The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica defiantly swore in its three deputies from Amazonas state that the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia barred from taking office last week in an act that threatens to launch an institutional crisis in the country.
Prior to the swearing in of the deputies, PSUV deputy Pedro Carreño rose to speak to the chamber, and warned that by swearing in the deputies the MUD was dooming any future legislation it passed to becoming null and void. National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup patiently listened to Carreño, and then swore in the deputies.
MUD deputy Jose Manuel Olivares managed to record the moment the deputies were sworn in. The video can be seen here, and my translation follows below:
Carreño: — the swearing in of Amazonas state deputies is a flagrant violation of the constitution. The document required to verify their credentials (…) has an injunction, meaning that they have no effect, which was established by the Electoral Chamber at the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia. If it is true that this transient and circumstantial right-wing majority has any legitimacy under the law, it is making itself illegitimate through these actions. Starting from this moment, any bill – legislative or political – issued by this parliament that include votes from these deputies, will be null and void. [Unintelligible]. That is all.
Allup: Thank you very much, deputy. [Unintelligible – I think he’s saying “We will now proceed with the swearing in of these deputies”].
Citizens Nirma Guarulla, Julio Ygarza and Romel Guzamana, before God and the Homeland: Do you swear to abide by the Constitution and laws of the Republic and internal debate regulations in your capacity as deputies elected by the people [unintelligible] – do you swear?
The Three Deputies: We swear!
Allup: You say you will – and I’m sure you will. May the people of Venezuela [unintelligible].
MUD Deputies: Chanting “We are 112! We are 112!”
Allup: Let us move on to the order of the day.
Olivares: Well, as you can see, we — Deputy Trujillo! – we’ve just sworn in the four deputies from Amazonas state — three, because the PSUV one didn’t come. They’ve been sworn in by the National Assembly, respectful of our majority, the majority that you elected on December 6, and standing up for Venezuela. Now, we will debate about allowing media access to the National Assembly. As you can see, the media are up in the balcony already. Let’s listen to Hector Rodriguez.
Rodriguez: — made up in an unconstitutional manner, making everything done in the National Assembly null and illegal (…) from now on, they will be null.
Allup: Deputy Rodriguez, this observation has already been made by deputy Pedro Carreño.
MUD Deputies: Chating “We are 112! We are 112!”
Starting at around 5:00 minutes, the discussion turns to another issue. All of the shouting makes it very difficult to translate what is being said.
Cabello: Gov’t Should Refuse to Send Money to NA
Diosdado Cabello spoke to the media after today’s parliamentary session, and said that the national government should refuse to send any money through the National Assembly given what he regards to be the body’s contempt for the Supreme Court.
Cabello also said that the swearing in of the three MUD deputies today was a meaningless, illegal act:
What is happening is a flagrant violation of the Constitution. We’re going to file a motion of contempt against the [National Assembly’s] executive council to make it so that all of their actions will be made invalid.
Cabello hopes that the TSJ will side with the PSUV faction, the end result being:
[The National Assembly] won’t be able to enact any laws. They’re going to look ridiculous.
Suggesting the existence of a conflict of powers, Cabello also said that the National Assembly now exists “outside of the law”.
Chavez Posters Removed from NA Grounds
Several large Hugo Chavez poster that adorned the grounds of the National Assembly were removed yesterday on orders from Henry Ramos Allup, the body’s president.
In a video making the rounds on social media today, Allup can be seen talking to two groundskeepers about the posters. In the video – presumably filmed yesterday – Allup can be heard saying:
Groundskeeper: The office here —
Allup: I don’t want to see a single picture here unless it’s the classical painting of El Liberator [Simon Bolivar].
Allup: I don’t want to see Chavez or Maduro — send that to Miraflores or give it to the waste management people. I don’t have anything to do with that. But here: nothing.
By “classical painting of El Liberatdor“, Allup was referring to the likeness of Simon Bolivar that was popular in Venezuela up to 2012, when the PSUV unveiled a new, life-like 3D image of Bolivar. That new image replaced the classical painting in government offices and buildings, much to the dislike of some Venezuelans who preferred the older version.
Below, a video of a worker taking down a large poster of Chavez yesterday:
Maduro: People Must “Rebel” Against National Assembly
Maduro expressed outrage at the removal of Chavez’s and Bolivar’s images from the grounds of the National Assembly, and called on the people to “rebel” in the fact of what he considers to be “neo-fascist” measures.
Speaking from the Miraflores Palace, Maduro said:
How could they just kick out our Liberator from the National Assembly? I call on the people to rebel against these neo-fascist measures (…) to rebel against illegality.
He also said that the National Assembly had turned “Adeco-Burgesa”, referring to the fact that Henry Ramos Allup belong to the AD party and that he considers that the legislature will now seek to serve the interests of the bourgeoisie.
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