The Trump administration has usurped the power of the Venezuelan Supreme Court in deciding that Juan Guaidó – who, we remind you, was never elected president -- is constitutionally entitled to exercise the powers of the Venezuelan president in substitution of Maduro. Nicolás Maduro and his loyal followers in the government and among the people, begs to differ.
So who’s right?
Well, aside from the fact that Venezuela is a sovereign country and has never accorded Trump and his men in black any power over the Venezuelan legal system, here is what the Venezuelan Constitution actually says in its Article 233 (first our English translation, followed by the Spanish original further on).
Article 233. Absolute absences of the President of the Republic shall be: death, resignation, dismissal decreed by the Supreme Court of Justice, permanent physical or mental incapacity certified by a medical board appointed by the Supreme Court of Justice and with approval of the National Assembly, the abandonment of the office, declared by the National Assembly, as well as the popular revocation of his mandate.
These are the only grounds for the legal substitution of the elected president of Venezuela. As to the allegation that the election was illegitimate, international observers had been invited and the Latin American Council of Electoral Experts (CEELA) declared the election clean:
“Caracas, October 16, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – The Latin American Council of Electoral Experts (CEELA) has confirmed that Sunday’s vote in Venezuelan gubernatorial elections was clean and transparent.”
As you can see, this constitution does not contain in its grounds for substitution of the president any requirement that the president’s actions must conform to the demands of the opposition or any foreign country, or that it must renounce socialism (US allies include socialist countries like Germany, France, Spain, China, etc) or that its economy must be resilient enough to remain strong despite economic sanctions or a drop in oil prices worldwide). Nor has "popular revocation of his mandate" been properly documented by referendum or other legal means -- despite the loud screaming from Western governments and some protest marches, which, however, have been matched by pro-government marches to which your friendly media gave short shrift.
Therefore, we may conclude without equivocation that, despite the pronouncements of the Trump administration and the EU, Guaidó is not nor ever was the legitimate president of Venezuela, and that title still accrues to Nicolás Maduro, for better or for worse.
Original in Spanish:
Artículo 233. Serán faltas absolutas del Presidente o Presidenta de la República: la muerte, su renuncia, la destitución decretada por sentencia del Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, la incapacidad física o mental permanente certificada por una junta médica designada por el Tribunal Supremo de Justicia y con aprobación de la Asamblea Nacional, el abandono del cargo, declarado éste por la Asamblea Nacional, así como la revocatoria popular de su mandato.
A translation of ours from the site Ria Novosti indicates that Russia has taken Maduro under its wing in the same way it did Assad. This is not well understood in the West, where commentators often suggest that Russia is about to throw Maduro under the bus. They said the same thing about Assad too, but Putin never betrays his friends. The West should know that by now.
But Westerners are slow learners.
Recent on Venezuela:
Can Russia pull off an economic Syria in Venezuela?