Venezuela is going through a serious deinstitutionalization process, parallel to that of militarization. For now, the National Electoral Council (CNE), a key body to democratic life in this country, exists de facto but not at legal level.
The heads of this electoral body already have long exceeded their legal period at the helm and our rulers are not giving any signs of concern over this matter. On the other hand, the nation lacks a comptroller general.
This absence is not making President Nicolás Maduro and company lose any sleep either. For its part, the National Assembly (namely the Congress) has been far too subordinated to the Executive, meaning Maduro.
Its role has mutated; more than legislating, it operates as a club in the hands of the Government to beat down its opponents from the opposition.
We have already made mention of the creation of the Strategic Center of Security and Protection for the Homeland (aka Cesppa), an “offspring” from the Government whose members, all of them from the army, have been handed over the nation’s real power.
Ultimately, the democratic institutions of the Republic have been dying out while at the same time the Venezuelan Military Armed Forces (FAN) embrace a role that does not belong to them.
This deinstitutionalization and militarization process has already had several episodes that, if it weren’t part of a tragedy, it would have been kind of hilarious instead. All this starting with a relentless quest for the so-called “Lawmaker 99.”
The Government looked more like that famous expedition embarked in the former Belgian Congo (today Zaire) in the quest for Dr. Livingstone, thus emulating a desperate effort in finding an elusive “Lawmaker 99” to give it the necessary three-fifths to pass an Enabling Law which, by the way, does not need at all.
However, this “Lawmaker 99” finally showed up thanks to all sort of dirty tricks on the part of the Government, which made Maduro very happy: He’s got his longed-for Enabling Law. He never needed it, but now he has become a “total” ruler thanks to this.
But there has been a series of events even less ridiculous or just as serious. The Government has turned the National Assembly into a sort of private hunting ground.
Journalists not fully loyal to the State’s cause were vetoed, thus preventing them from entering the Parliament during ordinary sessions, something that is dangerously antidemocratic.
Everybody has the feeling this may be the prelude to more attempts against the freedom of speech.
It goes without saying Maduro does not feel comfortable with a free press around that may limit his functions as president.
He has done nothing about it so far, but has hinted at it. And let us add all the punches landed by some goons paid by the Government in many of the lawmakers from the opposition and the “gag” applied to Julio Borges and Nora Bracho after asking for the floor.
Long before this, the Government had already taken ANTV, a TV station dedicated to broadcasting all the events taking place at the National Assembly, by force. A situation that cannot happen in any democratic country already happened in ours.
A TV station that used to belong to an institution from the State has been confiscated by the Government’s party.
We just don’t want to compare the new chavo-madurismo movement to that of Hitlerism, but we must bear in mind that these kinds of events paved the way towards the absolute power of Adolf Hitler in Germany. The continuous appropriation of the State by Hitler’s party, to the point of merging one another to make it a sole entity, characterized the birth and progressive advance towards totalitarianism back then.
Venezuela is not Germany in 1933, but it would be far convenient that events of this kind are denounced and rejected in time.