Goodbye checks and balances, goodbye venezuelean democracy, hallo one man rule:
Venezuelan lawmakers gave initial approval to a bill granting President
Hugo Chavez the power to rule by decree for 18 months so that he can
impose sweeping economic, social and political change.
Emboldened by his landslide re-election last month, the leftist
leader has called for "revolutionary laws" to accelerate the country's
transformation into a full socialist state.
"This process is unstoppable," lawmaker Juan Montenegro Nunez told
the National Assembly Thursday. "This process is a historic necessity."
The vote was unanimous as the National Assembly has been entirely
filled with Chavez's allies since opposition parties boycotted 2005
Chavez began his third term last week by announcing his intent to
nationalize key sectors of the economy, rewrite the country's
constitution to eliminate presidential term limits, and strip the
Central Bank of its autonomy.
He also called for an end to foreign ownership of lucrative crude
oil refineries. Venezuela is the world's fifth oil producer and the
fourth supplier to the United States, its top customer.
"What is becoming evident is that all the powers are one single
power in Venezuela — Hugo Chavez," said opposition politician Gerardo
Chavez has formed a commission to rewrite the constitution in
keeping with his socialist vision and expects to hold a referendum on
the changes by the end of the year. Chavez has already revised the
constitution once since he took office in 1999.
Among the changes, Chavez is seeking an end to presidential
term limits, which would allow him to run again for the presidency in
Chavez has been emboldened to make more radical changes at home
after winning re-election with 63 percent of the vote, his widest
Chavez says he is crafting a new sort of "21st century
socialism" for Venezuela. Critics say it is starting to look like
old-fashioned totalitarianism by a leader obsessed with power.
You know I agree!