Decree of State of Emergency (including Economic Emergency)
Decree No. 2.323 of May 13, 2016 was published in Official Gazette No. 6.227 Extraordinary of even date therewith. Through said Decree, the President of the Republic declared the State of Emergency (including Economic Emergency) in all of the national territory (“The Decree”) for a period of sixty (60) days as from its publication in the Official Gazette.
Following are the most important aspects of the Decree:
1. The President of the Republic issued the Decree in the exercise of his constitutional power to declare states of emergency and temporarily restrict constitutional rights (garantías constitucionales).
2. The purpose of The Decree is that the National Executive adopts the opportune exceptional and extraordinary measures in order to assure to the people the full enjoyment of their rights, preserve internal order, assure opportune access to essential goods and services, and also reduce the effects of the circumstances of nature that have affected generation of electricity, access to food and other products that are essential for life.
3. The National Executive may issue the measures that it deems convenient, particularly in relation to the following:
(i). Adoption of the necessary measures in order for the public sector to assure the support of the private productive sector in the production, commercialization, and sound distribution of consumables and goods that allow to satisfy the needs of the people and fight distorting economic conduct such as “bachaqueo” (informal purchase and sale of goods at excessive prices), stockpiling (acaparamiento), usury, boycott, fraudulent alteration of prices, smuggling, and other unlawful acts.
(ii). Design and implementation of exceptional mechanisms for the supply of consumables, machinery, seeds, credits, and all related items for national agricultural and livestock development.
(iii). Assurance, even through the intervention of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana - “FANB”) and the citizen security agencies, with the participation of the Local Supply and Distribution Committees (Comités Locales de Abastecimiento y Distribución - “CLAP”), of the correct distribution and commercialization of food and basic products.
(iv). Approval and execution by the National Executive of contracts of public interest for the obtainment of financial resources, technical advice, or utilization of strategic resources for the economic development of the country, without being subject to authorizations or approvals of other Authorities.
(v). Establishment of priority products for purchases by the State, or categories of the same, and the direct allocation of foreign currency for their acquisition.
(vi). Decision about the temporary and exceptional suspension of the execution of penalties of a political nature against the highest authorities of the National Government and other high-level officers.
(vii). Establishment of policies of evaluation, monitoring, and control of production, distribution, and commercialization of basic products.
(viii). Attribution of surveillance and organization functions to the CLAP, the Communal Councils, and other organizations of the Popular Power, jointly with the FANB and the different police bodies in order to preserve public order and guarantee security and sovereignty in the country. .
(ix). Authorization to the competent Ministers in order to issue measures that assure the sale of regulated products as per schedules that are appropriate to the particular characteristics of the zone or region, with prevailing interest in access to goods under due control and supervision, so that basic products may be available to all people, through a fair distribution of products that discourages their stockpiling and resale.
(x). Planning, coordination, and execution of national and international urgent procurement of essential goods or supplies in order to assure health, food, and sustain basic services in all of the national territory, in the frame of commercial or cooperation agreements that favor the Republic, by means of the exceptional application of expedite contracting mechanisms.
(xi). Implementation of the necessary measures to counteract the effects of climate phenomena, such as adjustment of working hours, in both the public and private sectors, among others.
(xii). Issue of measures of protection of forest zones, the monitoring of which will be entrusted to the FANB.
(xiii). Issue of measures and execution of special public security plans that guarantee the maintenance of public order in case of destabilizing actions seeking to burst into the internal life of the country or into the international relationships and allowing forcible progress in the restoration of citizens’ peace, personal security, and control of public force over criminal behavior.
(xiv). Adoption of special measures in foreign policy.
(xv). Instructions to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to audit and inspect agreements signed by national natural or legal persons and foreign entities or agencies for the execution of projects in the country and issue of orders for the suspension of the financing related to said agreements when the presumption exists that they are used for political purposes or for destabilizing the Republic.
4. The President of the Republic may issue such other measures of social, environmental, economic, political, and juridical nature as he deems convenient, with the purpose of solving the extraordinary and exceptional situation that constitutes the subject matter of The Decree and prevent the extension of its effects.
5. The Ministry of the Popular Power with competence over banking and finance may implement the necessary coordination with the Venezuelan Central Bank in order to establish the maximum limits of inflow or outflow of Venezuelan legal currency in cash, as well as restrictions on specific commercial or financial operations and transactions and restriction of said operations to the use of electronic means duly authorized in the country.
6. Weapons carry licenses may be temporarily suspended in the national territory. Such measure will not be applicable to licenses for carrying weapons within the exercise of the functions of the State security agencies and the FANB.
7. Within a period of eight (8) days following its publication in the Official Gazette, the Decree will be forwarded to (i) the National Assembly for its consideration and approval and (ii) the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice in order for it to pronounce judgment on the constitutionality of the same, all in accordance with the Organic Law on States of Emergency (Ley Orgánica sobre Estados de Excepción).
8. The Decree will have a duration of sixty (60) days after its publication in the Official Gazette. Said period may be extended for sixty (60) days.
9. The Decree will become effective as from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.
In order to access The Decree, please click here.
“NOTE: THIS INFORMATION SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE ON ANY SPECIFIC MATTER AND ITS CONTENT ARE INTENDED AS A MANAGEMENT ALERT AS TO CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS IN VENEZUELA, ANY SPECIFIC LEGAL QUESTIONS REGARDING THE POSSIBLE APPLICATION OF NEW OR PROPOSED LEGISLATION TO PARTICULAR SITUATIONS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO TRAVIESO EVANS ARRIA RENGEL & PAZ.”