Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez continues his march to authoritarianism.

In an effort to bolster the already excessive power of the executive, Chavez received authority to govern by decree until mid-2012 from a lame duck legislative national assembly controlled by Chavez loyalists. This action comes on the eve of a January handoff to a new legislative body with 40 percent of the membership, representing more than 50 percent of Venezuela’s voters, waiting to openly debate Venezuela’s future.

Boasted Chavez, “you won’t be able to make a single law, little Yankees.” (Like Fidel Castro, Chavez considers any opposition to his revolutionary, socialist way an act of treason and instigated by the U.S.) In response to legitimate criticism, Chavez said that the opposition should take “a Valium, or something like that. Otherwise, they should see a psychiatrist to get some recommendations.”

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