[Marxism] "Blessings" for the All-Enabling Law

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Feb 10 10:17:55 MST 2007

(Some will certainly complain that Chavez doesn't immediately and
unconditionally expropriate the expropriators without compensation.
Of course that's easy to say from your easy chair abroad. But if it  
is possible to divide the capitalist class internally and delay the 
ultimate day of reckoning, what's the rush? Naturally, for every such
action there are prices and consequences, and Venezuela's a complicated
country with its own peculiarities. It seems from this, however, that
slowly but surely, Chavez is putting into place the necessary legislation 
to completely transform the country in the long term. Those who are in a
hurry to arrive at judgement day remind me of the kids in my junior high
school whose slogan was "let's you and him fight.")


"Blessings" for the All-Enabling Law
By: Marina Menédez Quintero

Email: mmenendez at jrebelde.cip.cu
2007-02-02 | 08:42:44 EST

Bush has just revealed his scepticism regarding Venezuelan President
Hugo Chavez being granted special powers, through the “All-enabling
Law,” that allows his office to expedite the passage of legislation
and fulfil the need for Venezuela to adapt laws needed for the
forging of socialism. Bush’s scepticism, of course, is not news.

However, the questioning of the US president can be useful if anyone
has a doubt about the profound revolutionary character of the recent
and unprecedented vote by Venezuelan representatives. They took
democracy to the street, where it was accepted by the crowds. This
was people’s participation. If someone like Bush criticizes this, it
must mean that the Bolivarian Revolution is on the right path.

Seriously speaking, the “doubts” expressed by the American president
have no support at all because his usually foolish “deference” only
makes public something that everyone already knew: the US is going to
“closely follow how President Hugo Chavez is to exercise these
powers.” Of course, this warning did not come directly from Bush, but
from the spokesperson of the Council of State, Sean McCormack,
speaking about the development of a hostile policy that is presently
all too visible. We have only to recall the hand of Washington behind
that failed coup in 2002, and the substantial amount of money given
to support the so-called non-governmental organizations to promote
the opposition.

Nonetheless, Bush avoided further elaboration. He limited himself to
taking advantage of the opportunity given by a Fox News journalist
who asked the president his view about the decision of Chavez to
return state control over strategic branches of the economy, such as

Always complicated and mysterious, the former Texas governor answered
by citing his fears that the nationalization of industry would make
it more difficult for the Venezuelan people to get out of poverty and
to develop their full potential. Then he added that he was worried
for the Venezuelan people and for the decline of democratic

And of course he could do nothing other than vent his bad idea, or
his ignorance, because whoever follows events knows that never before
has wealth been better distributed in Venezuela, nor has democracy
been stronger – especially when understood by its participative and
popular character it has never been so deep.

Together with the necessary nationalizations mentioned by Fox, the
All-Enabling Law will give Chavez the legal authority to push through
legislation in other fields while at the same time creating the
mechanisms for citizens to increasingly be the leading force of the
revolution and the executors and controllers of the state.

The approval by the people of the All-Enabling Law this Wednesday is
a proof of this objective, which has its greatest exponent in
community councils and local neighborhood groups now empowered with
full legal authority to plan and control financial investments in
their communities. This is precisely one of the main points to be
legislated according to the All-Enabling Law.

One is therefore reminded of the moral of an old fable: It is better
if the fool disapproves.

Posted on Sat, Feb. 10, 2007	

Markets welcome takeover offer
The Venezuelan government's deal with AES 
to purchase its stake in Electricidad de Caracas 
appeared to fairly compensate AES shareholders, 
according to industry analysts.
Associated Press

CARACAS - Venezuelan investors were cheered Friday by the
government's deal to buyout the country's top electricity company
from U.S.-based AES Corp., lifting hopes that President Hugo Chávez's
government may fairly compensate other companies it nationalizes.

Chávez triggered a selloff in local stocks last month when he
announced the nationalization of Electricidad de Caracas, or EDC, and
other companies as part of his plans to bring key industries under
state control.

But the government on Thursday signed an agreement with Arlington,
Va.-based AES to purchase its 82 percent stake in EDC for $739.3
million, a deal analysts said appeared to fairly compensate AES

''It turns out very well for the American investors,'' said Luis
Gustavo Richard, financial analyst with local brokerage InterAcciones
Casa de Bolsa.

The EDC deal is the first in the series of takeovers that Chávez
plans in the electricity, telecommunications, natural gas and oil
sectors in his bid to transform Venezuela into a socialist state -- a
moved that when announced last month prompted a 19 percent, one-day
drop in the local stock market and sparked fears Chávez could mimic
expropriations carried out by his mentor, Fidel Castro, during Cuba's
communist revolution.


Hopes that the government will also pay out well when it nationalizes
Venezuela's leading telecommunications company -- of which New
York-based Verizon Communications owns a 28.5 percent stake --
prompted a 1.6 percent rise in shares of CA Nacional Telefonos de
Venezuela, or CANTV, on the Caracas Stock Exchange ending at 8,751
bolivars ($4.07) Friday. The stock jumped 9 percent in early trading
before backing off.

The Caracas exchange's main index gained 458.42 points, or 1 percent,
Friday to end at 46,174.59.

CANTV's shares plunged last month after Chávez said he wanted an
immediate state takeover of the telephone company and will not pay
shareholders the market value.

But the deal struck with EDC could be a sign the government is wary
of further alienating investors. Venezuela has billions of dollars of
government debt on its books from bond bailouts of friendly allies
and has also repeatedly issued bonds of its own on the market. It has
also courted investment from foreign companies, especially those from
politically allied nations, in its oil and natural gas sectors.

AES President and CEO Paul Hanrahan said Thursday that AES paid $1.7
billion in 2000 to take over the company.

Richard said the approximately $1 billion that AES earned in
operations during those six years, together with the payout it is
receiving from the government, will allow it to recoup what it paid
for the company.

He added that the nationalization also provided an opportunity for
AES to sell off an investment it has been seeking to divest for some

Given concerns about the ''political situation'' in Venezuela, ''this
fell like a ring on the finger'' for AES, Richard said.


Javier Vega, a trader at local brokerage Activalores, agreed that
''the price is quite reasonable,'' saying the final share price works
out to about 666 bolivars ($0.31) per share including annual dividend

That is slightly above EDC's average trading price in recent months
and well above Thursday's close of 550 bolivars ($0.26) a share.
Trading on EDC was suspended Friday for 24 hours after the
announcement of the deal.

''Evidently, it's been seen as good news for the market,'' Vega said.

AES closed up 0.25 points, or 1.12 percent, to $22.61 on the New York
Stock Exchange Friday.

But CANTV's American Depositary Receipts dipped 0.02 points, or 0.13
percent, to $15.92 on the NYSE. Verizon, too, ended down 0.25 points,
or 0.66 percent, at $37.70.

Some also said the speed with which AES negotiated the sale shows
companies are uneasy about the policies of Chávez's leftist
government and eager to get out.

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