Archive for September 13th, 2010

The Venezuelan Constitution: That little useless blue book

September 13, 2010

While I did not vote for the Venezuelan Constitution approved in 2000, it is our only Constitution and it establishes the framework for how our country works. Unfortunately, Hugo Chavez, who once would show the blue book at every chance, now ignores its contents day after day and the blue book is not even worth the paper it is written on: It gets trampled on daily.

This week, it got trampled a few times. The first time quite directly, when the Head of the CNE, the Electoral Board, Tibisay Lucena, announced that Government officials were not banned from campaigning, despite Article 145 of the Constitution which states that:

“Government officials are at the service of the State and not of any partiality”

which was expanded explicitly by the regulations issued this May by the same Electoral Board, forbidding Government officials from participating in political and campaign activities.

But Hugo Chavez has become the LAW in Venezuela, above the little blue book, so he needed to campaign and the four Chavista ladies at the CNE complied with his whims. No questions asked.

The second violation, is not a direct violation of the Constitution, but of the Constitution of the State of Guarico, which is similar to that of many States of Venezuela in that who succeeds the absolute absence of a Governor depends on when the absence takes place. In the case of William Lara, whose death will not be the subject of a post, his absence occurs within the first two years of his term. Then, the Secretary General of the State will become Governor and an election will take place within 30 days.

Well, last night, there was a “political decision” by Chavez’ PSUV party that the temporary Governor will be the President of the Legislative Assembly, Gustavo Mendez, because the Secretary General “declined” the position.

Well, the Secretary General may “decline”, but to do so he has to resign and the only possible way for Mr. Mendez to occupy the position would be for him to resign his own and become Secretary General. That is what laws are for and why they exist.

This is becoming the rule in Venezuela, neither the Government nor the Supreme Court follow the Constitution approved by Chavismo with a 96% majority of the Constituent assembly of 1999.

Of course, the biggest proof of this is my previous post, the Venezuelan Constitution says that (Art. 10) the Electoral Power has to guarantee the principle of proportional representation and with the gerrymandering and redistricting a 50/50 split in the votes would lead to Chavismo obtaining 60% of the  Deputies in the Assembly. The Supreme Court rejected any requests to have this changed.

Maybe they don’t understand what proportional means. More likely, they have no clue about the meaning of what a Constitution is and should be.

(Note: On William Lara’s death, I will only say that I am concerned about the lack of discussion of why it happened. Traffic deaths have increased dramatically over the last few years due to speeding, lack of enforcement and bad roads. Nobody seems to be responsible for any of these issues)

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