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Law on International Cooperation Will Not Ban Financing of NGOs

Venezuela’s Law on International Cooperation will not ban financing of NGOs, but rather implement rules and regulations on finances destined to groups, assured Venezuelan deputy Calixto Ortega, member of the Permanent Commission of Foreign Policy of Venezuela’s National Assembly.

“It’s not a secret that a great part of the contributions coming to Venezuela have clearly political objectives. Those have to be watched very carefully. We are not trying to ban those resources, but rather guarantee that they are not used to try to show an image of the country completely different from reality,” said Ortega after an extraordinary meeting of the commission.

Foreign contributions to non-governmental organizations are highly regulated in a number of countries, including the U.S., where any and all funds from abroad must be reported to the Department of Justice as part of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), a law dating back to 1938.

Ortega said that local and international media outlets constantly report that in Venezuela the state of law is not respected and that there is no freedom of expression, campaigns which in most of the cases are paid with foreign financial contributions.

“I consider that the possible donations don’t match with the effective exchanges made before the Commission of Currency Administration (CADIVI). There has to be some regulation,” he said.

The Venezuelan deputy highlighted that it’s important not just to revise where the financial recourses come from, but what it the destination, purpose and real use of the resources.

“There has to be a regulation for all the international cooperation, but mainly to guarantee that contributions are not used to damage the image of the country,” he said.

Ortega said that this bill, which was approved in first discussion at the Venezuelan Parliament in 2006, has been broadly discussed since.    

During an extraordinary session of the Permanent Commission of Foreign Affairs of the National Assembly, it was agreed that from next week an exhaustive revision of the text will be carried out, article by article, including all the proposals, in order to advance in the discussions while taking into consideration different perspectives and proposals. 

AVN/Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S./December 1, 2010

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