EspañolThe Venezuelan Congress approved on Sunday, March 15, a law that grants President Nicolás Maduro the power to legislate by decree until December 31. Maduro requested the measure in response to the US government’s declaration of Venezuela as a “national security threat” and said he plans to execute “anti-imperialist laws.”
Opposition Deputy Vestalia Sanpedro called the measure the latest “self-mutilation” of the legislative branch. She notes that Maduro requested similar powers through prior legislation in order to solve the country’s inflation and scarcity problems and “it has not been achieved.” Those decree powers expired in November 2014.
On Saturday, during a speech before supporters and members of the military, Maduro said he plans to publish an open letter in the New York Times “demanding on behalf of Bolívar’s people, that [US President Barack] Obama repeal the decree that threatens our homeland.” He added that he hopes to gather 10 million signatures from Venezuelans to support his letter.
The Center for Human Rights of the Andrés Bello Catholic University issued a statement on Maduro’s new executive powers warning they may be used to “undermine individual rights.” The center asked the government to refrain from using the Enabling Law “to advance different goals other than those stated, especially regarding the preservation of the human rights.” They also requested the law not be used to further deepen a “a militaristic trend” within the country.
Maduro’s decree powers come as he faces the lowest approval rating for a Venezuelan president in the last 2o years. According to Venezuelan daily El Nacional, Maduro’s approval hovers around 20 percent, nearly the same numbers that former President Carlos Andrés faced when he was removed from office after a controversial decision from the Supreme Court.