The Congress in Venezuela, AN in Spanish, has now installed itself. The opposition got 52% of the votes, the chavistas got 48%. However, the chavistas have got a larger number of congressmen (98 vs. 67) which they used to steamroll the opposition, and accept the unconstitutional legislation passed in the eleventh hour by the lame duck session. The methods used did not even have a semblance of democracy. To top it off, the new Speaker is a former traitor of the country, who helped a communist invasion force from Cuba in the 1960’s: Comandante Ramírez, now known as Fernando Soto Rojas. Chávez, backed by the Cuban vice-president Valdéz, is attempting to rule Venezuela with a finger. His middle finger. The shock effect is similar to the one that Adolf Hitler was aiming for when he made himself absolute dictator in a similar way.
This means that it is no longer a crime against democracy to depose Chávez by force.
In fact, if Chávez was sent to an isolated island to spend the rest of his days in internal exile, a prisoner at a military base, it would not be a crime. Just like it was no coup d’État when the military of Honduras arrested Zelaya, jailing Chávez while democracy is restored would not be a coup.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean that it is likely to happen. Venezuela has a different set of circumstances than Honduras. It has no independent judiciary, it has no independent parliament. There is thus no democratic institution that can give the orders to the military. The military would have to act on its own, based on their own, internal, evaluation of the constitutionality, in obedience to the oath they have taken.
Even though there is a large majority of militaries in Venezuela who would agree with this action, it is still a very risky proposition, because the top leaders are bought by Cuba, and there are Cuban soldiers at various levels to assure compliance with the orders from Havana, Cuba.
Therefore, the best bet for Venezuelans who want democracy and the rule of law to be restored (and the many political prisoners to be released) is to organize a totally civilian non-violent resistance. The downside with that strategy is that it can take a long time to reach victory, and be very costly. However, it can also be used a a first step towards a military mutiny.
Just like there were many Germans who supported Hitler and the Nazis up until the oppression became obvious, so are there still quite a few Venezuelans who support the Chávez dictatorship. They probably don’t understand or give a damn about democracy, human rights, or the rule of law. Perhaps they just see their own personal situation, and are not concerned with the suffering of their fellow Venezuelans. I don’t know, but to reach these people with the message is key to eroding the support from the dictator in Caracas. When the support is sufficiently eroded, a mutiny may be the final step to reach a quick end to the disaster that is Bolivarian Venezuela.
Annex: Como derrocar a una dictadura (pdf).
Link: List of political prisoners in Venezuela.