The single most important element in any dictatorship is the ability to rule by executive decree without the interference of a legislative or judicial counterbalance, even so much as a rubber stamp one. So it comes as no surprise that Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez (seen at left, with parrot) will be using this ability to put the finishing touch on his leap from merely being a heavy handed autocrat to being a full blown dictator.
Venezuela's rubber stamp parliament will shortly be voting on (and approving) a measure that will grant Chavez the ability to rule by decree, thereby turning Venezuela's legislative and judicial bodies into mere spectators, and removing the last checks on his political power. Chavez claims he requires these "revolutionary powers" to "advance the Bolivarian revolution" This is certainly not the first step Chavez has embarked upon to remake Venezuela into a carbon copy of Fidel Castro's Cuba, but it might be the last one he needs.
This newest step comes on the heels of Chavez pulling the plug on a television network he views as being "hostile to the Bolivarian revolution", consolidated power by merging all the left of center parties into a single pro-Chavez party, and is in the process of re-writing the constitution to eliminate his own term limits. So what does this add up to? Let's review:
- The virtual elimination of opposition political parties
- The neutering of a free press
- No term limits
- The ability to rule by decree