On December 14, ICNL received a press report reflecting a second legislative threat to the freedoms of association and expression in Venezuela – separate from the International Cooperation Law which was reintroduced in the Venezuelan National Assembly in late November. According to the article, the Parliamentary Committee on Defense introduced a bill targeting NGOs dedicated to the “defense of political rights” or other “political objectives.” Specifically, it precludes these organizations from possessing assets, or receiving any income, from foreign sources. Noncompliance could lead to a fine of double the amount received from the foreign source.
In addition, these organizations are reportedly prohibited from hosting a foreign citizen who speaks out in a manner that might offend State institutions or senior officials, or that might go against the exercise of State sovereignty. Noncompliance with this provision could subject representatives of the Venezuelan organization to monetary fines and a loss of “political rights” for five to eight years.
According to the article, the bill is expected to pass its first reading this week.