The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Free Speech

"Venezuela Wields a Powerful 'Hate' Law to Silence Maduro's Remaining Foes"


From Reuters (Angus Berwick & Sarah Kinosian):

Venezuela's Law Against Hate …, passed in 2017 but rarely used before this year, criminalizes actions that "incite hatred" against a person or group…. In a review of more than 40 recent hate-law arrests, Reuters found that in each case, authorities intervened against Venezuelans who had criticized Maduro, other ruling party officials or their allies….

The law played an important role in a nationwide election this month, Maduro's opponents say, by cowing critics who had spoken out about the government in the runup to the vote. The election, widely considered a sham by the opposition, human rights groups and most Western democracies, finally gave control of the assembly, the last part of the national government not aligned with Maduro, to his allies….

Tarek Saab, the government's chief prosecutor, is one of the architects of the hate law. In a brief telephone interview, he rejected claims that the act is being used for partisan purposes. He told Reuters that the legislation is an important instrument for defusing unrest.

"The voices of violence, terrorism and crime have been completely disarmed," he said. Saab declined to discuss individual cases reviewed by Reuters….

It's a long and detailed article, and much worth reading.