Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez '13 on Venezuela's Constitution

Young and Defenseless
Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez, '13
Caracas Chronicles
January 9, 2013

First things first: that the government of Venezuela should seek to circumvent inconvenient constitutional requirements is to be expected. Tension between a nation’s constitution and its executive are a constant worldwide. After all, a  constitution’s value lies largely in its ability to restrain an executive.

What IS troubling about the situation in Venezuela is not a matter of intent but of opportunity: the ease with the government can ride roughshod over the national constitution.

The ideal way for a government to violate a constitution has always been through sleight of hand. If it can do so with impunity, “interpreting” the text in a novel way is often the best option as it preserve a veneer of constitutionality. With maximum “cover” and minimal costs, a government gets its cake and eats it too (as both the chivo and the mecate look on.)