“Now that the economic emergency decree has validity, in the next few days I will activate a series of measures I had been working on,” he said Thursday, in a televised statement meant to address a “food emergency” declared by Congress.
The “validity” Maduro references comes from a high court ruling that gives the President expanded powers to tackle a deepening economic crisis that’s left hospitals without medicine and grocery stores bereft of food.
“The controversial move by the Supreme Court, which critics say is packed with supporters of Mr Maduro’s socialist government, potentially sets the scene for a bitter institutional crisis amid claims that the national assembly is being undermined,” FT notes, underscoring the extent to which opposition lawmakers – who in December won 99 of 167 seats that were up for grabs in what amounted to the worst defeat in history for Hugo Chavez’s leftist movement – feel as though last year’s election victory may have been a ruse designed to lend legitimacy to a system that is, and likely always will be, deeply undemocratic.
“This is a tyranny, which has been very successful in disguising as a democracy, and has even allowed itself to lose an election,” Moisés Naím, a former Venezuelan minister and fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said.
Thanks to the Supreme Court decision, Maduro doesn’t need the assembly’s permission to intervene further in business, to allocate funds for imports, and to introduce new capital controls. The opposition is furious and says it will speed up efforts to usurp Maduro once and for all. “In the next few days we will have to present a concrete proposal for the departure of that national disgrace that is the government,” opposition leader Henry Ramos told reporters on Friday.
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