No Surprises In The Country With The Silly Putty Constitution

December 29, 2014


I continue to be amazed at the reaction by most to the naming of the so called “Moral” Powers, the CNE and the Venezuelan Supreme Court. People are surprised at “how far” Chavismo went to twist the Constitution to suit their goals, bending, folding and mutilating the Venezuelan Constitution as desired. Some call it a coup, others express their amazement, with few (Daniel being one exception) calling it what it is: Business as usual.

The Constitution has been silly putty for a long, long time…

Because you may want to argue whether the “coup” to the Constitution began in 2004, 2006 or 2008, but it certainly did not take place last week. Last week was another multiple maneuver by the Assembly and the Venezuelan Supreme Court to manipulate the Constitution and adapt it to its desires, constitutionality, with small caps, be damned.

But I was neither surprised, nor do I think much changed last week. I mean, what do you think happened when Chavez was allowed to hold another referendum in January 2009 so that he could be reelected indefinitely, despite the Constitution being very clear that once a subject is defeated in a Constitutional period, it can not be brought up again. Or the Venezuelan Supreme Court allowing Chavez to legislate via the Enabling Bill on the very same topics (Many of them too!) defeated in the 2007 Constitutional Referendum?

Really, do people not remember that we never even found out what the final vote was in the 2007 referendum? Chavismo accepted defeat, but the last votes and final count were never revealed by the CNE, presided at the time by the same person “wisely” selected President of that board by the Supreme Court.

Or is it that nobody remembers that the 2013 vote in which Maduro was elected President was extremely close, which rushed Chavismo into swearing in Maduro within 24 hours of the election and only under international pressure was  a recount called for and immediately the Supreme Court ruled that a recount was adding the numbers again, not counting the votes again. And that was the end of that.

Or does nobody remember that Maduro was allowed to continue being President/Candidate in 2013 when Chavez was incapacitated and then died? Or that Diosdado, who should have been President, whether you like him or not, was bypassed by a similar “administrative” interpretation of the silly putty Constitution by the Supreme Court?

The Venezuelan Constitution has been treated like silly putty now for years by the same people that created it. There are no surprises to me, they will mold decisions to achieve whatever their goals are. The “coup” or “coups” took place long ago. Expect more of the same: If Chavismo some day needs Maduro out, they will interpret the Constitution conveniently to name as his successor whomever they want. Whether it happens in the first four years of his period or not

But please, don’t be surprised. Chavismo neither has, nor has never had any scruples when it comes down to maintaining its stronghold on power. If you need a convicted murderer on the Highest Court, so be it. After all, they have many in their Government that have participated in similar crimes, they were just never tried or convicted.

The opposition may want to continue playing democracy. So will I. I will vote next year even if I know its rigged. But I will not be surprised by the outcome.

Neither should you.

30 Responses to “No Surprises In The Country With The Silly Putty Constitution”

  1. Ira Says:

    Feliz Ano Nuevo everyone!

    (My New Year’s resultion is to learn how to type an “n” with the squiggly thing over it.)

    • Roy Says:


      – Add Spanish to the languages installed on your computer.

      – The “ñ” will be be the semi-colon on a U.S. standard keyboard.

      – The “squiggly thing” is called a “tilde”

      Have a happy new year! 🙂

    • Kepler Says:

      Roy’s right. Else you can follow these instructions:

      But an even greater resolution is to move from Microsoft to Linux 🙂
      The procedure is similar, but there are less problems when switching between different applications and switching between language settings.

    • Island Canuck Says:

      Also on an English keyboard just hold down the alt key & enter 164 for the small ñ or alt + 165 for the capital Ñ.

      others are:
      130 for é
      160 for á
      167 for º
      155 for ¢
      168 for ¿
      173 for ¡
      171 for ½
      172 for ¼
      253 for ²

      I’ve got more 🙂

  2. Ira Says:

    It didn’t take long, less than a few weeks, for the Castroscums to assassinate any chances of Obama’s Cuban reconciliation to become a reality:

    However, although I was furious with Obama for making such a move unilaterally, I don’t think he’s a pussy, and will not take this incident lightly.

  3. Ira Says:

    Someone on Yahoo made a very good point:

    In yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) Bullshitathon, Maduro never directly attacked the U.S. for VZ’s economic woes.

    Had he received new talking points from Havana?

    • Stop blaming others and assume your own responsibility for your own problems. Havana is not the problem. Caracas is.

      Cuba’s debt to GDP ratio is 35 percent. It’s a well-managed economy and it unlike Venezuela can feed itself. Venezuela’s debt to GDP ratio is now over 200 percent. Greece, for the record, was bailed out at 174 percent.

      It strikes me that as long as well-to-do Venezuelans think that the source of all their problems are of Cuban origin then you will continue to suffer because Venezuela’s problems are made in Caracas.

      • Ira Says:


        And the thousands of Cubans running VZ’s secret police and other institutions aren’t there? They’re a figment of everyone’s imagination?

        And VZ doesn’t bleed its Treasury supporting Cuba?

        Gee–it all must be a DREAM!

  4. As a Colombian I watch the disaster unfolding in Venezuela with keen interest. It’s like watching a car wreck in slow motion, you don’t want to look but then again one can’t help but be riveted. Discussing Venezuela here in Colombia is now a national pastime and one that just leaves us floored. At every Christmas gathering, Venezuela inevitably becomes a topic of conversation. We regale each other with some odd Maduro utterance (my favorite is Maduro blaming the shortage of toilet paper because Venezuelans are eating more) and we laugh but we don’t take joy in this. You remain our brothers and we hope for the best but what can we do? For that matter, what can the rest of Latin America do? The hard truth is that we are impotent, powerless to act even as Venezuela descends into an abyss of its own making. And that’s the rub. This is on Venezuelans. The chavistas may conjure up conspiracy after conspiracy for public consumption (if only you could export these, you’d make a fortune) but these must wear thin after awhile. How is it that Venezuelans do not look west and see a success story? Colombia grew at nearly 5 percent this year meanwhile Venezuela contracted 2.3 percent. How can Venezuelans not see Colombia is now the third largest economy in Latin America having surpassed Argentina in 2013? How can Venezuelans not see that their problems are really that of a flawed economic model and corruption unlike any other at any time in Latin American history not just the present day but all time? Venezuela now resembles an African nation like DRCongo or Zimbabwe. When Chávez took power in 1999, ironically in part on anti-corruptuon platform, Venezuela was ranked by Transparency International as 45th in terms of corruption. Today it is ranked 178th in the world (the lower the ranking, the more corrupt). Venezuela is only exceed by 12 other nations, all of them African, Iraq and Afghanistan. This is stunning and depressing.

    • Ira Says:

      Charles, do you even slightly blame Santos, for doing such a strange 180 and not taking a stronger stand against Chavismo during those incidents and in those cases where the Chavista government acted so irrationally?

      Does anti-Yanqi resentment run so deep, even in Colombia, that the knee-jerk reaction is to side with your Latin brother, no matter what?

      And are many Colombians surprised by Santos’s conversion, who had a history of and campaigned as a different person?

      • I voted for Santos in 2014 but not in 2010. I am a leftist for sure but not a populist. There is a difference. Uribe is a criminal in my mind and frankly cut of the same cloth as Chávez. They are both autocrats, caudillos seeking to impose their will on the populace. The difference between us is that Colombia is a nation of laws and we were able to prevent that tyranny that befell Venezuela. I’m not fond quoting Simón Bolívar but he was right about this: “Ecuador is a monastery, Venezuela a barrack and Colombia a university.” Venezuela has suffered unspeakable dictatorships in its history. Guzmán Blanco governed from Paris via telegram. Cipriano Castro went shoeless in the Miraflores, Juan Vicente Gómez has the dubious honor of creating the first police state in Latin America and Marco Pérez Jimenez such the caricature of a Latin strongman that he served as the foil for Woody Allen’s satire Bananas. To look at Venezuelan history, you must see this: Venezuela managed but two free direct elections in its first 130 years of independence. The four decade long of democratic governance is really an aberration, a brief interregnum from Venezuela’s natural tendency for caudillismo. Where once you suffered rule by a small elite through force of arms, you now suffer the revenge of el pueblo for such indifference to their plight. Whereas in Venezuela there is mania for Bolívar, here in Colombia we pay our respects more to Antonio Nariño and Francisco Paula de Santander. Said Santander, “Arms have given you independence, laws will give you liberty.” We have been to true to this and it’s why we sent Bolívar packing in 1830. It’s stunning to me that anyone think Bolívar a model to be emulated. He wanted a presidency for life. You are paying a high price for such misguided hero worship.

        Non-interferrence in the internal affairs of other Latin nations is the bedrock that keeps the peace between us. It has nothing to do with any feelings of pro or anti Americanism. Nor are we siding with Maduro. Our inability to do anything is born from that which has kept the peace. Wars on this continent have been rare, thankfully, but the greatest conflagration upon these southern shores took place between 1865 to 1870. Then the Paraguayan despot Francisco Solano López sought to impose a president upon Uruguay. The result was the War of the Triple Alliance that left 90 percent of Paraguayan males dead. We will not repeat that mistake. Venezuela’s problems are just that Venezuela’s. Yes we are affected; the whole continent is. How many flights are there into Caracas these days? Not many. Why? The absurdity of the exchange rate system. If you won’t pay us in dollars then well we won’t do business with you. Sorry.

        To your other points, Colombians largely support Santos and the peace process. Yes there are entrenched Urbistas. They are as sick as chavistas. Like Chávez, Uribe attempted to subvert the Constitution to his own ends and perpetuate himself in power. Unlike Chávez, he failed and thanks to the fact that we are a nation of laws. From 1830 to 1910, presidents served two year terms and from 1910 on four year terms. Until Uribe none served two consecutive terms. And Santos, to his credit, has now reset the country back to one term and out. Uribe and Santos will both thus be unique in this, the only two termed presidents we will ever have. From 2018 and on, we will revert to what has worked for us well, one term and out. We have had but two coups in our history, 1953 and 1957. It’s unlikely that we will suffer another. Venezuela suffers affronts against its Constitution still on an all too regular basis. This post above just the latest.

        I should add that from 1830 to 1925, Venezuela was the poorest nation in Latin America, poorer than Haiti. In this too, Venezuela seems hell bent in recapturing such a honor. I don’t know too many Venezuelans but I have two close friends both living in California where I live half the time but apart from them I’ve met very few Venezuelans that I really cared for. Rather lazy a people to be honest. Colombia has its problems and Colombians have their issues but one thing you could never accuse Colombians is being lazy. The statistics on Latin American immigration to the US bear this out. Colombians of Latin origin nations are the least likely to receive any state welfare benefits. According to the Pew Research Trust Hispanic Trends Project, only 12 percent of Colombians receive any state aid be it welfare, Social Security or food stamps. The number for Venezuelans is 55 percent. Says a lot about the kind of people that live side by side yet have had far different outcomes in our history. We work, Venezuelans want a hand out (I’m not suggesting you personally because obviously 45 percent of Venezuelans do work and fend for themselves). Change in Venezuela must come too from its elite that for too long mismanaged the country. I pity Rafael Caldera, I don’t share his politics but think him a good man. Carlos Andrés Pérez whose politics at least on paper mirrors mine however was a sycophantic megalomaniac and ultimately bears great responsibility for the Venezuela of today. Corruption is a cancer that destroys the body politic eating it from the inside. It is Pérez that begat Chávez.

        The Colombian position on Venezuela is firm: we deplore violence, we hope democratic norms are followed but if not then that’s a matter for the Venezuelan people to confront. You can neither expect a bailout (try Russia or China) nor can you expect a Colombian army or even American paratroopers to come to the rescue. You are on your own. Venezuelan irrationality can only be fixed by Venezuelan rationality. I hope this comes soon for you and a country that does deserve better. I do wish you and all Venezuelans relief from this madness but it is up to you to change the course of history.

        The epoch of chavismo in Latin America is over. Chávez’s continental project laid bare upon an empty and mismanaged Venezuelan treasury. Even Bolivia and Ecuador though still paying lip service to Chávez have departed from his orthodoxy. And now Cuba too is forging its own path toward economic liberalization. Only Venezuela seems stuck in a mire of its own making. Why is that?

        • Ira Says:

          Did you ever hear the expression, “Brevity is a virtue?”

          You just wrote paragraphs and paragraphs and paragraphs which not only didn’t paint the whole picture, but you decried a man, Uribe, who single-handedly pulled Colombia out of the shit-hole.

    • Roy Says:

      I thank you for your interest and thoughtful contribution. However, there IS something Colombia and the other Latin American counties can do. The leaders of these countries can and should publicly denounce the abuses of human rights in Venezuela. They should repudiate and condemn the violations of Venezuela’s constitution. And finally, they should use their participation in international organization, including the UN, the OAS, UNASUR, Mercosur, etc. to put political and economic pressure on this illegal and undemocratic regime.

      While you may think that this is not Colombia’s problem, Colombians may soon be faced with managing over a million political and economic refugees flooding across your borders. The economic and social disaster coming to Venezuela will impact the entire region and if intervention ever does become necessary, Colombia’s soldiers will bear the brunt of such a mission.

      So, the next time you and your friends are chuckling over the follies of your foolish neighbors, please take a moment to understand the magnitude of the humanitarian catastrophe that is possible or perhaps even likely to occur here.

  5. Antonio Says:

    Keep calm and use the constitution.

    • mick Says:

      Venezuelan oil is now selling for $48. How long before PDVSA can provide no dollars for the government to squander? The shit isn’t going to hit the fan when the people are starving, it is going to hit the fan when the corrupt can no longer get their payoffs.

      If you think oil cannot remain low for long because fracking calls for a return of $40 just to break even, think again. It costs 8 million to drill a well in the US. A third of that cost is land and water, and a third is labor. This means a well of this type could probably be drilled in rural China for the equivalent of 2 million. Not to mention, the current oil well investors want to get whatever they can out of the wells they already paid for.

  6. Morpheous Says:

    If not surprised, let’s always at least have the capacity of feeling outraged by such atrocities. If not, those criminals will never face justice. I do not mean to hurt ourselves or get sick but just never forget nor forgive so many outrages against the constitution and against the people of Venezuela.

  7. I guess you guys think the forthcoming National Assembly elections won’t be clean. So what’s next? Ask UNASUR to send you aspirin?

  8. Ira Says:

    Boy, am I old:

    That photo looks nothing like the Silly Putty that I remember.

    Looking forward to the next blog using the metaphor of a SLINKY!

  9. Caracas Canadian Says:

    I realized long ago that the Venezuelan constitution of Chavismo was some of the smoothest toilet paper around. Whenever I saw Chavez wave that little blue book around I remarked to friends that Chavez was one of the smartest people around. He knew that you were unlikely to find toilet paper in any public washroom anywhere in the country so he carried this little blue book that he waved around and said it was the constitution, but in reality it consisted of the smoothest ass wipes known to mankind.

    Only the opposition cares about the constitution. Chavismo knows why it was created and uses it exactly for that purpose.

    • Charly Says:

      Right you are.The constitution should take precedence over toilet paper as it is of better quality and with wider availability. As one would say,”talk to my ass Nicolas, my head does want any of it anymore”.

    • Ira Says:

      Very well said:

      It didn’t matter WHAT the fuck those pages said. It just mattered that he could claim these new laws were for the public good.

      To be ignored, abused, and distorted of course–when and as needed by Chavismo.

  10. Jim Padian Says:

    It has been a long time since I played with silly putty, but I do remember three of its characteristics:

    1) unlike Chavismo, when it hits rock bottom it bounces back up.

    2) like Chavismo, if struck solidly it will break.

    3) like Chavismo, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth if you are dumb enough to swallow it.

  11. Noel Says:

    I think the political opposition parties have not been lucid, or determined, about the real political situation in Venezuela.

    Without trivializing the difficulties afflicting Venezuela, I would offer the following well known story:

    Back in 1974, the British Lions rugby team toured South Africa. The locals had been getting away with very violent fouls which had won them matches. The Lions decided on an effective strategy, the 99 call: if a Lion player was aggressed, the captain would call a 99 and each Lion would then clobber his nearest rival. The Lions won their Test matches 3-0.

    The point is that democracy cannot work if only the opposition is willing to play by the rules. Either it should follow the Lions example or Gandhi’s by calling for nationwide strikes, but regularly going to the polling stations is unlikely to work.

  12. Noel Says:

    Yes you will if civilians take the streets and get (enough of) the military to support them, as advised Luis Miquelina a few years back. I don’t take him as a model for democracy but I think he has been more lucid than most.

  13. Island Canuck Says:

    We will NEVER get out of this nightmare with votes.

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