(By Human Rights Watch)
When Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Frías faced a coup d'état in April 2002,
advocates of democracy in Venezuela and abroad roundly condemned the assault on the country's constitutional order. Today Venezuela faces another constitutional crisis that could severely impair its already fragile democracy. This time, though, the threat comes from the government itself.
Over the past year, President Chávez and his allies have taken steps to control the country's judicial branch, undermining the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary in ways that violate basic principles of Venezuela's constitution and international human rights law.>>