Archive for May 2nd, 2004

Supreme Court bill approved: Another tool of totalitaism in place

May 2, 2004

I have said little about the Supreme Court bill. There is little to be said. It is an absurd bill. To name Justices of the Supreme Court by a simple majority is absurd. To increase the Justices in the Court because you want to is absurd. To break all of the rules to approve it is absurd.


In order to approve the bill, the pro-Chavez majority violated the Constitution by having alternate Deputies be part of the quorum without the approval of two thirds of the National Assembly members. Similarly, articles of bills are supposed to be discussed one by one and they were approved by blocks, also in clear violation of the laws. The bill also introduces mechanisms to remove justices by which the simple questioning of a Justice by the People’s Defender will remove him from his position until a simple majority of the National Assembly decides on the case.


 


The opposition plans to use the Constitution to invalidate this bill. Article 74 of the Constitution allows for this if 10% of the electorate signs a petition to hold a referendum on the issue. Unfortunately, 40% of the electorate would have to vote yes on the issue. This is a huge 4.8 million voters. Not even Chavez in the heyday of his popularity received so many votes. In fact, he got one million fewer votes than that.


 


If the bill is approved and the Supreme Court rules there is nothing illegal in it and it was approved legally, the most likely outcome, the Government would totally control all powers and the totalitarian nature of this state would be sealed. Only the Central Bank would have some independence and I am sure that will be the Government’s next objective. Very gloomy panorama ahead.

Supreme Court bill approved: Another tool of totalitaism in place

May 2, 2004

I have said little about the Supreme Court bill. There is little to be said. It is an absurd bill. To name Justices of the Supreme Court by a simple majority is absurd. To increase the Justices in the Court because you want to is absurd. To break all of the rules to approve it is absurd.


In order to approve the bill, the pro-Chavez majority violated the Constitution by having alternate Deputies be part of the quorum without the approval of two thirds of the National Assembly members. Similarly, articles of bills are supposed to be discussed one by one and they were approved by blocks, also in clear violation of the laws. The bill also introduces mechanisms to remove justices by which the simple questioning of a Justice by the People’s Defender will remove him from his position until a simple majority of the National Assembly decides on the case.


 


The opposition plans to use the Constitution to invalidate this bill. Article 74 of the Constitution allows for this if 10% of the electorate signs a petition to hold a referendum on the issue. Unfortunately, 40% of the electorate would have to vote yes on the issue. This is a huge 4.8 million voters. Not even Chavez in the heyday of his popularity received so many votes. In fact, he got one million fewer votes than that.


 


If the bill is approved and the Supreme Court rules there is nothing illegal in it and it was approved legally, the most likely outcome, the Government would totally control all powers and the totalitarian nature of this state would be sealed. Only the Central Bank would have some independence and I am sure that will be the Government’s next objective. Very gloomy panorama ahead.

Government increases minimum salary

May 2, 2004

The Chavez administration announced an increase of 20% in the minimum salary with a second increase coming in August. Yes, it is political. Yes, it is opportunistic. Yes, it will hurt companies a lot. Yes, it was done without any negotiation. But I can not criticize it. During the forty years prior to Chavez, Government’s would do the same thing. In fact, it was even worse because they would announce general salary increases, not just increases in the minimum salary.


This increase is clearly another announcement to make the Government look good in the face of the ratification process and a possible recall referendum against Chavez. During the last five years, the Chavez administration had never increased the minimum salary by an amount comparable to inflation like it just did. Unfortunately, this impacts the Government strongly which given the fiscal problems implies further devaluations down the line. This is part of the usual perverse cycle of large fiscal deficits, devaluations, salary increases and the cycle feeds on itself. u

Government increases minimum salary

May 2, 2004

The Chavez administration announced an increase of 20% in the minimum salary with a second increase coming in August. Yes, it is political. Yes, it is opportunistic. Yes, it will hurt companies a lot. Yes, it was done without any negotiation. But I can not criticize it. During the forty years prior to Chavez, Government’s would do the same thing. In fact, it was even worse because they would announce general salary increases, not just increases in the minimum salary.


This increase is clearly another announcement to make the Government look good in the face of the ratification process and a possible recall referendum against Chavez. During the last five years, the Chavez administration had never increased the minimum salary by an amount comparable to inflation like it just did. Unfortunately, this impacts the Government strongly which given the fiscal problems implies further devaluations down the line. This is part of the usual perverse cycle of large fiscal deficits, devaluations, salary increases and the cycle feeds on itself. u

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