The abuse of power by the Venezuelan government under President Hugo Chavez has increased over the past four years, according to Human Rights Watch. Legislation limiting free speech and the removal of institutional safeguards give the government free rein to censor and intimidate critics, the group says. In 2008, Venezuela expelled HRW representatives, accusing them of interfering in the country's affairs. This latest report comes in the midst of Venezuela's election campaign. Contacted by the BBC, the Venezuelan government did not have an immediate response, with an official in the information ministry saying it had not seen the report.
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