El porvenir de nuestra democracia / Oswaldo Barreto

The Future of Our Democracy

With this imposing and excessive title, we are not proposing, no matter how customary it is during this phase of the calendar, to venture into any type of predictions about what the future will hold for us in matters of politics. No, it is because of an occurrence, which has redundantly and unfortunately already taken place, that we would like to warn about the certain and precise threat that is sifting onto the democratic order through which we still operate. It has to do with that strange gift from the Three Kings which comes wrapped up in the singular speech that president Chávez pronounced on January 6th, upon the occasion of receiving the delegation of assembly members that approached Miraflores palace to communicate to them that other singular and real occurrence: the installation of a legislative assembly without any opposition representation. In this oratorical piece, directed explicitly at his governmental team—and built thanks to laborious and systematic contrasts, Chávez announced his decided will to do away with in Venezuela what is known in the world as a democratic system.

Very philosophically, like he himself thought he was doing, by invoking the dialectic that governs history, he began to oppose representative democracy against participatory democracy, the nefarious past the former recalled and the splendorous future the latter announced.

Later, he ventured into the differentiation between the "unjust right" that is practiced in representative democracies and the "just right" that characterizes participatory democracies. From those elevated disquisitions he descended to prosaic Venezuelan reality to announce that he was already sick of how his governmental team and his partisans proved in theory and in practice they were trapped in this confusion of the representative and the democratic.

And he finished by evoking, as a dialectical solution between the representative and the participatory, a new form of governance based on information. He suggested, concretely, that the entire governmental team, members of the public powers, military authorities, ministerial team, all gathered and mixed together, would become informants in a Situational Room he would preside over, in order to know reality "in real time" and to make the pertinent decisions. Goodbye separation and independence of powers, goodbye delegation of functions, goodbye decentralization. Such would be the future of our democracy.

{ Oswaldo Barreto, TalCual, 10 January 2006 }

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