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On the faltering state of democracy in Venezuela

By Edgar Brown | Paspalum Fasciculatum

06.11.05 | As Alek informs us the NGO Súmate has produced the most comprehensive report about the state of democracy in Venezuela (or rather utter lack thereof), "only the facts". As Burelli says a MANDATORY [and very complete] Reference Document for Policy-makers, Journalists, Academics and all concerned with the faltering state of Venezuelan democracy (you can find it in spanish here).

This report is a factual description of how, in what dates, and with what actions, Venezuela slowly degenerated from the imperfect democracy it once was (is there any other kind?), before Chávez took power, into the budding dictatorship it now is (my words, Súmate is too even handed to put it in those terms). It is in a way an organized comedy of manipulations and errors, that in hindsight seems very well directed to produce the current outcome. This should help you understand why even the Catholic Church has denounced Chávez's dictatorial ways.

In December legislative 'elections' will occur, though I hesitate to call them that way. Someone should come up with a word to denote the act of voting by the people when in reality the only one electing is the government itself, or as the oh-so-democratic Joseph Stalin once said: The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything. As Miguel and Daniel reported, the Venezuelan 'supreme court' (we also need a different name here), has broken the very last legal straw regarding this election (not that this blogger expected a different outcome). It has, without apologies and very literally schmoozing (see Daniel's pictures) to the rest of Chavez's regime, violated the constitution, again, by giving their blessing to the "morochas" electoral scheme. This scheme can allow a party to gain twice the number of seats as the votes would suggest, thus summarily violating the 'proportional representation of minorities' that has always been part of Venezuelan constitutions (in case you where wondering, the last one too). Of course, the 'opposition leadership' walked directly into this one (I really have no concept of why), and as Daniel reports they have been rightfully ridiculed by the Venezuelan press.

Let's hope that the current opposition candidates stay true to their word (though I doubt it), and just walk away en-masse from these elections, any insignificant quota of power, that they could pry away from Chávez's hands for their participation, is not worth giving such a sorry undemocratic process their support.

It's been time for a different kind of political activism for a while, let Rosa Parks lead the way



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