Archive for September 29th, 2007

Say NO! to the Constitutional reform

September 29, 2007
Thanks Feathers!

Last week I had suggested that given the outrageous promises and
offers coming from autocrat Hugo Chavez, it just meant that the numbers
in his private polls were not looking very good. Not that I think that
he may lose in the referendum on the Constitution, but when you adjust
abstention in a poll and the numbers change dramatically, you start to
worry. And that is probably what the numbers are saying, that with high
abstention, the reform passes, but if too many people decide to go to
the polls things could get touchy for the autocrat.
 \u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>That something is up was confirmed yesterday, as, despite Chavez’ earlier demand \u003ca href\u003d\”http://www.noticias24.com/actualidad/?p\u003d7896\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>that not one comma be changed\u003c/a\> in the reform document he pulled in his now historical and orgasmic all nighter of non democratic inspiration, which was quickly followed by two swift approvals by the National Assembly of the three required, now all of a sudden the President of the Assembly is willing to change Art. 115, one of the most controversial, in order to reduce both criticisms and fears by the voters. \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>The new Art. 115, which has been analyzed extensively \u003ca href\u003d\”http://daniel-venezuela.blogspot.com/2007/09/chavez-new-constitution-article-115.html\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>in Daniels’ blog\u003c/a\>, essentially removed the ability of people to “dispose” of their property, a word that was remove from the new article 115, while only leaving the right to use the property, while at the same time restricting it dramatically. Quoting from Daniel’s blog:\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>“Also, since private property is restricted to “user and consumer goods and legitimately acquired means of production” it includes neither land (unless it were a “legally acquired means of production”) nor intellectual property, unproductive land and real estate (even the land one lives on) and personally produced works of art could never constitute one’s own private property.”\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>The initial reaction by pro-Chavez legislators was the staunch defense of the new article. The defense was silly, mostly based on the extremely weak argument that “The basic rights of private property would remain to be defined in the commercial code, so there is nothing to worry about”. This became the “word” sent down from the higher ups and as many as four Deputies of the National Assembly, used the same phrase, give and take one word, in their staunch defense of the changes in Art. 115.”,1]
);

//–>

That something is up was confirmed yesterday, as, despite Chavez’ earlier demand that not one comma be changed
in the reform document he pulled in his now historical and orgasmic all
nighter of non democratic inspiration, which was quickly followed by
two swift approvals by the National Assembly of the three required, now
all of a sudden the President of the Assembly is willing to change Art.
115, one of the most controversial, in order to reduce both criticisms
and fears by the voters.

The new Art. 115, which has been analyzed extensively in Daniels’ blog,
essentially removed the ability of people to “dispose” of their
property, a word that was remove from the new article 115, while only
leaving the right to use the property, while at the same time
restricting it dramatically. Quoting from Daniel’s blog:

“Also,
since private property is restricted to “user and consumer goods and
legitimately acquired means of production” it includes neither land
(unless it were a “legally acquired means of production”) nor
intellectual property, unproductive land and real estate (even the land
one lives on) and personally produced works of art could never
constitute one’s own private property.”

The
initial reaction by pro-Chavez legislators was the staunch defense of
the new article. The defense was silly, mostly based on the extremely
weak argument that “The basic rights of private property would remain
to be defined in the commercial code, so there is nothing to worry
about”. This became the “word” sent down from the higher ups and as
many as four Deputies of the National Assembly, used the same phrase,
give and take one word, in their staunch defense of the changes in Art.
115.

\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>The problem is that this argument is not only weak, but is outright stupid. First, the commercial code could still have it defined in it, but if the new Constitution limited the definition it would be essentially trivial to have the Constitutional Hall of the Supreme Court declare the Commercial Code unconstitutional. But even more ominous, one should not forget that the Code itself will be changed once the new Constitution is approved by way of a decree under the Enabling Bill. In the words of Chavez: “ The code is over one hundred years old and we have to adapt it to a socialist economy”. What better adaptation could there have been than to also remove wide private property rights from the Code? This is precisely what has unnerved so many.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>While we don’t know what private polls are telling the President, we do know that various aspects of the reform lack the support of the majority and this is not limited to the indefinite reelection of the President, the main (and only?) driver of the reform. In fact, in the latest Hinterlaces poll, 57% of the people backed political party Podemos for standing up against the proposed reform, with only 21% disagreeing with it and 62% disagreeing with Chavez accusation that doing this represented an act of treason as Chavez charged. The same poll yielded that 47% of those polled was against the reform, with 37% backing it. Clearly some of the people are no longer being fooled by the intentions of the autocrat.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>The Government did not help itself this week either, when it distributed apartments to poor people in the “Alba de Caracas” buildings, but those assigned the apartments were not given title to the apartments, as has been the tradition in these cases, but rather just the right to use it. There is actually a reason for this, as the Government does not want people to turn around and sell the apartments. This actually has a simple solution, attach a mortgage to the property with a symbolic low monthly payment, which would stop anyone from selling it unless the mortgage is paid up. “,1]
);

//–>

The
problem is that this argument is not only weak, but is outright stupid.
First, the commercial code could still have it defined in it, but if
the new Constitution limited the definition it would be essentially
trivial to have the Constitutional Hall of the Supreme Court declare
the Commercial Code unconstitutional. But even more ominous, one should
not forget that the Code itself will be changed once the new
Constitution is approved by way of a decree under the Enabling Bill. In
the words of Chavez: “ The code is over one hundred years old and we
have to adapt it to a socialist economy”. What better adaptation could
there have been than to also remove wide private property rights from
the Code? This is precisely what has unnerved so many.

While
we don’t know what private polls are telling the President, we do know
that various aspects of the reform lack the support of the majority and
this is not limited to the indefinite reelection of the President, the
main (and only?) driver of the reform. In fact, in the latest
Hinterlaces poll, 57% of the people backed political party Podemos for
standing up against the proposed reform, with only 21% disagreeing with
it and 62% disagreeing with Chavez accusation that doing this
represented an act of treason as Chavez charged. The same poll yielded
that 47% of those polled was against the reform, with 37% backing it.
Clearly some of the people are no longer being fooled by the intentions
of the autocrat.

The Government did not help
itself this week either, when it distributed apartments to poor people
in the “Alba de Caracas” buildings, but those assigned the apartments
were not given title to the apartments, as has been the tradition in
these cases, but rather just the right to use it. There is actually a
reason for this, as the Government does not want people to turn around
and sell the apartments. This actually has a simple solution, attach a
mortgage to the property with a symbolic low monthly payment, which
would stop anyone from selling it unless the mortgage is paid up.
 \u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>The only question is how far Chavez and his cohorts are willing to go in order to have the indefinite reelection approved. There are too many articles that can be attacked if an effective campaign against the proposed Constitutional reform were waged. As an example, there are at least eleven, yes \u003ci\>eleven\u003c/i\>\u003cspan style\u003d\”font-style:normal\”\> articles, that rather than the claimed “more power to the people”, actually concentrate even more power on the autocrat. This would be a simple message to send to the people in organized fashion. \u003c/span\>\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>The big question is whether the Government will be willing to gamble if the numbers were going against it and still go for a vote. While I doubt it, it would require the creation of a completely new strategy for the robolution given the wide-ranging legislative changes that Chavez wants to impose before July 2008 when the Enabling Bill expires. These changes were supposed to be framed within the new Constitution. Chavez needs these changes, but more and more Venezuelans are beginning to see the lack of accomplishments by the robolution as the signs of abuse and corruption become more evident daily.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>The only question is whether the opposition will or not organize itself for this. So far, indications are that while there seems to be more unity, there is no common theme to stopping the reform. It is encouraging that no major political organization is asking for people to abstain, but more is needed to stop the reform.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>The indications are that the opportunity is there; it is just a matter of doing it!\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>Simply put: Say NO! to the reform.\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>\u003c/div\>\u003c/div\>”,0]
);

//–>

The
only question is how far Chavez and his cohorts are willing to go in
order to have the indefinite reelection approved. There are too many
articles that can be attacked if an effective campaign against the
proposed Constitutional reform were waged. As an example, there are at
least eleven, yes eleven
articles, that rather than the claimed “more power to the people”,
actually concentrate even more power on the autocrat. This would be a
simple message to send to the people in organized fashion.

The
big question is whether the Government will be willing to gamble if the
numbers were going against it and still go for a vote. While I doubt
it, it would require the creation of a completely new strategy for the
robolution given the wide-ranging legislative changes that Chavez wants
to impose before July 2008 when the Enabling Bill expires. These
changes were supposed to be framed within the new Constitution. Chavez
needs these changes, but more and more Venezuelans are beginning to see
the lack of accomplishments by the robolution as the signs of abuse and
corruption become more evident daily.

The only
question is whether the opposition will or not organize itself for
this. So far, indications are that while there seems to be more unity,
there is no common theme to stopping the reform. It is encouraging that
no major political organization is asking for people to abstain, but
more is needed to stop the reform.

The indications are that the opportunity is there; it is just a matter of doing it!

Simply put: Say NO! to the reform.

Carlos Fuentes responds to Venezuela´s Ambassador to Mexico

September 29, 2007

Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes gives a exquisite response
to the criticism of him by Venezuelan Ambassador to Mexico Roy
Chaderton, who called him a racist for being critical of Hugo Chavez:
 
“He proves that he is the faithful emissary of his master, who deserves the salary, but mistakes his function”
 
Adding
then that there are two buffoons in this continent, “one, the one from
Washington, is the most dangerous. The other, the one from Caracas is
the more ludicrous. Ambassador Chaderton demonstrates sadly, that he is
only the buffoon of the buffoon, the servile Rigoletto of the tropical
Cesar”
 
In closing Fuentes said: “In closing I wish the Ambassador a long life, even if in his case of this may sound like a curse”

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