Venezuela: Chavez's 26 decrees -- US, opposition lies debunked

September 23, 2008 -- Venezuelanalysis -- The following is a translation of a document produced by the Venezuela's Ministry for Communication and Information. It is a summary of the content of the 26 laws passed by the Venezuelan executive and also seeks to debunk some of the myths spread by the right-wing opposition. The actual laws are 30-60 pages each, so it is an accessible way to learn what they are. The Venezuelan government is distributing this summary across Venezuela.

The Spanish version is available here.

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Since the approval of the 26 laws as part of the Enabling Law, the opposition has tried to rewrite the strategy of the 2D [December 2, 2007, when the constitutional reform referendum took place], trying to provoke fear of communism among the citizens. Without paying attention to the content of the laws, they are invoked over and again in order to solidify opinion around the supposed centralisation of the state, the presumed militarisation of the country, and the recurring aggressions the government has committed against private business.

Once again the opposition's spirit shows its incapacity to objectively analyse the Venezuelan reality. They have stopped examining the decrees with determination in order to discredit them and use them as a political banner for the upcoming elections on November 23, 2008.  Only a few voices have been raised to recognise that, in some of the legislation, there are beneficial aspects.

The following document summarises the essence of the laws in 10 points. It does not even remotely try to cover all and every aspect of the decrees, but is useful as didactic, simple and synthetic material for the daily battle of ideas of the Bolivarian forces.

1. Offer unprecedented advantages for small and medium businesses, guaranteeing greater prominence in the project of national development.

Yankee-wannabe lie [pitiyanqui mentira]: The laws conspire against private property and create anxiety and uncertainty for business.


  • Better credit opportunities for small and medium companies

  • The period to pay off credit in the agriculture sector is increased to 20 years (Article 11, Law of credit for the agriculture sector)

  • Conceives of forms of preferential payment for small and medium industry (Law for the promotion and development of small and medium industry)

  • Exoneration in total or partially from the payment of taxes (Art. 10 of the same law)

  • The internationalisation of these types of companies is promoted, in order to favour the development of their trade in the exchange with other countries

  • The state privileges them as suppliers

  • The articles 112,113, and 115 of the Constitution set limits on private property for the public good and the integral development of the country

2. To promote access to dignified housing for everyone, offering opportunities that could especially favor young people.

Yankee-wannabe lies: They are still making them up


  • Special protection for the purchase of housing for the least favored sectors (elderly people, indigenous communities, most economically vulnerable sectors)

  • Mortgage credit of up to 100% of the cost of housing (Art. 61, Law of housing and habitat lending )

  • Monthly payment quotas of housing can't exceed 20% of total family income (Art. 63 of the same law)

  • Non-refundable subsidies as direct help from the state to the poorest.

  • To combat the speculation in the real estate sector, contributing to the avoidance of skyrocketing rental prices

3. The laws contribute to guaranteeing food security for the people, combat speculation, against hoarding and other forms of boycott of production, distribution and consumption of food.

Yankee-wannabe lies:

  • The state tries to control everything, including what and how much the population eats.

  • The state attacks private property by declaring property related with the production of food a "public utility".

  • Product scarcity is a result of the price regulations imposed by the state.


  • Any state, no mater the political system that it represents, is obliged to guarantee food to all its citizens and to take measures necessary to achieve this aim.

  • The state will strictly respect private property. It reserves the right to forcibly acquire property only ``when a security motive arises'' (Art. 3 of the Law of integral agricultural health). Why do the oligarchy protest? Because this law combats their intentions to hoard, speculate and block food during virtual coup conditions? The honest proprietors, who work positively for the development of the country don't have anything to fear.

  • Behind the scarcity of products is the exploitative action or the regular hoarding of intermediaries. So the state has the responsibility to supervise the production chain, commercialisation, and distribution of food, in defense of consumers.

  • The unwarranted rise of prices is avoided.

  • Agricultural supplies are guaranteed for producers

  • Guarantees investment in technology and transport. Financing and credit aren't awarded only to primary producers, but also to other components of the chain that the state will supervise.

  • More economic resources for small and medium producers.

4. The laws incorporate the social missions as part of the state structure, guaranteeing in a more articulated manner, their continuity and future development.

Yankee-wannabe lies: Curiously, in demagogic electoral discourse the opposition talks of the necessity to improve the missions and establish them as permanent projects.


  • It would seem that they refer to article 131 of the Law of Public Administration. They could be in agreement with this law and they don't even know it.

5. The laws strengthen consumer protection, including measures especially favourable to the middle class

Yankee-wannabe lies: The state wants to expropriate small and medium-sized companies at its whim, putting them in a scenario of incurable helplessness.


  • The law prohibits surcharges or commissions when the paying by credit card, debit, ticket, or electronic food card (art. 15, aside 7 of the Law for the defence of people's access to goods and services). Could someone from the middle class oppose this measure? Doesn't it by any chance contribute to the saving of their income?

  • Foresees strong sanctions against the violators of prices and against those who adulterate the quality of products.

  • Protects the merchants from the speculation of wholesalers.

  • In the case of food speculation, it doesn't fight the street venders but rather the greedy wholesalers.

6. Empowers the communal councils as power structures, in accordance with the will to award more and more authority to the people to govern.

Yankee-wannabe lies:

  • The communal councils would be more like formal entities than real, within the context of the authoritarian state.

  • The communal councils will invade private property.

  • The administration of public wellbeing at a regional level would be even more in the hands of inept people.


  • In reality, through communal councils the state opens itself in a transparent manner to the scrutiny of the people, to their advice and criticisms.

  • The comptroller committees of the communal councils defend the rights of the community against potential irregularities in the governing (Art. 91, Law of defence of people's access to goods and services).

  • The state de-bureaucratises itself in order to transfer larger quotas of power to the communal councils in the activity of public management.

  • There is a more active popular participation in decision making and economic planning at the regional level.

  • It is ridiculous to resort to arguments that the laws are autocratic because the laws mention the word ``people'' less than the word ``president''. All the laws function to defend the interests of the people in the economic, political, judicial and social fronts.

7. Foster the protection of the environment, within the context of world alarm due to the exhaustion of natural resources.

Yankee-wannabe lies: They are still inventing them.


  • The privatisation of the administration of ports is prohibited (Law of aquatic spaces).

  • The running of aquatic spaces should correspond to the policy of sustainable development established by the state (Law of aquaritc spaces).

  • Commits to the maintenance of navigational routes.

  • Transcends a merely pragmatic concept of tourist activity, entrusting the community with the care and rational running of natural resources (Law of tourism).

8. Foster the development of railway transport, with a conception that integrates the surrounding communities as part of this development.

Yankee-wannabe lies: They are still inventing them.


  • It's about promoting community projects in areas far away from train stations.

  • Activate commercial belts around these stations, stimulating production and generating employment for the inhabitants of these areas.

9. Transcend the concept that divides ``the military''  (the armed forces) and the ``people'' into separate bands, fostering the co-responsibility of citizens for the defense of the nation.

Yankee-wannabe lies:

  • The country is being militarised.

  • Obligatory military services would be established.

  • The Cuban model is being copied.

  • It's unconstitutional to name the Armed Forces of Venezuela "Bolivarian".


  • They have tried to demonise the militias, which in reality are composed of the current reserve and people prepared to defend their revolution.

  • Entrance to the militias is absolutely voluntary. No one has to feel obligated to join them.

  • Some despotic governments abstain from incorporating their people in strategies of defence for fear of losing power to the force of these people.

  • This government is known so much as a representative of the people that it doesn't hesitate to democratise military technology and knowledge for the citizens.

  • The militia is not branded by the US military conception that bases its army on mercenaries or contractors.

  • It's against logic to try to say it is unconstitutional to name the armed forces as Bolivarian, if the Republic has the same epithet.

10. Attack the bureaucracy, making solutions to the problems of the citizens sharp, feasible and efficient

Yankee-wannabe lies: The state is more and more bureaucratic and establishes excessive regulations to control the economy and society more and more.


  • The public administration should not demand documents from the citizen that they (the administration) possess or can access (Law of the simplification of administrative steps).

  • Unnecessary authorisations and excessive requirements for detailed information are eliminated.

  • The requirement to present certified copies of birth, marriage or death certificates is eliminated, unless the law contains it.

  • In the case of loss or destruction of a document, it will be sufficient if the interested person makes a declaration.

Translated by Tamara Pearson

List of law decrees:

Decree No. 5,999 - Organic Law of Tourism

Decree No. 6,069 - Law of National Rail Transport

Decree No. 6,071 - Organic Law of agro-food security and sovereignty

Decree No. 6,072 - Law of Housing and Habitat Lending regime

Decree No. 6,092 - Law for the Defence of People's Access to Goods and Services

Decree No. 6,126 - Organic Law of Aquatic Spaces

Decree No. 6,128 - Law of Creation of Social Fund for the Capacitation and Readiness of Excessive Resources of Entities of National Public Administration

Decree No. 6,129 - Law of Integral Agricultural Health

Decree No. 6,130 - Law for the Fostering and Development of the Popular Economy

Decree No. 6,214 - Law of the Bank of Economic and Social Development of Venezuela (Bandes)

Decree No. 6,215 - Law for the Promotion and Development of Small and Medium Industry and Units of Social Production

Decree No. 6,216 - Law of Elimination and Liquidation of the Industrial Credit Fund (FONCREI)

Decree No. 6,217 - Organic Law of Public Administration

Decree No. 6,218 - Law of Restructuring of the National Institute of Housing.

Decree No. 6,219 - Law of Credit for the Agricultural Sector

Decree No. 6,220 - Law of Channelling and Maintenance of Navigation Routes

Decree No. 6,223 - Law of Reform of the Organic Law Financial Administration of the Public Sector

Decree No. 6,239 - Organic Law of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces

Decree No. 6,240 - Law of Benefits and Facilities of Pay for Agricultural Debts and Strategic Lines for Food Security and Sovereignty

Decree No. 6,241 - Law of Agricultural Bank of Venezuela

Decree No. 6,243 - Law of Partial Reform of the Organic Law of the System of Social Security

Decree No. 6,265 - Law of Simplification of Administrative Steps

Decree No. 6,266 - Law of Partial Reform of the Law of Social Security

Decree No. 6,267 - Law of the National Institute of Housing (INAVI)

Decree No. 6,286 - Law of Partial Reform of the Organic Law of the General Attorney of the Republic

Decree No. 6,287 - Law of Partial Reform of the General Law of Banks and Other Financial Institutions