When I came back three weeks ago, I got the feeling that not much had changed while I was away but many people I respect told me otherwise. They suggested the student movement and the closure of RCTV had Chavez in check and this would force the Government to forget, reduce or minimize the reform of the Constitution, as well as removing autonomy from the university system.
Three weeks later, it seems as if my appreciation was unfortunately right. The committee that has been preparing in secret the changes to the Constitution continues to meet and change the project, the much rejected “indefinite” reelection has been re-baptized the “continuos reelection and the word autonomy is likely to be left in the magna carta adding to it words like democracy and participatory that ar sure to end autonomy as we know it (Even if I disagree with parts of it).
Thus, we will likely see the all-Chavista committee that is studying the changes to the Constitution, present its proposal to the all-Chavista National Assembly and by September 15th. the project is likely to be approved by that body in much the same form as submitted. Of course, they will claim that it was widely discussed, with teh full participation of all sectors of society. But we we all long for the bad old days of the IVth. Republic, when we had dissent, discussion, objections and even some filibuster of such discussions. But more important, political parties attempted to reach some form of agreement or consensus when differences were large.
In this case, all we will see is someone from the opposition ask for an injunction in the Supreme Court arguing that some of the changes are unconstitutional, which they are, but the Court will obviously reject the arguments, since its President is part of the Committee proposing the changes, thus all of the answers to this request will have been prepared and elaborated on by that time.
But you don’t have to be a lawyer to know that some of the changes being proposed do violate th fundamental principles of what Chavez himself used to call the best Constitution of the world, which it wasn’t. Thus, these changes will be approved without a Constituent Assembly and by December, as announced yesterday, we will have all of the changes approved wholesale by the population.
People will get excited that the reforms will not be approved, the day will come and thank to the magic of a rigged electoral registry and the use of the latest computer voting technology, the new Constitution will be in place before the end of the year. A new rape of the Venezuelan Constitution would have taken place, guaranteeing Chavez’ permanence in power for as long as he wishes, even if the “people” do not want it.
And much like in Heller’s Catch-22: So it goes…