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Venezuela Bans Hostile Videogames and Toys 335

An anonymous reader writes "In an effort to 'help improve child education and prevent misconduct,' the Venezuelan government began enforcing a law on March 3rd banning war videogames and toys, imposing a fine and 2.5 years in prison on the production, distribution, sale, hiring and use of video games and toys inciting violent behavior. Alberto Federico Ravell, former director of opposing news network Globovision, has already come on twitter denouncing the authorities for seizing imported Gameboy, Wii and PlayStation 3 consoles, due to considering them violent."
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Venezuela Bans Hostile Videogames and Toys

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  • Story at 11 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:46PM (#31364020)
    Tinpot dictator does something stupid. Story at 11.
    • Re:Story at 11 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:54PM (#31364142) Journal

      Chavez does seem to have an ambition to turn "his" country into the new North Korea.

      The sad thing is that the locals seem to be applauding him. Seriously, there will be comments on this thread saying "OMG THE US/UK IS JUST AS BAD".

      No, they're not.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Why not?

        I am not aware of Venezuela under Chavez starting wars on the other side of the planet.
        The economic and quality of life graphs on Venezuela's Wikipedia page generally show sharp increases around Chavez' rise to power. The biggest harm he's done is to foreign business interests who were stepping on his electorate.

        • Re:Story at 11 (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2010 @08:01PM (#31365032)

          I have family in Venezuela, been going there for years. Here's an interesting story that was suppressed. The second time Chavez got re-elected by a super majority, 98.6% of the working population didn't show up to work the next day in protest. in contrast, he has done a lot for the poor in the haciendas on the mountain sides, but they don't have jobs and don't pay taxes. They don't contribute in major ways to the economy. I have no problem with job programs for such a populous, except that in Venezuela they don't get paid, they get tickets for socialized food programs. Still better than it was, but the working populous isn't making any of that money to invest in new business. All the job programs are run by companies Chavez owns. All the contracts those companies "win" are also owned by Chavez. You can't make any money without having to bribe officials. It's not just foreign interests he suppresses, he does it more internally. course he owns the media outlets and fines cable operators for not airing his marathon speeches. So I have no links. Take it as it is.
          Anon because my family is high profile.

      • Look, I agree that this is a crackpot law, and I have serious doubts about the viability of Venezuela's economy under Chavez. And, yes, he's a blowhard, a showboater, and a bit of a demogogue.

        But Venezuela is nowhere near becoming the next NK, and is still very much a democracy. When a country with a lot of wealth has 70% of its population living in poverty, a redistributionist left-wing regime is going to be the inevitable result in a democracy, and for a (close) majority of Venezuelans, Chavez really has

    • Re:Story at 11 (Score:5, Informative)

      by royallthefourth ( 1564389 ) <> on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:55PM (#31364156)

      He's actually a tinpot democratically elected president.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Yes, a tinpot democratically elected president who for 11 years has been subverting all those democratic principles that allowed him to be elected in the first place. This cancer called Chavez has destroyed Venezuela's democratic institutions. His only aim is to stay in power for as long as he can. I don't think this will end well.
      • Not really (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @07:08PM (#31364346)

        He was elected to being with, and that election seems to have been fair. However since then he has been taking increasingly underhanded methods of retaining power, stifling dissent and so on.

        Do remember that a large number of dictators are elected to power initially. They then just misuse the power and suppress freedom. That someone was elected initially doesn't mean they aren't a dictator now.

        • by frosty_tsm ( 933163 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @07:12PM (#31364400)

          He was elected to being with, and that election seems to have been fair. However since then he has been taking increasingly underhanded methods of retaining power, stifling dissent and so on.

          Do remember that a large number of dictators are elected to power initially. They then just misuse the power and suppress freedom. That someone was elected initially doesn't mean they aren't a dictator now.

          I seem to recall a certain German dictator who I recall was originally elected, but I won't mention his name since I don't want to cause a Fuhrer.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

            And folks dealt with him we he started invading our friends. He might be a nutter but Chavez has not invaded anyone yet.

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              And folks dealt with him we he started invading our friends. He might be a nutter but Chavez has not invaded anyone yet.

              Wrong: []

              Venezuela plotted to kill Colombia president, Spain judge says

              A Spanish judge on Monday charged that Venezuela plotted to kill Colombia President Álvaro Uribe, collaborating with rebel groups ETA and FARC to kill other political officials as well.


              Information used in the indictment came from the laptop computer of a top FARC guerrilla commander killed by Colombian forces in 2008. In the months that followed, the computer files revealed what international intelligence officials say are close ties between the FARC and top members of Mr. Chávez's government.

              So, not only has Chavez invaded other countries (a proxy invasion is still an invasion), Chavez has tried to assassinate the democratically-elected leader of another country.

              And that's what we know of.

              So you can stop lying for your favorite thug.

              • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

                I think the guy is a dirtbag, but this if this is the worst you can come up with he might not be that bad. The USA pulls this crap all the time.

              • ORLY? (Score:5, Insightful)

                by copponex ( 13876 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @07:44PM (#31364848) Homepage

                So, in your crazy little head, assassinating someone - which the CIA and our proxy Mossad do regularly - is the activity of a thuggish dictatorship...

                I guess when Chavez plots an assassination of a government we subsidize, that's a crime. However, when we carry out plotted assassinations against our enemies, it's justice. Yes, it makes perfect sense to me now!

                Hypocrisy? What's that, a new Morrissey cover band?

        • Re:Not really (Score:4, Insightful)

          by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @07:14PM (#31364424)

          Considering we regularly used to oust elected leaders and that is how we ended up the the Iran of today, maybe we ought sit back and see how this plays out.

      • by Nadaka ( 224565 )

        That is how most dictators start out. Then they push for "reforms" that allow them to remain in office indefinitely and rig the elections. And that is exactly what he has done.

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          Really? Because quite a few just get the USA to put them in power. The Shah is a nice example of that, and the end result was the modern state of Iran. So how about we not stick our noses where it does not belong?

      • So was Hitler. /godwin
      • by copponex ( 13876 )

        Palestinians electing Hamas? That's not democracy. Venezuelans electing Chavez? That's not democracy. Bolivians electing Morales? That's not democracy. Spain leaving Iraq because 95% oppose the war? That's not democracy.

        Pinochet taking over Chile? Triumph of democracy! America invading Iraq? Triumph of democracy! The CIA and the Shah taking over Iran? Triumph of democracy! Turkey supporting the Iraq war against the will of it's populace? Triumph of democracy!

        All you have to do is replace "democracy" with "A

    • How DARE you talk about Ms. Pelosi that way! She's the duly elected... Oh, wait, nevermind.


  • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:46PM (#31364028)
    If they have no video games they'll go outside and play ... and then encounter other children who are being forced to have 'fun' ... which of course will result in some altercations ... a percentage of these will be violent ... and viola! They no longer need video games to incite violent behavior. Problem solved.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by alexborges ( 313924 )

      Prohibiting things that are not proven dangerous is plain stupid. Why would you want kids in venezuela to go out, if its one of the countries with the most terrible urban security problems in all of latin america?

    • Yeah, but what about me? I am an adult and I want to play video games.

      Will they ban violent and pornographic graphic novels? What about movies and TV shows? What about books and songs?

      It always infuriates me whan video game is treated like a lesser medium, like it is something for kids. Even if it was, those same kids can find examples of bad conduct in any other medium.

      On a second thought, I think I might have failed to notice the sarcasm of parent post, but my opinion stays the same.

    • by Idbar ( 1034346 )

      If they have no video games they'll go outside and play ... and then

      the can be mugged, robbed, kidnapped or killed, or any combination, and "voila". []

  • ...on the way to becoming a repressive police state with a crazy dictator - oh wait.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:54PM (#31364152)
    Im Venezuelan, linving in Venezuela. And the seizing of gaming consoles is a lie. The new law, bans violent games and toys. So since yesterday no violent videogames can be imported or sold. The goverment will refund the stores who have violent videogames on their shelves so they dont lose their investment, as same for violent toy. Thats all, Alberto Federico Ravell is a liar and a media terrorist.
    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      Make an. account so folks see this. Hugo Chavez is no saint, but the folks who run the media attacks on him are no Mother Teresas either.

    • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @07:09PM (#31364350)
      Media terrorist, eh? All those poor DVDs and storage viciously butchered in his attempt to influenece their policies by fear...

      Words have meaning. The meaning of terrorist is not "someone I don't like", despite US policy to the contrary.
      • Can someone who creates and exploits fear be called a terrorist? Someone whose primary tool is terror. I would think that would be the core definition.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Canapial ( 1454625 )
        Since I'm Venezuelan too, I suppose I might give this a try, taking into account a modified Frank Zappa axiom that nationality alone (instead of the original item, 'drugs') shan't be a license to behave like a douchebag or justify bogus attitudes. For those who don't like him, let's just say I'm trying to stay neutral here. Now, what I saw from the Youtube videos, one of the main reasons violent videogames should be banned (according to The Man himself) is because, besides not being representative of our
    • [Citation Needed]

      You'll have to forgive me if I don't believe some AC who likes to call journalists "terrorists." I find it equally probable that you are simply a supporter of Chavez who is making shit up.

      So, cite or GTFO.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jmpeax ( 936370 ) *

      Im Venezuelan, linving in Venezuela. And the seizing of gaming consoles is a lie.

      You're a Venezuelan living in Venezuela, and the only thing you have to say is that the government is not seizing consoles? How about some outrage at the absurdity of this law? How about some disgust at the fact that your government is passing laws that shift parental responsibility to the state?

      This is a silly ploy to make it look like the government is tackling crime. In actual fact, they are just trying to get political points at the expense of their citizens' freedoms and on the back of their citizens' []

  • Kids will be kids (Score:4, Insightful)

    by camg188 ( 932324 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @06:59PM (#31364214)
    What are they going to do when a kid picks up a stick and pretends it's a gun?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MrMista_B ( 891430 )

      Obviously, shoot the kid with a real gun.

      • by agrif ( 960591 )

        How in the hell did this get modded informative? It might be funny to read this, and it is certainly even funnier when it's tagged "informative", but really, this is a mod system failure.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MrMista_B ( 891430 )

          Hmm? Why funny? It's actually true. You think a cop who see's a kid doing something like that isn't going to shoot the kid?

  • I'd like to see what happens. I do not support this ban, but I look forward to reading about its effect on the behavior and crimes of children and young adults (assuming that a few years from now, someone manages to get good data about the behavior of children).

  • Well if this plays out anything like the Japanese pornographic censorship it may just create the sickest most violent media ever conceived, see tentacle erotica ( Excerpt: "the practice [was invented] to get around strict Japanese censorship regulations, which prohibit the depiction of the penis but apparently do not prohibit showing sexual penetration by a tentacle or similar (often robotic) appendage."
  • by gmuslera ( 3436 )
    Aren't they distributing hostile flash videogames? Should all flash, silverlight, advanced html5 and java be blocked to avoid breaking the law?

    Internet is the ultimate test to tell when some law is just stupid, and you don't need to be a "benevolent dictator" to have in your portfolio a lot of that kind of laws.
  • The capitol of Venezuela also happens to have the highest per capita murder rate in the world. They just seem to be following the rest of the world...if you cant blame someone blame video games and anyone who doesnt want to be one of those statistics knows not to blame Chavez's regime.

  • When it comes to news about Venezuela, I'm bias-sensitive. There's a political divide there that is ten times as vicious as it is here. With that in mind, I'm confused about this bit of the summary, "former director of opposing news network Globovision." How does that fit in context?

    Also, I understand that Venezuela has the highest murder rate of any country in the world. That seems like some necessary context for a law that punishes things that appear to encourage violent behavior.

  • A country without hockey!

  • We need to stop teaching our kids violence and start teaching them love!

    Which is why I'll shortly be pitching my new product line, "Fondle Me Elmo"

  • Not a big deal... (Score:5, Informative)

    by I'mJVC ( 459082 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @08:48PM (#31365488)

    The way things are developing right now in Venezuela, in a couple months we'll have no electricity to power our violent video games anyway.

    It's another violation of our rights, but it'll have to take the back seat while we deal with the hijacked supreme court, the lack of separation of powers, 12000+ violent deaths a year, the constants attacks on freedom on speech and the money unlawfully gifted by Chavez to foreign countries while lobbying for its revolution and the 21'st century socialism, and estimated over 50 billion dollars.

    This could be called my two cents, but being in Venezuela I can't exchange local to foreign currency freely, another right violation that's 6 years old and counting.

  • by Artemis3 ( 85734 ) on Thursday March 04, 2010 @09:12PM (#31365680)

    There is no seizing of consoles, that is a lie. However, this stupid law is true. In short, any sale, rent, distribution or even promotion of video games with any sort of "violence" in it, can get you 3 to 5 years in jail.

    It is explained in the law proposal that this is meant to protect the children from violence, but there is no exception for adults. Yes, for ages 18+ porn is legal, prostitution is legal, bearing firearms (with permit) is legal, but video games? no sir.

    Most game software companies will be unable to sell their products, the most affected are of course console games.

    I oppose this law and the constitution (art. 74) allows a referendum [] to revoke it. The question is, will enough people get together to start this?

    Here is the law in the official print [] (in spanish).
    Key excerpts from this law (forgive my translation):

    Article 3.1
    War videogame: Those videogames or programs usable in personal computers, arcade systems, video(game)consoles, portable devices or mobile phones and any other electronic or telematic device, which contain information or symbolism images promoting or inciting violence or use of weapons.

    Article 14
    Any who import, manufacture, sell, rent or distribute war videogames or war toys, shall be penalized with prison from 3 to 5 years.

  • by skywire ( 469351 ) * on Thursday March 04, 2010 @11:14PM (#31366570)

    When a headline writer can employ the incoherent phrase "hostile videogames and toys" with a straight face, the battle is already lost.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith