VIO News Blog

August 6, 2008

Venezuela Sets Sights on Olympics

Misleading news reports continue today, on a series of 26 new laws passed by President Chavez last Thursday. The New York Times contends the move is an attempt to pass through measures Chavez hoped would be approved last December in a constitutional referendum. The majority of the laws, however, are not controversial nor a mirror of the referendum. As the Reuters reports, in arguably the most critical area, Venezuela made only “a minor reform to its banking law, in contrast to Wall Street expectations of major financial regulatory changes”. Moreover, the new military law, which the Times suggests is an attempt to assert greater control over the armed forces, is actually aimed at increasing enforcement and productivity. For instance, the law includes two articles on international human rights protection, an important advance totally ignored by the Times. Most of the 26 laws passed have been discussed and debated for more than a year.

The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the BBC and others oversimplify a recent decision by Venezuela’s Supreme Court to uphold a ban on public servants under investigation for corruption. Although the BBC states that the move is political and targets a majority of opposition candidates, of the 286 people sanctioned and disqualified from holding public office since the ban began, more than half (52%), belong to political parties within the Government’s own coalition. Moreover, those disqualified who were already in active posts were allowed to finish serving their terms before sanctions were imposed.

In sports news, Venezuela will host the South American qualifying tournament for the 2008 Omega Mission Hills Golf World Cup at the Caracas Country Club. The Marriott Venezuela Playa Grande Nations Cup will take place from October 7-10 and participants will be competing for three spots into the US$5.5 million Omega Mission Hills World Cup in NOvember. To learn about Venezuela’s participation in this year’s summer Olympics check out our blog, VenWorld.

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