Wednesday, November 20, 2013


 National Assembly head Cabello and President Maduro, with the law establishing Presidential Rule by Decree
The National Assembly of Venezuela has passed a law that empowers President Maduro to govern by decree for a period of twelve months. In essence, he can now bypass the Assembly, and rule by Presidential Decree. Though his powers are supposed to be limited, when the late Hugo Chavez was allowed to rule by decree, in the past, his actions routinely exceeded what most Venezuela political observers expected. How far will Maduro go with his new, unlimited powers ?

Needless to say, Country Risk, in a country where both the power of the legislature, and the rule of law are both absent, reaches heights not ordinarily seen outside a dictatorship. The major questions circulating this week:

(1) Whether financial institutions will be nationalized. Chavez repeatedly threatened to take this action, when he was in office, and once promised to nationalize the entire banking sector.

(2) Whether the rampant crime, which local law enforcement clearly cannot control, will be the excuse for decrees resulting in the curtailment of human and civil rights, resulting in a police state, rising out of what was once a democracy.

We shall be watching the Venezuelan scene closely this week, to ascertain the reaction of the opposition to what will surely be a large number of decrees, issued from the Presidential Palace.

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