Opposition seeks debate at Mercosur and OAS on Chávez's absence
Opposition leader Ramón Guillermo Aveledo stated that Venezuela is facing a temporary absence of the president and considering that both the vice-president and the cabinet's terms in office concluded on January 10, it is up to the Congress' speaker to hold the presidential office
Addressing a letter to Parliament Speaker of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), the executive secretary of Venezuela's opposition Unified Democratic Panel (MUD), Guillermo Aveledo, has alerted about what in his view is "disruption of the constitutional order" in "the Venezuela's democratic system." His remarks are in relation with the controversial decision of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) concerning the oath taking of reelected President Hugo Chávez's for the new term in office, which should have been held last January 10.
The opposition leader explained that pursuant to Article 231 of the Venezuelan Constitution, President Chávez's term in office ended last January 10.
Chávez who was reelected president on October 7, 2012, "should have been sworn-in at the National Assembly on January 10 this year in compliance with the Constitution. Without being swearing-in, the president may not be considered as such and, therefore, he is unable to perform his constitutional functions," Aveledo explained in the paper.
The MUD's executive secretary said that in view of the circumstances, "the country" is at least facing a temporary absence of the leader and, therefore, the speaker of the National Assembly should hold the office; instead, in view that both the executive vice-president and the cabinet's terms in office ended on January 10 as well.
Aveledo claimed that the Government, "relying on its control over the State powers," got away with it upon an "incredible decision" passed by the TSJ. The ruling, Aveledo noted, "It's a violation of the provisions set forth in our Constitution."
Upon these premises, the opposition leader said that the submitted document aimed at "informing the whole world about such flagrant violations of our constitution as they put peace and governance in jeopardy." Aveledo added that the opposition coalition seeks the opportunity to explain this situation at Mercosur, a commercial bloc for integration, which Venezuela recently joined as a full member.
Likewise, the opposition coalition has requested permission to speak in the next meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) to alert against such violations and provide information that may help Member States to be fully aware of the situation.
Translated by Jhean Cabrera
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.