15 December 2010

Sliding Toward Dictatorship

For the first time in years, the opposition to Hugo Chavez gained a sizeable segment of the National Assembly. As a result, he is trying to get the outgoing legislature to grant him decree powers, according to this AP report.

This would allow him to bypass the Assembly to pass laws and follow a pattern similar to what he did in 2007. During an 18 month period he seized private enterprises and opposition media outlets, all without the sanction of elected representatives.

It is offensive to those who value liberty and private enterprise. It demonstrates a significant institutional weakness of the Venezuelan government and bodes very ill for representative democracy in the country.

There should be widespread international opposition to this effort, but it seems unlikely.

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