Venezuela: Gov’t Presents Anti-Fascism Law, Calls for Global Action to Protect Humanity

The Venezuelan parliament also passed a law for the Essequibo defense amidst alleged new threats from the CIA and US Southern Command.
The new anti-fascism legislation bans political organizations that promote fascist ideals and activities. (X/@Asamblea_Ven)

Caracas, April 4, 2024 ( – Venezuela’s National Assembly (AN) has passed an anti-fascism bill to combat hate crimes and violence used for political strategies. 

The text was preliminarily approved and is set for further discussion before being enacted.

On Wednesday, Vice President Delcy Rodríguez introduced the bill to Parliament, emphasizing its goal of promoting diversity and mutual respect in response to any manifestations of fascism that may emerge within the country.

Rodríguez recalled the recent history of regime-change actions led by far-right political sectors. In 2014, a failed coup attempt called “La Salida” instigated violent protests (“guarimbas”) that left 43 people dead and 878 injured. In 2017, a similar violent operation caused 121 deaths and 1,958 people were harmed. A gruesome episode saw opposition activists burn Afro-Venezuelan Orlando Figuera alive.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, in recent months there have been attempts to revive these violent actions by far-right political groups reportedly linked to opposition leader María Corina Machado, including alleged assassination pots against President Nicolás Maduro. Several people have been arrested while investigations continue.

The Venezuelan vice-president went on to add that stopping fascism is a global task that “cannot be postponed for the good of humanity” and Venezuela had decided to “take the lead” in this battle.

“It (fascism) not only manifests itself in expressions of hatred, violence and death but also forms of economic fascism, such as the [US] criminal blockade imposed against Venezuela,” expressed Rodríguez.

For his part, National Assembly President Jorge Rodríguez explained that behind fascism there are economic powers. “Who finances opposition figures like [María Corina] Machado and [Henrique] Capriles? The big American and Venezuelan capitals.”

The deputy called for a deep discussion of the anti-fascism bill to incite debate with opposition sectors of society and to define compassion as the fundamental trait of humanity.

The “Bill Against Fascism, Neo-Fascism and Similar Expressions” has 30 articles grouped into four sections. The first part contains concepts and explains the law’s four purposes: guarantee peace, ensure the exercise of political rights through democratic means, prevent and eradicate all forms of hatred and discrimination, and “protect Venezuelan society from the emergence of any fascist, neo-fascist or similar expressions.”

The second chapter outlines strategies to prevent the rise of fascism, including establishing an international anti-fascism network, launching a media campaign to promote tolerance, and banning propaganda that incites violence for political gain.

Furthermore, it prohibits public meetings or demonstrations with fascist purposes and the creation of movements or political organizations “whose constitutive acts, declarations of principles, political programs, statutes or activities promote or are based on fascism, neo-fascism and similar expressions.” 

The bill’s third chapter establishes a “High Commission Against Fascism” to recommend state policies. The fourth and final chapter lays out different prison sentences, ranging from 6 to 12 years, as well as political bans for those who promote, perpetrate or fund fascist actions.

The proposed text goes on to lay out an appeals process before the Supreme Court for political figures banned from public office but not sentenced to prison for contravening the law.

The passing of new legislation was on top of the political agenda this week. On Wednesday, President Maduro attended the Federal Legislative Palace to sign the “Organic Law for the Defense of Essequibo,” which came as a consequence of the December 3 referendum.

Venezuela has disputed the 160,000 square kilometer Essequibo territory since the 19th century, originally with the United Kingdom and later with independent Guyana. Last year, amid high tensions between the neighboring countries, the Venezuelan people voted overwhelmingly in favor of Caracas’s position over the controversial border in a five-question consultation.

In its 39 articles and six chapters, the brand-new law ratifies the binding nature of the 1966 Geneva Agreement, the invalidity of the 1899 Paris Arbitration Award and rejects the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case brought up in 2018 by Guyana. 

Furthermore, the law establishes the creation of the Guayana Esequiba state, with legislative representation to be elected in the 2025 vote. It also designates a high commission for the region’s defense, the implementation of social programs for the local population, and administrative units for oil, mining and industrial activities.

Venezuelans who oppose the country’s claim over the Essequibo or favor Guyana and transnational corporations may face bans from running for office.

During the signing of the law, President Maduro claimed that the US Southern Command and the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) have plans for secret bases in Guyana to launch attacks against Venezuelan territories.

“ExxonMobil, the Southern Command and the president of Guyana are very wrong in their position of imperial dispossession, in their warlike stand,” stated Maduro. However, the Venezuelan leader stressed that the country would pursue its historical claim via “legal means” and “dialogue.”

Edited by Ricardo Vaz in Caracas.