Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Venezuela may be on path to crisis/updated

Posted by Charles II on January 8, 2013

Newly-elected president Hugo Chavez is in Cuba getting treatment for cancer. He developed a lung infection, which means he can’t travel back to Venezuela for the inauguration. The Venezuelan Constitution specifies (see Art. 231) that the swearing in must be done on the 10th, either before the Legislature or the Supreme Court. So the right wing is trying to force new elections in the hope that they can split Chavez’s successors in a new election. Their argument is flawed, because Art. 234 specifies detailed procedures to declare a president-elect permanently disabled, and those procedures are under the control of Chavez proteges. (Something similar, by the way, happened during the coup d’etat against Honduras’s Zelaya, where he was declared permanently disabled to hold the presidency because the right-wing wouldn’t let him return).

The danger of the US considering this an opportune moment to meddle in Venezuela’s affairs is, in my opinion, significant. And, of course, there’s no guarantee that Chavez will survive this most recent health crisis, meaning that we could be seeing new elections in a few months. But the real problem is that the factions within the Chavez bloc have serious strains, and there is no figure of his stature and cleverness to hold it all together and keep infighting from weakening the coalition. It is good to see other Latin American countries rallying around to try to prevent the right-wing seizure of power through their mischievous interpretation of the Constitution.

This is a tragic situation. I think Chavez made a mistake by running again, because he has been drifting toward authoritarianism to try to overcome seemingly intractable problems. I have also said that the greatest failure of the Bolivaran “revolution” is the failure to develop leaders who could continue the process of change after his passing. There’s no doubt that a significant majority of the population believes that Chavez was on the right track, even if they disagreed with specific policies. If their will is denied, it will be a tragedy for democracy, and it will leave Venezuela ripe for crisis. Democracy only works when most people want it to, and it’s pretty clear that neither the US nor the Venezuelan oligarchy want it to.
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Update: Greg Palast has a piece on Chavez, as well as a DVD. Palast thinks Nicolas Maduro can, and deserves to, survive the coming storm.
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And right on cue, the Catholic Church lays down markers with the opposition. Jonathan Watts and Virginia Lopez, The Guardian:

“The nation’s political and social stability is at serious risk,” said Bishop Diego Padrón, the conference’s president, reading a statement from the Venezuelan bishops’ conference.

They never learn.
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And Mark Weisbrot rebuts fear-mongering on the Venezuelan economy.

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4 Responses to “Venezuela may be on path to crisis/updated”

  1. I suspect that the USG itself isn’t meddling, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lanny Davis starting to make the puke-funnel circuit again, this time on behalf of the right-wing oligarchs in Venezuela.

    • lidia said

      Sure, USG NEVER “meddling” in ANY place, they are just cute kittens.

      PW is SO eager to whitewash USA imperialism which non-stop bombs, subverts, supports terrorists and has a bunch of “NGOs” on its payroll.

      Of course, PW “suspects” (how nice of her) that THIS time US imperialism is taking vacation from its goal of world domination. Next PW will “suspect” that Obama is NOT murdering USA citizens without trial.

      • George Govus said

        Don’t sugarcoat it. Tell us what you *really* think. Also, too, pick up the cluephone, if you think PW is an apologist for American imperialism, now or ever.

      • Charles II said

        Sorry, George, we’ve no reason to believe that Lidia even has a clue as to what a cluephone is. Last we left her, she was basing her charges of the US installing a new Shah in Libya on a hunch by a Calstate Stanislaus professor, i.e., on zero evidence. So far, as far as I know, Libya remains a confused, violent mess, with no sign of a shah emerging. One may certainly blame the US for the mess, but not for imposing a Shah.

        There’s no evidence of US meddling in Venezuela yet–at least this time. There’s a long history of past meddling. There is concern about meddling. When the Venezuelan government says,

        “The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela warns the Venezuelan public of a campaign of psychological warfare unleashed by the international media regarding the health of the head of state. This campaign aims ultimately to destabilize the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela…

        they are talking about US meddling. But since there are no specifics, it sounds pre-emptive.

        So, PW is well within the facts to say that she suspects that the US is not meddling in Venezuela, I am well within the facts to fear that the US will meddle. And Lidia is off in some alternative reality where facts are subordinate to ideology.

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