2016/01/18

Venezuela: The Light at the End of the Tunnel?

For the first time since 1999, Venezuela’s revolutionary socialist regime faces an opposition parliament. But rather than seeking some form of “cohabitation” with its political adversaries, the government has chosen the path of outright confrontation, raising once again the prospect of serious political violence in this nation of 30 million people.
Following its landslide election victory on 6 December, when it won 112 of the 167 seats in the single-chamber National Assembly, the Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition, a multiparty alliance of mainly centrist and centre-left parties formed in 2008, took control of the legislature on 5 January. 

Despite threats from President Nicolás Maduro and other leaders of the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) to “take to the streets” in resistance, the hand-over was peaceful, barring some minor violence and moments of tension during the opening session. Thousands of demonstrators from both sides were kept apart by strong contingents of riot police and National Guard troops.
The outgoing parliamentary majority, led by the country’s second most powerful figure, Diosdado Cabello, did not withdraw gracefully. The assembly’s own TV channel, ANTV, was dismantled and its equipment removed. But even if it will no longer have its own television station, at least the assembly will now be open to all journalists, after years in which ANTV’s government propagandists were the only ones allowed in the chamber.


With the swearing-in out of the way, however, a much bigger problem remains to be resolved. While Maduro accepted his defeat within hours of the polls closing, he has so far given no sign of understanding its significance. Rather than seeking to work with the new legislature to resolve the grave economic and social crisis afflicting the country, he has sought to circle the wagons in a bid to resist the change the electorate is clearly seeking.

A long-awaited cabinet reshuffle, announced on 6 January, reconfirmed what the president had been saying: the answer to the crisis is more revolution. As head of the economic team Maduro appointed an ultra-radical, Luis Salas, whose proposals seem guaranteed to tip the country into hyper-inflation and accelerate the collapse of the economy.
In its dying weeks the government-dominated legislature had rushed through a number of laws and other measures designed to block the MUD’s reform program. It took away parliament’s power to appoint members of the Central Bank (BCV) board, for example, and enshrined in law the BCV’s suppression of economic statistics.
But the most ominous move – and one that has already had a major impact – was the hurried replacement of more than a third of the 32-member Supreme Court (TSJ). The thirteen new judges are all government loyalists. Some of them were actually PSUV members of parliament who voted for their own appointments, including the chairman of the selection committee. Many did not meet the legal requirements for the post and the appointments procedure itself was not respected.

The government’s evident aim was to prevent the incoming parliament replacing Supreme Court members due to retire this year. Maduro has made it clear that he will seek to use the court (and in particular its constitutional branch) to block any legislative measures not to the government’s liking. Even before the new parliament was sworn in, the electoral branch of the court took the unusual step of opening during the year-end holidays to admit legal challenges to the election of a dozen MPs, all but one of them opposition members.
The court also approved an injunction to suspend the swearing-in of the four MPs elected for Amazonas state, including three from the opposition, because of alleged vote-buying. The MUD merely delayed their swearing-in for a day. The suspension of the three seats held by opposition Amazonas lawmakers is a vital issue for the MUD, as they give the opposition a “super-majority” that would allow them, among other things, to appoint or dismiss senior officials and even (subject to referendum) rewrite the constitution.
But the PSUV has asked the Supreme Court to declare the parliamentary leadership in contempt. Cabello insists that while they continue to defy the injunction any decision taken by the assembly is null and void. He has called for its funding to be suspended.

Much, if not all, of the opposition’s legislative agenda, which is particularly focused on economic and social measures, is not to the government’s liking. It has also sworn to block the MUD’s promise of an amnesty for political prisoners and exiles. One manoeuvre in particular stands out: within days of the election the government installed an unelected “National Communal Parliament” in the old Senate chamber, through which it claims “the people” will legislate directly.
One possible answer to the judicial blockade is for parliament to reform the law governing the Supreme Court, expanding the number of members to dilute government control. But ultimately, if Maduro holds firm, the only way the opposition can win this political chess game in the medium term is to oust him through constitutional means. Henry Ramos, the new chairman of the National Assembly, has said the MUD will devise a way to do that within six months, unless the government has a change of heart. One possibility is a recall referendum, which under the constitution can be triggered within a few months.
Venezuela’s closest international partner, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), has so far remained silent on the Government’s manoeuvers to retain power, although the governments of Argentina, Costa Rica and the U.S. and the Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro have raised their voices against the government’s misuse of the judiciary. The Brazilian foreign ministry, in a statement, warned that there was “no place, in 21st-century South America, for political solutions outside the institutional framework and the most absolute respect for democracy and the rule of law”.
The situation is clear: if the assembly is held to be in contempt, and its decisions null and void, the government will for all practical purposes have closed down the elected parliament and abandoned constitutional rule.
The priority for UNASUR and the rest of the international community should be to stop the possibility of Venezuela’s slide into outright dictatorship by holding the government to account under the Inter-American Democratic Charter and other treaties.
A failure to act on the part of Venezuela’s international partners would contribute to further political escalation and the potential destabilisation of the Andean region. A social explosion threatens too. The price of oil, which fuelled the success of the late President Hugo Chávez, continues to hit new lows. Food, medicines and other basic goods are becoming scarcer by the month, and inflation is running at an annualised rate of 500 per cent.
The fact that the opposition was able to achieve a peaceful, democratic change of leadership in the Venezuelan parliament may suggest there is light at the end of the country’s tunnel. But for now no one can be sure it is not the headlight of an oncoming train.
By Phil Gunson

Anyway Maduro is an unintelligent dictator.
Cosmo de La Fuente
Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s president, recently announced that if the opposition were to gain a majority in the National Assembly in elections this Sunday, “We would not give up the revolution and … we would govern with the people in a civil-military union.” To ensure that no one would accuse him of not being a true democrat, he clarified that “we would do this with the constitution in hand.” The president conveniently ignored the small detail that the constitution does not have any provision for a “civil-military” government, nor does it give the government the option of disregarding the outcome of an election. What Maduro did stress, however, was that if the revolution fails, “there will be a massacre”—a threat he has repeatedly made throughout the campaign. He usually follows such threats with reassurances that this violence will not ensue since it is impossible for opposition candidates to win enough votes for a legislative majority, which Maduro’s party has enjoyed for the past 17 years.

Read more at: http://carnegieendowment.org/2015/12/04/venezuela-dictatorship-masquerading-as-democracy/imt2

Venezuela's socialist government decreed an "economic emergency" on Friday that will expand its powers and published the first data in a year that shows the depth of a recession fuelled by low oil prices and a sputtering state-led model.
The central bank, which has been lambasted by critics of President Nicolas Maduro's government for hiding statistics since the end of 2014, said the South American OPEC nation's economy shrank 4.5 percent in the first nine months last year.
Inflation soared in that period to an annual rate of 141.5 percent, the world's worst. 
 Venezuela's oil-dependent economy is forecast to perform abysmally again in 2016. Maduro lost control of the National Assembly in a December election due to voter ire over the crisis.
The government's decree, which the opposition-led assembly says it has the power to approve or reject, sets a 60-day "economic emergency" and would give Maduro wider powers to intervene in companies or limit access to currency.
"We are confronting a true storm," Maduro said during his state-of-the-nation address to Congress. "This is not Maduro's storm, as some believe, it is a situation throughout the country that affects every Venezuelan family."
He vowed the country would continue servicing foreign debt despite slipping international reserves, negating growing Wall Street pessimism about a potential default this year.
He also insisted "the time has come" to raise heavily subsidized fuel prices. Economists say doing so is vital to fortifying foreign reserves, but it is a politically costly move that Maduro has avoided despite repeated promises.
National Assembly President Henry Ramos, a longstanding opposition leader, offered a jocular 40-minute response in which he chided Maduro and his policies and laughed off the heckling of Socialist Party lawmakers.


"What angst there is here!" Ramos, 72, said at one point, sticking his tongue out at jeering legislators, during the rare opposition speech broadcast on state television.
WALL STREET GLOOM
Maduro, a former bus driver and foreign minister who was elected to replace Hugo Chavez in 2013, has stuck to his mentor's policies of strict currency and price controls.
With massive shopping lines in Venezuela and widespread shortages of basics from milk to medicines, the government faces mounting pressure to change what critics call a failed model.
Venezuela depends on oil for 96 percent of hard currency revenues. The average price for its basket of oil and refined products fell this week to $24.38, the lowest level in more than 12 years.
"The biggest loser in Latin America of the decline in oil prices is clearly Venezuela. At this point, a credit event in 2016 seems difficult to avoid," Barclays said in a research note.
The heaviest payments in Venezuela's roughly $10 billion foreign debt bill for 2016 come in October and November.
The government blames its woes on the global oil scenario and what it says is economic sabotage by its foes.




"Venezuela is suffering a new generation economic war promoted by web pages which fix the bolivar-dollar relation without any criteria or economic substance," the central bank complained, referring to the Dolar Today website, which publishes a black market currency price to the fury of the government.
The opposition coalition says policy incompetence is responsible for Venezuela's economic mess. It has said it wants to find a constitutional way this year to remove Maduro.
"An emergency economic degree without clear objectives ... is only going to worsen the situation," tweeted local economist Luis Oliveros, a frequent government critic.
According to the central bank, Venezuela's current account deficit was $5.05 billion in the third quarter, hurt by the tumble in prices for its main export.
(Additional reporting by Diego Ore, Eyanir Chinea, Brian Ellsworth and Girish Gupta.
( uk.reuters.com )


Venezuela: A Dictatorship Masquerading as a Democracy

 

 


Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s president, recently announced that if the opposition were to gain a majority in the National Assembly in elections this Sunday, “We would not give up the revolution and … we would govern with the people in a civil-military union.” To ensure that no one would accuse him of not being a true democrat, he clarified that “we would do this with the constitution in hand.” The president conveniently ignored the small detail that the constitution does not have any provision for a “civil-military” government, nor does it give the government the option of disregarding the outcome of an election. What Maduro did stress, however, was that if the revolution fails, “there will be a massacre”—a threat he has repeatedly made throughout the campaign. He usually follows such threats with reassurances that this violence will not ensue since it is impossible for opposition candidates to win enough votes for a legislative majority, which Maduro’s party has enjoyed for the past 17 years.

Read more at: http://carnegieendowment.org/2015/12/04/venezuela-dictatorship-masquerading-as-democracy/imt2
Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s president, recently announced that if the opposition were to gain a majority in the National Assembly in elections this Sunday, “We would not give up the revolution and … we would govern with the people in a civil-military union.” To ensure that no one would accuse him of not being a true democrat, he clarified that “we would do this with the constitution in hand.” The president conveniently ignored the small detail that the constitution does not have any provision for a “civil-military” government, nor does it give the government the option of disregarding the outcome of an election. What Maduro did stress, however, was that if the revolution fails, “there will be a massacre”—a threat he has repeatedly made throughout the campaign. He usually follows such threats with reassurances that this violence will not ensue since it is impossible for opposition candidates to win enough votes for a legislative majority, which Maduro’s party has enjoyed for the past 17 years.

Read more at: http://carnegieendowment.org/2015/12/04/venezuela-dictatorship-masquerading-as-democracy/imt2
Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s president, recently announced that if the opposition were to gain a majority in the National Assembly in elections this Sunday, “We would not give up the revolution and … we would govern with the people in a civil-military union.” To ensure that no one would accuse him of not being a true democrat, he clarified that “we would do this with the constitution in hand.” The president conveniently ignored the small detail that the constitution does not have any provision for a “civil-military” government, nor does it give the government the option of disregarding the outcome of an election. What Maduro did stress, however, was that if the revolution fails, “there will be a massacre”—a threat he has repeatedly made throughout the campaign. He usually follows such threats with reassurances that this violence will not ensue since it is impossible for opposition candidates to win enough votes for a legislative majority, which Maduro’s party has enjoyed for the past 17 years.
Maduro, in fact, frequently dismisses the very notion of an opposition victory as, in his cryptic words, a “negated and transmuted scenario.” His self-assurance is surprising considering that almost all opinion polls show an overwhelming public rejection of the government in general and the president in particular. So why is Maduro so

Read more at: http://carnegieendowment.org/2015/12/04/venezuela-dictatorship-masquerading-as-democracy/imt2

 

 

 









2016/01/06

Come per stalin crollano le statue di Chavez e Maduro: dittatori sanguinari

Il 5 di gennaio del 2015 resterà una data memorabile per la storia della democrazia venezuelana.
Si smontano quadri ed effigi di Chàvez, colui che ha dato il via alla rovina del paese e che ha lasciato nelle mani di un amico intimo e incompetente, come Maduro, le sorti di un paese che già era alla deriva.
La prova che siamo stati vittime, per ben 17 anni, della dittatura chavista e, in seguito, di Maduro, sta nel fatto che finalmente dopo, appunto, 17 anni, la stampa ha avuto libero accesso nella 'Asamblea Nacional' (Parlamento).Giornalisti di tutti i colori politici. Così ha voluto Henry Ramos Allup il nuovo Presidente della Asamblea che prende il posto del narcotrafficante Diosdado Cabello.  Il popolo venezuelano, la stragrande maggioranza,  ha detto 'basta' e ora è in festa. La vittoria schiacciante dell'opposizione sul Regime, ne è la dimostrazione. Questa volta gli è andata male al dittatore Maduro, pensava di sovvertire il voto, ma 2 milioni di voti contro non potevano nascondersi come le volte precedenti. 
La domanda sorge spontanea: Perchè si è votato se si in dittatura? Semplice: in questi anni le dittature vanno travestite e giustificate col voto, ma, come già detto, di fronte alla valanga di voti contrari, l'esercito non ha potuto appoggiare la frode come era solito fare.
Questo governo di narcotrafficanti lascia due primati: il paese più pericoloso al mondo per delinquenza (nel 2015 le morti violente sono state 28.000) e l'inflazione più alta del mondo.
Tutti i componenti del governo Maduro, sono coinvolti in traffico di cocaina.
Ecco perchè il popolo festeggia! FInalmente spera nel futuro.
Il paese è rovinato e si presenta come  appena uscito da una guerra senguinaria.
Sarà dura ricostruire, ma l'amore dei venezuelani per la propria terra farà la sua parte.

Cosmo de La Fuente

(press agent di Mediacontact Communications - Collaborazione Nancy e Lourdes Bedoya).