Archive for June 5th, 2003

Court denies injunction on exchange controls

June 5, 2003

The Venezuelan Supreme Court denied a request for an injunction to declare the exchange controls illegal. Basically, the current Court ruled in Dec. 2001 that only the National Assembly could decide to impose controls referring to a suit brought in front of the Court at the time of Caldera’s exchange controls in 1994-1995 and 1996.

Interestingly, the Court did declare that the matter was “urgent” and that certain steps would not be needed and the Court would consider the casde within 20 days. Reportedly, the Court is concerned that if it declares the controls illegal there could be capital flight. Thus, once again, the Court is going beyond its reach and considering not what the law says but the politics and implications of its decisions which is not its Constitutional mandate. If it is illegal, it is illegal and if there is capital flight, so be it. That’s the law!


Has MVR lost control of the National Assembly?

June 5, 2003


News in the last two days has been dominated by the National Assembly, as the pro-Chavez Deputies attempt to kidnap what little is left of democracy in Venezuela. The pro-Chavez Deputies have been attempting to pass a new law that regulates debates and the functioning of the National Assembly as a way of guaranteeing the President’s total control over our society. (This the fifth modification of this law in the last three years as the chavistas manipualte legality for their goals) The strategy was actually quite incredible, the proposed bill would redefine quorum in all committees as only needing one third of the members of each committee to convene and approve bills as well as eliminating the committee which controls the flow of bills to the floor of the Assembly. In this way the chavistas could pass any bill through committee and then make use of their slim majority in the Assembly to approve any bill Chavez desires, without consensus, discussion and the usual give and take of democracy.


The strategy was designed to approve two very important bills to guarantee the demise of Venezuelan democracy: The media content bill, which would give the Government total control and power over what is said and done by and in the media and the Supreme Court bill which would increase the number of Justices from the current twenty to thirty. Since Chavez would name the new ten members of the highest Court, it would guarantee that rulings would favor Chavez perpetuating through deceit, trickery and indecency this autocratic and dictatorial regime.


The opposition was not going to allow this easily. On Tuesday it boycotted the session and today it attempted to block the approval of the bill, before the President of the Assembly cancelled the special meeting and convened for a “special” session of the Assembly at the public El Calvario monument next Friday. As the Capitol building was surrounded by a violent crowd of pro-Chavez supporters, MVR Deputies were allowed to go through while opposition Deputies were barred from leaving, essentially being kidnapped and intimidated by the chavista mob. Reportedly this has created dissent within Chavez’ party and reportedly a sufficiently large number of Deputies are against these tactics and have vowed to vote with the opposition from now on. If true, which I somehow doubt, this may be very important for the future of this country, as it would force Chavez, for the first time since he was elected, to talk to the opposition if he wants to get something accomplished. Once again, these events show the totalitarian, autocratic style of this dictatorial Government.