Home | About Us | Archive | Documents | Campaigns & Issues | Links | Contact Us

    Legal and political situation in Venezuela today: Understanding
    the decision of the Venezuelan Supreme Court of Justice

    By Merli Vanegas

    Since June 30th, 2011, when President Chávez announced to the country and the world that cancer had been detected, international media, has practiced systematic and repeated attack to discredit the Bolivarian Revolution. They have been responsible for disseminating a series of rumors and lies about the health of a man that has become the most important Latin American leader of the XXI century.

    This campaign intensified exponentially when in December 2012, having been re-elected for a new constitutional term, Chávez announced that the cancer had returned and he would have to undergo surgery again. Recently, the mainstream media have focused their manipulation to trying to make the public believe that the fact that the President will be sworn in by the Supreme Court of Justice, and not done on January 10 at the National Assembly, delegitimizes the entire executive branch. But with reading the Supreme Court decision, and statements such as the one from the Secretary of the Organization of American States (OAS) Jose Miguel Insulza, we realize that these allegations are without merit.

    Following is a chronological compilation of the facts:

    On October 7, 2012, President Hugo Chavez was re-elected by a majority vote of Venezuelans. Note that our electoral system, with cutting-edge technology, has been recognized as one of the most transparent, reliable, secure and publicly auditable systems worldwide.

    On October 10, 2012 Ceremony in which President Hugo Chavez received his certificate of proclamation by the highest authority of the Electoral Power in accordance with article 153 and article 155 of the Organic Law of the Electoral Power. Consequently, he is a re-elected President and he is now operational, there is a continuity in the command.

    On December 11, 2012, the President underwent surgery in Havana, Cuba because of the recurrence of a cancerous lesion. He was allowed to leave the country according to the provisions of the Venezuelan Constitution, by the unanimous vote of the deputies of the National Assembly, both the opposition and members of the Bolivarian revolution.

    On January 8, 2013 at a meeting of the National Assembly of Venezuela, Vice President of the Republic Nicolas Maduro announced that President Hugo Chavez thanked the National Assembly for the granted permission to leave the country for the surgery and subsequent medical leave. He reported that the President requested to take his oath before the Supreme Court of Justice in accordance with the second part of Article 231 of the Constitution.

    On January 9, 2013 the Supreme Court of Justice of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, made a request for interpretation of Article 231 of the Venezuelan Constitution, regarding whether President Hugo Chávez had to be sworn in on January 10, 2013, or if he could do it before the Supreme Court as established in the second part of the article itself. The decision said, taking into account, that the principle of sovereignty is above all, and taking into account that the principle of continuity of public power must be respected, President Hugo Chávez will take office when the situation of his medical leave has ended, and that the oath shall be made to the Supreme Court, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

    Let’s see what the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela says:

    Article 5. “Sovereignty resides un-transferable in the people, who exercise it directly in the manner provided in this Constitution and the law, and indirectly, by suffrage, through the organs exercising Public Power.”

    Article 230: “The presidential term is six years. The President of the Republic may be re-elected.”

    It is clear and undisputed that the legal situation is the one shown on article 230 of the Constitution. Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías is a re-elected President, as he won the elections of October 7, 2012.

    The Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela states in Article 231:

    “Article 231. The candidate elected will take office as President of the Republic on 10th January of the first year of his constitutional term by an oath before the National Assembly. If for any reason befallen the President could not take possession before the National Assembly, he will do so before the Supreme Court of Justice. “

    On January 16, 2013, the Secretary of the Organization of American States (OAS) José Miguel Insulza, spoke regarding the request made by Venezuelan opposition in relation to debate within the OAS Venezuelan situation. In this regard he stated:

    “The issue has been resolved by the three branches of government of Venezuela: it was raised by the Executive, the Legislature considered it, and the Judiciary solved it. Instances have been regarded and therefore the process that will take place in this country is the one that the three powers have decided,” said Secretary General Insulza.

    *Merli Vanegas, is the Venezuelan Consul General in Vancouver and is also a Bolivarian and socialist lawyer. She initially worked for the Bolivarian Government in the National Assembly, and has served as a Legal Advisor in different governmental institutions. She then joined the Foreign Ministry, where she began as Government Representative tothe International Labour Organization. Before coming to Vancouver she was a diplomat in the Embassy of Venezuela in Libya.

    Back to Article Listing