Tue, Mar 17, 2015 - Page 7 News List

Venezuela’s Maduro secures decree powers

CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS:An analyst said the new law is ‘highly dangerous,’ as it allows Maduro to issue decrees on civil rights that were formerly protected

AFP, CARACAS

Militia members and supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro hold letters during a rally outside Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

Venezuelan lawmakers voted on Sunday to give socialist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro special powers to go it alone in defense and public safety, amid an escalating confrontation with the US.

The decree powers were approved by a show of hands in the Venezuelan National Assembly — which is packed with Maduro allies — after two hours of one-sided debate.

They are to be in effect until the end of the year and are expected to raise fresh fears about abuse of power.

“This assembly declares this law approved,” speaker Diosdado Cabello said.

“We are going to head over there in front of Miraflores [presidential] Palace to deliver the law to the people and comrade Nicolas Maduro,” Cabello added.

‘HIGHLY DANGEROUS’

International affairs analyst and university professor Carlos Luna said that the law is “highly dangerous.”

It allows Maduro to issue decrees on civil rights, which are “constitutionally guaranteed rights of the individual, which are meant to be a containing wall against abuse of power,” Luna said.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles said in a Twitter posting that Venezuela’s “crisis has nothing to do with [the United States] or economic wars” that Maduro repeatedly says Venezuela faces.

An anti-US march was called by the Cuban-allied socialist government at the palace.

Venezuela is in the midst of 10 days of nationwide military exercises, as the country faces a deepening economic crisis and rampant shortages of the most basic goods.

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