Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chavez and the Right-Wing Media

This article strikes me as unbalanced. Rueda refers to "a clause in Venezuela's constitution that calls for new elections to take place if the elected president cannot be sworn in," and suggests that Chavistas in the National Assembly "chose to give Chávez some extra time to 'recover' from cancer surgery." I know of only two clauses in the Venezuelan Constitution that address this matter: Articles 231 and 233. First, Article 231 makes no reference whatsoever to snap elections. Article 233 (what Rueda probably has in mind) stipulates that "when an elected President becomes PERMANENTLY unavailable to serve prior to his inauguration, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held." While Chavez opponents are perhaps justified in complaining about what appears to be a lack of transparency regarding Chavez's medical condition (and although he may very well be dead or in a coma), there's no evidence that he's "permanently unavailable" to serve. So, I see little evidence of a "constitutional crisis", as Capriles recently put it.