Moon of Alabama – March 4, 2019
Juan Guaidó, the random guy who claims to be ‘interim president’ of Venezuela, just arrived (vid) back in Caracas. He was not arrested. It seems that President Maduro’s strategy is to simply ignore Guaidó and to wait until the guy campaign runs out of steam. Meanwhile U.S. media and the Trump administration are doing their best to further that.
The New York Times reported of Random Guyaido’s plans to return to Venezuela:
The piece included this curious passage:
These regional allies are among the 50 countries, including the United States, that have recognized him as president, not Mr. Maduro, who swore himself in in January for a second term after an election widely viewed as undemocratic.
Is it unusual that someone swears “himself” into office. It is also not what the constitution of Venezuela proscribes:
Article 231: The candidate elected shall take office as President of the Republic on January 10 of the first year of his constitutional term, by taking an oath before the National Assembly. If for any supervening reason, the person elected President of the Republic cannot be sworn in before the National Assembly, he shall take the oath of office before the Supreme Tribunal of Justice.
So what really happened on January 10 in Venezuela? Helpfully the NYT provided a link in the passage above. It goes to this story in the January 10 edition of the Times. It says:
When President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela was sworn in for his second term on Thursday before the country’s Supreme Court, ..
The presidents of Bolivia, Cuba, El Salvador and Nicaragua did attend the ceremony, along with representatives from China, Mexico and Turkey.
Maduro did not swear “himself in”, he was “sworn in”. He took the oath in front of the supreme court which is fully consistent with the constitution. (The National Assembly is held in contempt of a judgment by the supreme court and was therefore not eligible.) The Miami Herald has a short video of the scene.
So while on January 10 the NYT correctly described that Maduro was “sworn in”, it now claims that he “swore himself in”. Why the Times is doing that is quite obvious. It was the U.S. puppet Juan Guaidó who “swore himself in” as ‘interim president’ in a form that is inconsistent with what the constitution demands. As CNN reported at that time: