March 18, 2009

The constitution as subversive pamphlet

Quico says: As Chávez orders the military to take over all the nation's ports, I have to ask myself, where is the wiggle room in this?

Artículo 164. Es de la competencia exclusiva de los estados la conservación (10) administración y aprovechamiento de carreteras y autopistas nacionales, así como de puertos y aeropuertos de uso comercial, en coordinación con el Ejecutivo Nacional.

Article 164. State governments have exclusive jurisdiction over (10) the administration and enjoyment of national roads and highways, as well as commercial ports and airports, in coordination with the National Executive.

It's important to note that in Venezuelan jurisprudence, "Competencia Exclusiva" is a term-of-art, a term with a specific, well defined, widely understood legal meaning: if entity A has Competencia Exclusiva over area B, only A gets to make decisions about B.

It changes nothing. It adds nothing to the debate. It gets drearily repetitive. And yet it feels like it needs to be said:

The collapse of constitutional government in Venezuela is now complete.