The Chávez Constitutional

VENEZUELAIt’s been 2 weeks now since Venezuela’s telecom regulator served a cease-and-desist order on Venezuela’s last free-to-air opposition broadcaster, Globovision. Some recent content, station was told, broke the law by “inciting hate, panic or disturbing public order”. What did the offending footage contain? Call to rebellion? No, just the text of Article 231 of Venezuelan Constitution. The specifics of dispute concern ailing president’s bizarre in absentia inauguration. The government, to finesse the crude problem of Hugo Chávez’s being bed-ridden in Cuba, has interpreted Constitution’s clauses about oath of office so as to allow Chávez to be sworn in whenever he feels better, rather than on Jan. 10, as specified in Article 231 of Constitution. Globovision’s clips called attention to this by simply broadcasting video footage of high-ranking officials mouthing the government’s position juxtaposed with the relevant text of Constitution, lest we forget, was drafted under Chávez’s government, by his supporters, with his wholehearted support. Broadcasting this clip, or any message might be similar, we’re now told, incites hatred, so it must be censored. It matters little Chávez’s own Constitution also bans government censorship of the media: See Article 58. I would’ve given anything to see Globovision run a second series of clips quoting Article 58, but the station probably figured it would get slammed again for inciting hate or panic or disturbing the public order. I’ve been watching the politics of Chávez era minutely, day by day, for 14 years now. You’d think my capacity for surprise would be pretty well tapped out at this point. Yet even now it takes my breath away that Chávismo can contrive shenanigans like this, so absurd, so baroque. This highlights that the rule of law in Venezuela has totally collapsed. It’s a collapse so all-embracing Venezuela’s satirists are at loss: When it comes to writing storylines that capture government’s insanity, there’s simply no topping government itself.



Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

One Response to The Chávez Constitutional

  1. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: Enrique Iglesias — former Pres of the Washington based Inter American Development Bank — used to say half jokingly that Literature Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez was not a fictional writer but rather a chronicler of Latin American life. Venezuela politics entered a world of magical realism in 2012. A charismatic political leader – Hugo Chavez — is reelected president and assume power while in a hospital in Havana. The population does not know whether he is dying or already dead. From a political standpoint, reality and fantasy are blended so that the distinction between the two erases. The amazing thing about Venezuela is that neighboring countries take the situation in stride, as something normal in public life. After all, a short lived Ministry for Intellectual Development was created in 1980 and led by a respected Venezuelan intellectual by the name of Luis Alberto Machado. Bottom line: Fantasy is a permanent fixture in Latin America’s life and politics. Reason for producing excellent football players, creative musicians, fiction writers and artists but few scientists and analytic thinkers.


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