prepared like never before”.

A week later, on May 1st, Maduro finally came out and said: “with the people, with the working class, I convene the original constituent power of the people”. Two days later, on May 3rd, Maduro requested that the Electoral Power activate the ANC process.

This week seems to be the beginning of a hard ANC fight ahead and Maduro appears to have the upper hand.

The timing of the announcement unleashed a wave of reactions  from opposition leaders, lawyers and experts, all claiming that the move is yet another act of constitutional fraud by Maduro and an attempt to kill the constitution in an auto-coup d’état.

One of the reactions that got the most comments –even from Maduro– came from none other than Henry Ramos Allup, who tweeted “Sigue golpe Estado continuado. Lo que convocó Maduro no es una constituyente sino una prostituyente. ¿Por qué no hacen elecciones vencidas?

Nicmer Evans, a Chavista-but-not-Madurista and a member of Marea Socialista, thinks that “summoning an ANC in the context of a ruptured constitutional thread (words of the General Prosecutor), is an unconstitutional call”.

During later interviews, Evans added that the government’s main goal “is to distract the population from the fundamental problems arising from the economic crisis” and that Maduro gana tiempo a costa de todo”.

Eugenio Martínez –a Venezuelan journalist specializing in political and electoral matters– had some interesting things to say. He explained that by manipulating the bases comiciales and electoral system, an election for a ANC is the only one Chavismo can win while also avoiding municipal, regional and national elections in 2017 and 2018.

Despite his low popularity, Maduro said that the ANC “es para sacarnos el clavo de la derrota de 2015” because “we now have the opportunity with the Constituyente to return to the paths of the ‘popular Bolivarian Chavista victory’”.

On the red side of the political spectrum, Aristóbulo Istúriz claimed it’s not necessary to convene a consultative referendum on the ANC because “the one who takes the initiative [in this case, Maduro] sets the conditions”. Diosdado Cabello agreed: “The one who summons is the one who sets the rules. Señores de la derecha, don’t try to dictate the rules of the game!”

Hermán Escarrá –a well-known salta talanquera and current pro-government lawyer– first claimed that an ANC “must be approved first by referendum”, but now says “consultations are not necessary to convene” the ANC. Escarrá also said that the ANC “cannot dissolve the current National Assembly and should not do so.” Let’s see how long it’ll take to for him to change his mind.

Elías Jaua, president of the Presidential Commission for the ANC, contradicted himself by saying “la Constituyente is constitutional and is the ideal mechanism for resolving disputes in society“. Just to be clear, article 347 of the Constitution states that the ANC is meant to “transform the State, create a new legal order and to draft a new Constitution”.

MUD representatives were officially invited to meet with the Presidential Commision of the ANC on May 8th. That day, the Commission will apparently formally explain the motivation of Maduro’s ANC initiative.

This week seems to be the beginning of a hard ANC fight ahead and Maduro appears to have the upper hand.

Luis Emilio Rondón, the only independent Rector at the Electoral Authority, considered Maduro’s proposal for the activation of the ANC unconstitutional and demanded it be rejected. However, the other four pro-government Rectoras claimed it is constitutional and overruled him.

While the repression and violence continues, it will be another couple of days until we see what the next chapter in the ANC history will bring.

24 COMMENTS

  1. Forget the legality of anything, that is besides the point, at this point Maduro can do whatever he wants, it is a f*ing Dictatorship for crying out loud.

    All the opposition should focus on what matters, which is to get rid of the Dictatorship by force with the help of the international community.

  2. “You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police … yet in their hearts there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts: words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home — all the more powerful because forbidden — terrify them. A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.”
    ― Winston S. Churchill, Blood, Sweat and Tears

    • Excellente Churchill quote. Would someone here who speaks better Spanish than I translate it for me? I’d love to pin it to the wall here in my shop for the public to see.

      • Mixed historical metaphor. “The Mouse That Roared” was a (hilarious) satirical movie about a fictional bankrupt country somewhere southwest of Albania, I think, that declared war on the US, then immediately surrendered in hopes of claiming post-war reconstruction aid.

  3. “!Vean! … los dictadores montados en sus pedestales, rodeados de las bayonetas de sus soldados y los cachiporras de sus policias … todavia les tiemblan sus corazones con temor ocultado. Temen las palabras y los pensamientos: palabras habladas en el estranjero, pensamientos removidos en el domestico – mas potentes aun por ser prohibidos – los aterrorizan. Un ratoncillo de pensamiento aparece en el cuarto, y hasta los mas feroces de estos potentados se hunden en panico.” [I claim poetic license under the freedom of speech clause of the 1st amendment of the U.S Constitution.]

      • See Ulamog – much better. Flows much more freely. Mine is awkward by comparison, it has been many years since I went through even an entire day in Spanish, let alone weeks and month and years.

    • “You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police … yet in their hearts there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts: words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home — all the more powerful because forbidden — terrify them. A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.”
      ― Winston S. Churchill, Blood, Sweat and Tears

      /////

      “Contemplen a los dictadores en sus pedestales, rodeados de las bayonetas de sus soldados y las cachiporras de su policía… Y aún así lo único que habita en sus corazones es un miedo inenarrable. Están temerosos de las palabras y pensamientos: Lo que se dice en el extranjero, los pensamientos que se tienen en casa, todos ellos mucho más poderosos porque son prohibidos, les aterran. Un pequeño ratón aparece en la habitación, e incluso el más poderoso de los potentados es presa del pánico”

      • Ulamog –

        Yeah! … I love well-written Spanish! (If I weren’t so lazy, I’d read more, and one day maybe I’d learn some myself!!

        One question to a brilliant translation – at the very end, work done, did you omit “un pequeno raton [de pensamiento] aparecere en la habitacion …”? ?O era que un raton tambien puedo contarse como lo resultante de demasiada fiesta la noche anterior?

        I really do wish I spoke Spanish well. I used to be able to, when I lived there. Thanks for your translation.

          • Your translation really carries the flavor of Churchill through without any stumbles over literalness of translation. Anyone reading in Spanish would get the full force of thought. (Btw, wish I could edit out my bit about “un raton” as a “hangover” – the meaning there isn’t clear at all. It was just a stray thought, trying to be funny.)

  4. HOW TO NEUTRALIZE MADURO’S CONSTITUYENTE?
    1. Article 348 of the CRVB gives the “initiative” not only to the president but also to the 15% of the electorate. Does this mean that 15% of the electorate could impose a Constituyente on all the people? Well if CNE gives that privilege to Maduro CNE would have to give that privilege to 15% of the electorate. How could CNE say NO if according to 348 both Maduro and 15% of the electorate have that privilege?
    2. Then the signatures of 15% of the electorate are collected and a new request for a Constituyente is submitted to CNE with different electoral basis.
    3. The CNE will be on a bind.

          • I don’t believe they are. This is for the international community.
            It is obvious that CNE will not be able to say NO; it might put hurdles to it but it will be obvious and it will stall Maduro’s constituyente.

          • Anyway it must be pointed out the absurdity that 15% of the people could impose a “constituyente” on all the people without asking all the people in a referendum and likewise that Maduro could impose a “constituyente” on all the people without a asking all the people in a referendum.
            But if Tibisay gives that privilege to Maduro she would have to give it also to 15% of the people because Article 348 gives the “initiative” to both.
            And Tibisat will be in a bind!
            Many times the obvious needs to be explained.

  5. Thanks to both Ulamog and Gringo for the tranlsation. Interestingly, I think that even without the “pensamiento” attached to the “raton”, Maduro would still scream for Celia at the sight of a mouse. LOL

  6. There is no residual doubt: Maduro is clearly a dictator by any definition. An the dictatorship is cruel and aggressive. Any dictatorship is originated because of large egos and poor popularity. That usually occurs in the presence of a failed idea that initially may have promoted the takeover of civil society. This principle is confirmed by the case in front of us. The case for a courageous fight by an opposition is strong and inevitable, but the strong fighters are hiding behind the screen of “only a democratic election can take us out of this mess”, which is theoretically correct and may be comfortable to use but clearly it is ineffective, at the time of so many deaths and popular unrest. Jesuits could be asked an opinion on the morality of violent attacks to the dictator (“tiranicidio”): it never occurred, nor even as a loner’s desperate attempt, in Venezuela…Difficult to suggest to others to move in a desperate direction.
    And, incidentally, the “United Nations” show the mighty power of a ruined organization: how much more time before a resurgence of an international authority that counts? here is where the US citizens should think this mess as a personal issue. A unilateral foreign intervention is not likely, nor even with a character like Trump in power.
    “Stop the madness!” should be the chant by the streets of Caracas and in the tweets of the world.
    “Paren Esta Locura!”.

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