The TSJ rubber-stamps the Maduro doctrine (Updated)

After three and a half hours of waiting, the president of the Venezuelan Supreme Court Luisa Estela Morales has declared in a press conference that President Hugo Chavez can assume his term of office at a later date.

The Constitutional Chamber considers that Chavez’s health condition can not be considered a “temporary absence”. VP Maduro and the Cabinet can continue working, even if their term of office expires on January 10th, as the Constitution establishes.

She announced this decision in cadena nacional in base of an interpretation of Article 231, involving the inauguration of the President on January 10th. She also recognized the new extended permit given by the Chavista majority in the National Assembly last night.

The person who asked for the constitutional interpretation is someone named Marelys D’ Arpino. She’s a lawyer, a talk show host and a columnist of the Chavista newspaper Vea.

The big change tomorrow is that it won’t be any change and that is a big change in itself.

UPDATE: The TSJ’s decision is now available online. You can take a look right here. Luisa Estela wrote it herself and was unanimously approved by the chamber’s 7 justices.

80 thoughts on “The TSJ rubber-stamps the Maduro doctrine (Updated)

    • In an apparent Constitutional Coup d’état, the Venezuelan Supreme Court declares Chavez need not be sworn-in to start a new presidential period and that his old cabinet may remain in place handling his affairs, citing a pseudo-principle of “Administrative Continuity” by which an official may remain in place when new authority HAS NOT BEEN elected. Never mind the fact that such principle does not apply here because an official HAS BEEN elected.

      Chavez is dead, or incapacitated at best, but his narco-state authoritative apparatus is managing to remain in power with very fraudulent and unlawful means. I am sure the international community will turn a blind eye, citing Economic reasons to support the dictator…

      • Not over, they had to justify their “doctrine” with a rubber stamp, and as Quico pointed out, this is a “formality” of lesser degree than many of the other articles they have trampled over. Nothing new there.

        This only bring us back to where we were: only Chavez death will bring change. That could take days, weeks or even months, but at this point I doubt anybody sane can keep thinking that he is magically going to return completely cured of cancer and finish his term. Rumours will continue, they will try to keep them under control, and then one day there will be no more Chavez.

        In the meantime Maduro will try to benefit from being the incumbent (great article by the way JC) to build rapport with the people and the opposition will have to prepare for an election that will happen in 30 days once the guy is declared dead. On top of controlling the institutions and the cash flow they now have the advantage of knowing the real prognosis and being able to plan accordingly.

        Once again it’s a rigged game, but we have to keep playing…

        • One possible scinario to explain all this: The economy is at the brink of massive hunger, and meanwhile Chavez is out of the picture, so the Chavismo leadership calls for supporters to hit the streets on the 10th! Capriles and the opposition follow suit and also hit the streets. Chavismo triggers a shutdown of commerce, calls in the military, and blames the opposition for the hunger… and then the REVOLUTION SAVES THE DAY!

        • “Once again it’s a rigged game, but we have to keep playing…”

          True, but now it’s time to play hardball, it’s the only thing left

          And NO, by “hardball” I don’t mean coup, golpe ni nada de eso: I mean, actively, loudly, publicly, D-E-M-A-N-D,here in venezuela and overseas,proof of chavez’s life, Diosdado be president and elections soon, just as the constitution demands.

          Also, Art 350 would be just right, but I think it has been waaaaay too “puteao” (excuse my french) :p

          • THIS, how come no one is actually DEMANDING that a medical commission be dispatched to the island and determine Hugo Chávez true health condition?

            It’s time for the MUD to grow some balls.

            • ErneX, they have demanded a lot of things but how are they going to force chavistas to anything? They control de judiciary, probably the military, comptroler, NA… there are no institutions, so no one can make them do anything they don’t want. If someone were to call for protests then we would be guarimberos again and that would help them continue accusing us of golpistas. The AN has said there is no temporary absence and the TSJ has confirmed it, we know it’s BS and we will denouncy and tell everyone we know, but beyond that the opposition has to keep doing what they have been doing, talking when neccesary and with the right message and start preparing for elections, even if it’s not being officially recognized, elections will happen in Venezuela soon. How soon is soon? we don’t know but they do.
              In the meantime, yes, let’s keep demanding information about his health condition and making evident that this is charade, but let’s not think this is something that will be solved with the “balls” or ovaries or anyone.

              • Stop showing respect for people that is clearly not respecting you. That is all, we are dealing with thugs here, this not an argument between gentlemen. Enough guabineo, let’s call things as they are. In my opinion private media and the MUD are scared.

              • This video is from today. I’m eagerly waiting Aveledo/Capriles/Falcón answer to what’s going on right now.

          • >>> … I mean, actively, loudly, publicly, D-E-M-A-N-D,here in venezuela and overseas,proof of chavez’s life,
            You have to be a mama’s child, chauffered to school and back, sifrinito through and through, or you wouldn’t say such stupideces

            • Ok, then, what do you want me to say? call for a bloody coup? So I can be a big macho man with lots of hair all over and around his big manly humongous and meaty man-parts??

              Maybe you should have also said that if I don’t like it in here, I must go out to the Empire.

              Yes, I know that situation is lame, with capital L,A,M and E, but what else is there, legally, to do? Seriously. If you come up with something please enlighten my apparently tiny sifrinito weenie, shadowed by your gargantuan schlong.

              BTW, the whole sifrinito/malandro thing is not as productive as you think, because wether you like it or not, we all have the same country to share and somehow we must still live together… Please, criticize, as much as you can, but do it constructively, not in the way you replied to my comment, or the first part of this reply, and not only say “no”, please propose something else.

              • Thanks for honoring me with the gargantuan schlong. I take it as the best compliment ever received from a fellow blogger :-)
                We all have a vested interest in our mother/fatherland, and are diehard patriots filled with bile, facing the damage being inflicted on the nation. Like in any game, elections trashed whatever near term hopes we had, and I live with this bitter reality, without raising my blood pressure blindly, or sinking into a deep depression :-)
                At my age, patience is a virtue, at your age it is probably a burden. I’m not saying you should accept what’s happening, but it helps to shield oneself from the health consequences that these events tend to bring. Live well, stay green and be alive to fight another battle. Sorry if I seem overbearing, actually I’m a pussycat:-)

        • Good point.
          Maduro just bought himself a lot of campaigning airtime from now to wehenever the election is held

      • A real court hears argument before deciding a case. Normally, written briefs are prepared, and lawyers are questioned about the implications of their positions. This interchange is critical to the develoment of law; it is not just a formality.

        We didn’t get a legal decision from the court, we got a press statement.

        • I was just trying to imagine SCOTUS, the House of Lords or – dare I say it – the SCC- issuing a decision by cadena.

          Is there a tweet to go with the judgment?

  1. I cringe watching this gigantic imbecile that is Estela Luisa Morales trying to convince us that this isn’t a “falta temporal” she keeps insisting on the permit Chavez got as the reason why this isn’t a “falta temporal”.

    She’s arguing about the geographic location but completely dismissing the MEDICAL condition, what a joke.

  2. Not every question came from State Media System, the journalist from El Nacional got to ask a couple of questions.

  3. Does someone know when can a temporary absence be demanded after this?, is it 90 days?, is it ever? this is absurd.

    • There will not be temporary absence, they are going to keep things as is until they can’t avoid a permanent absence…

    • That was the best, “ausencia temporal” must be declared by decree by Chávez himself, haha! She actually said that!

      • Haha, I keep listening to that bit over and over and I don’t get how she didn’t burst out laughing:

        “no debe considerarse que la ausencia del territorio de la República constituya automáticamente una falta temporal, sin que así lo dispusiere el jefe de Estado mediante decreto redactado para tal fin”.

        The President ain’t absent until he says he’s absent

        • So if someone kidnaps the president and he’s unable to declare his own absence there is none. Brilliant.

    • Easy: that happens when Chavez issues a signed decree calling it a temporary absence (that really is what Luisa Estella said). The difference between that and ‘never’ is …. er … there is no difference.

  4. I have an interesting question, what will happen with apostillados? :p

    I mean, let’s say I’m going to apostillar my birth certificate, normally, I would go to my local registry, get a certificate copy, then take it to some ministries in caracas, so the ministers say “yes, that is 100% A-OK”… now, all of them have legally ceased functions (as of Jan-10), and anyone not appointed directly by Diosdado is simply illegal… will foreign governments recognize documents as valid when certified by venezuelan ministries under this conditions?

    • The “interpretation” is that all things Governmental continue as is for the time being; no functions will legally cease to exist.after Jan.10, because Chavez “continues” as President, as does his “Government”sic).

    • Apostillado is one thing; from 11-01-13, will the authorities be issuing invald passports potentially to be deemed illegitimate in large swathes of the globe? When does yours expire?

  5. “Interpretation” (sic): Chavez himself decides what type of absence he has…”Presidente, esta ausente (ZZZZZZ-sound of electric current as head twitches involuntarily)?” ” El TSJ constata que el Presidente esta presente, y que su Gobierno (sic) debe continuar funcionando (sic) hasta que el Presidente este en funciones de juramentarse.”

  6. So Chavez is now the eternal president of Venezuela. Unlimited absence means that he can be dead and still hold the office. No need for an oath every six years according to the TSJ. No need for another election as the constitution states.

    • It used to be, perhaps still is, that if a person was deemed lost at sea, for instance, he or she was considered dead only after 7 years had passed.

      Will that be the case with Hugo? If he’s buried in Cuba, without ever having been subjected to an official medical evaluation, will he be considere, under Venezuelan (read: chavista) law temporarily absent?

  7. What a “pearl”, given to hogs…!
    .
    Laws and Constitutions are merely formalities! Especially for Presidents or real big issues!
    .
    With this you could get anybody out of Jail!
    .

  8. Wonder if the oppo will take the opportunity to put outside investors on “notice” that given the lack of a formal inaugerated government, any agreements/financings undertaken by the existing “caretakers without office” will be subsequently reviewed to ensre “legal compliance” with respect to the constitution to determine the appropriate legal status of such agreements.

    • I think it’s the correct thing to do, but will be a two-edged sword.

      If they are aware that all business all illegal as of now, they either will abstain of making business with venezuela or, most likelly, business as usual and milk the cow while they can, as long as they can, as hard as they can, leading to international support to the illegal government (and yes, not doing anything about something that is wrong is support, a more indirect and subtle one, but sopport at the end of the day)

  9. Again the TSJ ignores the Mammoth in the room. A thawing and soon rotting, shaggy DEAD woolly mammoth. The one Venezuelan “institutions”, chavistas and some oppos refuse to acknowledge.

    WHAT’S THE F***NG CONDITION OF THE PRESIDENT? WHAT IS THE MEDICAL CONDITION THAT HE HAS? IF IT’S NOTHING THAT SERIOUS THAT HE NEED NOT BE REPLACED, HOW COME HE’S NOT IN VENEZUELA? WHO’S TREATING HIM? WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO HIM? WHAT ARE THEY F***ING DOING NOW? WHERE THE H*LL IS HE? WHY CAN’T HE F***NG SPEAK FOR HIMSELF OR APPEAR IN PUBLIC, NOT EVEN FOR A CAMERA? IF HE CANNOT SPEAK OR SIGN OR BE FILMED, HOW CAN HE BE IN COMMAND, FOR F**K’S SAKE? HOW DOES ONE F***ING KNOW THAT MADURO, CABELLO AND THE CASTROS ARE NOT DOING VENTRILOQUY WITH A DEAD OR NEAR-DEAD HUGO CHAVEZ? HOW DOES ONE F****ING KNOW THEY WON’T KEEP HIM IN A LIVING HELL OF PAIN AND DEGRADATION BY PROLONGING HIS LIFE BEYOND WHAT’S ETHICAL AND HUMANE, FOR POLITICAL ADVANTAGE ONLY?

    There!

  10. What it surprises me from the declaration, we are still waiting for the formal sentence to be published, it’s the fact that Luisa Estela Morales speaks about the “falta temporal” as it should be solicited by the President by decree (!). This, I have to assimilate with something…
    As for the piece of Art 231 shrouded in darkness since it was left out in sentence 750, the Oath-taking before TSJ, there were no surprises. Power is to be exercised, and these guys, after 14 years, are mastering the game, well beyond what their ancestors (namely AD) bequeathed to them!
    Sadly with the Constitutional Chamber’s pronouncement, no one will complain abroad…

  11. Has anyone found a concept of continuity – as mentioned in the discourse at issue. “princípio de la continuidad” if memory serves – mentioned in the constitution at all at all?

    • The term used is ‘continuidad administrativa’. I’m no lawyer, so I can’t say for certain, and I haven’t found a good definition of this. I have a suspicion that it is a term used to denote the fact that just because one or other person (or administration) happens to hold a job, or executive power, that doesn’t change the relationship of the citizen to that particular body. In other words, the administration exists independently of the person who occupies it. It seems really a stretch to apply it to constitutional law, but maybe the experts out there can help us on this.

    • To turn the phrase attributed to John Adams on its head, this is a government of men and not of laws.

  12. Forget Maduro, Cabello, and Chavez.
    What if the Castro brothers die tomorrow? Then who would run Venezuela?

  13. I have sat back and followed this saga since last June and to an outsider it is very clear who is calling all the shots in Venezuela. Why haven’t Maduro and Diosdado been fighting over who takes control of Venezuela, why are they showing public love and respect for each other? Because they have been told to stand down by the Castro brothers. The Castro brothers are controlling everything that’s happening in Venezuela today. I don’t see how you can take your country back until you root out all the Cubans from your ports, airports, military, security, clinics and everywhere else they have infiltrated. Just saying………

    • I fully agree – comments that cross the line should be deleted. Maybe you could start with the ridiculous ones about the Castro brotehrs running Venezuela. These are really beyongd the pale and shoud be deleted. No kidding?.

      • The Castro brothers have an important, defining say in what happens in Venezuela’s government, military, notaries and courts.

        Or have you forgotten this, you lily livered dyslexic traitor?

    • I apologize if you think I have crossed the line. I have been following the popular blogs in Venezuela since 2004 and standing on the outside looking in, that is what I see and read about. Please explain why that comment is pale or crossed the line.

  14. Capriles doesn’t dare to question the exact condition of Hugo. On his press conference he basically asked Maduro to work hard starting tomorrow on the issues of the country.

    Yawn.

  15. On the other hand, watching the statements given yesterday and today by PSUV leaders you can tell how nervous they are and also threatening with EL PUEBLO. Even putting armed forces today in some squares of Caracas. It’s smart that the oppo doesn’t do any demonstrations and let them have it tomorrow and do their little show.

    • I think they could try anything to get violence, this would be a way to justify Estado de Emergencia and not calling elections. If something is clear, Chávez is not going to live longer than 6 months. Not time for the opposition to risk anything. Keep calm, let them mourn.

  16. Sorry, game set and match. Hey wasn’t it nice she mention VP King of US of A being sworn in Cuba, somebody reads what I send.

    Its all over but the crying and once again there is joy in MUD-ville tonight, drink some cerveza or a glass of wine like I will and listen to some Pasty Cline.

    • How can you be happy with this outcome? We have no clue as to how Chavez is, and logic says not too well since he couldn’t make it here for the “unnecessary” toma de posesión, or maybe it is necessary since he bothered to tell Maduro to tell Cabello to say that he is not coming. Sow how long will Venezuela be headless? According to the TSJ forever ( at least the next 6 years). Where do you live Cort? If you are not in Venezuela, would you approve of this in your own country?

  17. Can I submit a suggestion here? If there are going to be street demonstrations, let’s do it with the theme “WE NEED FOOD… WE NEED A WORKING ECONOMY… WE NEED A PRESIDENT IN OFFICE!!!” Let’s not do it in a harsh you people are “#(@_!)@” even though they are.

  18. Globovisión has just been visited by Conatel for running 4 video clips related to Chavez quotes and about the constitution articles and their meaning. They are prohibited from displaying the same 4 clips or any clip similar to those.

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