Friday, September 16, 2016

A coup in Venezuela

A coup in Venezuela
EUGENIO YÁÑEZ | Miami | 16 de Septiembre de 2016 - 09:23 CEST.

It is true what they are saying: a coup is brewing in Venezuela. It
started back on December 6, 2015, when the opposition overwhelmingly won
the parliamentary elections and wrested the majority in parliament from
the chavistas, who had controlled it for more than 15 years.

What is not true it is that it is the opposition that is planning the
takeover, as it has no need to when it can get rid of Nicolás Maduro by
democratic means, in a convoluted but feasible scenario.

The real overthrow – which they failed to carry out the same day they
lost the Parliament, as Diosdado Cabello actually intended – is that
being pursued by Nicolás Maduro and the Venezuelan chavista hierarchy,
in not-so-slow motion, advised by Havana, out of their fear of losing
power, which could entail many years behind bars for crimes like drug
trafficking, extortion, embezzlement, torture, and extrajudicial
executions, among others.

From their first maneuvers after the opposition's victory, giving rise
to "Community Assemblies," whose purpose was unclear, (as they really
serve none), to the hasty appointments of judges loyal to Chávez to fill
vacant slots on the Supreme Court, to the hurried proclamation of laws
granting the President powers belonging to the Parliament, to the
ministers' refusal to be held accountable to the Legislature ... it has
been clear that their aim has been to hinder most of the Assembly's
activity, undermine its efficacy and, ultimately, defy the will of the
voters, who in the last elections gave it an unquestionable mandate and
rebuffed the Executive, which has plunged the country into an almost
irreversible spiral of economic, social, political, health and
logistical chaos.

Obviously, the shadow of Havana lies over thechavistas and will continue
to debilitate the mechanisms of democratic governance and civil society
in Venezuela, seeking to gradually stymy efforts to prevent a
dictatorship "of the humble, by the humble and for the humble," until
there is no chance at all. If there something that the Castro brothers
have mastered it is these kinds of underhanded procedures, which they
have mercilessly implemented in Cuba since 1959. Ever since then Cubans
have suffered and continue to suffer countless difficulties,
shortcomings and frustrations, besides a lack of freedom and future
prospects. Now Venezuelans have begun to suffer the same kinds of
problems, but what do their "enlightened" revolutionary leaders care?

The Supreme Court has declared all the legislative acts of the
Venezuelan Parliament null and void in a last-ditch ploy to prevent the
opposition from controlling the body and having a "qualified majority"
with extensive legislative powers.

The "Poder Electoral," meanwhile, is scrambling to delay the holding of
a recall referendum, which Maduro is bound to lose, which would
necessitate the holding of new presidential elections. However, if they
can put it off until 10 January, 2017, the presidency would
automatically pass to the vice-president if Maduro loses, in which case
many Venezuelans have concluded that it wouldn't even be worth holding it.

And the "Poder Ciudadano," (Citizens' Power) – composed of the
Ombudsman, Attorney General, and the Comptroller General of the Republic
– is a mere appendage of the Executive, rendering its contentions that
it cannot be hindered or curtailed in the exercise of its duties by any
authority ludicrous.

Against this backdrop, what has the Legislative Assembly been able to
achieve since it began operating on January 5 of this year? Actually,
very little. Opponents of the regime in the legislature ­– still
considered "the opposition" despite their absolute majority in the
chamber – are powerless against the plots of the Executive and the
Judicial, Electoral and Citizens' powers, controlled by those loyal to
el chavismo. And, to make matters even worse, the Government is now
threatening, through a pseudo-judicial ruse, to strip opposition
deputies of their parliamentary immunity.

By definition, a coup involves a violation of and disregard for
constitutional legitimacy, and an attack against the legal mechanisms by
which power is legitimately secured and maintained. If the Venezuelan
government blocks the recall referendum, and deprives opposition
representatives of their immunity, we would be witnessing the
dictatorial coup de grace concluding the coup process.

The opposition's last realistic options involve exerting enough pressure
to bring about the recall referendum this year, while the Government
insists that in no case shall it take place in 2016.

It remains to be seen whether Venezuelans who believe in democracy can
save it, along with their country, or whether Havana's will shall
prevail, through its comrades in Caracas, and the coup becomes a reality.

Source: A coup in Venezuela | Diario de Cuba -

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