Chavez Given Enabling Law Power - by Stephen Lendman
On December 17, parliament gave Chavez enabling law power in response to torrential rains and severe floods that ravaged Venezuelan communities, killed at least 35, destroyed over 5,000 homes, and displaced about 120,000 or more people in 11 of the country's 23 states. He asked for one year. Parliament gave him 18 months to deal with the crisis.
National Assembly President Cilia Flores said it was needed to help "people who are relying" on him to help. "So that they can have their street, their highways, public services, electricity, everything to live in dignity, we are going to hear (their) proposals and concerns," then respond accordingly.
More on how it works below. Despite opposition and media criticism (in Venezuela and America), it's not about seizing dictatorial powers, nor has Chavez done it since taking office in February 1999.
No matter. On December 14, New York Times writer (and vocal Chavez critic) Simon Romero headlined, "Chavez Seeks Decree Powers," saying:
By so doing, he "opens a new phase of tension between (himself) and his critics." Provea director Mariano Alvarado said: "This measure reflects the contradictions of a government that speaks about the participation of the people in politics, but ends up adopting measures that ignore the will of the people."
On December 14, Wall Street Journal writer Dan Molinski headlined, "Venezuela Opposition Denounces Chavez Move," saying:
He's attacking democracy and "aim(ing) to demoralize an opposition" with more members when parliament reconvenes on January 5. Primero Justicia, a leading opposition group, said he's "perversely using the human tragedy from the rains to justify these sweeping powers."