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Venezuela: Anti-terror regulations are to confiscate rights

Sara Carolina Diaz - El Universal

06.12.04 | In order to fight terrorists actions, President Hugo Chávez' delegation in Parliament, known as Bloque del Cambio, has speed up the approval of the reform of the penal code and the anti-terror law, despite the objections made by the opposition deputies.

After a bomb attack that killed the fourth national environment prosecutor Danilo Anderson on November 18, the pro-government lawmakers are determined to pass two key draft laws intended to fight terrorism -and key to President Hugo Chávez' so-called Bolivarian project- at the National Assembly.

While the Executive Power has instructed state police corps to crack down on what it calls "radical right-wing terrorist factions," the Legislative Power has not fallen behind: the lawmakers comprising the pro-government parliamentarian bloc known as the Bloque del Cambio are about to pass a partial reform of the Venezuelan Penal Code and start a second debate on a draft law to fight terrorist actions, which is currently under discussion at a National Assembly's special committee headed by ruling party MVR deputy Calixto Ortega.

Twenty-two out of 38 articles comprising the partial reform of the penal code were been passed in Parliament last Thursday.

Regarding the draft law to fight terrorist actions, the National Assembly created a special committee to boost this bill -comprising 13 articles- that was approved in a first debate three years ago and that is to be submitted for a second debate in Parliament within the next 45 days. A second version drafted by MVR lawmakers Osmar Gómez includes 58 articles, but it is to be subject to changes during the relevant debates at the different public powers and when compared to international anti-terror laws.

Both regulations are to set forth articles that, according to opposition lawmakers, are intended to punish dissidence, while the government claims the two draft laws have to be enacted in order to penalize anti-democratic behaviors seen in the country in the last few years.

Translated by Maryflor Suárez

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