The Venezuelan dictatorship and the European Union

Former guerrilla against democratic government and current head of the National Assembly, Fernando Soto Rojas, is preparing the "rules" according to which the alternative parties may ask questions to the ministers. And as for the president of Venezuela: he is beyond that. The commandant-president is like the Queen of England, but with power: he only has to give his report and not be questioned. Chávez did that last month and spoke for 7 hours.

Soto, like the great majority of Chávez honchos, comes from the conservative Llanos and has guerrilla training from Cuba. He has a strong caudillo mentality and has no idea what real debate is.

He said "I am taking a look at the regulations for the French, Swiss and US that you see that in few countries is there as much freedom as in Venezuela. For a minority deputy of the left to talk at the European Parliament a year has to pass of the 600 deputies (sic)". He said he will "distribute copies of the rules for people to judge in Venezuela".

The chuzpah.

Soto, on the right, was using violence to fight a dysfunctional -as the Mexican or Colombian states now- but democratic government where presidents could not be re-elected and people could speak out. He was trained in Cuba.

First of all: he does not talk about the time parliamentarians have anywhere but in the European Parliament, which is not a national parliament. He does not mention the regulations of the Swiss or French or US congresses he does not like, much less of most other congresses or assemblies in democratic countries where debates are more open and frequent.

Secondly: the "minority deputies" Soto mentions, the extreme left , do not represent 52% of the population as the Mesa de la Unidad and PPT do in Venezuela.

In reality those 35 extreme left deputies will have much more time to express their ideas than the deputies representing 52% of Venezuela's voters.

Secondly: in no democratic country is there a law regulating that deputies have to vote only as their party says. Last year the pro-military deputies of the PSUV introduced such a law, penalizing anyone who would go against his party. That law is completely anti-constitutional. Venezuela's 1999 constitution states that deputies are only subject to their conscience and it is almost verbatim what the German Grundgesetz says. The new law of 2010 is just trying to prevent any future dissension among PSUV deputies as has happened in the past.

Thirdly: Soto does not mention the fact that in the democratic world the only heads of government who have no time limit are those of parliamentary systems where they have to answer live to the opposition time after time after time. A strong presidency in a democratic country always has term limits.

Soto just picks up the tids and bits of regulations that he wants to show, specially to a population that has no clue about how regulations are outside their country. He does not say anything about the head of state in those countries, that in the US or in France the head of state cannot be elected indefinitely, that in Switzerland the presidency rotates every year and that unlike the EU parliament - which is not a state - deputies do have plenty of time not only to question ministers but to grill the head of state.

Soto already cancelled last week's parliamentary sessions because according to him there was nothing to talk about. It seems the representatives of 52% of the voters do not count.

The Chávez Supreme Court recently declared that those who accuse Chávez of bad faith can be prosecuted.

Expect more of this farce until Chávez is gone. Still, we need to challenge Chávez honchos to debate on fair terms. The Chávez military government won't accept it, but the population needs to know how naked the military regime is.