Now, this seems like a very strange move for a country that claims to be democratic to make. Especially since Chavez's political party, the Fifth Republic Movement controls 114 out of 167 seats in the National Assembly.
I can't see why any reforms in Venezuela could be done in the National Assembly - There is nothing to stop such a thing from happening.
This consolidation of power by Chavez makes no sense to me. It is not necessary. Unless of course, one wants to become a dictator. Remember, Hilter became all-powerful leader of Germany via legal means.
Now, I know many people who were looking at Venezuela with hope that it would become an example of socialism done right. I don't think it is going to happen.
Furthermore, I believe that we, as social democrats, democratic socialists, and democratic communists cannot support a government that is eroding the basis of democracy, no matter how much they conform to the "correct" ideology.
Therefore, I think it is time for progressive organizations that have endorsed the Hands Off Venezuela campaign to remove that endorsement as soon as possible. Why? Because they support this action of Chavez's that is attacking democracy.
I guess Lord Acton was right.
Update 1/20/2007, 7:42 pm:
Hands Off Venezuela's support for Chavez's actions, in case the link does something funny.
President Chávez: Nationalise Sanitarios Maracay!
Friday, 19 January 2007Update: 3/15/2007, 8:00 pm
We welcome the recent decisions of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez to ask for an Enabling Law that will allow for the renationalisation of all privatised companies.
I've moved to a new location, so I would ask that you please comment there. I've turned off comments here, but I've moved all of the comments there so that context is retained.