For years, we in the opposition to Hugo Chavez have decried the inexplicable way in which the Venezuelan caudillo has ceded sovereignty to Fidel Castro. Chavez has made a career out of accusing his opponents of being "lap dogs of the Empire... puppets of Washington... enemies of the people... etc." However, a cursory glance to our past will reveal that never in our history has a foreign leader, in this case the Cuban dictator, exerted so much influence over matters of State, as Fidel Castro has. Castro, whose invading forces -in the literal sense- were trounced in the early 60ies by the truly nationalistic Betancourt administration, has been able to take over control of the Executive in Venezuela, this time round, without firing a single shot or risking troops in beach landings. For Chavez has voluntarily surrendered many aspects of official affairs to Cuba: from security to health and education. However much we pointed at this absurd cession of sovereignty, we kept being dismissed as extremists.
But the late turn of events provides unequivocal evidence that Venezuela is run and governed from Cuba. Venezuela, as of today, is effectively a Cuban colony. And the facts are these:
- After a little tour around Ecuador and Brazil, Hugo Chavez landed in Cuba on 8 June.
- Upon landing, we are led to believe that a sudden pelvic abscess affected Chavez.
- Chavez, who needed "an emergency operation", is in Cuba since. That is, he has been in Cuba 14 days now.
- The Venezuelan Constitution, written by Chavez, states clearly (art. 18) that the seat of power is Caracas -although power can be exercised from other places in the Republic.
- The Venezuelan Constitution also states (art. 234) that in the case of temporary absence of the President the Vice President has to take over, and (art. 235) states that authorisation is required -from Congress- if the President is to be absent for more than 5 days.
- Chavez left Venezuela on 5 June.
These are incontrovertible facts. Equally indisputable are the following:
- Chavez continues to rule from Cuba, where he is even signing yet more laws to increase Venezuela's debt.
- The Official Gazette, where all laws need be published to become official, posted false information with regards to Chavez's signing new debt law, stating that he was in Miraflores Palace in Caracas, when he was, as a matter of fact, in Havana, Cuba.
- The Vice President, Elias Jaua, has not taken over.
- Congress did not authorise Chavez to stay abroad more than 5 days.
- Venezuela's Comptroller, Clodosbaldo Russian, died on Monday, in Cuba, after having arrived for treatment on 22 April.