Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro inaugurated Tuesday a presidential council to promote LGBT rights.
On Wednesday, the president also announced that he would approve a special law, through his enabling powers, to give judicial validity and protection to the Presidential Government Councils. The councils were elected by various social sectors and movements, such as women, indigenous peoples, youth, and so on, to be a direct voice with the president
The Presidential Council of Sexual Diversity will seek to tackle discrimination based on sexual orientation, along with supporting women’s rights.
“We must demand respect in our mass media, and elsewhere,” said council head Ingrid Baron, referring to the need for legislation against discriminatory messages circulated on television and in other media.
Speaking on the president’s television program, “En Contacto Con Maduro” (In Contact with Maduro), Baron called for tougher legislation against sexual discrimination.
She argued sexual diversity rights should be a key priority of Venezuela’s socialists.
“May this law take into account the recognition and protection of the rights of the sexual-diverse community to access the goods and services of all of the social programs promoted by the Revolution.”
Maduro agreed, stating, “Your fight for respect has moved me, and … you can count on me.”
Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, was fiercely critical of Venezuela’s traditionally conservative, machismo culture. He was also the country’s first head of state to openly support feminism, once stating he was a “convinced socialist-feminist.”
“All socialists have to be feminist … capitalism is macho,” he said in 2008.
“From childhood there is unfair treatment of boys compared to girls,” Chavez argued.
The new sexual diversity council is part of Maduro’s broader efforts to renew Venezuela’s socialist revolution, which was started under Chavez.
Since his socialist party, the PSUV, lost its majority in the National Assembly early this month, Maduro has called to reorganize and reconnect with grassroots social movements.
In a key address days after the election, Maduro emphasized the importance of addressing the country’s current economic woes by proposing to hold a popular economic congress, which is intended to provide a platform for supporters and grassroots movements to formulate strategies to rectify the current economic challenges facing Venezuela.
The Venezuelan leader has taken on a tone of self-reflection, calling on his party and supporters to examine the reasons behind the electoral defeat in the National Assembly.
The election saw the opposition Movement for Democratic Unity (MUD) win a supermajority in the National Assembly.
Original text by TeleSUR English with additional reporting by Venezuelanalysis.com.