Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Chávez decree tightens hold on intelligence

From the International Herald Tribune:

Under the new intelligence law, which took effect last week, Venezuela's two main intelligence services, the DISIP secret police and the DIM military intelligence agency, will be replaced with new agencies, the General Intelligence Office and General Counterintelligence Office, under the control of Chávez.

The new law requires people in the country to comply with requests to assist the agencies, secret police or community activist groups loyal to Chávez. Refusal can result in prison terms of two to four years for most people and four to six years for government employees.

Wow. Kinda makes the Patriot Act seem amateurish. I'm sure there are some elements who'd like to have mandatory "cooperation" with either the Democratic or Republican political parties, not just the government.

What's this new measure for?

The sweeping intelligence changes reflect an effort by Chávez to assert greater control over public institutions in the face of political challenges following a stinging defeat in December of a constitutional reform package that would have expanded his powers.

Chávez, who has insisted the defeat would not dampen his ambitions to transform Venezuela into a Socialist state, said the new law was intended to guarantee "national security" and shield against "imperialist attacks."

Oh, of course.

Sitting ruler tries to increase their power through elections and fails, so call out the secret police. Never mind responding to the will of the people... they're just idiots who need to be lead by the nose or, if they resist, eliminated.

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