Today, the Venezuelan Electoral Board (CNE) rejected the possibility of holding a referendum on an Amnesty Bill as requested by a group of citizens. This may represent a new all time high in terms of injustice for the revolution, as the arguments used by the CNE are simply absurd and have no legal grounds. The CNE simply makes a fake legal argument to reach its decision that makes a mockery not only of the Venezuelan legal system, but of the much ballyhooded “representative” democracy that autocrat Chavez claims to believe in.
The argument represents the pinnacle of circularity in groundless legal arguments. Let’s review the details:
The Venezuelan Constitution states quite clearly in Article 205:
“Articulo 205. La discusion de los proyectos de ley presentados por los ciudadanos y ciudadanas a lo dispuesto en el articulo anterior, se iniciara a mas tardar en el periodo de sesiones ordinarias siguientes al que se haya presentado. Si el debate no se inicia dentro de dicho lapso, el proyecto se sometera a referendo aprobatorio de conformidad con la ley.”
which can be translated as:
“Article 205. The discussion of Bills presented by citizens according to the previous article, will be initiated at the latest in the period of ordinary sessions following that in which it is presented. If the debate is not initiated during that period, the project will be submitted to referendum following the law”
This simply means that the Assembly has to bring up to debate a Bill before the next period of sessions or it just goes to referendum.
Remember, this is the Constitution, the Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela, approved and proposed by Chavismo in 2000.
Well, it just so happens that a group of citizens proposed an Amnesty Bill almost two years ago and the Bill was never debated or considered by the 100% pro-Chavez National Assembly. Thus, it is very clear, the Bill as proposed, a much wider Amnesty Bill than the selective non-Amnesty approved by Chavez when his hostage rescue failed on New Year’s, has to go to referendum, no question about it, it happens to be the Constitution. Thus, the same citizens went to the Electoral Board and asked that it be held.
One of the members of that Board had already expressed publicly that the CNE had nothing to consider with that referendum, a surprising statement given that the CNE has tried to get involved with any election going on in Venezuela, except with that of my condo board.
So, today the CNE ruled with an incredibly absurd and typical miscarriage of justice that the CNE has accustomed us to.
The argument goes something like this:
Articulo 187 of the Venezuelan Constitution says that it is the competence of the Venezuelan National Assembly to decree amnesty.
So, you may ask, how did Chavez decree Amnesty?
Well, that’s the interesting thing, he did it illegally. He argued that the Enabling Bill gave him power to do. But if you inspect that Bill carefully, nothing in it even comes close to Enabling Chavez to decree Amnesty. Read it, if you don’t fall sleep you will notice that not even distant relatives of the concept of Amnesty are contemplated in it.
So, what did the CNE argue:
That the National Assembly was not constitutionally obligated to discuss the Bill because this had been delegated on the President by the Enabling Bill. Thus, they argued, it became “evident” that Art. 205 of the Venezuelan Constitution did not apply.
So, it is an extremely circular miscarriage of justice by which, the CNE, not preciselt your Venezuelan Supreme Court is ruling:
1) A decision by the National Assembly is above a Constitutional mandate and article.
2) That decision is not even “evident” in the Bill that supposedly allows the President to approve Amnesty, by which supposedly the Assembly delegated its Constitutional mandate on the President (Secretly?)
3) The CNE takes away a right of the “people” by this simple act which appears nowhere in the Enabling Bill.
Thus, Chavez’ Amnesty, which I believe is illegal, because it’s not even mentioned in the Enabling Bill, precludes the people from proposing their own, showing once again that revolutionary justice is not only circular, but very autocratic.