Professor Manuel Gomez Discusses the Future of Venezuelan Politics
Professor Gomez discusses the future of Venezuelan politics during the March 8 panel discussion

Manuel Gomez, associate professor at the Florida International University College of Law, took part in discussing the future of Venezuelan politics during the March 8 panel discussion “Venezuela after Chavez: Initial Reactions and a Forecast of What’s to Come.” Professors from the Department of Politics and International Relations Astrid Arraras, Barry Levit, and Jose Miguel Cruz were also panelists.

The panel discussion, moderated by Eduardo Gamarra, professor of politics and international relations, revolved around President Chavez as a symbol of the revolution, and the constitutionality of swearing in Vice President Nicolás Maduro Moros as interim President of Venezuela

Panelists discussed the symbolism behind Maduro’s swearing in ceremony by the military army. “It is important that he is sworn in that building. It symbolizes success for the military,” said panelist Astrid Arraras, “It is sending a message to the military that he is now their leader.”

As a formality, the president’s body is usually taken to the congressional National Assembly as per the constitution. Instead, President Chavez’s remains were taken to the Museum of Revolution as a reflection of the success of the military for the regime.

The panel also noted that Chavez was never officially sworn into his second term due to his sickness. Venezuela has never had a presidential candidate that was already serving a presidential term, therefore Venezuela’s Supreme Court decided there was no need for an inauguration, said Professor Gomez, the only Venezuelan panelist. “They called it ‘continuidad administrativo’, and the court’s interpretation is the final interpretation.”

Gomez concluded by saying, “You don’t need an expert to tell you about the constitution, you need one to analyze the government, and perhaps a weasel to tell you what’s next.”

Professor Gomez teachers a seminar: Jurisprudence (Law in Many Societies), and complex litigation. His research focuses on variety of areas including complex litigation in Latin America, and legal and institutional reform in Latin America. His work has appeared in a number of publications in the U.S., South America and Europe, and has received several prestigious awards, including the Law and Society Association’s Dissertation Prize, the Richard S. Goldsmith Award in Dispute Resolution at Stanford University, as well as the annual prize awarded by the Venezuelan Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA).

- Daphne Saba

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