Bogota, November 9 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly (ANC) passed a law against hatred this Wednesday, aimed at bringing the divided country to political reconciliation.
Officially called the Constitutional Law Against Hatred and For Peaceful Cohabitation and Tolerance, the legislation includes 25 different articles. According to the law’s preamble, its objective is to “promote and guarantee the recognition of diversity, tolerance and reciprocal respect, as well as to prevent and eradicate all forms of political violence, hatred and intolerance”.
The law was initially proposed to the assembly by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in August.
Though a full copy of the law has yet to be made public, articles circulated online show that the legislation prevents parties and political organizations that promote fascism, racial hatred and discrimination from registering with the country's National Electoral Council. The law also includes severe penalties for media agencies that circulate messages deemed to be promoting hatred or civil war in the country, and obliges to the state to undertake actions aimed at raising awareness on the importance of political reconciliation.
Between April and July this year Venezuela was rocked by opposition-backed violent protests aimed at unseating Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. At least 125 people were killed in the unrest. In 2014, scores of people were also killed in a similar bout of opposition backed street violence, while in 2002 former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was temporarily removed from office in an opposition and US-backed coup.
Opposition activists regularly post regularly call for “retributive” violence against Chavistas or leftwing supporters of the national government on social media.
The law provoked an outpouring of criticism from opposition supporters online, who said the legislation would be used to persecute them.
Meanwhile, the legislation was backed by government supporters. Nonetheless, many also expressed frustration that the ANC had passed the law without taking measures to address the economic problems affecting the country.
The ANC promised action on the economic front weeks ago to combat the country’s spiraling inflation, however, no economic measures have been announced to date.