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Venezuela president says constitution reforms will protect private property rights

[JURIST] Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on Sunday reassured Venezuelans that any future socialist constitutional reforms will protect private property rights, dispelling what Chavez called "dogmatic" allegations by critics that the impending constitutional reforms will negate private property rights. Chavez, who is expected to submit his proposals in the upcoming weeks to the National Assembly [official website, in Spanish], also said Sunday that foreign nationals who publicly criticize Chavez or the Venezuelan government will be expelled [AP report; Union Radio report, in Spanish].

Chavez, who won reelection last December and was granted the power to enact laws by presidential decree [JURIST report] until mid-2008, is pushing for "revolutionary laws" to nationalize sectors of the economy including mining, telecommunications, utilities, and the petroleum industry. Chavez is also reportedly seeking to abolish presidential term limits in the constitution [text], allowing him to run for an unprecedented forth term in 2012. Xinhua has more.

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