Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chavez May Miss Inauguration: Venezuela Government

Chavez May Miss Inauguration: Venezuela Government
The Venezuelan Information Minister has hinted that ailing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may not be well enough to swear-in for his new presidential term, which is scheduled to begin on January 10th.

Although he expressed hope that Chavez would return from Cuba in time, Ernesto Villegas said in a written message on a government website that if Chavez doesn't make it, "our people should be prepared to understand it,” adding it would be irresponsible to hide news about the "delicateness of the current moment and the days to come."

According to the Venezuelan constitution, presidents should be sworn in before the National Assembly, and if that's not possible then before the Supreme Court.

Former Supreme Court magistrate Roman Duque Corredor told the AP that  a president cannot delegate the swearing-in to anyone else and cannot take the oath of office outside Venezuela. However, a president could still be sworn in even if temporarily incapacitated, but would need to be conscious and in Venezuela.

If Chavez is declared incapacitated and is unable to be sworn in then the National Assembly president would temporarily take charge of the government and a new presidential vote must be held within 30 days, Duque said.

Some have speculated that this may spark a power struggle, as Chavez has named Vice President Nicolas Maduro his prefered successor, not National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello. However, the two appeared side by side in a television appearance in which Maduro said the party was “more united than ever.”

The latest developments come just days before gubernatorial elections throughout the country, sparking speculation they could provide PSUV candidates a boost through widespread sympathy for Chavez or, they could play into the hands of the opposition who are stronger against the party than they are against the president.

News Briefs
  • Protests have broken out throughout Argentina against the acquittal of 13 men in a case that has become a symbol of the country’s struggle against sex-trafficking, reports Pagina 12. . Thousands took to the streets in a number of Argentine cities, in what were mostly peaceful process - although in Buenos Aires, hundreds of protesters clashed with police. The Inter Press Service has more on the fallout of the case, which, it says, has provoked “outrage” around the country.
  • The Honduran Congress has voted to remove the four Supreme Court justices who ruled the government’s police clean-up law unconstitutional, reports Americas Quarterly. However, The Bar Association of Anti-Corruption Lawyers in Honduras has brought a legal appeal of Congress's decision, reports Honduras Politics and Culture. On Tuesday, Congress passed the reforms despite the Supreme Court ruling. 
  • The Guardian reports on the rise of brutal vigilante justice in El Alto, the poverty wracked Altiplano city in the mountains outside La Paz. There, residents, mostly indigenous migrants from the rural highlands, have begun to fill the gap left by Bolivia’s weak judicial system by taking the law into their own hands, with lynchings increasingly common.
  • The Cuban Triangle blog analyses Cuba’s new cooperative law, concluding, “The pace will satisfy no one, the process will be influenced by officials with more orthodox views, and it will surely have positive and negative notes. But there’s no denying that this law breaks new ground, with potentially large consequences.”
  • A new ruling means that officers can be expelled from the Peruvian police force for “having sexual relations with people of the same gender, which cause scandal or damage the image of the institution,” the BBC reports. The ruling means open homosexuality is now ranked alongside torture and belonging to criminal gangs for Peruvian police officers.
  • The the so-called “mensalão” corruption scandal is edging closer to former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the Wall Street Journal reports. Several Supreme Court Justices are calling for a new investigation, following the leaking of the testimony of key mensalão defendant, Marcos Valério, which states he paid some of da Silva's personal expenses from a slush account funded by embezzlement. 
  • Upside Down World looks at the impact of climate change on indigenous Bolivians from the perspective of traditional  Kallawaya healers.  
  • Runaway tech-pioneer John McAfee has been deported from Guatemala and is currently in Miami, the Miami Herald reports.