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Venezuela's Chavez Annuls Intelligence Decree

By VOA News
10 June 2008

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has annulled a controversial intelligence decree that would have forced Venezuelans to become informants and report on their neighbors or face prison time.

President Chavez took the action Tuesday, saying mistakes were made that must now be corrected. The move comes just days after Mr. Chavez said the government would amend the law.

The new law, which sparked protests, called for Venezuela's two main intelligence services to be replaced with new agencies overseen by Mr. Chavez. It also required Venezuelans to act as informants to secret police and community monitoring groups loyal to the president. Anyone refusing to provide information faced two to six years in prison.

Human rights groups criticized the law, saying it could silence the president's critics. Mr. Chavez had said the law was intended to protect national security and combat U.S. interference.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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