ANC, One Year Later: Illegitimate Institution, Possible Rebellion

The ANC has behaved the way we expected: as an instrument of political control. Nonetheless, will this political monster grow even more powerful against its enemies? Or against itself?

Photo: Minpet

On August 4 we “celebrated” the first anniversary of the establishment of the National Constituent Assembly (ANC). Is it possible to find coherency in the development of the ANC? What can we elucidate from its first year’s political strategy?

It’s actually not so easy to determine.

Maybe—just maybe—chavismo doesn’t really know what to do with this kind of monster.

If we look closely at the ANC’s decision-making process from this first year, we can confirm what we already knew: the ANC is an instrument of political control, but maybejust maybechavismo doesn’t really know what to do with this kind of monster.

Let’s take a look at the ANC’s first session:

During its first session, the ANC resolved a major problem the government had at the moment: the need to replace Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega Díaz with Ombudsman Tarek William Saab. Let’s not forget Luisa Ortega Díaz played a fundamental role in the 2017 protests, conducting investigations on police brutality, repression and murder of protesters at the hands of authorities.

In that first session, the ANC also approved its governing rules, but they forgot an important part of the process: the governing rules were never published in the Official Gazette. That’s why it’s unclear, for example, how long will the ANC be sessioning for.

The ANC then started receiving the heads of many offices and departments of the State, all the way from Maduro to the Supreme Tribunal judges, to “ratify” them in their illegitimate posts. That was a similar strategy to the one used in the ANC of 1999 in order to legitimise the power of the ANC over all State authorities. Nonetheless, the main difference between the 2017 ANC and the 1999 ANC is the performance of the CNE, which now behaves with a complete lack of independence and interest in democratic process.

It’s unclear, for example, how long will the ANC be sessioning for.

Since then, the ANC has been erratic. It has approved some controversial laws, like the dangerous Anti-Hate Law. Ever since, it has also approved the Foreign Investment Law or the  most recent Price Control Law, both of which had zero impact over the economic crisis.

In all these decisions, the ANC violated the Constitution, not only because it was illegally convened and elected, but because these  decisions usurped the powers of the Public Administration.

So, where does the ANC stand today?

The truth is, the ANC has presented no results regarding two particular missions that it hypotheticallywanted fulfill: to dictate a new Constitution and to reform the State.

The ANC has had a new president since June: Diosdado Cabello. Maybe we will see some changes in the development of the ANC during its second year.

For example, Hermann Escarrá just stated that the 80% of the Constitution is done. A new Constitution could be the excuse for a political and electoral process to restructure and re elect all the offices of the State. Which of the political factions within chavismo could be the “winner” of that process? It could be hard to tell, if it wasn’t a process led by Cabello himself.

Maybe we will see some changes in the development of the ANC during its second year.

In fact, last Wednesday the ANC “approved” the trial against deputies Julio Borges and Juan Requesens, which is in fact a violation of Article 200 of the Constitution. Only the National Assembly could dictate that kind of approval. Cabello confirmed that this decision concerned only these lawmakers, but the investigation could indeed involve other political leaders.

Could Cabello secure his powers using the ANC as a tool? Maduro himself has said that the ANC is above all the other offices of the State.

Maybe we’ll witness the story of Frankenstein again: a monster who rebels against his creator.

Andrés Becerra

Andrés Becerra is the pseudonym of a Venezuelan lawyer interested in politics.