Many Americans reasonably detect, and lament, a decline of civility in our political process. But at least members of our Congress confine their partisan blows to the verbal variety.
In Venezuela’s parliament, though, a heated debate got physical — and bloody — on Tuesday. Brawling by members of the National Assembly produced numerous injuries as the bitterness of a disputed presidential election to replace the late leftist blowhard — and bully — Hugo Chavez persists.
The opposition has cited convincing evidence of fraud in the narrow victory of Nicolas Maduro, Mr. Chavez’ chosen United Socialist Party successor, over challenger Henrique Capriles on April 14.
On Tuesday, according to opposition parliamentarians, seven of their number were attacked while protesting a measure designed to block them from speaking about their refusal to accept that dubious election result.
As lawmaker Julio Borges, his face bruised and bloodied, put it: “They can beat us, jail us, kill us, but we will not sell out our principles.”
A worker in the National Assembly told Reuters that after opposition legislators shouted “fascist” at the parliament’s leader, they were assaulted by United Socialist counterparts. From Reuters: “Laptops and tables were hurled in the ensuing melee, with one legislator hit over the head with a chair, the witness said.”
Clearly, Mr. Chavez’ death hasn’t freed Venezuela of his party’s iron grip on national authority.
And Tuesday’s violence in Venezuela’s parliament wasn’t just an ugly example of political animus getting out of hand.
It was another sad sign that the folks in charge in Caracas are still using thuggish tactics to retain their power.