Saturday, January 20, 2007

Yo soy El Decider

Chavez has asked for and received a special "enabling act" which allows him to rule by decree for 18 months. Apparently this is not the first time: Chavez used a similar measure in 2001 to pass 49 controversial laws, coincidentally at the very end of the legislation (presumably so they would be neither debated nor opposed). Now he intends to do the same, with his eye on nationalizing key industries.

I must confess it's difficult to avoid the word "dictator" when the person in question is literally dictating policy.

While hoarding up all this executive power, Chavez at the same time has promised that Venezuela will see an "explosion of communal councils." Whether this will actually happen and what sort of autonomy those councils will possess is of course completely unknown. Venezuela has encouraged worker-management co-planning in the past, which I applaud, but I can't really find any optimistic way to square this with the loss of political participation.



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