Hugo Chavez Essay
The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, had been reelected as the democratic leader; however, his behavior seems to be apart, and in some respects against the fundamental principles of democracy. Analyzing Hugo Chavez’s actions, and the changes made under his authority, it appears that the transformation of Venezuela less under democracy and resembling more as a dictatorship- an autocratic form of government in which a government is ruled by an individual. Hugo Chavez used his political agenda to oppose critical discussion, and to manipulate the Law. In 1998, Chavez formed the Fifth Republican Movement as his political party.
He pledged to rid poverty by initiating the Bolivarian Revolution, so that he may create social justice. Winning the 1998 election, Chavez pursued to make changes to the Constitution in order to accommodate his Bolivarian Revolution. Claiming that his cause was rooted in saving the poor masses, Chavez opposed all negative views regarding his agenda. A law called the “Special Law Against Media Crimes” was passed in 2009, which allows prosecution of any media organization that it believes are disseminating information disagreeing with the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela- a law set forth by Chavez’s.
Although Venezuela maintains democratic features, there are measures the authoritarian regime practices that significantly influence the public in favoring Hugo Chavez and containing or discriminating all opposition. Chavez has manipulated Venezuelan law, democratic institutions, and restricted Venezuelan freedoms, for the purpose of maintaining a political stronghold over the nation. Chavez made sure that the nomination process was aligned to his advantage by weakening the checks and balances, extending the presidential term, and eliminating the senate (101 crowding out the opp).
Chavez manipulated the system so that the nomination process would strengthen his political position. He did this through careful selection of delegates, rationing candidates from his coalition, and the use of “kino cardboards” which allowed him to see the choose the districts that would increase his chances of winning. (101 Crowding out the opp) These practices are unfair and undemocratic. Chavez has taken advantage of his authority in order to maintain his position, which reinforced his hold on power and providing himself with a longer rule.
Chavez used the electoral system to his advantage, accumulating more power over Venezuela’s governmental institutions. An example is the questionable act of Chavez in 2008 when he dissolved the Fifth Republic Movement, and created the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. This political party remains the strongest party in Venezuela, which is completely under the reign of Chavez himself. The ruling party has fewer chances of sharing seats with minority parties while the majorities are also in favor of the electoral process.
In the United States, each branch of government is responsible to ensure no branch has more power over the other branches. In contrast, the executive branch in Venezuela under Chavez maintains overwhelming power over the nonexecutive branches. The president seems to be the sole actor, for he acts without legislative approval, which diminishes the influence of opposition. Furthermore, in 2004, the Organic Law of the Supreme Court was passed. This law enlarged the Supreme Court, and makes it easier for Chavez to appoint his own supporters legally.
Increasing the members from 20 to 32, Justices are chosen by the majority vote in the National Legislature, which is a unicameral body. Chavez’s influence in the Legislature allows advantage of rulings and actions, which enhances his own political agenda. Hugo Chavez has manipulated Venezuelan law by rewriting basic laws, specifically the presidential term. On February 15, 2009, Chavez won a referendum to abolish presidential term limits, giving himself the opportunity to continue running for re-election.
The significance of this action was not so much that the term was extended for an extra year, but that it raised the advantages of holding office in face of opposition. The political system is becoming more presidential, or by some critics, more of a dictatorship. In Venezuela, Chavez is not upholding the protection that democracy Chavez has also begun to take Venezuela’s transportation system under his control by having the National Assembly give the federal government responsibility for Venezuela’s highways, ports, and airports, effectually taking it out of the hands of states and provinces.
Also, in 2009 the National Assembly stripped entitlements, responsibilities, and belongings from elected officials simply because they held opposing thoughts to Chavez. (128 A setback to Chavez). The government says it has done this for “strategic reasons. ” Critics say it is unconstitutional and will further consolidate Mr. Chavez’s hold on power by weakening governors and mayors in opposition-run states.