Venezuela offers the Obama administration a chance to support the rule of law
We are watching breathtaking events in Venezuela, and the Obama administration is naturally silent and just going along.
President Hugo Chavez is very sick (maybe even dead) in Cuba. However, his staff in Venezuela has "creatively" read the constitution so that he can assume the presidency from a hospital bed in Cuba.
What do you call this? You call it a fraud and a total disregard for the rule of law.
This is what the Constitution says:
"Article 231: The president-elect shall take office on 10 January... by taking an oath before the National Assembly. If for any reason, (they) cannot be sworn in before the National Assembly, they shall take the oath of office before the Supreme Court.
Article 233: When an elected president becomes absolutely absent prior to inauguration, a new election... shall be held within 30 days... Pending (this), the president of the National Assembly will assume responsibility for the presidency of the Republic.
Article 234: When the president is temporarily unable to serve, they shall be replaced by the... vice-president for a period of up to 90 days, which may be extended by resolution of the National Assembly for an additional 90 days."" (via Fausta)
It is very clear to me that President Chavez has to be in Caracas and physically able to take the oath. If not, then a temporary government must prepare the country for new elections.
Where is the Obama administration? I guess that they are writing the next "5 de Mayo" speech calling on immigration reform without specifics.
President Obama should direct the US Ambassador to make a public statement rejecting the travesty that we are watching in Caracas. We should recall our ambassador if necessary and take whatever economic sanctions are available to show our discontent with this flagrant violation of the rule of law.
It's time for the Obama administration to have a regional policy that understands the opportunities (trade deals) and the challenges (rule of law).