From the Editors of VenEconomy
Nicolás Maduro, acting as Venezuela’s Vice-President and flanked by the chavismo’s highest military and civil hierarchy, announced on Tuesday that president-elect (but not sworn-in) Hugo Chávez had passed away at Hospital Militar Carlos Arvelo in Caracas at 4:47 p.m.
As a result, the government decreed 7 days of national mourning and informed that the leftist leader’s remains would be shown at the Capilla Ardiente chapel of the Army Academy. Funeral services would take place on Friday, March 8, at 10 a.m., in the presence of rulers from various countries.
The reality is that the announcement of Hugo Chávez’s passing had been expected several weeks ago, after a wave of rumors and imprecise official information on the evolution of the President’s lethal medical condition over the last few weeks.
It is not surprising that postmortem hours are surrounded by a similar secrecy that surrounded Chávez’s illness. At almost 24 hours from the official announcement, neither the Venezuelan Supreme Court (TSJ), nor the National Assembly, nor the National Electoral Council (CNE), the three powers entitled with voice and vote to make a decision in this historical trance that the nation is going through, have not yet pronounced on who will take the reins during the transition and when a new presidential election will be taking place, as commanded by the National Constitution for the case of an absolute absence of a president. The legal limbo in which the Venezuelan government has fallen into still persists.
It has not been informed officially whether it will be ever considered that Hugo Chávez was an elected president, but he was never sworn-in for his new term, therefore the head of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, would become his temporary replacement. Or whether it will be based on the grounds of an illegal status of President-in-Office, given the administrative continuity ruled by the TSJ, which would allow Maduro to take over the presidency temporarily.
This lack of definition leads to another: Calling for a presidential election. According to the Constitution, elections should take place within the next 30 consecutive days from when the absolute absence was declared. Nonetheless, there are already voices warning that this would violate the Organic Law of Electoral Processes, which demands the compliance of a schedule that goes beyond the 30-day deadline.
The truth is that after Chávez’s death, Venezuela is living critical hours and that the signals being sent out by the leftist regime are nothing but discouraging: Threats to dissidents of the Castro-Communism keep going on, students and journalists were brutally attacked almost after the announcement by Maduro, and Defense Minister Diego Molero saying that the mission of the nation’s armed forces is to take Maduro to the presidency, a clear lack of awareness on who takes care of choosing a president is the people and who takes care of moderating the elections process is the CNE. That is the wrong path to take and also something not promising!
The challenge for Venezuelans now is to go through the transition in peace, aiming to achieve a social agreement that reduces poverty and build a shared vision of a country without exclusions for political reasons.VenEconomy has been a leading provider of consultancy on financial, political and economic data in Venezuela since 1982.
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