Venezuela's Constitution: Preamble and initial articles
By Aleksander Boyd
London 31.12.04 | I have decided to close the year with the first article, of a long series, whose goal is to educate foreigners, and Venezuelans alike, about Venezuela's Constitution. Many of our detractors maintain that we, as the opposition to Chavez, are nothing but US servants, mindless puppets controlled at will by Bush et al. Such stance shows firstly a great disrespect towards a legitimate political position in any functioning democracy, i.e. that of opposing a given administration. Secondly it evidences a supine ignorance of our laws, which are explicit vis-à-vis the inalienable duties and rights of citizens as enshrined in the constitution of Venezuela. I shall start from the very beginning so that readers can decide whether or not Hugo Chavez can be considered as a president who upholds constitutional precepts and also to demonstrate, beyond reasonable doubt, that the first and foremost piece of legislation of Venezuela is chronically violated by those in power.
Preamble of the Constitution
The people of Venezuela exercising its original power represented by the National Constituent Assembly through free vote and democratic referendum, using its creative powers and calling upon God’s protection; the historical example set by our Liberator Simon Bolivar and the heroism of our aboriginal ancestors and that of those precursors who forged a free and sovereign homeland; with the aim of re-founding the Republic in order to establish a democratic, participative, multiethnic, inclusive and multicultural society, basis of a federal and decentralised State governed by Justice, that will seek to consolidate as its core values freedom, independence, peace, solidarity, wellbeing, territorial integrity, coexistence and the Rule of Law for this and future generations; a society that will guarantee the right to live and work, the access to culture and education, the right to social justice and equality without discrimination or subordination in any of its forms, it will promote peaceful cooperation amongst nations and will drive and consolidate Latin American integration in accordance to the principle of no intervention and self determination of its peoples, it will guarantee the indivisible and universal human rights and the democratization of the international community, promoting nuclear disarmament, ecologic equilibrium and protecting the environment as humanity’s heritage; decrees the following Constitution:
TITLE I FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES (Art. 1-9)
Article 1: The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is irrevocably free and independent, basing its moral property and values of freedom, equality, justice and international peace on the doctrine of Simón Bolívar, the Liberator. Independence, liberty, sovereignty, immunity, territorial integrity and national self-determination are unrenounceable rights of the Nation.
Article 2: Venezuela constitutes itself as a Democratic and Social State of Law and Justice, which holds as superior values of its legal order and actions those of life, liberty, justice, equality, solidarity, democracy, social responsibility and, in general, the pre-eminence of human rights, ethics and political pluralism.
Article 3: The essential purposes of the State are the protection and development of the individual and respect for the dignity of the individual, the democratic exercise of the will of the people, the building of a just and peace-loving society, the furtherance of the prosperity and welfare of the people and the guaranteeing of the Fulfilment of the principles, rights and duties established in this Constitution. Education and work are the fundamental processes for guaranteeing these purposes.
Article 4: The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is a decentralized Federal State on the terms set forth in this Constitution, governed by the principles of territorial integrity, cooperation, solidarity, attendance and shared responsibility.
Article 5: Sovereignty resides untransferable in the people, who exercise it directly in the manner provided for in this Constitution and in the law, and indirectly, by suffrage, through the organs exercising Public Power. The organs of the State emanate from and are subject to the sovereignty of the people.
Article 6: The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and of the political organs comprising the same is and shall always be democratic, participatory, elective, decentralized, alternative, responsible and pluralist, with revocable mandates.
Article 7: The Constitution is the supreme law and foundation of the legal order. All persons and organs exercising Public Power are subject to this Constitution.
Article 8: The national flag with its yellow, blue and red stripes, the National Anthem “Gloria al bravo pueblo” (Glory to the Brave People), and the coat of arms of the Republic are the symbols of the native land. Law shall regulate their characteristics, meaning and use. Article 9: Spanish is the official language. The use of native languages also has official status for native peoples, and must be respected throughout the territory of the Republic, as constituting part of the cultural heritage of the Nation and humanity.
Ergo from the first 9 articles one can easily demonstrate how Hugo Chavez has violated 7 (from 1 to 7):
Article 1: refer to and revise the relationship with Fidel Castro and Cuba.
Article 2: refer to and revise the way in which this very Constitution was approved illegally in 1.999. With respect to “…which holds as superior values of its legal order and actions those of life, liberty, justice, equality, solidarity, democracy, social responsibility and, in general, the pre eminence of human rights, ethics and political pluralism…” Check human rights reports and also the impinging of democratic values by way of rigging elections.
Article 3: refer to and revise any speech given by Chavez in the last six years, analysing with especial emphasis his understanding of “…respect for the dignity of the individual…”
Article 4: Decentralized? Refer to and revise the executive powers held by governors and mayors with respect to budget, security, education, infrastructure, etc.
Article 5: refer to and revise the recent electoral frauds, which were performed by a totally subservient electoral body that impeded, with the help of the army, any form of scrutiny.
Article 6: democratic and not accountable? Participative and the electorate can not check upon the accuracy and validity of voting results?
Article 7: This constitution is meant to be “the supreme law and foundation of the legal order” [sic] meaning that in our legal system there is no legislation above the constitution. However Hugo Chavez makes law quite regularly, last notorious instance was the illegal appointment of Rafael Ramirez to the presidency of PDVSA, violating the constitution first (sec.1 Art. 236) then PDVSA’s in-laws (art. 29) and finally the Organic Law of Administrative Processes (art. 13).
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