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Venezuela’s Chavez Third Reich

By Aleksander Boyd

London 01 May 2004 – Europeans are celebrating, or at least some of them. Today 10 new countries have joined the EU adding 75 million people to what is touted to become the world’s largest economy, resulting in a common market for 450 million people, whose gross domestic product will be larger than that of the USA. Excellent news, if my opinion is to be given any thought, as European citizen I feel very much content to make part of such an extraordinary integration experiment embracing the belief that it is only for the better. Free movement of people, goods and services across 25 nations it’s just such an exciting idea.

My Venezuelan ego is sad –not the seasonal affective disorder- but rather a chronic anguish caused by the prospect of seeing my country thrown into civil war. Let me summarise. On February 27, 1.992 Hugo Chavez spearheaded a coup d’etat against a democratically elected president. His wishes were not fulfilled; the forbidden fruit, i.e. Venezuela’s presidency, was not to be tasted then. On November 27, 1.992 his army comrades attempted again to seize power with the use of military force. Yet they also failed on the second occasion. In the annals of contemporary Venezuelan history Hugo Chavez made his disgraced debut in 1.992. Now let me quote an excerpt of an interview to Herr Hitler “1930 Times 26 Sept. 12/2 Asked to give some idea of the ‘Third Reich’, Herr Hitler said the old Germany was a State of great honour and of glorious events, but the conception of ‘the people’ was not the central pillar of its structure. The second State had placed democracy and pacificism in the centre. They hoped for the Third Reich, which would have as its keystone the conception of the people and the national idea.” [Source OED]. Does that Hitlerian conception resembles that of Chavez or is it just my wild imagination?

I stand, as a Venezuelan without party affinities, in the middle of a fight where a bully is kicking the crap out of his opponent. To my right there’s a much disorganised array of old politicos interspersed with newcomers vying for power. To my left there’s Hugo Chavez with all his ‘democratic credentials.’ The ones on the right caused the phenomenon on the left and will certainly churn a new one should they not realise once and for all that this is all their doing. The one in the left (the bully), however, has turned out to be much more politically savvy than his predecessors for he does not have to share his power every five years. Moreover he is the undisputed Supremo; his supporters follow orders blindly; he’s got absolute control and more importantly he has achieved that uncontested nirvanic state utilising democracy. Not bad for a chap from Sabaneta. What this reveals is the utter uselessness of his political opponents.

The masterstroke of Chavez’ Third Reich came to be in the early hours of Friday 30th of April. The whole country must remember that date as the moment in which democracy finally passed out. Government legislators approved at 4.50AM the new Organic Law of the Supreme Court. The originally proposed legislation contained 189 articles; the approved one has 23. There was such hurry to pass this law among Chavez’ supporters that the Vice-President of the National Assembly took advantage of the chaotic situation in parliament to call for an urgent and immediate vote –after a 16 hour session at 4.50AM- that was approved by simple majority. Organic laws, according to Venezuela’s legislation, need be approved by a two thirds majority of assemblymen/women. Unfortunately there is no Hansard in Venezuela and we will never know for sure who said what. Nonetheless the new law contemplates the appointment of 12 new justices to the Supreme Court. Needless to say that said justices will be totally subservient to presidential wishes, thus the concept of rule of law tragically died for no justice can be expected from Chavez or his appointees.

The judiciary, legislative, electoral and citizen powers are under the ominous control of the executive. In simple terms Hugo Chavez has indeed absolute power. How can I trust, as someone who does not belong to any of the factions aforementioned, any of the institutions in Venezuela? What democratic options or solid institutions are there to go claim my rights? The answer is none and for that reason I do believe that people in similar conditions have three options: a) pack one’s belongings and leave; b) accept the present conditions in the knowledge that what comes next is 15 years of absolute statist control; c) rebel against the government, which needs to be stressed has become the establishment. I personally took the first option, however I do believe that had I had stayed in the country I would have opted for the third.

There will not be any recall referendum; the repair process will be a scam; any appeals to the Supreme Court will be dismissed; the results of the governors and major elections will be rigged by the same electoral officials that decided to send to repair illegally more than 1 million signatures; the presidential elections of 2.006 will be as transparent as those in Cuba; PDVSA’s output will decline continuously, but barter deals will save the day and Hugo Chavez will remain in power until he wishes. Out of the three coups engineered by Chavez the democratic and constitutional one has proven to be, by light years, the better. Long live the Third Reich!!

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