Friday, February 23, 2007

Constitutional Reform in Venezuela

Chairperson of the Venezuelan National Assembly Cilia Flores is apparently called Silly Flowers by many less enamored observers. Upon the Assembly granting rule by fiat powers, she is quoted as saying "Long live Hugo Chavez. Long live socialism. Fatherland, socialism or death!" In this context she grants an interview explaining why she can’t explain the constitutional reform process in Venezuela.

Constitutional reform in secrecy: A confidentiality agreement attached to the presidential decree organizing the Council for Constitutional Reform prevents the head of the council, Cilia Flores, who is also the Chair of the Venezuelan National Assembly, from disclosing the matters subject to changes in the Constitution.

Flores would only talk about methods and terms. However, she clarifies that President Hugo Chávez may adopt or dismiss any recommendations the Council for Constitutional Reform makes, because "he is entitled to do so." Chávez also has the capacity to introduce any changes to the proposed reform before the final draft is submitted to the Legislature.

Further, Flores claims that Chávez himself, as the driver of the constitutional reform, is to draft the question (which is to include the corrections the National Electoral Council deems appropriate) of a referendum next August whereby Venezuelans are to approve or reject the changes.

When asked why the debates on constitutional reforms can’t be made public she replies:”A public debate will certainly make people waste time.” Ok – nuff said.