Important Dates To Keep Up With, Given All The Rumors Flying Around Venezuela

December 4, 2012

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Lots of rumors floating around in Venezuela about you know who’s health and all sorts of conspiracies. To keep things straight and feed fuel to the fire, here is Article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution:

Artículo 233. Serán faltas absolutas del Presidente o Presidenta de la República: la muerte, su renuncia, la destitución decretada por sentencia del Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, la incapacidad física o mental permanente certificada por una junta médica designada por el Tribunal Supremo de Justicia y con aprobación de la Asamblea Nacional, el abandono del cargo, declarado éste por la Asamblea Nacional, así como la revocatoria popular de su mandato.

Cuando se produzca la falta absoluta del Presidente electo o Presidenta electa antes de tomar posesión, se procederá a una nueva elección universal, directa y secreto dentro de los treinta días consecutivos siguientes. Mientras se elige y toma posesión el nuevo Presidente o Presidenta, se encargará de la Presidencia de la República el Presidente o Presidenta de la Asamblea Nacional.

Cuando se produzca la falta absoluta del Presidente o Presidenta de la República durante los primeros cuatro años del período constitucional, se procederá a una nueva elección universal y directa dentro de los treinta días consecutivos siguientes. Mientras se elige y toma posesión el nuevo Presidente o Presidenta, se encargará de la Presidencia de la República el Vicepresidente Ejecutivo o Vicepresidenta Ejecutiva.

En los casos anteriores, el nuevo Presidente o Presidenta completará el período constitucional correspondiente.

Si la falta absoluta se produce durante los últimos dos años del período constitucional, el Vicepresidente Ejecutivo o Vicepresidenta Ejecutiva asumirá la Presidencia de la República hasta completar el mismo.

I will not translate it all, but the article first defines the absolute absence of the President and then it says:

-When the absolute absence takes place in the first four years of the term, elections need to take place within thirty days.

-When the absolute absence is that of the President-elect, then there has to be an election for President within the next thirty days. While this election takes place and the new President takes over office, the President of the National Assembly takes office.

However…

the last sentence says that if the absence takes place in the last two years of the term, the Vice-President gets to complete the term.

Thus, people interpret, if something happened to Chávez today, Maduro would finish the term, but the President of The National Assembly would take power after January 10th. if no new President had been elected.

Thus, these are the relevant and significant upcoming dates in Venezuela, given all the rumors:

-December 16th. Elections for Governor. Any “event” before that date will create lots of uncertainty and complications. But Chávez’ absence before it, will likely raise doubts in the electorate. Do you really think there is a sympathy vote if Chávez is not part of the election? Do you really think El Aissami has a chance without Chávez publicly endorsing him and telling us he is the best thing since Pepsi Cola? (Ok, Chinotto will do, but is he?)

-December 17th. We are likely to be still counting votes on that day in some States, but this day is quite significant. First of all, it is a holiday (Note added: Turns out it isn’t…). Second, it is the day that none other than Liberator Simón Bolívar died. But it is also a day in Venezuelan’s lore: Lore has it that Dictator Juan Vicente Gomez died afew  days earlier, but his collaborators kept the fact hidden so that he would die on the same exact day as hero Simón Bolívar. The conjecture is this may happen again, more so because of the elections the previous day.

-January 5th. Well, nobody ever reads Article 219 of the Venezuelan Constitution, but it clearly says it is the day in which the National Assembly first meets for the year. But more importantly, it is also the day that it chooses the President of the Assembly for the year. Even if only for five days, some people may not be too comfortable having Diosdado there, so they may find someone else they trust more if they have inside knowledge of what is going on. Far Fetched? Just think, whoever may be named (see next important date) may become President in only five days, even if only temporary. Thus, the choice has to be a careful one, no?

-January 10th. The Constitution also establishes this date (Article 231) as the one in which the President gets sworn in. Which means that even if Chávez has avoided naming a replacement, he has to show up that day if he does not want his absolute absence to be declared. And given Article 233 above, it will be the President of the Assembly who becomes President that day if Chávez fails to show up. Thus, there are two schools of thought: He will not and/or the treatment he is receiving in Cuba is simply to make sure that he does show up. Either way, this the most important day.

So, mark all of these days in your calendar. You can also mark down December 28th., our equivalent of April Fools, but then again, nothing that is said that day can be taken seriously, no?

52 Responses to “Important Dates To Keep Up With, Given All The Rumors Flying Around Venezuela”


  1. I don’t think December 17th is a Feriado.

  2. moctavio Says:

    Is no longer a Feriado? Fin de mundo. May be it will be restored…

    Thanks!

  3. Bruni Says:

    My experience is that in Venezuela the important decisions are always taken in December. And my experience, as well, is that the opposition has never been prepared in January. It is like they, like the rest of the country, go on vacation putting off everything for January….but Chávez has always been busy in December and has always a plan for January that he has easily implemented because the opposition was taken off-guard.

    I hope the opposition has learned that lesson….


    • No, the opposition has not learned that lesson.

    • megaescualidus Says:

      The so called opposition continues to be fragmented, egotistic, and lacks any kind of short term vision. I’m sure some people will disagree (after all, some in the opposition worked like crazy for the last elections, and some are working like crazy for the upcoming elections). But overall, the opposition is still mired in the same old problems it has always been mired in, a short list of them mentioned above.

  4. Wanley Says:

    It’s not a legal feriado but nobody works, and being the day after an election there is no school.

  5. ErneX Says:

    The latest news is that Chávez is attending Mercosur meeting this friday (Brazil).

  6. moctavio Says:

    hard to believe…we shall see!

  7. LD Says:

    An error here:
    -When the absolute absence takes place in the first four years of the term, the absence is filled by the Vice-President //you mean on the last 2 years//

  8. LD Says:

    Some interesting bit was the extension of el debate constituyente (whatever that means…) from 30 nov. to 3. dec. and then 10 dec. Some time to fill up I would say…

  9. Abhishek Says:

    Here is a tribute to a beautiful country ‘Venezuela’ by an Indian. Explore the wonderful moments of this amazing culture through the eyes of India. Like this page and spread the happiness around the fellow Venezuelans.

    http://www.facebook.com/IdeasDeVenezuela

  10. LD Says:

    Is this “normal”? A lot of free days for one election, even without Christmas and New Year holidays.
    “La ministra del Poder Popular para la Educación, Maryann Hanson, anunció este martes que a partir del 12 de diciembre y hasta el próximo 7 de enero del año 2013 quedarán suspendidas las actividades académicas en las instituciones públicas y privadas, motivado al desarrollo de las elecciones regionales del 16-D.”

  11. Alex Dalmady Says:

    I keep thinking of “Weekend at Bernie’s”.

    • NorskeDiv Says:

      Might have worked with Kim Jong Il, not with Chavez for more than a few months, people will expect him to make some new speech and walk around. He is normally such a loud asshat.

  12. Bill S. Says:

    All I want to know is which foreign oil company, if any, has the best potential to participate in the expansion of the Venezuelan oil industry?

  13. firepigette Says:

    To me it’s a futile exercise to analyze what Chavez can or cannot do according to the Constitution because he always finds a way to do what he wishes one way or another.

  14. moctavio Says:

    That is true, however, tinkering with the constitutional order and succession would not be tolerated internationally. A coup, is a coup is a coup.

    • firepigette Says:

      good point Miguel

    • megaescualidus Says:

      Yes, a coup is a coup (bis.). But, should the constitution be “skipped”, the “international community” will, in my view, take it as internal “laundry” and simply look the other way. The international body that in theory could raise issue would be the OAS (OEA in spanish), but we all know that, to a large extent the OAS is in Chavez’s pocket (one valid question is, what about with no Chavez?). The other player that (also in theory) could raise issue would be the US, but ultimately the only thing that matters to the US is that the (roughly) 950k barrels/day imported from Venezuela don’t get disrupted. Obama, if anything, has been very soft on Chavez, so don’t expect a change should something happen (but another valid question would be, would he be soft on Venezuela with no Chavez? here I do think yes. Obama is just soft. Play-dough soft.).

  15. PM Says:

    I would add the MERCOSUR summit in Brasil on Dec 19th-20th as a date to watch. If Chavez fails to show up this means that Marquina et al were not so wrong after all

  16. moctavio Says:

    What I heard today is that yes, he was very sick the day he left, but he is better.

    • megaescualidus Says:

      Damn it! We’ll just go back to waiting mode…

    • LD Says:

      It could be true, that they are alleviating secondary effects of the radiation, not a recurrence. But it must be severe anyway.

    • PM Says:

      People have been giving a bum rap to Marquina, Bocaranda and ABC for “announcing” Chavez death since Jan. They, however, have not predicted a demise earlier than march 2013. I can’t say for sure they’re right. But even if most of their predictions are based on generic medical knowledge rather than privileged information, they haven’t been proven wrong –yet– and if Chavez fails to go to the Brasil summit this means at the very least they’re on to something.

  17. moctavio Says:

    I dont think he will go to the Mercosur meeting, it is an unnecessary risk. It is a long flight, not worth it, showing up on Jan. 10th. is much, much more important at this point. ,

    • NorskeDiv Says:

      We get to find out in a few days! I’m surprised intrade is down to 1.9%, it seems the chance of his being out of commission by the end of the month is higher than that.

  18. moctavio Says:

    I have no idea why. Tal Cual says a source in Miraflores said to Tal Cual “que la Embajada maneja la información de hace unos días, pero que en Miraflores están todavía en “stand by” a la espera de la logística, por lo que desconocen si Chávez asistirá a la cumbre y si, de ser el caso, vendría primero a Venezuela o se encontraría con su comitiva directamente en Brasil. ”

    Look, since Oct. 8th. Chavez has not made a single public appearance other than sitting down on TV at the Cabinet table. What is important is that he show up on Jan. 10th. walking, prove he is capable of holding office, not the Mercosur show. The same reason he is not doing Alo Presidente, talking all the time and the like.

  19. Kepler Says:

    I see.

    Now, perhaps it’s a good idea we start spreading the word Chávez is resting because otherwise he wouldn’t be capable of walking from outside the Assambly to the interior. If we talk a lot about that in public, perhaps he will have to do something else.


  20. According to this article in Globovision, Chavez’ confirmation to the Brazilians to go to Mercusor is from before the time he went to Cuba and abut the time that he just disappeared from public view. They are still awaiting a new confirmation

    http://globovision.com/articulo/la-presencia-de-chavez-en-la-cumbre-de-mercosur-es-incierta

    So, as I said, doubt it.

  21. NorskeDiv Says:

    Just wondering… perhaps it makes sense to refer to Chavez as “ex-president” since he is no longer acting as president in any normal sense, and probably won’t be again. At least so long as he is silent in Cuba.

  22. Kepler Says:

    NorskeDiv, Du er norsk…thus: do you know why Norwegians are closing their embassy in Venezuela and moving to Colombia now even if they had just moved to a new location this February in Caracas and they had closed down their Colombian embassy last year?

    Apart from the horrendous crime issues in Venezuela,
    apart from Statoil’s very bad experience in Venezuela,,
    apart from the oil sector’s crumbling state and Chávez’s further threats of nationalisation,
    apart from the weird economic, social and political climate…
    is there something else?

    I was thinking something FARC-connected. I don’t know…something they found out because of some intelligence reports or out of the intensive discussions they had when supporting the Colombia-FARC negotiations.

    ???

  23. moctavio Says:

    Best day in the bond market for Venezuela and PDVSA in months.

  24. LD Says:

    Today is also the day Chávez was elected for first time, enough reason for an appearance, but nothing… More coverage on the Diablos than on Chávez today, funny.

    • LD Says:

      signed in Caracas… but the other for Niemeyer signed in Havana…
      not that he couldn’t make a phone-call also… if he was for complementary therapy… what stops him?

  25. LD Says:

    The other interesting thing is that Maduro wasn’t at the Mercosur summit. The so important first time as a full member… Is there a designed VP for this yet?


  26. [...] Important Dates To Keep Up With, Given All The Rumors Flying Around Venezuela [...]


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