Friday, November 15, 2013

Venezuelan Revolution at Full Throttle

From the Editors of VenEconomy
If you thought things in Venezuela could not get any worse, you must be realizing by now how wrong you were.
Over the past few weeks, the country’s political situation, social environment and morals of citizens have been sinking into what it seems a bottomless pit at the same pace as the economy has been deteriorating.
On Tuesday, for instance, the National Assembly (namely, the Congress) is getting ready to withdraw the parliamentary immunity from María Mercedes Aranguren, a lawmaker from the Venezuelan opposition, as requested by the Supreme Court (TSJ), which is looking to bring her to trial for “alleged corruption, money laundering and criminal association as prescribed by the Organic Law against Organized Crime.” This is an accusation needed by the Government so it can pull a parliamentary majority required to grant special powers to President Nicolás Maduro so he can deepen a communist process in Venezuela.
One of the main aspects of this move is that the Government is requesting these special powers to fight “corruption and an ongoing economic war” and will turn to bribery to the end of “buying” the much-needed “lawmaker 99” that would buy the missing vote to pass this decree. This “lawmaker 99” will carry over his/her shoulders the fact of handing over the future of the country to a ruler who has no boundaries in curtailing the constitutional rights of Venezuelans, as long as he follows the Castro recipe to dominate the entire nation.
The truth is Maduro does not need this enabling law to fight the corruption that has taken hold during the revolutionary government. If he wanted to fight corruption, it would only take to apply existing laws and let the public powers do their thing without any political hues. But at present there is no autonomous moral power, or judiciary power or even a legislative power to hold the Executive accountable for looting the public purse and squandering the resources belonging to the population.
Neither does Maduro require special powers to fight a fictional economic war that he made up himself. There are countless existing laws, controls and ruling and inspection bodies that are capable of controlling, taking remedial actions and sanctioning those acting above the law in their entrepreneurial, business and personal activities.
The reality is that Maduro is requesting an enabling law so he can have a blank check that allows him to deepen the communist project started by the late Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. He wants to have a free path so he can finish destroying the country’s private sector and have total control over the productive sector from beginning to end and with no accountability whatsoever.
The events over the weekend, in which on a national TV and radio broadcast the ruler demanded to see empty shelves at major home appliances stores across the country that were subject to inspections after alleged usury, may be unleashing demons hard to contain in a country that has been tolerating economic and social limitations for quite some time. Today, several stores have been looted by some wild hordes of people, who Diosdado Cabello (the head of the National Assembly) calls a “popular organization.” Other retail stores have opted to close their doors in the event of a “mishap,” as some locals call the act of looting nowadays. Some 28 owners and managers from those retail stores have been detained by authorities; the Public Ministry has issued some 10 arrest warrants and has “temporarily” taken over three establishments.
It is quite worrisome the announcement of the creation of a special prosecuting office aimed at fighting usury, which seems to lead to the execution of summary trials, without right to defense or presumption of innocence. Who is going to invest amid this chaos? If the Government keeps moving forward with its plan, it will be worthless if it prohibits the people to talk about the shortages, lootings, inflation, unofficial dollar rates or just about any subject that has already been banned by the Government.
It is quite worrisome that when controlled sales finish off the inventories of inspected retailers, irate people may want to go there again for more.
It is worrisome as well that Maduro is calling the “Popular Power” and militias to step out into the streets to provide support to “civil, military and police authorities.” Making brothers fight against each other has always been a recipe that never has tasted any good.
VenEconomy has been a leading provider of consultancy on financial, political and economic data in Venezuela since 1982.

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