Supreme Court Strikes Down Opposition Health Law, Declares AN’s May Activities Invalid

Venezuela’s high court declared an emergency health law approved by the opposition-controlled parliament unconstitutional due to its infringement upon the Executive branch’s powers.


Los Angeles, June 16, 2016 ( –Venezuela’s Supreme Court (TSJ) declared unconstitutional Monday an opposition-approved Emergency Health Law directed at addressing the “humanitarian crisis”. 

The TSJ cited that the law usurps the Executive branch’s powers in international relations and violates national sovereignty.  The law itself would direct President Nicolás Maduro to authorize humanitarian aid into the country without any prior request from the head of state.

The Supreme Court expressed in a statement that the law infringes upon the “powers of the Executive branch with respect to states of emergency and in regards to the management of foreign relations.”

“The Supreme Court based its decision on the exclusive nature of the powers exercised by the President of the Republic under the state of exception,” which the government decreed earlier this year in light of the “economic war” which the Bolivarian government has claimed is being waged by the private sector and members of the opposition.

According to the high court, “in attempting to force the National Executive to accept international cooperation, when there exists no prior request, [this law] committed an unconstitutional transfer of power of the sovereignty of the Venezuelan State to cooperating international organizations and countries.”

In their statement, the TSJ continued that the opposition-controlled National Assembly’s (AN) legislation was aimed at allowing “the intervention of international organizations and bodies in the internal affairs of the Republic.”

As such, the high court ordered that the “National Assembly, its President, its Board of Directors and its members generally refrain from trying to direct the foreign relations of the Republic and, in general, display actions that are not covered by the powers corresponding to them.”

The ruling follows a recent announcement on the part of the Venezuelan government that it would begin to import medicine and other health industry materials from Cuba, India, Iran and China. 

The TSJ additionally criticized the opposition’s emergency law because “humanitarian aid” organizations, “would have the power to decide what the cooperation consists of, what quality and on what conditions it would be delivered.”

The Venezuelan court’s decision also denounced the opposition’s legislation for its invitation of “products that may be under investigation (pre-commercial), as well as drugs that could affect health and banned administration in humans or products that can be manufactured in the country. [Humanitarian aid’s] free entry could affect the domestic pharmaceutical industry.”

Additionally, the court’s sentence declared invalid the AN’s decisions between May 10 and May 31, 2016. In one of the month’s first legislative sessions, the opposition approved an “agreement calling for compliance with the Constitution regarding the responsibility of the Executive Branch, Supreme Court and National Electoral Council to preserve peace and in the face of democratic change in Venezuela.”

Moreover, on May 31st, opposition lawmakers also passed a resolution backing “the interest of the international community, including the G-7, OAS, Unasur, Mercosur and Vatican, in the Venezuelan crisis.”

All of these decisions, within the Venezuelan constitution, are beyond the powers ascribed to the legislative body which are defined in articles 137 and 138 of the South American nation’s governing document.  The TSJ explained, “[the oppositon’s decisions are] not directly based on the violation of constitutional rights but upon the infringement of powers and inherent constitutional powers of the Executive branch.”

The TSJ’s sentence comes as Ramos Allup, opposition AN leader, announced on Twitter this week he will travel to Washington on June 23rd to present before the OAS the alleged “constitutional rupture” of Venezuelan democratic order.