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
27 November 2006

Same-sex marriage passes last hurdle

The NCOP committee voted today for an unamended version of the Civil Union Bill despite vociferous objections from religious groups. This just goes to show that the “compromise” of creating two marriage acts did not appease religious groups.

Why then compromise? Why not amend the Marriage Act and get it over with?

I suspect it has more to do with the politics within the ANC than with any attempt to appease religious groups. A separate act may have made it more palatable for ANC MPs to vote for the Bill. It gives them something to defend back home.

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