Venezuela's President Now Officially Has The Powers Of A Dictator

Venezuela maduroREUTERS/Carlos Garcia RawlinsVenezuelan President Nicolas Maduro talks to supporters during a meeting outside Miraflores Palace in Caracas, November 12, 2013.

In an effort to fight against those “waging economic warfare” on the people of Venezuela, the country’s legislator has approved a bill giving President Nicolas Maduro sweeping powers once held by late-President Hugo Chavez, Noticias 24 reports.

Basically, he can now rule by decree, without the need for legislative approval.

There were doubts about whether or not Maduro, a mere shadow of his predecessor, would be able to pass such major controls — but he did. Moreover, according to reports, hundreds rallied outside the legislature in support of this bill.

The new law will enable Maduro to either deepen state control of the economy or loosen foreign exchange controls to stimulate production, Asdrubal Oliveros, director of Caracas-based research group Ecoanalitica, told Bloomberg News.

Maduro described it in a speech last month as his way to “unfold a permanent offensive against the corrupt and their political backers.”

Today, his man in the legislature — and number two in the party Diosdado Cabellero — said that “the state must intervene to control those that have the capital and believe they can do whatever they want.”

Henrique Capriles, the leader of the opposition party, said the government “is seeking once again scapegoats to blame for their own mistakes… The government is trying to deviate attention from the serious economic crisis that is hurting Venezuela.”

That may be, but Chavez himself ruled with these special powers for four years while he was alive.

All this comes after a bunch of a bizarre, desperate sounding stories have emerged about the legitimacy of the Venezuelan government and its attempts to spur the economy and curb inflation (which blew up to 54% in the last 12 months).

For example: For the “sake of happiness”, the Ministry moved Christmas up to November 1st. What this measure actually is, is an attempt to jump-start some consumption.

As Venezuelan paper El Universal points, out, it also could also be a way for the government to give its ministers some cash in the form of early Christmas bonuses right before election day on December 8th.

And that election day is crucial to Maduro. He squeaked by the presidential election earlier this year — one in which Capriles was at a significant disadvantage in terms of money and media.
Watch the rallies outside the legislature (and a few words of ‘hello’ from Diosdado Caballero) below:

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