Archive for April 25th, 2014

Venezuelan Supreme Court Limits And Legislates Right To Protest

April 25, 2014


In a remarkable decision, the Venezuelan Supreme Court in interpreting the 2000 Chavista Constitution, proceeded to not only remove rights given by the Venezuelan Constitution, but in one swift interpretation, legislated new limitations to the right to protest, as well as appearing to promote repression of protests.

It was just another chapter in the bizarre history of a Supreme Court that only responds to the desires of the Maduro Government.

The Constitutional Hall of the Supreme Court essentially says that any concentration, protest or public meeting which is made without prior authorization of the authorities can give rise to the police or public force to remove the gathering in order to guarantee the right to freely move around of others.

However, Art. 53 of the Venezuelan Constitution clearly says that  any person has the right to meet publicly or privately, without permission, for legal ends and without weapons. It also state that such meetings will be regulated by the Law.

And the Law clearly says that you don’t need permission for such meeting, just participating it to the relevant authority.

The decision also violates international human rights standards which explicitly say that the right to free transit should not be above that of meeting freely in public. In fact, the same human rights standards specify that the lack of approval or notification should not be an excuse to allow the gathering to be broken up by the police. Venezuela has signed all United Nations human rights agreements.

To close the absurdity and perversity of the decision, the Supreme Court says that municipalities have the responsibility of controlling public order, while municipalities in Venezuela are barred from buying equipment of any kind for such purposes.

Thus, in one blow the Court reduces rights provided by the Constitution, legislates on what is required or not to protest, making it essential to be approved first and exhorts the police to remove any such protest.

Of course, all of this will be applied only to whatever the Government considers opposition.

Someone is clearly worried somewhere with these protests, no?