Venezuelan Anti-Imperialist Enabling Law
by Stephen Lendman
On March 11, Venezuela’s National Assembly granted President Nicholas Maduro enabling law powers in response to his request for “anti-imperialist (legislation) to prepare for all scenarios.”
It followed Obama outrageously declaring Venezuela a threat to US national security. A previous article discussed his “aggression” against Venezuelan sovereign independence.
It represents the threat of a good example. Obama fears its spread. He issued a lawless diktat – usurping powers reserved solely for Security Council members.
They alone may impose sanctions – not individual countries for any reason. Obama sanctioned seven Venezuelan officials extrajudicially.
He lied declaring a “national emergency” when none exists. He claimed a nonexistent “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela.”
He nonsensically blustered about America’s “commit(ment) to advancing and respect(ing) human rights (and) safeguarding democratic institutions.”
No nation more egregiously violates human rights than America. None more breach democratic values it’s sworn to uphold.
None show more contempt for the rights of others. None more threaten humanity’s survival.
Maduro has just cause to fear US aggression. He foiled Obama’s February coup plot.
It was an outrageous scheme involving targeted assassinations, bombing strategic Caracas targets, ending democratic rule and replacing it with fascist governance.
Venezuelan National Assembly (NA) members approved enabling law legislation. TeleSUR reported it getting “99 percent of votes from the Great Patriotic alliance – the largest (NA) voting bloc…”
A second 60% majority vote is needed for final approval. More on enabling law authority below.
On Tuesday afternoon. Maduro address NA legislators. He explained US threats.
“I ask God for protection, if major events shake our country with me alive or not, the order is rain or shine, parliamentary elections will happen this year whether the empire wants it or not,” he said.
“We are going to parliamentary elections and let the people decide what will happen in this country.”
“And we will go into it with the same position as always…If we win, win, and if we lose, lose and that’s it…Democracy, peace and constitution(al) (law) is what we want.”
He addressed Venezuelans on national television. He explained he intends to preserve Venezuelan “integrity and sovereignty in the face of any circumstances that could arise with (America’s) imperialist aggression.”
He said governmental executive bodies discussed actions “to politically and diplomatically denounce this United States aggression to various organizations” – to expose US lawlessness.
He last requested enabling law power in 2013. At the time, it was to fight corruption and economic war waged by Venezuelan fascists, supportive businesses and Washington.
On February 11, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) “reiterate(d) its strong repudiation of the application of unilateral coercive measures that are contrary to international law.”
The statement followed earlier Venezuelan sanctions Obama lawlessly imposed in December.
US policy is increasingly rejected regionally. America today is more isolated than any time in recent memory.
Washington represents fascist extremism. Freedom loving people everywhere reject it.
Ecuador’s Rafael Correa said Union of South American States (UNASUR) will meet in Montevideo, Uruguay Thursday.
They’ll “give the corresponding answer to that gross, illegal, shameless, outrageous, and unjustified act of interference by the United States in the internal affairs of Venezuela,” he said.
Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA) trade bloc nations promoting regional social, political and economic integration issued a statement, saying:
Calling Venezuela an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to US national security “constitutes an unprecedented aggression against that country and thus our region.”
“This aggression violates every principle of international law which governs relationships between states, treating every state as equal and sovereign.”
“It also undermines the historic anti-imperialist struggle claimed by our people, and threatens the peace and tranquility of our countries.”
ALBA nations include (in alphabetical order):
- Antigua and Barbuda;
- Saint Kitts and Nevis;
- Saint Lucia;
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and
In 2008, Honduras joined ALBA. It withdrew following Obama’s coup ousting President Manuel Zelaya – replacing him with fascist dictatorship.
Venezuelan enabling law authority is limited. It’s no power grab as critics claim. Chavez used it three times. So did four previous presidents.
Venezuela’s 1961 Constitution authorized it. So did its 1999 Bolivarian one under Article 203, stating:
“Organic laws are those designated as such by this Constitution, those enacted to organize public powers or developing constitutional rights, and those which serve as a normative framework for other laws,” including amendments.
A two-thirds legislative super-majority is needed before beginning debate. Measures are then sent to the Supreme Tribunal of Justice’s Constitutional Division “for a ruling on the constitutionality of their organic status.”
“Enabling laws are those enacted by a three fifths (National Assembly member) vote to establish guidelines, purposes and framework for matters that are being delegated to the President of the Republic, with the rank and force of law.”
Enabling law is legitimate, not dictatorial. Its use must adhere to constitutional provisions and restraints.
It applies only for a specified time period. Occasionally, Venezuela’s Supreme Court must rule on its constitutionality.
Venezuelans may rescind laws if at least 10% of voters request it. For decree power, it’s 5%. A national referendum majority would then decide up or down.
National Assembly members may change or rescind enabling law power any time they wish. In 2007, Chavez used it to:
- make state institutions more efficient, transparent, honest, and allow more citizen participation;
- reform the civil service;
- eliminate corruption;
- advance the “ideals of social justice and economic independence” through a new social and economic model based on more equitable wealth distribution in areas of healthcare, education, and social security;
- modernize Venezuela’s financial sector – including banking, insurance and tax policy;
- upgrade science and technology areas to benefit all sectors of society;
- reform public health, prisons, identification, migration regulations, and the judiciary to improve citizen and judicial security;
- upgrade Venezuela’s infrastructure, transport, and public services;
- improve the nation’s military;
- establish territorial organization norms in states and communities relating to voting and constituency size; and
- permit greater state control over the nation’s energy sector.
Earlier he used it for land reform, improved credit access for small entrepreneurs, greater equity for small v. large fishers, and increased hydrocarbon state revenue.
In December 2010, he used it to help Venezuelan communities affected by torrential rains and severe floods – displacing about 120,000 people in 11 of the nation’s 23 states.
It’s unclear so far what powers Maduro seeks. He’ll use them to protect Venezuelans from more US schemes to destabilize and topple his government.
Powers he’s given must adhere to Venezuelan constitutional law. He’s governed responsibly throughout his tenure.
He knows the rogue challenge Washington poses. It wants tyranny replacing Venezuelan democracy.
Maduro needs all the help he can get countering it. National Assembly approval is important. Popular support matters most.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.