Constitutional Anti-Blockade Law for National Development and the Guarantee of Human Rights

Ignacio T. AndradePartner, Ponte Andrade & Casanova

Issuer: National Constituent Assembly of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezela.
Published: Official Gazette Special Nº 6,583 of October 12, 2020.

The Constitutional Anti-Blockade Law for National Development and Guarantee of Human Rights was published in Official Gazette Special Nº 6,583 of October 12, 2020. It establishes an extraordinary and temporary regulatory framework that will provide legal tools to the public authorities to counteract the adverse effects of the unilateral coercive measures imposed by States, International Organizations, and foreign public or private entities (article 1).

This newsletter does not evaluate or interpret this Law. Instead, it describes its content and summarizes its most relevant aspects. Therefore, it does not constitute, and should not be taken as, legal advice or intended to provide legal assistance for specific situations. In case you need more information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Ponte Andrade Casanova.

  • What is the scope of the Law?
    The provisions of this Law are of public order and general interest. It shall apply to all branches of the National, State, and Municipal Governments, individuals, and public or private legal entities (article 2).
  • Will it supersede laws and regulations?
    Yes. The Law will supersede laws and regulations, including “organic laws” (leyes orgánicas) and special laws that regulate specific matters. It will also supersede the regime established by the Decree of State of Exception and Economic Emergency (First Transitory Disposition).
  • How long will its effects last?
    The Law entered in force with its publication in the Official Gazette. It will remain in force until the effects of the unilateral coercive measures that affect the country cease.
    Moreover, the measures adopted by the National Executive under this Law shall continue to have full effects even if the unilateral coercive measures cease (Final Provision).
  • What are the Law’s objectives?
    The Law was created for three objectives. First, guarantee the human rights of the Venezuelan people. Second, promote economic development, generate employment, raise the standard of living, strengthen the country’s economic sovereignty, and improve its technology. Finally, ensure the right to self-determination and sovereignty of the people (article 3).
  • What about “unilateral coercive measures”?
    According to this Law, these coercive, restrictive, or punitive unilateral measures against Venezuela and its population are null and unlawful (Article 6)
  • Does the Law have complementary regulations?
    The Law will be applied along with the measures that the National Executive dictates or has dictated under the Decree of Economic Emergency currently in force (Article 7).
  • What about International Public Law and International Treaties?
    According to the Law, its provisions adhere to International Public Law principles and, particularly, to the ius cogens rules on human rights and the Charter of the United Nations (Article 9).
    Under the Law, the Republic may sign international treaties, agreements, and conventions, bilateral or multilateral, to deal with the effects of unilateral coercive measures (Article 10).
  • Who will monitor the implementation of the Law?
    The Council of State will monitor the implementation of this Law (Article 12). On the other hand, the Comptroller General is in charge of carrying out the subsequent control of the measures dictated under the Law (article 13).
  • What is the International Center for Productive Investment?
    The International Center for Productive Investment is the entity responsible for registering, studying, and monitoring unilateral coercive measures. It is also in charge of evaluating, approving, and promoting productive projects (article 15).
  • About the “measures for the economic and productive balance”.
    These measures for the economic and productive balance must be implemented considering the Venezuelan economy’s particularities under the unilateral coercive measures, including its commercial, financial, and foreign investor relations (Article 17).
  • Where does the income go?
    Any additional income will be recorded separately from the National Treasury. This income will be used to satisfy the economic, social, and cultural rights of the Venezuelan people (Article 18). Preferably, the resources will be used to:
  1. Develop new compensation systems for workers.
  2. Finance the operation of the social protection system.
  3. Recover the capacity to provide quality public services.
  4. Boost national productive capacity.
  5. Recover, maintain, and expand public infrastructure.
  6. Promote the development of science, technology, and innovation.
  • In what cases can these measures be applied?
    These measures can be applied when:
  1. “It is necessary to overcome the obstacles or compensate for the damage that the unilateral coercive measures” generate to the public activity.
  2. Its application “contributes to the protection of the Republic’s assets against any act of dispossession or immobilization.”
  3. Its application contributes to “mitigating the effects of unilateral coercive measures.”
    In these broad cases, the National Executive may disapply, in specific instances, laws and regulations whose application is counterproductive due to the effects of a determined unilateral measure (article 19).
  • What measures does the Law provide for?
    The Law also provides for the following measures:
  1. Recovery of workers’ savings. The National Executive may create large-scale financial mechanisms that allow for the restitution of the value of accumulated social benefits and savings (Article 22)
  2. Priority attention to social plans, programs, and projects. The National Executive may create or authorize new mechanisms to attend to plans, programs, social projects, and any other activity to implement public policies (Article 23).
  3. Mechanisms for the protection of assets. To prevent acts or threats of immobilization, dispossession, or loss of control of assets, liabilities, and interests of the Republic, the Law authorizes all legal acts required to protect the interests of the Republic (article 24).
  4. Organizational structure of protection. The National Executive may proceed to the organization and reorganization of the decentralized business entities within the country and abroad. The organization or reorganization must primarily ensure the safeguarding of the assets of the Republic (Article 25).
  5. Regime of State-owned and Mixed companies. The National Executive may modify the requirements for the creation, management, administration, operation, and shareholding of the Republic in State-owned and mixed companies, both in the national territory and in abroad (Article 26).
  6. Optimization of the management of State-owned companies. The National Executive is authorized to design and implement mechanisms to increase the efficiency and productivity of State-owned companies (Article 26).
  7. Plan for Operation Management. The National Executive is authorized to prepare and implement plans for managing liabilities and assets, through mechanisms available in national and international markets (article 27).
  8. Contractual mechanisms. The National Executive will design and implement exceptional mechanisms for contracting, purchasing, and paying for goods and services (Article 28).
  9. Private investment. The National Executive is authorized to implement measures that stimulate private and foreign participation in developing the national economy (Article 30).
  10. Use of all productive assets for national development. The assets that are under the administration of the Republic may be used for partnerships with the private sector or with other government branches (Article 30).
  11. Protection of economic sectors. The National Executive is authorized to lift restrictions on commercializing certain goods when necessary to protect fundamental productive sectors (Article 31).
  12. Diversification of financial mechanisms. The National Executive may authorize the creation and implementation of any financial mechanism to mitigate the effects of the unilateral measures (e.g., crypto assets) (Article 32).
  13. Social Initiative. The National Executive shall create and implement programs that ensure the investment by professionals, technicians, scientists, academics, business people, groups, or organizations in projects or alliances with strategic sectors (article 33).
  14. Guarantees for investment. The Republic may agree with its partners and investors clauses of protection for investments and dispute resolution to generate stability and confidence (Article 34).
  • Are measures involving the non-application of Laws and Regulations confidential?
    All the measures which imply the non-application of laws and regulations are secret and confidential until ninety (90) days after the unilateral coercive measures cease (Article 42).
    In case you need our professional services, feel free to contact us through the following channels:
    Ignacio T. Andrade M. iandrade@epaclaw.com +58 414 3056158
    Francisco A. Casanova S. fcasanova@epaclaw.com +58 414 3029702
    Ignacio Ponte Brandt iponte@epaclaw.com +58 412 2867498
    Ignacio J. Andrade C. ijandradec@epaclaw.com +58 412 2329429

    Ponte Andrade Casanova
    Ave. San Juan Bosco, Urb. Altamira, Edif. San Juan, Piso 5, Municipio Chacao del Estado Miranda.
    Caracas, Venezuela.