A new intelligence law brought in by Venezuela‘s President Hugo Chavez has caused concern among rights groups who say it threatens civil liberties.
Mr. Chavez argues the law will help Venezuela guarantee its national security and prevent assassination plots and military rebellions. The new law requires Venezuelans to cooperate with intelligence agencies and secret police if requested.
Refusal can result in up to four years in prison. The law allows security forces to gather evidence through surveillance methods such as wiretapping without obtaining a court order, and authorities can withhold evidence from defense lawyers if it is considered to be in the interest of national security.
One part of the law, which explicitly requires judges and prosecutors to cooperate with the intelligence services, has caused concern among legal experts. “Here you have the president legislating by decree that the country’s judges must serve as spies for the government,” Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas Director for Human Rights Watch, said.
Chavez seems to find out that there is a line that separates a public hero to a dictator and unfortunately he’s ready to cross this line!