April 29, 2006

Unconstitutional decisions #4,931,674 and #4,931,675

It's a detail, but telling: three of the "substitute National Electoral Council members" elected by the National Assembly are party hacks: Freddy Díaz, who worked on Chavez's campaign steering committee in 1998, Luis Salamanca - who was a Causa R adviser, and Pedro Díaz Blum who was actually a Proyecto Venezuela assemblymember until a few months ago!

Substantively, it doesn't much matter: substitute CNE members are mostly ornamental figures. Still, article 296 of the best-constitution-on-earth is explicit: CNE appointees must be "people not linked to organizations with political ends."

Which brings me back to an old theme: chavistas violate the constitution just for sport.

I mean, think about it: two of the three aforementioned party hacks are opposition people. Maduro & Co. are not even violating the constitution for petty political advantage here. They just do it from this weird mix of insouciancee and scorn. From a kind of deeply ingrained disdain for written rules that's unrelated to any particular political calculus. They have the assembly to themselves, the nominations committee virtually to themselves, they have no reason at all to violate the constitution just to toss the opposition some token CNE subs. But still, they do. They do.

Addendum from my inbox: The smart money says Diaz Blum is not there just because the chavistas enjoy violating the constitution. In fact he is a 'ficha' of MVR heavyweight (and onetime power-broker) Francisco Ameliach.

I'm not sure at which point he switched sides, but it would be interesting to learn a little more about his fellow 'opposition' suplente, to see if a small, but perfectly-formed pattern should emerge.

Curiously, though, it seems as if Ameliach is losing power within the chavista hierarchy. He appears to be out of the CTN, and indeed, the fact that the best his cne manoeuvrings could produce was one miserable suplente suggests his star is waning.