A new kind of draft

Recluta… there’s a word that brings memories. (In most, if not all cases, not happy ones). For a country that’s gone over 150 years without a proper shootin’ war, the need for a military draft is a little hard to understand, and yet we’ve had one for as long as anyone can remember. My dad…

A territorial mess, cont.

Venezuela is divided into states. States are divided into municipalities. Each municipality has one mayor, and each state has one governor.That is what the Constitution says. Simple, right? Well, no. The Maduro administration wants to change Venezuela’s territorial distribution and put it all upside down. But even if the new Territorial Organization bill has not…

Star power

I had never seen this 1998 conversation between then-candidate Hugo Chávez and the formidable, recently deceased Oscar Yanes. I picked it up through my Facebook feed, from the page of one of my come-candela friends. Instead of being horrified, I watched in fascination as Chávez navigated the interview without a hitch. We all hated him,…

A territorial mess

Back to basics: according to the Constitution of 1999, Venezuela is now organized into 23 States (which are divided in 335 Municipalities), a Capital District and a small group of islands known as the Federal Dependencies. But that could completely change in the near future, thanks to a brand new Law of Territorial Organization to be…

The Mardo mistake

Primero Justicia congressman Richard Mardo was stripped of his parliamentary immunity yesterday. In a 97-68 vote (that’s 59-41 in percentage terms, in case you’re wondering) the chavista majority in the National Assembly (read: Diosdado Cabello and his minions) pretty much took away his popular mandate, and in the process used Article 187 of the Constitution as…

Exactly how violated is the 1999 constitution?

The thoroughgoing collapse of law-based government in Venezuela has been a constant theme in this blog since 2002. But this week, in a time-wasting exercise of epic proportions, I decided to try to put a number to the timeless question: exactly how screwed is the 1999 librito azul? In a quick first run-through, I can…

Oh, by the way …

I know Quico hates it when I post random bullet points of stuff, but there are several things I need to say, and I don’t have time today for an ellaborate post on each one: Don’t dwell too much on the mass hysteria and the adoring throngs of people. First off, they are not one…

Signatures, oaths, and robots

Constitutional lawyer José Ignacio Hernández has been writing up a storm over at Prodavinci. It figures – chavistas are violating laws so quickly it makes your head spin. It’s really hard to keep up. In his latest, not only does he question the validity of the robot-signed decree appointing Elías Jaua as Foreign Minister, he…

Surely Bertolt Brecht could not have done better…

A few years ago, Teodoro Petkoff made audiences guffaw with  his bon mot about how, more and more, the Chávez government treats the Constitution as though it were a subversive pamphlet. Today, as we greet news that the government is actually moving to stop an opposition newschannel from broadcasting any discussion of one of the constitution’s…

Taking Stock

To get a  sense of just how needless the constitutional crisis developing in Venezuela really is, let’s just step back from the play-by-play and take stock of where we are as of Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 – one day ahead of the official end of the 2007-2013 presidential period. We have a president who hasn’t…

Patently Obvious Chronicles

The trouble with the past is that it already happened. Take, for instance, this decision by the rojo, rojito Supreme Tribunal of Justice, dated May 26th, 2009 which touched on the suddenly all-so-topical question of whether you can exercise an office that you haven’t been sworn into. (The case in question dealt with the governorship of…

Formalities in formaldehyde

One of the more salient points of these surreal times we are living through is that a Revolution spawned out of a formal oath in front of a tree … now considers oath-taking a mere “formality.” Part of the chavista argument for wiping the floor with the Constitutional mandate for swearing in the President on January…