Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president, has pushed through 26 new laws, covering changes in areas ranging from the military to small businesses.
The package of laws, which were published in the official gazette on Monday, were enacted on July 31, the final day of an 18-month period during which Chavez had been granted special legislative powers.
The new laws includes measures which would set up neighbourhood-based militias, move the country towards a socialist economy and increase state control over agriculture.
The decrees met with opposition from Fedecamaras, the Venezuelan federation of chambers of commerce.
Jose Manuel Gonzalez, a business chamber leader of Fedecamaras, said: "We ask the president: Why does he fear democracy?"
He said that the package of laws included socialist concepts that voters rejected last year as part of a proposed overhaul of Venezuela's constitution.
"We are sure that this is nothing more than imposing the reform project that was rejected in December," Gonzalez said.
Among the goodies in the package:
Under one of the new laws, food retailers or distributors caught skirting government-imposed price controls or hoarding products would be punished with up to six years in prison.
Business owners who refuse to produce, import, transport or sell "items of basic necessity" would face up to 10 years in jail.
The decree also allows the government to "restrict or prohibit the import, export, distribution, exchange or sale" of certain foods or agricultural products and "take over distribution activities when considered necessary".
Other measures increase state control over commerce, services and publicity. Businesses that violate the new rules could face fines or indefinite closure.
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