Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
15 June 2012

Announcing a guest blogger for the next two weeks

I am flying off to Eastern Europe this afternoon and will only be back on 4 July. I am embarking on a very adventurous holiday with my four sisters (no spouses or partners allowed). My colleague, Jaco Barnard-Naudé, with whom I have co-authored several academic articles (we are just completing an academic article in Afrikaans on The Spear saga for Litnet Akademies), has kindly agreed to act as the guest blogger here at Constitutionally Speaking in my absence. Jaco is a professor in the Department of Private Law at the University of Cape Town and teaches and conducts research in critical jurisprudence. He is an NRF rated researcher and recipient of the UCT Fellows’ Award and also a contributor to the Mail & Guardian Thought Leader Blog.

Hope you enjoy the new perspectives and insights that Jaco will bring to the Blog in my absence. I won’t be blogging unless something earth-shattering happens in South Africa during my absence. (And what can the chances be of that ever happening — after all, this is South Africa where something earth-shattering, like the firing of a Police Commissioner hardly ever occurs!)

Have fun.

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