Archive for February 14th, 2003

The Virtual Democracy: No elections possible at this time.

February 14, 2003

One of the arguments people abroad always use is: Why can’t you just wait until the recall referendum in August? My answer is simple: Why should I believe there will be a recall referendum in August? This is, of course, a very subjective opinion in my part, but it is based in the way that Chavez and his partisans have manipulated the law and the Constitution in the last four years to get their own way at every single instance. But now I can make a very solid argument.

According to Venezuela’s Constitution (article 75), the Deputies in the National Assembly can also be recalled at the midpoint of their period, which is five years. Since they were elected more than two and a half years ago, we should be able to do this the same way we “might” recall Chavez in August. The requirements are simple, you need 25% of the registered voters to sign a petition to recall the Deputy and then you need a similar number to show up and vote for the recall with a simple majority. So, at the Firmazo (Big sign-up)  on Feb 2nd. signatures were gathered to recall those Chavista Deputies elected individually in 2000. Below I show the names of the best known Deputies, the number of votes they received in their election in the year 2000 and the number that signed the petition to have them recalled two weeks ago.

                                 Votos received (2000)             Number who signed petition

Iris Varela                    14,998                                           32.282

Nicolas Maduro            26.360                                           45.720  

Tarek William Saab       26.710                                           44.136

Ramon Dario Vivas       43.110                                           56.754

Cilia Flores                   22.852                                           51.480                  

As you can see, in all cases more people signed for the recall than these Deputies even received votes for when elected. Thus, you might say: Easy, just submit the petitions and recall all of them!

Well, not quite. As usual everything is not what it seems in Venezuela. When the Consultative referendum was suspended by the Venezuelan Supreme Court, the Court sneaked in a prohibition to hold any form of election, until a decision is made or a new Electoral Commission is elected. There is no time limit for the Court to decide and Chavez’ MVR party controls whether to elect or not a new Electoral Commission. Thus, we can recall 30 Deputies because we have the signatures, but in this “democracy” there can be no elections until further notice. Some democracy, no? And then people wonder why I am skeptical that there will be a recall referendum in August!

No agreement on wording for declaration against violence

February 14, 2003

Perhaps the most depressing part of the day was to have the Secretary General of the OAS, Cesar Gaviria say that there will be no agreement against violence this week, because the Opposition and the Government can’t agree on the wording. To me this sounds both depressing and ominous…..

Head of Cavidi shows his ignorance and his piety….

February 14, 2003

The Head of the newly formed exchange control organization Cadivi, said today among many other things ” we should all pray so that the oil industry is brought back to normal and we can then have more dollars”. (How about bringing back the workers, we know it would work). Later he showed his ignorance when he said that the Brady bond exchange mechanism was suspended because it led to capital flight. This mechansim, by which you buy a Venezuelan Brady bond in local currency and sell it in the US for US$, does not constitute capital flight since you need someone doing exactly the opposite, so that the net result is simply zero. This is the man in charge!

Content Bill approved on first discussion

February 14, 2003

The National Asembly approved today the content bill, also known as the “muzzle” bill. Aimed at silencing the media, the bill was passed at 4 AM. Not bad for an Assembly that after three years has yet to issue the bils required by the Chavez Constitution. Such is the level of irresponsability of this Government. Vice-President Rangel said that it could not be a muzzle law if it was approved democratically. What an interpretation… was not approved democratically, it was approved by the slim Chavez majority in the Assembly as it was presented by them, without a single modification. Democracy, ha! AS established in teh Venezuelan Constitution, the second and final discussion will take place in two weeks, after that it becomes law.