Venezuela backs off banning odd names forums

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May 19, 2006
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Sept. 13, 2007, 9:25PM

Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan officials withdrew a proposal to bar parents from giving their children odd names like Edigaith, Mileidy or Superman, the state-run news agency reported Thursday.

The National Electoral Council had proposed banning "names that expose (children) to ridicule, are extravagant or difficult to pronounce" or raise doubts about whether a child is a girl or a boy.

The council also proposed to draw up a list of traditional names for parents to use "as a reference" when registering their children.

But the clause prohibiting odd monikers was axed after child protection officials warned it could violate "the right to liberty," Electoral Council member Sandra Oblitas was quoted as saying by the Bolivarian News Agency.

While unusual names appear in many countries, many Venezuelans seem to have an inclination to give their children nontraditional names. Some are creative spellings of English names like Maikel or Jhonny; others, such as Edis or Orlayny, are of uncertain origin.

When opponents of President Hugo Chavez last year sought to question the accuracy of the country's voter rolls, they noted that even "Superman" was listed. Electoral officials subsequently confirmed there are in fact two Venezuelans by that name registered to vote.

Superman can fly: Venezuela drops odd name ban | - Houston Chronicle


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