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Venezuela lawmakers preliminarily approve bill banning violent toys, video games

[JURIST] The Venezuelan National Assembly [official website, in Spanish] unanimously gave preliminary approval [press release, in Spanish] on Tuesday to a bill to ban violent toys and video games. According to the Patria Para Todos (PPT) [party website, in Spanish], the party sponsoring the bill, the proposed law would help reduce violence in the country by protecting the development of children who can become predisposed to aggression by playing with such toys. If the bill becomes law, the Institute for the Defense of People's Access to Goods and Services (INDEPABIS) [official website, in Spanish] would penalize the making, importing, distribution, rental, and sale of such toys. The state would have the responsibility of promoting production, distribution, sale, and use of toys that "exercise and stimulate in children respect for life ... and understanding among humans." The National Assembly must vote on the bill a second time before it becomes law.

Voting on the bill coincides with a study released this week by the Civil Council for Public Safety and Penal Justice (CCSP) [advocacy website, in Spanish], a Mexican think tank, which reported that Caracas is the second most violent city worldwide. The report received much coverage [El Universal report, in Spanish; El Nacional report] in Venezuelan media. Spokesperson for Civil Watch Association for Security, Defense, and Armed Forces [advocacy website, in Spanish] Rocio San Miguel characterized [BBC report, in Spanish] the law as sterile in light of recent statements by national leaders inciting civilians to be prepared for armed conflict. Earlier this month, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez called [AFP report] for South Americans to be prepared in case of war after Colombia agreed to allow the US to use seven of its military bases.

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