I have received e-mails telling me I exaggerate when I say this has become a Dictatorship. Here are the facts that make it so:
· All independent powers, including the Attorney General, the People’ s Ombudsman, The Supreme Court and the Comptroller were hand-picked by a transition body with no Constitutional basis. All members of this so-called “Little Congress” were chosen by Hugo Chavez directly.
· Due to Chavez’ control of these powers, no suit against the Government, no investigation of the April and December assassinations or the more than 700 injured in marches and demonstrations has gotten anywhere.
· Our right to have a referendum on any important national issue was denied when the Supreme Court suspended the consultative referendum for which 2 million signatures were gathered., in accordance with the Constitution.
· In that same decision the Court suspended any elections until a new Electoral Commission is chosen. The opposition has the signatures for over 40 recall referenda of pro-Chavez Deputies and Governors, which can already take place. None of them can take place. This includes the recall referendum for Chavez himself which may take place in August.
· The Chavez controlled National Assembly decides the election of a new Electoral Board. If they don’t do it, there can’t be any elections. Note: No recall referendum for 30 MVR Deputies implies Chavez retains control of the Assembly, how convenient, no?
· The Government has fired over 12,500 workers of the oil company for a simple reason: They oppose the Government.
· The strike has been called off by the opposition, but since close to 12,500 oil workers have been fired (36,000 out of 40,000 are not working) the country is producing less than half of its usual capacity of oil production. This is the real destruction of the economy taking place, the “revolution” is above the well-being of the people.
· In a country where most things are imported, foreign currency trading was suspended on January 23d. Not a single dollar has been approved by the discretionary currency exchange Board that will from now on decide who gets foreign currency. Chavez himself has said those that stroke in December will receive no foreign currency.
· The Government has had the military take over private property, confiscate products and sell them.
· The Government has fixed the exchange rate at Bs. 1600 per US$ and fixed prices of two hundred items at levels when the currency was below Bs. 1400 per US$.
· Government opens investigation of three largest opposition TV station, charging them using 1940 law for violations. If guilty they may be shutdown temporarily.
· Given its slim majority in the Supreme Court (despite naming it!) Chavez controlled Assembly has introduced bill to increase the number of members of the Supreme Court from twenty to thirty.
· The Chavez controlled Assembly has introduced a bill that would make it easy to shut down TV and radio stations and remove concessions. Reasons include “disrespect” for any Government official.
· The Interamerican Human Rights Court has issued over one hundred precautionary measures to protect reporters. None have been fulfilled by the Chavez administration.
· Three dissenting military officers and two female friends were forcefully taken by twelve men and “disappeared”. Two days later four of them show up dead, one lady escapes, pro-Chavez activists attempt to kidnap her from the Hospital where she is recovering. They are detained, two hours later they are freed. Head of local police that had them in detention resigns. Without investigation the police say it is a crime of passion, not political.
· The two most important opposition leaders have been charged with treason for leading the December strike. One is in jail, one is in hiding. The strike was held in order to pressure the Government to accept the consultative referendum that was suspended on a technicality.
· The President of Venezuela says on nationwide TV that he was asked whether to proceed or not with the detentions (no separation of power!), that this gave him such a pleasure that he smiled and that he celebrated eating a home made dessert. All of this was said with sadistic pleasure.
· A Deputy of the National Assembly, member of Chavez party says the list of detentions has 100 names in it.
What else do you need as proof, an election where Chavez gets 100% of the votes? Concentration camps? We already have assasinations, jailing of the opposition, no elections and dissapearances.
(Update: Today an additional 1780 workers were fired by PDVSA)