CNN) -- Venezuela's lame-duck National Assembly has granted President Hugo Chavez the power to pass laws by decree for the next 18 months, the website of state-run Venezuelan Television reported Friday.
Critics say the 56-year-old president sought the power in order to push his agenda through the legislative body. Elections in September weakened the ruling party's hold on power. The new lawmakers are to be seated January 5.
"It's a coup d'etat," said Pastora Medina, a member of Congress from the Humanist Front Party who is opposed to Chavez. She called on Venezuelans "to show their rejection of the move by all means" possible.
"It's going to cause a lot of damage," she told Globovision, the nation's last television station critical of the ruling party about Friday's events.
Friends, fellow Talk_Politics Nerds, Denizens of the Western Hemisphere in the Community, I come not to condone Chavez but to condemn him.
The man was halted in a coup d'etat by the army, and he purged all of the generals who stopped him, but he is an honorable and a brave defender of freedom.
The man backs thugs and cutthroats who deal cocaine and keep a civil war going in a neighboring country he threatens war with every other week or so but he is an honorable and brave defender of freedom.
The man acculumates steadily brick by brick a dictatorship, but he is an honorable and a brave defender of freedom. He now has an Enabling Act all his own. No doubt this is the evil Yanqui media distorting how the mirror-flip of Alberto Fujimori indeed is accumulating freedom with every act that consolidates power in his own hands, without Evo Morales' actions that actually improved things in addition to the power grabs. And if you believe that, in this picture there are five lights.
He's not a totalitarian like Castro and Kim Jong Il, but by this point it should be obvious to all save the most myopic that he's another in a long run of populist Caudillos. There is nothing he's also actually *done* to change anything, again by comparison to say, Evo Morales who actually *did* lift a country out of feudalism without the horrendous bloodshed that the same process produced in another society I will not name.