Constitution? We don’t need no stinkin’ constitution!
It's beginning to look a lot like a Christmas power grab. Get ready for a Chavista coup in Venezuela if Chavez does not recover by January 10.
Diosdado Cabello, president of the National Assembly said on Saturday that opponents of Hugo Chavez "should harbor no hope whatsoever" that Chavez's inability to be sworn in as president of the country on January 10 will cancel the results of the past election or trigger a new one within thirty days, as required by the Venezuelan constitution.
He also said that if Chavez fails to show up on January 10 there would be no interim solution, and that neither he himself nor Nicolas Maduro (Chavez's hand-picked successor) would assume the presidency. In other words: Cabello said that Chavez would continue being president, no matter what. Neither Illness nor the Venezuelan constitution will make any difference.
"You are wrong," he said to anyone who would expect the constitution to be followed in case of Chavez's absence. "This is not the way in which you will come into power." Poking fun at the opposition, he charged that they were all foolishly "worked up" ("alborotados") about January 10, and were "absolutely deluded" ("absolutamente pelados").
"Forget about January 10, señores," he said. "Only if president Chavez voluntarily decides to step down will that date make any difference."
So, there you have it: As Cabello sees it, Chavez has absolute authority, no matter what. Only he can decide whether or not he is fit to be president, or whether a successor can assume office, or whether a new election is needed.
Draping this dictatorial power grab in democratic garb, Cabello went on to say that to sidestep Chavez's authority "is not legal, is not constitutional, and is not what the people decided on October 7 [the date of the last election]." "The will of the people needs to be respected."
Read more about all this HERE, in Spanish, from ABC.
Meanwhile, it was also revealed yesterday that "the people" of Venezuela now live in a very violent society. Statistics released by Chavez's own government reveal that nearly 19,000 Venezuelans have been murdered in 2012. This means that every two hours at least five people die violently in the Bolivarian paradise. That's a murder rate of 66 per 1,000. Read more about this great success of Chavismo HERE, in Spanish.
Of course, with John Kerry as U.S. Secretary of State we can look forward to an ever-closer cooperation with the Chavistas, with or without Chavez. Forget about any pressure from the U.S. to restore a real democracy in Venezuela.