Hugo Chavez is visiting Ecuador, where he and his pal Rafael Correa called for all Latin American socialists to work jointly to solve the economic crisis.
It would be more convincing if the Venezuelan economy had been doing well up to now, but don’t let the details bother you.
Chavez also told Correa he’ll be dropping by “every two or three months”, I would guess to supervise the binational integration program implemented by both countries.
Correa has been busy at implementing all massive changes to the Ecuadorian Constitution, including a full overhaul of the courts. The country’s top judges are dismissed and temporary 21-member court is supposed to be chosen at random from the ranks of the old one until a new, permanent court takes over in 2009.
Ecuador’s top judges faced a trial by lottery on Tuesday — with 10 of the 31 justices set to lose their jobs by chance under a newly approved constitution. And the justices say they won’t go along with it.
The court was dissolved on Sunday under a new constitution that took effect last week. A temporary 21-member court is supposed to be chosen at random from the ranks of the old one until a new, permanent court takes over in 2009.
But the court’s justices issued a statement last week announcing they would refuse to take seats determined by what they called a “degrading” lottery process.
Omar Simon, president of the electoral body appointed to carry out the lottery, told the Gama TV station Tuesday that he does not know what officials will do if the judges refuse to rejoin the new court.
Supreme Court Judge Rodrigo Bucheli said that the lottery process threatens the security of the judicial branch and the integrity of pending rulings.
“Instead of a technical judicial process, they are going to hold an implicitly political process,” Bucheli told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The constitution approved by referendum on September 28 established a transitional regime that will govern until general elections are held in early 2009. A new, permanent court is supposed to take over then as well.
Also related to Ecuador:
My friend Maggie had part of her letter published in the Miami Herald last week. Here’s what she wrote:
Before the Law Stands a Gatekeeper
It is a true and honorable old saying that the most successful constitutions are short and concise. Indeed, it can be said that a direct correlation can be drawn between successful nations and their short and sweet constitutions versus failed and failing states which most often hold overly lengthy, wafty and imprecise constitutions and laws. If as Kafka once lamented, `Before the law stands a gatekeeper’ for many global residents, that gatekeeper remains increasingly opaque, daffy and impossibly aberrant constitutions.
Today a new crop of the wackiest manifestos are being pumped up around the Andes. Almost one year ago, Venezuelans rejected Chavez’s latest constitution which did not stop Chavez from enacting this incredulous screed by presidential mandate anyway. Bolivia will host a nationwide vote on their new one soon enough and Ecuador just voted on theirs the end of September. In all three cases, these horrifying so-called constitutions doom liberty and cease to function as constitutions and are instead manifestos.
In fact, all three interlock these Andean nations in to a constitutional bloc of states, also called “multi polar” thus obliterating what used to be known as independent states or Republics, joining now as a united bloc by constitutional caveat.
Coincidentally, all three share identical goals and share power as well. All three enjoyed so called constitutional scholars from Europe’s old communist party, notably so called “academicians” from Spain who buzz in and out of Quito, La Paz and Caracas. Our particular enmity is raised for the strict take over of educational curricula by the state….and for the state. This is the special parvenu of Hugo Chavez’s “academicians” out of the MIRANDA CENTER in Caracas, currently assisting in the full communist manifestos in these three nations, now forming a regional bloc. One of Chavez’s Miranda Board members in support of the Cuban school curricula is Barack Hussein Obama’s friend and supporter, Bill Ayers of Chicago. Chavez is also host and employer to Ayers’s step son along with numerous FARC actors such as FARC moll Piedad Cordoba, also enjoying Chavez’s accounts and “hospitality”, such as it is.
Having been one of a tiny handful who has actually studied these so-called constitutions and concluded that they are horrifying indeed, while handing full powers to one man for one purpose- I was astonished to note that the MIAMI HERALD reprinted whole cloth, with no due diligence and no fact checking, a well paid discourse promoting the Chavez-aligning so-called constitution of Ecuador, which removes democracy and attendant functional liberties, in a piece entitled, ” New constitution good for democracy.”
Here’s what the Miami Herald published:
Ecuador vs. democracy
Ecuador’s ”new” constitution was promoted in Luis Gallegos Chiriboga’s Oct. 8 Other Views column, New constitution good for democracy. However, Gallegos, ambassador for Ecuador to the United States, fails to mention that numerous articles in the ”constitution” hand full powers of the courts and every governmental or civic duty over to one man, Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s president, potentially in power until 2017.
Correa teamed with a group of so-called constitutional scholars out of Caracas, plus FARC-supporting ”academicians from Spain” representing the old Communist Party who co-authored the recent Bolivian and Venezuelan constitutions. Understandably, Ecuador’s Catholic bishops rightly fear that Correa will seize all religious schools.
Although Correa repeatedly informed Ecuadoreans that they had no need to study the more than 150-page constitution, which they voted on in the fall, Correa himself oversaw a genuine restriction of open discussion and debate about the contents.
This so-called constitution also ensures safe haven for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, while legalizing narcotics. Of additional concern is a mandate in Article 418, that only leaves one to conclude that Ecuador is now formally inside the Chávez bloc of Bolivia and Venezuela.
The president of Ecuador calls this the ”new democracy.” But this constitutional manifesto is not new, and it is not democracy.
MARGARET L. PETITO, president, Friends of Rule of Law in Ecuador Inc., Washington, D.C.
Correa is only getting started in his changes.