Thus far, Chávez has issued 33 laws via enabling law
The special powers granted to Chávez by the National Assembly will end in one month
"As soon as I tell, the cannons of bourgeoisie will thunder (...) I will request in the next few hours through a rationale in written form, an enabling law for the emergency (caused by heavy rains)," Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez spat on December 10, 2010. Today, one month away from losing his special powers to issue decrees in full force and effect, criticism remains, not only of the long effective term of the enabling law, but also of the subject matters delegated by the National Assembly (AN).
While Chávez insisted time after time that the enabling law aimed at coping with the heavy rains that fell down nationwide, the request included nine items: handling of natural disasters to infrastructure, transportation, public utilities, housing and habitat, finance and taxes, citizen s security, national defense and international cooperation. Seventeen months later, as few as about six of 33 approved laws have to do with the reasons for requesting the enabling law.
Deputy María Corina Machado (Independent-Miranda state) recounted that "from the outset, when the enabling law was passed, we warned all Venezuelans against the nature of that project, as it really put in jeopardy the institutional character of the Constitution."
In the opinion of her colleague Elvis Amoroso (ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela, PSUV-Aragua state), the enabling law helped to "reinforce the people s power and make rules in the social area, particularly house building, a benefit targeted at the homeless in due time. Such benefit, by ordinary or customary means, was not possible because, sure enough, all of Venezuela is keenly aware of the obstacles put by the opposition inside the AN."
Attorney Juan Rafalli, an expert in constitutional law, labeled as "unwonted" the treatment of enabling laws under the Constitution, because it just requires "setting a timeframe, a term for its exercise and its approval by third fifths of the AN, for the Assembly to lay the framework of the matters intended to be delegated."
He noted that the Constitution does not set "down flat, as it is the case in many foreign countries, the subject matters for exceptional rulemaking, but the powers to exercise the enabling law are delegated or, better said, assigned to the AN."
The lawyer remembered that an enabling law is premised on the need to meet an exceptional circumstance. However, "insofar as the AN confers enabling powers for long and encompassing many subjects, we are not speaking of exceptional powers, but virtually of delegation of functions to the President of the Republic for a long time."
To the mind of Deputy Machado, the powers awarded to President Chávez for 18 months expire next June 20 and may not be extended. This is because he lacks three fifths of vote for its passage, and also because she is certain that the president will be defeated in the election of October 7. Machado foresees that an enabling law will not be the new way of ruling.
Translated by Conchita Delgado
José Vicente Rangel clearly said: "We are not conducting negotiations threatened with a gun in the head." He warned behind closed doors in the midst of the social upheaval occurred during the oil strike in 2002 and 2003. Dissenting Timoteo Zambrano answered back that no other option was available: "The thing is that otherwise, you do not negotiate."