Hugo Chávez Won’t Give Up Decree Powers In Venezuela

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said Thursday he won’t relinquish special legislative powers, which he hinted he might do earlier this week.

Facing a newly elected Congress with an increased opposition presence, Chávez earlier adopted a more conciliatory tone and  offered to give up his power to rule by decree as early as May.

Chavez’s offer to reduce the period of time he has to enact laws by decree through the “Enabling Law” surprised opposition leaders, but the leftist president quickly changed his mind.

“I’m not going to return the Enabling Law,” Chávez said, speaking in a televised address, according to The Associated Press. “I made a call to encourage courteous and respectful dialogue, but look at their response.”

Opposition lawmakers note that Chávez’s allies gave him authority to legislate in a large number of areas including land-reform initiatives and Venezuela’s economic system and mocked the statement that Chávez requires special powers to aid those affected by the floods.

“It’s not necessary,” Paraqueima said in a telephone interview, according to The Associated Press. “If he needs an increased budget to help the homeless, we’d gladly approve it.”

    Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

    North America

    Caribbean

    • Lyglenson Lemorin, acquitted of all charges in the Liberty City Seven terrorism trial three years ago, was deported to Haiti early Thursday along with 26 Haitian nationals with criminal records in the United States.
    • Four suspects were killed and another wounded Wednesday when Dominican police surprised them as they were robbing a home in the northeastern town of San Francisco de Macoris, authorities said.

    Central America

    Andes

    • Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero announced Thursday that his new work, Stations of the Cross, is set to be exhibited in New York in November.
    • Paleontologists said Thursday they discovered the 85-million-year-old fossil of a previously unknown squid species from the Cretaceous era in the high jungle region of northeastern Peru.
    • At least 38 indigenous people, 20 of them minors and the rest no older than 25, have turned in their weapons and left behind the Colombian armed conflict thanks to a program sponsored by the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca, or ACIN.

    Southern Cone

    Image: Que Comunismo! @ Flickr.

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