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Cuba, Jr.
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Our boy Hugo is at it again in Venezuela. He's instituted, by decree, a sweeping new "intelligence law" which is modeled after laws in force in Cuba for decades.

Why a decree and not pass it through the puppet legislature? Well if he had taken it to the legislature, there would have been a public debate, and, per the thinking within the regime, that would have probably led to a public uproar. So instead the law was put together behind closed doors and decreed into existence.

What does it do?
...[I]t authorizes his new intelligence agencies to use “any special or technically designed method” to intercept and obtain information.

...[T]he use of community-monitoring groups to assist in gathering intelligence resembles Cuba’s use of neighborhood Committees for the Defense of the Revolution to report on antigovernment behavior.

...[J]ustice officials, including judges, are required to actively collaborate with the intelligence services rather than serve as a check on them.
Of course, as pointed out in the article, this just refines and consolidates Chavez's powers and enhances what he's already been doing:
In some ways, the changes would merely refine the control Mr. Chávez already exerts over intelligence operations. His government has already used voter registration data to purge employees deemed disloyal to the president from the intelligence agencies and other parts of the civil service.
Got that? If someone voted against Chavez or what he's wanted, and they worked for the government, they're, at a minimum, unemployed. Can't imagine what effect that would have on any future elections or referendums, can you?

The excuse for all of this? The usual - the 1984ish "external enemy":
The law’s stated aim of protecting Venezuela follows a history of antagonism between the governments in Caracas and Washington, dating at least from the Bush administration’s tacit support for a short-lived coup against Mr. Chávez in 2002.

Recently, Venezuela has claimed it was subject to military intimidation from the United States, pointing to a recent violation of Venezuelan airspace by an American fighter jet and Washington’s recent reactivation of its Fourth Fleet to patrol Latin American and Caribbean waters.
The reality:
“This is the most scandalous effort to intimidate the population in the 10 years this government has been in power,” said Rocío San Miguel, a prominent legal scholar who heads a nongovernmental organization that monitors Venezuelan security and defense issues.

Ms. San Miguel said information her group had collected could be deemed illegal under the new law. The group has data from military sources showing that Mr. Chávez’s efforts to create a force of one million reservists had fallen far short.

“Under the new law, this information could be considered a threat to national security and I could be sent immediately to jail,” she said. “Effectively this is a way to instill fear in NGOs and news organizations and parts of society that remain outside the government’s reach.”
The aging Fidel Castro is smiling.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Cuba, Jr. sure doesn’t seem to be gooding.


Written By: Veeshir
URL: http://
Phew! Boy, Venezuela dodged a bullet on that one. Just think, he could have done something truly evil and modeled it after the Patriot Act.
Written By: Terry
URL: http://
I forgoet to add the ">>shudder<< after typing Patriot Act.

Oh yeah, >>shudder<< again.
Written By: Terry
URL: http://
The aging Fidel Castro is smiling.

Because of rictus due to rigor mortis?
Written By: Billy Hollis
What?!? They don’t need to get warrants to tap your phone anymore in Venezuela? They let the ginned up fear of evildoing foreigners justify that kind of police power? Warantless wiretaps indeed, why it’s almost like a dictatorship or something.
Written By: Retief
URL: http://

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