Archive for March 21st, 2004

When is the last date for a recall to be followed by elections?

March 21, 2004

There has been a lot of confusion on when things should happen during Chavez’ Presidential term. The reason is that the new Constitution redefined the term to six years and Chavez was sworn in on August 2000. Someone asked the Supreme Court to clarify the issue and the Court said that Chavez’ |presidential period would end on Jan. 10th. 2007. The reason is that Art. 231 of the Constitution says that the President would be sworn in specifically on Jan. 10th. of the first year of his term. Since this was an exception, the Court in a sense gave Chavez an extra six months, by redefining the beginning of his term to be Jan. 10th. 2001.


This issue is discussed in today’s El Universal at length by Constitutional lawyer Tulio Alvarez. The second confusion arises because in that same decision, the Supreme Court said that the mid-term of Chavez Presidential period would be measured from Aug. 19th. 2000 and was Aug. 19th. 2003, which was the first date in which the opposition could introduce a petition requesting the President’s recall.


 


The Government has always promoted the idea that based on this, Aug. 19th. 2004 would also establish a limit for when a successful recall would be followed by a Presidential election. According to the Constitution (Art. 233):


 


“When the absolute absence of the President takes place during the first four years of the Presidential term, there will be a new election….”


 


But then it says:


 


“If the absolute absence takes place during the last two years of the presidential period, the Vice-President will assume the Presidency…”


 


Thus, Alvarez argues that the last date for a recall referendum which will be followed by an election is not Aug. 19th. like the Government wants everyone to believe, but Jan 10th. 2005, since the second part clearly states that the Vice-President will take over only during the last two years. Since the Court said the end of the term is on Jan. 10th. 2007, then the Vice-President can only take over if the recall takes place after that date. And since the court said the term began in Jan. 10th. 2001, then the first part says there should be an election if the recall takes place before Jan. 10th. 2005.


 


Unfortunately, it is the Constitutional Hall of the Supreme Court that would have to resolve the issue and we know those guys have no ethics whatsoever.

Kerry issues a strong statement on Venezuela and Chavez

March 21, 2004

Thanks to Joe I learn of the strong statements issued by Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry a couple of days ago on Chavez and Venezuela. Should rattle some people here in Government. Some excerpts:


“With the future of the democratic process at a critical juncture in Venezuela, we should work to bring all possible international pressure to bear on President Chavez to allow the referendum to proceed. The Administration should demonstrate its true commitment to democracy in Latin America by showing determined leadership now, while a peaceful resolution can still be achieved. “


 


“Throughout his time in office, President Chavez has repeatedly undermined democratic institutions by using extra-legal means, including politically motivated incarcerations, to consolidate power.  In fact, his close relationship with Fidel Castro has raised serious questions about his commitment to leading a truly democratic government.”


 


“The referendum has given the people of Venezuela the opportunity to express their views on his presidency through constitutionally legitimate means.  The international community cannot allow President Chavez to subvert this process, as he has attempted to do thus far.  He must be pressured to comply with the agreements he made with the OAS and the Carter Center to allow the referendum to proceed, respect the exercise of free expression, and release political prisoners.”


 


The Chavez administartion has been sending clear signals that they would love to have Bush lose the elections to get a more sympathetic ear, this may chaneg their minds, it’s actually stronger than most things the Bush administration has said.


 


I may even be starting to like Kerry…

Kerry issues a strong statement on Venezuela and Chavez

March 21, 2004

Thanks to Joe I learn of the strong statements issued by Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry a couple of days ago on Chavez and Venezuela. Should rattle some people here in Government. Some excerpts:


“With the future of the democratic process at a critical juncture in Venezuela, we should work to bring all possible international pressure to bear on President Chavez to allow the referendum to proceed. The Administration should demonstrate its true commitment to democracy in Latin America by showing determined leadership now, while a peaceful resolution can still be achieved. “


 


“Throughout his time in office, President Chavez has repeatedly undermined democratic institutions by using extra-legal means, including politically motivated incarcerations, to consolidate power.  In fact, his close relationship with Fidel Castro has raised serious questions about his commitment to leading a truly democratic government.”


 


“The referendum has given the people of Venezuela the opportunity to express their views on his presidency through constitutionally legitimate means.  The international community cannot allow President Chavez to subvert this process, as he has attempted to do thus far.  He must be pressured to comply with the agreements he made with the OAS and the Carter Center to allow the referendum to proceed, respect the exercise of free expression, and release political prisoners.”


 


The Chavez administartion has been sending clear signals that they would love to have Bush lose the elections to get a more sympathetic ear, this may chaneg their minds, it’s actually stronger than most things the Bush administration has said.


 


I may even be starting to like Kerry…

Asking my readers for help

March 21, 2004

I would like to see if anyone out there can help me. As you know, the Government has not allowed aircraft to fly over opposition marches for quite a while. The reason is simple, someone could make a very good estimate of how many people go to them. For the last two weeks I have been looking for a satellite image of Caracas on Saturday March 6th., between say 11:30 PM and 4 PM, a day when I think the opposition managed to get a huge amount of people out there. The picture has to be high resolution, let’s say no more than 2 or 2.5 meters. I thought I had it nailed when I found this image (this is the low resolution version):



I found this image from the French satellite Spot, but there were two problems: First it says it was taken at 14:49 PM, but it does not say if this is Caracas time or Paris time. Second, once I placed it on the shopping cart, it would have cost me “only” 5400 Euros to purchase the high resolution version, somewhat more than I was willing to spend for this little research project. (It’s actually cool to compare this to the map below)


Thus, I appeal to my faithful readers: If you work in satellite image processing or related fields, or know someone that does, I would love it if you could get me (us) such an image and I am even willing to spend a little money, but not as much as the Spot people want. (I  do understand why they charge that much). Thanks.

The view from the Caribbean

March 21, 2004

From the Forum Venezuela (Thanks Eric!) I get this interesting link of an Editorial by a Trinidad and Tobago newspaper. It’s always good to read about opinions from another perspective. Very interesting sentence in the end of it:


“But is Caricom seriously prepared to go along with the Chavez agenda? Are regional governments prepared to risk decades of their own favourable relations with the United States in order to throw their support behind the maverick Mr Chavez? “


Somehow people assume the Caricom will go along with Chavez because of oil if it came to a vote on the Democratic Charter at the OAS. The article suggests it might not happen.

The view from the Caribbean

March 21, 2004

From the Forum Venezuela (Thanks Eric!) I get this interesting link of an Editorial by a Trinidad and Tobago newspaper. It’s always good to read about opinions from another perspective. Very interesting sentence in the end of it:


“But is Caricom seriously prepared to go along with the Chavez agenda? Are regional governments prepared to risk decades of their own favourable relations with the United States in order to throw their support behind the maverick Mr Chavez? “


Somehow people assume the Caricom will go along with Chavez because of oil if it came to a vote on the Democratic Charter at the OAS. The article suggests it might not happen.

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