Venezuelan Regime Broadens Powers for Property Confiscation
EspañolThe Venezuelan government has amended the Organic Law of Fair Prices, to allow the confiscation of property and bank accounts of people sentenced for smuggling, hoarding, civil disobedience, and “everything that threatens the Venezuelan economy.”
“We will be more severe with confiscation of all the assets related to the crime — real estate, furniture, etc.,” Superintendent of Fair Prices Andrés Eloy Mendez said in a press release.
Reforma de la Ley Orgánica de Precios Justos arreciará sanciones por contrabando http://t.co/AzL07PCuvL
— Andres Eloy Mendez G (@andreseloypsuv) September 12, 2014
Article 56 details the procedure for the confiscation of property, and on Thursday, President Nicolás Maduro announced that in addition to physical materials seized by police, bank accounts and other assets can be confiscated.
The reform was first proposed in August by Táchira Governor José Gregorio Vielma Mora and Vice President of the National Assembly Dario Vivas. At the time, however, it received wide condemnation as an unlawful violation of private property.
Since the latest development, Juan Raffalli, a lawyer and professor at Andrés Bello Catholic University, has told El Nacional that the measure is unnecessary. He explains that those who commit the crimes will already be punished under the penal code and other legal instruments, and he warns that the seizures are already happening — despite them being, in his assessment, unconstitutional and contrary to the law.
Similarly, Eduardo Garmendia, president of the Venezuelan Confederation of Industries (Conindustria) says “this law cannot override the right to defense.”