Venezuela’s parliament has approved a law that lumps in toy weapons with videogames and bans the import, production or sale of both groups of items within the country.
The law was approved late last week and will go into effect within three months, reports Russian news agency Ria Novosti. The law features strict penalties of up to three to five years of incarceration for each offense. Previous reports also claimed that campaigns would be launched to warn about the dangers of videogames and that Venezuela’s consumer protection society would have full decision making abilities over what games to ban.
On BoingBoing, a 26-year old Venezuelan gamer named Guido Núñez-Mujica has penned an article detailing his distaste for the new law, even in the face of government harassment that could emerge from his public denouncement.
A few excerpts:
This law makes selling video games to anybody actually worse than giving real guns or cigarettes to a minor, or even forcing him or her to work, as you get less jail time and lower fines if you do any of those things.
These games are a cherished part of my life, they helped to shape my young mind, they gave me challenges and vastly improved my English, opening the door to a whole new world of literature, music and people from all around the world. Now, thanks to the tiny horizons of the cast of morons who govern me, thanks to the stupidity and ham-fisted authoritarianism of the local authorities, so beloved of so many liberals, my 7 year old brother's chances to do the same could be greatly impacted.
But I'd rather go to jail than betray the gamer culture, partially responsible for making me the person I am today.