Hugo Chavez has once again been granted the revolutionary right to rule by decree:
The opposition fear Mr Chavez will use the powers to move Venezuela closer to a left-wing dictatorship.
Mr Chavez has dismissed these concerns, while making it clear that he is determined to deepen his “socialist revolution”.
“We are building a new democracy here that can’t be turned back,” he said on Thursday.
The opposition, like so many others, seems to have forgotten that “left-wing dictatorship” and “deepening the socialist revolution” have, historically speaking, never been mutually exclusive.
The 18-month period means the opposition will be largely excluded from policy-making until the middle of 2012, just months before Venezuela’s next presidential election.
Convenient, that. “New democracy,” indeed.