This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, May 10, 2017:
Article V supporters of a constitutional convention to rewrite the United States Constitution should pay careful attention to what Venezuela’s Marxist President Nicolas Maduro is proposing, and why. As his country descends from violence into chaos he is making his final move: proposing a rewrite of the country’s constitution put in place in 1999 under the country’s previous leader, Hugo Chavez. Chavez said it would last for “centuries.” If Maduro is successful, it will have lasted less than 20 years.
Maduro has proposed a “special assembly” made up of his own supporters to craft the new constitution. It would ban political parties and free elections. It would legitimize all of his previous unconstitutional acts and essentially make him a dictator for life.
There is some political pushback in addition to the protestors in the streets. In March, when Maduro tried to stack the deck at the country’s Supreme Court, his general-attorney Luisa Ortega called his move “a rupture of the constitutional thread … we cannot demand that the citizens behave peacefully and legally in front of a state that is making decisions that do not obey the law.”
On Monday, Major General Miguel Rodriguez Torres, who ran Maduro’s intelligence service until he was fired in 2014, said his country is moving toward civil war: “We’re seeing much larger masses protesting across all major cities, including the working-class neighborhoods. The government is losing control.” He added:
Closing political avenues [by Maduro] to elections means opening the door to violence. [The protestors] are heading toward anarchy in the streets.
Maduro’s demand for this special assembly, according to opposition leader Henrique Capriles, not only goes against the present constitutional process for amending the existing constitution but is “an absolutely fraudulent process that could go wrong for us.”
The country’s increasingly desperate economic situation is also eroding support from Maduro’s police forces, says Torres: “What’s happening outside in society is also happening inside in the armed forces. The soldiers are suffering because they can’t obtain medicines [and] because they don’t have enough money for food [for themselves and their families].”
Those riots, which have already cost more than 40 lives thanks to military oppression by Maduro’s forces, have extended to the countryside. Evidence of growing violent dissatisfaction is the toppling and defacing of statues of Chavez, Maduro’s mentor. In Villa del Rosario in western Venezuela, flammable fluid was thrown onto a statue of Chavez and then was set aflame. As the statue melted (it was made of plastic), crowds from this generally pro-Maduro town pulled it down and dragged it into the street.
Cellphone pictures and footage of that event triggered other similar attacks. In one town, a statue of Chavez simply disappeared overnight, while murals depicting his face were defaced elsewhere.
Maduro’s move is the latest desperate act of a scoundrel. Last week, Maduro took his country out of the Organization for American States (OAS) to keep them from ousting him. China, which has bailed out Maduro in the past to the tune of $60 billion, is now refusing to extend his regime any new financing. Medical care is so poor that pregnant mothers are crossing the border into Colombia and Brazil to give birth there. The average Venezuelan has lost 20 pounds due to food shortages caused by Maduro’s price controls and rationing. He ordered the takeover of General Motors’ assembly plant last month, and the country’s bonds have been “priced for default” for months. He has driven the state-owned oil producer, PDVSA, into the ground by replacing its 16,000 skilled employees and operators with his political cronies who have little if any experience in running the enterprise.
Supporters of an Article V constitutional convention claim that such a convention here would be limited, that nothing like what Maduro proposes could ever take place here. But a brief look at one of the primary enablers behind Article V, Larry Lessig, should disabuse such thinking. Under Sources below, John F. McManus, the president-emeritus of The John Birch Society, exposed Lessig’s true intentions: a complete rewrite of that document.
His long-range goal includes cancelling the Constitution in favor of a completely new law of the land. Based on what he has stated in the past, it would not contain the limitations appearing in the 1787 document that … are the key to America’s enviable success and freedom.
For additional information on Lessig’s background and his purposes, see Sources below.
Marxist Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela would no doubt support Lessig in his efforts.
Financial Times: The implosion of the Venezuelan thugocracy