122 views 5 mins 0 comments

Maduro prepares harsh law to further punish criticism of Venezuela regime

In World
April 06, 2024

The Nicolás Maduro regime is about to approve a new law that would provide its security forces more tools to quash dissension inside Venezuela by turning protesting into a criminal act that could be punished with a stiff prison sentence.

The bill, known in Venezuela as the law against fascism, could be used against anyone expressing dissatisfaction with the situation in the country, members of the opposition asking for election reforms or just regular citizens protesting against the frequent electricity blackouts.

“We can define the anti-fascism law as a law against protests,” said Carlos Julio Rojas, an activist known for his defense of the citizens of the northern sector of Caracas. “We cannot define it as an initiative designed to punish the opposition, because it also seeks to punish all those who having been part of the [Maduro] movement are now willing to say out loud that they are dissatisfied.”

The bill’s target ranges from those willing to post political messages against Maduro on social media to those simply complaining that the food provided by the regime’s social program is rotten. With this bill, “Anyone who raises his voice and complains about him can now be considered a fascist,” Rojas said.

Already approved this week in first discussion, the bill is scheduled to obtain final approval in the coming days within the Maduro-controlled National Assembly.

Arguing the need to promote “peaceful coexistence,” the proposal would prohibit messages that could be interpreted as promoting violence as an instrument of political action. That sort of language is often used by regime members in reference to calls from the opposition to congregate in the streets or to protest or simply to express harsh opinions against the regime through social media.

Under the bill, violation of the new law will be sanctioned with jail or fines, although legislators have yet to define what they would be.

The project also calls for the creation of a Committee Against Fascism and of grass-roots organizations that would take action against the ideology, which the regime frequently attributes to opposition leaders and to public figures that favor a free market economy or speak in favor of a freer and more democratic society.

The bill was introduced amid growing discontent and lack of support for the regime ahead of the presidential election set for the end of July.

Its timing is no accident, said former Caracas Mayor and opposition leader Antonio Ledezma. The regime already had other laws in place to punish dissidents, but decided that it needed a new instrument to intimidate dissatisfied militants moving away from the government.

In legal terms, the regime has no real need for this, but it sees a need for intimidation and to justify the use of political repression, Ledezma said. This is because the government is seeing infighting and the disintegration of the movement at a base level and realized that there is a need to put its house in order through greater repression.

“They are trying to maintain leadership this way,” he said, because they fear the overwhelming support that opposition leader María Corina Machado has and that more than 80% of the public is against Maduro. They see this as a “swollen river that can bring everything down.”

Concerned by polls assuring that he would be resoundingly defeated by Machado if he competed against her in the presidential election, Maduro disqualified the candidacy of the opposition leader and of her proxy replacement, university professor Corina Yolis.

The ban has been accompanied by a wave of arrests against opposition leaders, human rights activists and military personnel who are being accused of participating in plots to overthrow Maduro.

EMEA Tribune is not involved in this news article, it is taken from our partners and or from the News Agencies. Copyright and Credit go to the News Agencies, email news@emeatribune.com Follow our WhatsApp verified Channel210520-twitter-verified-cs-70cdee.jpg (1500×750)

Support Independent Journalism with a donation (Paypal, BTC, USDT, ETH)
whatsapp channel
Avatar
/ Published posts: 31206

The latest news from the News Agencies