by Stephen Lendman
Critics denigrated Chavez for 14 years. He was wrongfully called a strongman, an autocrat, a dictator. Rumsfeld once compared him to Hitler.
Former Bush administration Deputy Secretary of State/Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte lied, saying:
Chavez "use(s) his control of the legislature and other institutions to continue to stifle the opposition, reduce press freedom, and entrench himself through measures that are technically legal, but which nonetheless constrict democracy."
Washington spent years trying to eliminate him. In March 2013, it succeeded. He was likely either poisoned or infected with cancer causing substances. Four major surgeries in 18 months couldn't save him.
Nicolas Maduro replaced him. He did so democratically. He knows what he's up against. Before and after his April election, efforts to destabilize Venezuela followed.
They continue. According to Eva Golinger, dark forces in Washington, Colombia and Venezuela intend further destabilizing efforts.
They're planned ahead of December 8 municipal elections. Tactics include espionage, sabotage, violence, provoking public discontent, and hoarding induced shortages of basic goods. Anti-Maduro elements want him toppled.
Last August, he sought Enabling Law power. He wants it to combat corruption. He said he has information showing the "total putrefaction" of Venezuela's opposition right wing.
It's rife with corruption, he said. Dozens of arrests were made. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles is being investigated.
In mid-October, Maduro addressed Venezuela's National Assembly, saying:
"I've come here to ask for enabling powers in order to deepen, speed-up, and fight the battle." He wants a "new political ethic."
"I'm going to present a new dynamic for the transformation of the republican ethical model and the transformation of the economic model, two elements that should be combined."
"The era of institutional corruption should come to an end." He wants "zero tolerance" replacing it.
He seeks "a profound transformation of the judicial system." He proposed creating "special organizations" to investigate economic and financial crimes.
He wants greater penalties imposed. He asked for enabling power for one year. It's constitutionally permitted.
Former Venezuelan leaders used it. Doing so permits enacting certain laws by decree. More on this below.
Patrick Christy is a US right wing ideologue. He's a Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) member. It's the Project for the New American Century's new incarnation.
On November 1, he headlined "Venezuela's Maduro Moves to Grab More Power," saying:
He's Chavez's "handpicked" "strongman" successor. He "asked Venezuela's National Assembly to grant him special decree powers, allegedly to counter corruption and improve the country's economy."
His "record suggests he's more likely to use expanded governing authority to undermine Venezuela's fragile democratic institutions and to advance his own political agenda."
"The worry is (he'll) abuse expanded decree powers to maintain his hold on political power, and further discredit and marginalize members of the country's opposition."
Christy added more baseless accusations. Right wing ideologues operate that way. Lies substitute for truth and full disclosure. Malicious misinformation is featured.
Venezuelan democracy is real. It shames America's sham system. Business as usual reflects it.
Monied interests run things. Duopoly power rules. Voters have no say. Venezuela is polar opposite.
It's electoral system is the world's best. It's constitutionally mandated. Muduro governs in the best Chavez tradition. He's been wrongfully vilified since before and after taking office.
Venezuelan enabling law is legal. It's limited. Chavez used it responsibly four times.
So did four of his predecessors. Venezuela's 1961 Constitution authorized it. Article 203 of its 1999 Bolivarian one states:
"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 then go 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) 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."
They're legitimate. They're democratic. They're not dictatorial. Their use must conform to constitutional provisions and restraints.
They're in force for a limited period of time. Venezuela's Supreme Court has final say on whether decrees issued are constitutional.
They must be submitted to the National Assembly. Its directing board decides if they comply with legal standards.
Discussion follows. If approved, they're referred to a Special Committee. It reports back with recommendations and/or objections.
Further discussion follows. So does approval, rejection or deferral. If approved, it's published in Venezuela's Official Gazette.
Constitutional law lets Venezuelans rescind laws. It does so if at least 10% of voters request it. For decree laws, it's 5%. A national referendum majority decides up or down.
A parliamentary majority can change or rescind decree laws. They strengthen democracy. They don't subvert it.
Chavez was granted enabling law power four times. They impacted Venezuela's development positively. For six months in 1999, 53 decrees were approved.
For one year in 2000-01, 49 were enacted. For 18 months in 2007-08, 59 became law.
For 18 months in 2010-12, another 54 were approved. Chavez used enabling law power to make government more efficient, transparent and honest.
He permitted more citizen participation. He reformed Venezuela's civil service. He reduced corruption.
He enhanced social justice. He advanced economic policies based on more equitable wealth distribution. He did so in areas of healthcare, education, social security and others.
He modernized Venezuela's financial sector. He improved science and technology initiatives.
He reformed public health, prisons and migration regulations. He improved Venezuela's judiciary. He upgraded the nation's infrastructure, transport and public services.
He permitted greater state control over Venezuela's energy sector. He established territorial organization norms in states and communities. He did so relating to voting and constituency size.
He initiated land reform. He advanced housing issues. He improved credit access for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
He enabled greater equity for small v. large fishers. He increased hydrocarbon state revenue.
He helped Venezuelan flood victims. He funded other emergency measures. He helped Venezuelans affected by acts of nature.
He bolstered Venezuela's military. It's used responsibly. It helps ordinary Venezuelans. It does so in times of need.
It doesn't wage wars on neighbors. It doesn't threaten them. It's not involved in state terrorism. It doesn't operate secret prisons. It doesn't practice torture. It helps enforce peace and public safety.
Chavez governed responsibly. He helped all Venezuelans. He was business friendly. He focused heavily on households most in need.
Prior to his election, the National Assembly approved enabling law power six times. Under Venezuela's 1961 Constitution, they pertained solely to economic and financial issues. One hundred and seventy-two decree laws were enacted.
Enabling Law power saves time. Administrative procedures are simpler. Emergencies are handled more expeditiously.
So are other priorities needing immediate attention. Key ones are addressed. They get prompt attention.
They include healthcare, education, housing, food distribution, infrastructure, agriculture, nutrition, economic and financial issues, national security, law, order and justice.
Critics like Christy discredit responsible governance. No evidence is cited. There is none. US governance is polar opposite what's most needed.
Democracy is a figure of speech. Resources go for imperial wars. War profiteers benefit handsomely.
Banksters and other corporate crooks get special treatment. Popular needs increasingly go begging. Police state harshness targets nonbelievers.
America was never beautiful. For sure it's not now. Social justice is verboten. War on humanity is prioritized.
America and Venezuela are polar opposites. They're constitutional worlds apart. Bolivarian democracy is real. Its northern counterpart is pretense. It's lawless, corrupt, morally depraved and dysfunctional.
"We the people" is a popular illusion. Popular governance is pure fantasy. High-minded rhetoric masks America's dark side.
Venezuela's government represents everyone. It's equitable and just. It benefits people most in need. It does so because it matters. Which system would you prefer?
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
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 Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.