Archive for June 23rd, 2003

A preview of how to slow down the referendum

June 23, 2003

As I mentioned in my earlier article on Saturday, it is encouraging that the Head of the Supreme Court has strong views about the recall referendum, because it is clear that Chavez’ MVR will use all possible legal tricks to block it form taking place. There was another clear indication of this from today’s statements in El Nacional page A-5 by Deputy Pedro Carreno. Carreno-famous for saying the US Government spies on us through Direct TV set tops, as well as saying Peruvian spymaster Montesinos was dead six months before he was caught in Venezuela-pointed out how absurd they might get in their arguments to block the referendum. What Carreno said needed answered, was who was eligible to vote in this referendum. In the brilliant interpretation of this not so beautiful mind, it is not clear (to him) whether it has to be only those that were eligible to vote when Chavez was elected or whether it would include the new voters. He wants to raise this issue because the Constitution says that for the recall referendum to take effect the number of votes approving the recall has to be at least one vote more vote than the number with which the candidate was elected. Now, Deputy Carreno says in the same article that the official MVR position will be encourage absenteeism, because this, together with traditional absenteeism will play in their favor. Well, I am not sure I understand this argument. If only pro-Chavez voters will not go to the polls, the number of Yes votes will actually remain the same. By encouraging absenteeism, they may be encouraging a landslide vote against the President, not the best foundation for a possible future comeback of the only visible leader of MVR. In fact, even if the opposition did not manage to get the magic number of votes, which seems highly unlikely, if Chavez lost resoundly, it would simple remove any mandate that he may claim he had before the referendum.


I sure hope the Supreme Court, who has become skilful at ruling outside the realm of the suits presented to them, uses a single one of any possible suits to clarify all these questions unambiguously.

Some good links from Venezuelatoday.net

June 23, 2003

Through the website Venezuelatoday.net, not to be confused with the Government’s site Venezuelatoday.com (Thanks to the Editor of the .net one) I found the tape of the speech by Chavez where he says that he “surrendered without a shot in April 2002 but he will shoot next time around”. He then proceeds to give an anti-american sppech. The same site also carries the link to the video from Duke University’s seminar “Chavez: The end of the rule of law

Some good links from Venezuelatoday.net

June 23, 2003

Through the website Venezuelatoday.net, not to be confused with the Government’s site Venezuelatoday.com (Thanks to the Editor of the .net one) I found the tape of the speech by Chavez where he says that he “surrendered without a shot in April 2002 but he will shoot next time around”. He then proceeds to give an anti-american sppech. The same site also carries the link to the video from Duke University’s seminar “Chavez: The end of the rule of law

William Safire on Caracas, California

June 23, 2003

Op-Ed piece in the NYT by William Safire entitled Caracas, California describing the parallels between voter disenchantment with their elected officials in both Venezuela and California. There is an important error in Safire’s article, the recall referendum was not agreed upon by Chavez and the opposition, but was a right granted in the Chavista-designed Constitution of 1999. Moreover, the Constitution does not allow Chavez to run, it clearly states that were Chavez to lose, an election would take place within thirty days to replace him. To be more precise it says that if the recall referendum is approved (Art. 72): “the mandate will be considered revoked and we will proceed to fill the absolute absence according to the Constitution and the law”. The Constitution states that the absolute absence of the President will be filled with an election thirty days after the absence takes place (Art. 233) if it occurs within the first four years of the mandate. Thus, it seems implausible to argue that the President’s absolute absence as defined by the Constitution will be filled within an election in which he is a candidate. Moreover, the new President is not being elected to a new term, but to complete the term of the President whose mandate was recalled (also part of Art. 233).

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