THE CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA
having called for the vote of the Legislative Assemblies of the States of Anzoategui, Apure, Aragua, Barinas, Bolivar, Carabobo, Cojedes, Falcon, Guarico, Lara, Merida, Miranda, Monagas, Nueva Esparta, Portuguesa, Sucre, Tachira, Trujillo, Yaracuy, and Zulia, and having seen the favorable result of the voting,
in representation of the Venezuelan people, for whom it invokes protection of God Almighty;
with the aim of maintaining the independence and territorial integrity of the Nation, strengthening its unity, ensuring the freedom, peace, and stability of its institutions;
protecting and uplifting labor, upholding human dignity, promoting the general wellbeing and social security, achieving an equitable participation by all in the enjoyment of wealth, according to the principles of social justice; and promoting the development of the economy in the service of man;
maintaining social and legal equality, without discrimination on account of race, sex, creed, or social conditions;
cooperating with all other nations, and especially with the sister republics of the Hemisphere, in the aims of the international community, on the basis of mutual respect for sovereignty, the self determination of peoples, the universal guarantee of the individual and social rights of the human person, and the repudiation of war, of conquest, and of economic predominance as an instrument of international policy;
supporting the democratic order as the soul and irrenouncable means of ensuring the rights and dignity of citizens and favoring the peaceful extension to all the peoples of the earth;
and preserving and increasing the moral and historical patrimony of the Nation forged by the people in their struggles for freedom and justice and by the thoughts and deeds of the great servant of their country, whose highest expression is Simon Bolivar, the Liberator, decrees the following
THE REPUBLIC, ITS TERRITORY AND POLITICAL DIVISIONS
Article 1. The Republic of Venezuela is forever and
irrevocably free and independent from any domination or protection
by a foreign power.
Article 2. The Republic of Venezuela is a federal state,
within the terms affirmed by this Constitution.
Article 3. The government of the Republic of Venezuela is and
always shall be democratic, representative, responsible, and
Article 4. Sovereignty resides in the people, who exercise
it, by means of suffrage, through the organs of the Public Power.
Article 5. The National flag, with the colors yellow, blue,
and red; the national hymn "Glory to a Brave People;" and the coat
of arms of the Republic, are the symbols of the country.
The law shall determine their characteristics and regulate their use.
Article 6. The official language is Spanish.
The Territory and Political Divisions
Article 7. The national territory is that which belonged to the Captaincy General of Venezuela before the political transformation initiated in 1810, with the modifications resulting from treaties validly concluded by the Republic.
Sovereignty, authority, and vigilance over the territorial sea,
the contiguous maritime zone, the continental shelf, and the air
space, and also the ownership and exploitation of property and
resources contained within them, shall be exercised to the extent
and under the conditions determined by law.
Article 8. The national territory may never be ceded,
transferred, leased, or in any way alienated, even partially or
temporarily, to a foreign power.
Within such area as is determined, foreign States may only
acquire, under guarantees of reciprocity and with the limitations
established by law, the real property necessary for the seat of
their diplomatic or consular representation. The acquisition of
real property by international organizations may be authorized only
under the conditions and restrictions established by law. In all
these cases sovereignty over the land shall always be retained.
Article 9. The national territory is divided, for the purposes
of the political organization of the Republic, into the States, the
Federal District, the Federal Territories, and the Federal
Article 10. States may merge, alter their present boundaries,
and decide upon exchanges or cessions of territory through
agreements approved by their Legislative Assemblies and ratified by
the Senate. Alterations of boundaries and exchanges or cessions of
territory between the Federal District or the Federal Territories or
Dependencies and the States may be accomplished through agreements
between the National Executive and the pertinent States, ratified by
the corresponding legislative Assemblies and by the Senate.
Article 11. The city of Caracas is the capital of the Republic
and the permanent seat of the supreme organs of the National Power.
The provisions of this article do not prevent the temporary
exercise of the National Power in other places in the Republic.
A special law may coordinate the different jurisdictions
existing within the metropolitan area of Caracas, without impairing
Article 12. The Federal District and the Federal Territories
shall be organized by organic laws, in which municipal autonomy
shall be maintained.
Article 13. By a special law a Federal Territory may be given
the status of a State and allotted all or part of the area of the
Article 14. The Federal Dependencies are those portions of the
territory of the Republic not included in the States, Territories,
and Federal District, and also such islands as may be formed or
appear in the territorial sea or in the sea covering the continental
shelf. Their system of government and administration shall be
established by law.
Article 15. The law may establish a special juridical system for
those territories which, by the free determination of their
inhabitants and with the approval of Congress, are incorporated into
CHAPTER III The States
Article 16. The States are autonomous and equal as political
entities. They are obligated to maintain the independence and
integrity of the Nation; and to comply with and enforce the
Constitution and the laws of the Republic.
They shall give faith and credit to public acts issued by
national authorities, other States, and municipalities and shall see
that they are executed.
Each State may preserve its present name or change it.
Article 17. The following are within the competence of each
- 1. The organization of its public powers, in conformity with
- 2. The organization of its Municipalities and other local
entities and their political and territorial division, in accordance
with this Constitution and the national laws;
- 3. The administration of its property and the expenditure of
the constitutional allotment and other revenues pertaining to it,
subject to the provisions of articles 229 and 235 of this
- 4. The use of the public credit, subject to the limitations
and requirements established by national laws;
- 5. The organization of the urban and rural police and the
determination of the branches of this service to be placed under
- 6. Any matters entrusted to it in accordance with article 137;
- 7. Whatever is not, in conformity with this Constitution,
within national or municipal competence.
Article 18. The States may not:
- 1. Create customhouses or import, export, or transit taxes on
foreign or domestic goods, or other sources of revenue under
national or municipal jurisdiction;
- 2. Tax consumer goods before they enter into circulation
within their territory;
- 3. Prohibit the consumption of goods produced outside their
territory, or tax them differently from those produced within it;
- 4. Levy taxes on livestock or on their products or by-products.
Article 19. The Legislative Power in each State is exercised by
a Legislative Assembly whose members must meet the same
qualifications as those required by this Constitution to be a Deputy
and shall be elected by direct vote with proportional representation
of minorities, according to law.
The Legislative Assembly is competent to examine and monitor any
act of the State public administration.
Members of the Legislative Assemblies shall enjoy immunity
within the territory of their State from ten days before the
beginning of sessions until ten days after the latter close or the
member leaves office. This immunity shall be governed by the
rules of this Constitution relative to the immunity of Senators and
Deputies, to the extent that they are applicable.
Article 20. The powers of the Legislative Assembly are:
- 1. To legislate on matters within state competence;
- 2. To approve or disapprove annually the actions of the
Governor, in a special session called for that purpose;
- 3. To sanction the Budget Law of the State;
The total expenditures authorized by the Budget Law may in
no case exceed the estimate of revenues for the pertinent period
made by the Governor in the bill presented to the Legislative
- 4. Any others attributed to it by law.
Article 21. The government and administration of each State are
the responsibility of a Governor, who in addition to being executive
head of the State is the agent of the National Executive in his
To be a Governor one must be a Venezuelan by birth, over thirty
years of age, and a layman.
Article 22. The law may establish the manner of electing and
removing Governors, in accordance with the principles set forth in
article 3 of this Constitution. The pertinent bill must first be
approved by the Chambers in joint session, by a vote of two thirds
of their members. The law shall not be subject to veto by the
President of the Republic. Until the Law provided for in this
article is enacted, Governors shall be freely appointed and removed
by the President of the Republic.
Article 23. The powers and duties of a Governor are;
- 1. To comply with and enforce this Constitution and the laws,
and to execute and see to the execution of orders and resolutions
received from the National Executive;
- 2. To appoint and remove those officials and employees under
him whose designation is not conferred upon some other authority,
without prejudice to the laws governing the administrative career;
- 3. To present to the Legislative Assembly a report of his
administration for the year immediately preceding;
- 4. To present to the Legislative Assembly the bill for the
Article 24. Disapproval of the acts of a Governor shall cause
his immediate removal in the event that this is expressly agreed
upon by a vote of two thirds of the members of the Legislative
Article 25. The Municipalities constitute the primary and
autonomous political unit within the national organization. They
are juridical persons and their representation shall be exercised by
such organs as are determined by law.
Article 26. The organization of Municipalities and other local
entities shall be governed by this Constitution, by the rules
established in national organic laws for the fulfillment of the
constitutional principles, and by legal provisions enacted by the
States in conformity therewith.
Article 27. The law may establish different systems for the
organization, government, and administration of Municipalities,
based on population, economic development, geographical location,
and other important factors. In all cases the municipal organization
shall be democratic and respond to the particular nature of the
Article 28. Municipalities may be grouped into Districts.
Municipalities may also join together for specified purposes within
Article 29. The autonomy of a Municipality covers:
- 1. The election of its authorities;
- 2. Freedom of action on matters within its competence;
- 3. The creation, collection, and expenditure of its revenues;
Acts of Municipalities may not be challenged except before
jurisdictional authorities, in accordance with this Constitution and
Article 30. Within municipal competence are the government and
administration of the interests peculiar to the entity, particularly
in relation to its property and revenues and to the matters of
concern to local life, such as urban development, supplies, traffic,
culture, health, social welfare popular credit institutions,
tourism, and municipal police.
The law may grant municipalities exclusive competence in
particular matters and may also impose on them a compulsory minimum
Article 31. Municipalities shall have the following revenues:
- 1. The proceeds from their common lands and their own property;
- 2. Excises for the use of their property and services;
- 3. Licenses on industry, business, and vehicles and taxes on
urban real property and public entertainment;
- 4. Fines imposed by municipal authorities and others
attributed to them by law;
- 5. State or national subsidies and donations; and
- 6. Any other special taxes, excises and contributions that
they impose according to law.
Article 32. The common lands are inalienable and imprescriptible.
They may be alienated only for construction in the cases established
by municipal ordinance and after compliance with the formalities
indicated therein. Those specified by law may also be alienated for
purposes of agrarian reform, but those required for the development
of urban centers shall in all cases be presented.
Article 33. Municipalities may make use of Public credit subject
to such limitations and requirements as are established by law.
Article 34. Municipalities shall be subject to the limitations
established in article 18 of this Constitution and may not levy on
the products of agriculture, stock-raising, or food fishery any
taxes other than those on retail trade.
Article 35. The following are Venezuelan by birth:
- 1. Those born in the territory of the Republic;
- 2. Those born in foreign territory of native-born Venezuelan
father and mother;
- 3. Those born in foreign territory of a native-born Venezuelan
father or a native-born Venezuelan mother, provided that they
establish their residence in the territory of the Republic or state
they desire to take Venezuelan nationality; and
- 4. Those born in foreign territory of a naturalized Venezuelan
father or naturalized Venezuelan mother, provided that before
reaching eighteen years of age they establish their residence in the
territory of the Republic and before reaching twenty-five years of
age they state their desire to take Venezuelan nationality.
Article 36. Foreigners who obtain a certificate of naturalization
are Venezuelans by naturalization.
Foreigners who by birth have the nationality of Spain or of a
Latin American State shall enjoy special facilities in obtaining a
certificate of naturalization.
Article 37. The following are Venezuelan by naturalization
whenever they state their desire to be so;
- 1. A foreign woman married to a Venezuelan;
- 2. Foreign miners as of the date of naturalization of the
person who has parental authority over them, if they reside in the
territory of the Republic and make the statement before they reach
twenty-five years of age; and
- 3. Foreign miners adopted by Venezuelans, if they reside in
the territory of the Republic and make the statement before they
reach twenty-five years of age.
Article 38. A Venezuelan woman who marries a foreigner retains
her nationality unless she states her desire to the contrary and,
according to the national law of her husband, acquires his
Article 39. Venezuelan nationality is lost:
- 1. By option or voluntary acquisition of another nationality;
- 2. By revocation of naturalization through a court judgment
according to law.
Article 40. Venezuelan nationality by birth is recovered when
the person who has lost it becomes domiciled in the territory of the
Republic and states his desire to recover it, or when he remains in
the country for a period of not less than two years.
Article 41. The statement of desire contemplated in articles 35,
37, and 40 shall be made in certified form by the interested party
if over eighteen years of age, or by his legal representative if he
has not reached that age.
Article 42. The law shall enact, in accordance with the spirit
of the foregoing provisions, the substantive and procedural rules
relating to the acquisition, option, loss, and recovery of Venezuelan
nationality, shall resolve conflicts of nationality, shall establish
the requirements, favorable circumstances, and formalities, and
shall regulate the loss and annulment of naturalization by expression
of desire and by the obtaining of a naturalization certificate.
DUTIES, RIGHTS AND GUARANTEES
Article 43. All persons have the right to the free development
of their personality, with no other limitations than those deriving
from the rights of others and from the public and social order.
Article 44. No legislative provision shall have retroactive
effect except when it imposes a lesser penalty. Procedural laws
shall apply from the time they enter into force, even in cases that
are pending; but in criminal trials evidence already introduced,
insofar as it is beneficial to the defendant, shall be weighed in
accordance with the law in force at the time it was given.
Article 45. Foreigners have the same duties and rights as
Venezuelans, with the limitations and exceptions established by this
Constitution and the laws.
Political rights are reserved to Venezuelans, except as provided
in article 3.
Venezuelans by naturalization who have entered the country
before they reached seven years of age and have resided there
permanently until they attained their majority shall enjoy the same
rights as Venezuelans by birth.
Article 46. Any act of the Public Power that violates or impairs
the rights guaranteed by this Constitution is void, and the public
officials and employees who execute it shall be held criminally,
civilly, or administratively liable, as the case may be, and orders
of superiors manifestly contrary to the Constitution and the laws
may not serve as an excuse.
Article 47. In no case may Venezuelans or foreigners claim
indemnity from the Republic, the States, or the Municipalities for
damages, loss, or expropriation not caused by legitimate authorities
in the exercise of their public office.
Article 48. Any agent of authority who carries out measures
restricting freedom must identify himself as such when the persons
affected so demand.
Article 49. The Courts shall protect every inhabitant of the
Republic in the enjoyment and exercise of the rights and guarantees
established in this Constitution, in conformity with the Law.
Proceedings shall be brief and summary, and the competent judge
shall have the power to reestablish immediately the legal situation
Article 50. The enunciation of rights and guarantees contained
in this Constitution should not be construed as a denial of others
which, being inherent in the human person, are not expressly
mentioned in it.
The lack of a law regulating these rights does not impair the
Article 51. Venezuelans have the duty to honor and defend their
country, and to safeguard and protect the interests of the Nation.
Article 52. Both Venezuelans and foreigners must comply with,
and obey the Constitution and the laws, and the decrees,
resolutions, and orders issued by legitimate organs of the Public
Power in the exercise of their functions.
Article 53. Military service is compulsory and shall be rendered
without distinction as to class or social condition, in the terms
and on the occasions fixed by law.
Article 54. Work is a duty of every person fit to perform it.
Article 55. Education is compulsory to the extent and under the
conditions fixed by law. Parents and representatives are responsible
for compliance with this duty, and the State shall provide the means
whereby all may comply with it.
Article 56. All persons are obligated to contribute to the
Article 57. The obligations that belong to the State with
respect to the assistance, education and well-being for the people
do not exclude those which, by virtue of social solidarity, are
incumbent on individuals according to their capacity. The law may
impose compliance with these obligations in cases where it may be
necessary. It may also impose on persons who aspire to practice
particular professions the duty to render services for a certain
time in such places and under such conditions as are indicated.
Article 58. The right to life is inviolable. No law may establish
the death penalty nor any authority carry it out.
Article 59. Every person has the right to be protected against
injury to his honor, reputation, or private life.
Article 60. Personal liberty and safety are inviolable, and
- 1. No one may be arrested or detained, unless caught in
flagrante, except by virtue of a written order of an official
authorized to decree the detention, in the cases and with the
formalities prescribed by law. The summary proceedings may not be
prolonged beyond the maximum legally fixed limit.
The accused shall have access to the proceedings of the summary
hearing and to all means of defense prescribed by law as soon as
warrant for arrest is issued.
In the event that a punishable act has been committed, the
police authorities may adopt such provisional measures of necessity
or urgency, as are essential to ensure investigation of the act and
trial of the guilty parties. The law shall fix a brief and
peremptory time limit within which the judicial authorities must be
notified of such measures, and shall also establish a period during
which the latter shall rule on them, it being understood that they
have been revoked and are without effect unless confirmed within
- 2. No one may be deprived of his liberty on account of
obligations the non-compliance with which has not been defined by
law as a crime or misdemeanor.
- 3. No one may be held incommunicado or subjected to torture or
to other proceedings which cause physical or moral suffering. Any
physical or moral attack inflicted on a person subjected to
restriction of his liberty is punishable.
- 4. No one may be required to take an oath or compelled to make
a statement or to acknowledge guilt in a criminal trial against
himself, or against his spouse or the person with whom he lives as
if married, or against his relatives within the fourth degree of
consanguinity or second of affinity.
- 5. No one may be convicted in a criminal trial without first
having been personally notified of the charges and heard in the
manner prescribed by law.
Persons accused of an offense against the res publica may be
tried in absentia, with the guarantees and in the manner prescribed
- 6. No one shall remain in detention after an order for release
has been issued by a competent authority or after the penalty
imposed has been satisfied. The of bail required by law for
granting provisional liberty of the person detained shall not give
rise to any tax.
- 7. No one may be sentenced to perpetual or infamous punishment.
Punishment involving restriction of liberty may not exceed thirty
- 8. No one may be tried for the same acts by virtue of which he
has been tried previously.
- 9. No one may be the object of forced recruitment or subjected
to military service except in terms regulated by law.
- 10. Measures of social interest against dangerous persons may
be taken only by fulfilling the conditions and formalities
established by law. Such measures shall in all cases be directed
toward the re-adaptation of the person to life in society.
Article 61. Discrimination based on race, sex, creed, or social
condition shall not be permitted.
Documents of identification for civil transactions shall contain
no descriptive mention of filiation.
No official form of address shall be used other than "citizen"
and "you" except in diplomatic formulas.
Titles of nobility or hereditary distinction shall not be
Article 62. The home is inviolable. It may not be broken into
except to prevent the perpetration of a crime or to carry out, in
accordance with the law, decisions of the courts.
Sanitary inspections which are to be made in conformity with the
Law may be undertaken only after prior notice from the officials who
order than or who are to make them.
Article 63. Correspondence in all its forms is inviolable.
Letters, telegrams, private papers, and any other means of
correspondence may not be seized except by judicial authority, with
the legal formalities fulfilled and secrecy always maintained
respecting domestic and private affairs that have no relation to the
proceeding concerned. Books, receipts, and accounting documents may
be inspected or audited only by competent authorities, in conformity
with the law.
Article 64. All persons may travel freely through the national
territory, change their domicile or residence, leave and return to
the Republic, bring their property into the country or take it out,
with no other limitations then those established by law. Venezuelans
may enter the country without the necessity of any authorization
whatever. No act of the Public Power may impose the penalty of
banishment from the national territory against Venezuelans, except
as commutation of some other punishment and at the request of the
guilty party himself.
Article 65. All persons have the right to profess their
religious faith and to practice their religion privately or
publicly, provided that it is not contrary to the public order or
Worship shall be subject to the supreme inspection of the
National Executive, in conformity with the law.
No one may invoke religious beliefs or disciplines in order to
avoid complying with the laws or to prevent another from exercising
Article 66. All persons have the right to express their thoughts
by the spoken word or in writing and to make use of any means of
dissemination, without prior censorship; but statements which
constitute offenses are subject to punishment, according to law.
Anonymity is not permitted. Likewise, propaganda for war, that
which offends public morals, and that for the purpose of inciting
disobedience of the laws shall not be permitted, but this shall not
preclude analysis or criticism of legal precepts.
Article 67. All persons have the right to present or address
petitions to any public entity or official concerning matters that
are within their competence, and to obtain an appropriate reply.
Article 68. All persons may make use of the agencies of the
administration of justice to protect their rights and interests,
under the terms and conditions established by law, which shall set
rules that ensure the exercise of this right by anyone who does not
have sufficient means.
Defense is an inviolable right at every stage and step of a trial.
Article 69. No one may be judged except by his natural judges or
sentenced to a punishment not established by a pre-existing law.
Article 70. All persons have the right of association for lawful
ends, in conformity with the law.
Article 71. Everyone has the right to meet with others, publicly
or privately, without previous permission, for lawful ends and
without arms. Meetings in public places shall be governed by law.
. The State shall protect associations, corporate
bodies, societies, and communities that have as their purpose the
better fulfillment of the aims of human beings and of social life,
and shall promote the organization of cooperatives and other
institutions devoted to improving the economy of the people.
Article 73. The State shall protect the family as the fundamental
nucleus of society, and shall see to the betterment of its moral and
The law shall protect marriage, shall promote the organization
of the unattachable family patrimony, and shall provide means of
helping every family to acquire comfortable and hygienic housing.
Article 74. Motherhood shall be protected, regardless of the
civil status of the mother. The measures necessary to ensure to
every child, without discrimination of any kind full protection,
from his conception until he is full-grown, so that his development
may take place under favorable material and moral conditions, shall
Article 75. The law shall provide means of enabling every child,
regardless of his filiation, to know his parents so that they may
fulfill their duty of aiding, feeding, and educating their children,
and so that infancy and youth may be protected against abandonment,
exploitation, or abuse.
Filiation by adoption shall be protected by law. The State shall
share with the parents, in a subsidiary manner and in the light of
the resources of the latter, the responsibility incumbent on them in
the rearing of children.
The assistance and protection of minors shall be the object of
special legislation and of special agencies and courts.
Article 76. All persons have a right to the protection of health.
The authorities shall see to the maintenance of public health
and shall provide the means of prevention and care for those who
All persons are obliged to submit to health measures established
by law, within the limits imposed by respect for the human person.
Article 77. The State shall strive to improve the living conditions of the rural population.
The law shall establish the special system required for the
protection of Indian communities and their progressive incorporation
into the life of the Nation.
Article 78. All persons have a right to an education. The State
shall create and maintain schools, institutions, and services
sufficiently endowed to ensure an access to education and to
culture, with no other limitations than those deriving from vocation
Education provided by public institutions shall be free at all
levels. However, the law may establish exceptions with respect to
higher and special education, where persons with means are concerned.
Article 79. Any natural or juridical person may freely devote
himself to the arts or sciences, and, upon demonstrating his
capacity, establish professorships and educational establishments
under the supreme inspection and supervision of the State.
The State shall stimulate and protect private education that is
provided in accordance with the principles contained in this
Constitution and the laws.
Article 80. Education shall have as its aim the full development
of the personality, the formation of citizens filled for life and
for the exercise of democracy, the promotion of culture, and the
development of a spirit of human solidarity.
The State shall guide and organize the educational system to
achieve the aims set forth here.
Article 81. Education shall be entrusted to persons of recognized
morality and proven fitness for teaching, according to law.
The law shall guarantee to teachers occupational security and a
work system and standard of living in accord with their elevated
Article 82. The law shall determine what professions require a
degree and what conditions that must be met to practice them.
Membership in a professional association is compulsory for the
practice of university professions so designated by law.
Article 83. The State shall promote culture in its diverse forms
and shall see to the protection and conservation of works, objects,
and monuments of historical or artistic value found within the
country, and shall seek to have them used for the promotion of
Article 84. All persons have a right to work. The State shall
seek to enable every fit person to obtain employment that will
provide him with a worthy and decent living.
Freedom of labor shall not be subject to any other restrictions
than those established by law.
Article 85. Labor shall be the object of special protection. The law shall provide whatever is necessary to improve the material, moral, and intellectual conditions of workers. Workers may not renounce provisions established by law to help or protect them.
Article 86. The law shall limit the maximum length of the work
day. Except as specially provided for, the normal duration of work
shall not exceed eight hours a day or forty-eight hours a week, and
for night work, in those cases in which this is permitted, it shall
not exceed seven hours a day or forty-two hours a week.
All workers shall be entitled to a remunerated weekly day of
rest and to paid vacations in conformity with the law.
A progressive reduction in the work day shall be promoted,
within the social interest and in such spheres as are decided upon,
and appropriate provisions shall be made for better utilization of
Article 87. The law shall provide means conducive to obtaining
fair wages; it shall establish standards to ensure to every worker
at least a minimum wage; it shall guarantee equal wages for equal
work, without discrimination of any kind; it shall fix the share in
the profits of enterprises that should belong to workers; and it
shall protect wages and social benefits by making them unattachable
in the proportion and cases specified and by any other privileges
and guarantees that it may establish.
Article 88. The law shall adopt measures directed toward
guaranteeing employment security and shall establish benefits to
compensate workers for seniority of service and to protect them in
case of unemployment.
Article 89. The law shall determine the responsibility incumbent
on a natural or juridical person for whose benefit a service is
rendered through an intermediary or contractor, without prejudice to
the joint and several liability of the latter.
Article 90. The law shall favor the development of collective
labor relations and shall establish appropriate regulations for
collective negotiations and the peaceful solutions of disputes.
Collective contracts shall be supported and the union clause may be
included in them, under the conditions prescribed by law.
Article 91. Unions of workers and of employers shall not be
subject to any other requirements, for existence and operation than
those established by law for the purpose of ensuring a better
accomplishment of their proper functions and of guaranteeing the
rights of their members. The law shall specifically protect in
their employment the promoters and leaders of labor unions during
the time and under the conditions required for ensuring union
Article 92. Workers have a right to strike, under conditions
fixed by law. In public services this right shall be exercised in
such cases as the law may determine.
Article 93. Women and minor workers shall receive special
Article 94. A system of social security to protect all
inhabitants of the Republic against work accidents, illness,
disability, old age, death, unemployment, and any other risks that
can be covered by social security, and also against the burdens
deriving from family life, shall be progressively developed.
Persons who lack financial means and are not in a position to
obtain them shall have the right to social assistance until they are
incorporated into the social security system.
Article 95. The economic system of the Republic shall be based
on principles of social justice that ensure to all a decent
existence useful to the community.
The State shall promote economic development and the diversification of production, in order to create new sources of wealth, to
raise the income level of the population, and to strengthen the
economic sovereignty of the country.
Article 96. All persons may freely engage in the lucrative
activity of their choice, with no other limitations than those
provided in this Constitution and those established by law for
safety, health, or other reasons of social interest.
The Law shall enact standards to prevent usury, undue price
increases, and, in general, abusive maneuvers directed toward
obstructing or restricting economic freedom.
Article 97. Monopolies shall not be permitted. Only exclusive
concessions for a limited period may be granted, in conformity with
the law, for the establishment and exploitation of works and
services of public interest.
The State may reserve to itself particular industries, exploitations, or services of public interest, for reasons of national
advantage, and shall promote the creation and development of a basic
heavy industry under its control.
The law shall decide matters concerning industries promoted and
directed by the State.
Article 98. The State shall protect private initiative, without
prejudice to its power to enact measures for planning,
rationalizing, and promoting production and for regulating the
circulation, distribution, and consumption of wealth, in order to
stimulate the economic development of the country.
Article 99. The right to own property is guaranteed. By virtue
of its social function property shall be subject to such taxes,
restrictions, and obligations as the law may establish for purposes
of public utility or the general interest
Article 100. Rights in scientific, literary, and artistic
works, inventions, trade, names, trademarks, and slogans shall be
entitled to protection for the time and under the conditions
indicated by law.
Article 101. The expropriation of any kind of property may be
declared only for reasons of public benefit, by final judgment and
the payment of fair compensation. In the expropriation of real
property for purposes of agrarian reform or the expansion and
improvement of towns, and in such cases as the law may determine for
serious reasons of national interest, payment may be deferred for a
specified time or partially settled by the issuance of bonds of
compulsory acceptance, with sufficient guarantee.
Article 102. Confiscation may not be decreed or executed except
in the cases permitted by article 250. Exempt from this, with
respect to foreigners, are measures accepted by international law.
Article 103. Lands acquired for purposes of exploration or
exploitation of mining concessions, including hydrocarbons and other
combustible minerals, shall revert to full ownership by the Nation,
without indemnity of any kind, when the pertinent concession is
terminated for any reason.
Article 104. Railways, highways, pipelines, and other means of
communication or transportation constructed by enterprises
exploiting natural resources shall be at the service of the public,
under the conditions and with the limitations established by law.
Article 105. The system of latifundium is contrary to the
social interest. The law shall order measures conducive to its elimination, and shall establish rules directed toward granting land to
rural workers and inhabitants who lack it, and toward providing them
with the means necessary for making it productive.
Article 106. The State shall attend to the protection and
conservation of the natural resources within its territory, and
their exploitation shall be directed primarily toward the collective
benefit of Venezuelans.
Article 107. The law shall establish rules relative to the
participation of foreign capital in national economic development
Article 108. The Republic shall favor Latin American economic
integration. To this end it shall strive to coordinate resources
and efforts to promote economic development and increase the common
well-being and security.
Article 109. The law shall regulate the formation, organization,
and powers of the advisory bodies deemed necessary to hear the
opinions of private economic sectors, the consuming public,
organizations of workers, professional associations, and the
universities, in matters of interest to economic life.
Article 110. Voting is a right and a public function. Its
exercise shall be compulsory, within the limits and conditions
established by law.
Article 111. All Venezuelans who have reached eighteen years of
age and who are not subject to civil interdiction or political
disqualification are voters.
Voting in municipal elections may be extended to foreigners,
under such residence and other requirements as the law may establish.
Article 112. Voters who can read and write and who are over
twenty-one years of age may be elected to and are fit to hold public
office, with no other restrictions than those established in this
Constitution and those deriving from the requirements of fitness
prescribed by law for holding particular positions.
Article 113. The electoral legislation shall ensure the freedom
and secrecy of the vote, and shall recognize the right of
proportional representation of minorities.
Electoral bodies shall be composed in such a way that no
political party or group predominates, and their members shall be
entitled to the privileges established by law to ensure independence
in the performance of their functions.
Competing political parties shall have the right of oversight of
the electoral process.
Article 114. All Venezuelans qualified to vote have a right to
associate in political parties in order to participate, by
democratic methods, in the guidance of national policy.
Law makers shall regulate the formation and activities of
political parties in order to ensure their democratic character and
to guarantee their equality before the law.
Article 115. Citizens have a right to demonstrate peacefully and
without arms, with no other requirements than those established by
Article 116. The Republic recognizes asylum in behalf of any
person who is the object of persecution or is in danger for
political reasons, under the conditions and requirements established
by law and by the standards of international law.
THE PUBLIC POWER
Article 117. The Constitution and the laws define the powers of
the Public Power, and their exercise must be subject thereto.
Article 118. Each of the branches of the Public Power has its
own functions, but the organs on which their exercise is incumbent
shall collaborate with one another in the accomplishment of the aims
of the State.
Article 119. Any usurped authority is without effect and its
acts are null and void.
Article 120. Any decision arrived at by direct or indirect
resort to force or by a meeting of individuals with subversive
intent is null and void.
Article 121. The exercise of the Public Power carries with it
individual liability for abuse of power or for violation of the law.
Article 122. The law shall establish an administrative career by
setting standards for the entry, advancement, transfer, suspension,
and retirement of employees in the National Public Administration,
and shall provide for their incorporation into the social security
Public employees are at the service of the State, not at that of
any political faction.
Every public official or employee is obligated to comply with
the requirements established by law for holding his position.
Article 123. No one may hold more than one remunerated public
position at the same time, except for academic, temporary, welfare,
teaching, aldermanic, or electoral positions specified by law. The
acceptance of a second position not exempted by this article
implies resignation from the first, except in those cases provided
for in article 141 or where the position is as an alternate who does
not definitively replace the principal.
Article 124. No one in the service of the Republic, of the
States, of the Municipalities, or of any other public juridical
person may make a contract with them, either directly or through an
intermediary or in representation of another, with such exceptions
as may be established by law.
Article 125. No public official or employee may accept offices,
honors, or compensation from foreign governments without prior
authorization from the Senate.
Article 126. Without the approval of Congress no contract involving the national interest may be entered into, except those that are
necessary for the normal conduct of the public administration or
those permitted by law. In no case may new concessions of
hydrocarbons or other natural resources specified by law be granted
unless the Chambers in joint session, duly informed by the National
Executive as to all pertinent circumstances, so authorize, under the
conditions they fix, with no waiver there-by of the fulfillment of
Likewise, no contract involving the national, state, or
municipal interest may be entered into with foreign states or public
agencies, or with companies not domiciled in Venezuela, or be
transferred to them, without the approval of Congress.
The law may require particular conditions as to nationality,
domicile, or others, or may require special guarantees, in contracts
involving the public interest.
Article 127. In contracts involving the public interest, unless
their nature renders it inappropriate, a clause shall be considered
incorporated, even if not expressly stated, whereby any questions
and disputes which may arise concerning such contracts and which are
not amicably settled by the contracting parties shall be decided by
the competent courts of the Republic, in accordance with its laws,
and may not for any reason or cause give rise to foreign claims.
Article 128. International treaties or conventions concluded by
the National Executive must be approved by a special law in order to
be valid, unless they concern the execution or consummation of
pre-existing obligations of the Republic, the application of
principles expressly recognized by it, the execution of ordinary
acts in international relations, or the exercise of powers which the
law expressly confers on the National Executive. However, the
Delegated Committee of Congress may authorize the provisional
execution of international treaties or conventions whose urgency so
requires, and these are to be submitted in all cases to the
subsequent approval or disapproval of Congress.
In all cases, the National Executive shall report to Congress,
at its next sessions, all international juridical agreements entered
into, with a precise indication of their nature and contents, whether
subject to its approval or not.
Article 129. In international treaties, conventions , and
agreements concluded by the Republic, a clause shall be inserted
whereby the parties bind themselves to decide by peaceful means
recognized by international law or previously agreed upon by them,
if such is the case, all controversies that may arise between the
parties by reason of their interpretation or execution, if this is not
inappropriate and if the procedure to be followed in concluding
Article 130. Since the Republic possesses the Right of
Ecclesiastical Patronage, this will be exercised according to law.
However, treaties or conventions may be concluded to regulate
relations between the Church and the State.
Article 131. Military and civilian authority may not
be exercised simultaneously by a single official, except by the
President of the Republic, who shall be, by reason of his office,
Commander in Chief of the National Armed Forces.
Article 132. The National Armed Forces form a non-political,
obedient, and non-deliberative institution, organized by the State
to ensure the national defense, the stability of democratic
institutions, and respect for the Constitution and the laws, the
observance of which shall always be above any other obligation. The
National Armed Forces shall be at the service of the Republic, and in no
case at that of any person or political faction.
Article 133. Only the State may possess and use weapons of war.
All those that exist, that are manufactured, or are imported into
the country shall become the property of the Republic, without
compensation or proceedings. The manufacture, trade, possession,
and use of other weapons shall be regulated by law.
Article 134. The States and Municipalities may organize only
police forces, in accordance with the law.
Article 135. The constitutional terms of the National Power
shall be five years, except by special provision in this Constitution.
The terms of the state and municipal public powers shall be
by national law and may not be less than two years or more than
Competence of the National Power
Article 136. The following are within the competence of the
- 1. The international relations of the Republic;
- 2. The protection and supreme oversight of the general
interests of the Republic, the preservation of the peace, and the
just application of the laws throughout the national territory;
- 3. The flag, coat of arms, hymn, holidays, decorations, and
honors of a national character;
- 4. The naturalization, admission, extradition, and expulsion
- 5. The identification and national police services;
- 6. The organization and government of the Federal District and
of the Federal Territories and Dependencies;
- 7. The monetary system and the circulation of foreign
- 8. The organization, collection, and control of taxes on
income, capital, and estates and gifts; of levies on .imports and for
registration and fiscal stamps, and those on the production and
consumption of goods which the law reserves in whole or in part to
the National Power, such as those on alcohol, liquors, cigarettes,
matches, and saltworks; those on mines and hydrocarbons; and all
other taxes, excises, and revenues not attributed to the States or
Municipalities which the law may create with a national character;
- 9. The organization and operation of the customs;
- 10. The operation and administration of mines and hydrocarbons,
saltworks, unimproved lands, and oysterpearl beds; and the
conservation, development, and utilization of forests, waters, and
other natural resources of the country.
The National Executive may, in conformity with the law, sell,
lease, or make free grants of unimproved lands; but saltworks may
not be alienated and mining concession may not be granted for an
The law shall establish a system of special appropriations for
the benefit of States within whose territory the property mentioned
in this numbered paragraph is located, without prejudice to the
possibility of it also establishing other special appropriations
for the benefit of other States. In all cases these appropriations
shall be subject to the standards on coordination provided for in
article 229 of this Constitution.
Unimproved lands on sea, river, or lake islands may not
be alienated, and concessions for their use may be granted only in a
manner that does not involve, directly or indirectly, a transfer of
the ownership of the land,
- 11. The organization and mode of operation of the National
- 12. The system of weights and measures;
- 13. The national census and statistics;
- 14. The establishment, coordination, and unification of
technical standards and procedures for engineering, architectural,
and urban development works;
- 15. The execution of public works of national interest;
- 16. The directives end bases for national education;
- 17. The technical direction, the establishment of
administrative standards, and the coordination of services for
protection of public health. The law may provide for the
nationalization of these public services in accordance with the
- 18. The conservation and stimulation of agricultural, fishery,
and forest production;
- 19. The promotion of low-cost housing;
- 20. Matters relating to land transportation, to air, maritime,
river, and lake navigation, and to wharves and other port works;
- 21. The opening and maintenance of national means of
communication; aerial traction cables and railways, even if located
within the boundaries of a State, with the exception of urban
streetcars or cable cars, the concession and regulation of which are
within the jurisdiction of the respective Municipalities;
- 22. The mails and telecommunications;
- 23. The administration of justice and the creation,
organization, and competence of the courts; the Public Ministry;
- 24. Legislation regulating the guarantees conferred by this
Constitution; civil, commercial, criminal, penitentiary and,
procedural legislation; legislation on elections; legislation on
expropriation by reason of public or social utility, that on public
credit; that on intellectual, artistic, and industrial property;
agrarian legislation; that on immigration and settlement; that on
tourism; that on labor, welfare, and social security; that on animal
and plant health; that on notaries and public registers; that on
banks and other institutions of credit; that on lotteries,
racetracks, and betting in general; and that concerning all matters
within the national competence;
- 25. Any other matter which the present Constitution assigns to
the National Power or which pertains to it by its nature or kind.
Article 137. Congress, by a vote of two thirds of the members of
the Chamber, may assign to the States or Municipalities particular
matters within the national competence, in order to promote
THE NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE POWER
Article 138. The Legislative Power is exercised by Congress,
which is composed of two Chambers: the Senate and the Chamber of
The Senate and Chamber of Deputies shall meet in joint session
in those cases indicated in this Constitution and the laws, and to
enact the regulations for Congress or whenever both Chambers so
decide because they consider it necessary.
The President of the Senate and the President of the Chamber of
Deputies shall preside over Congress as President and Vice President
respectively. The regulations shall establish the manner of filling
their temporary or occasional absences.
The Delegated Committee of Congress and all other Committees
formed by the Chambers shall perform the functions given to them by
this Constitution and the regulations.
Article 139. Congress shall legislate on matters within the national competence and on the functioning of the different branches of the National Power.
It is the privilege of Congress to decree amnesties, which it shall do by special law.
Congress also exercises control of the National Public
Administration within the terms established by this Constitution.
Article 140. The following may not be elected Senators or
- 1. The President of the Republic, the Ministers, the Secretary
to the President of the Republic, and the President and Director of
autonomous institutes until three months after total separation from
- 2. The Governors and Secretaries of Government of the States,
the Federal District, and Federal Territories until three months
after total separation from their posts, if the representation
corresponds to their jurisdiction, or while in office if another
jurisdiction is concerned; and
- 3. National, state, or municipal officials and employees and
those of autonomous institutes or of enterprises in which the State
has a deciding participation, if the election will take place in the
jurisdiction where they serve, except in cases of temporary,
electoral, welfare, teaching, or academic positions, or of
legislative or municipal representation.
The law may establish the ineligibility of certain electoral
Article 141. Senators and Deputies may accept posts as Minister,
Secretary to the President of the Republic, Governor, chief of
diplomatic mission, or President of an Autonomous Institute, without
losing their office.
To hold them they must withdraw from the pertinent Chamber, but
may rejoin it upon leaving those functions. The acceptance of
different mandates by popular election, in cases permitted by law
does not authorize holding them simultaneously.
Article 142. Senators or Deputies may not be held liable at any
time for votes cast or opinions expressed in the exercise of their
functions. They shall be liable only to the pertinent body in
accordance with this Constitution and the regulations.
Article 143. Senators and Deputies shall enjoy immunity from the
date on which they are proclaimed elected until twenty days after the
end of their term or their resignation, and consequently they
may not be arrested, detained, confined or subjected to criminal
trial, search of their person or home, or restrained in the
performance of their functions.
In case of flagrante delicto of a serious nature committed by a
Senator or Deputy, the competent authority shall place him in
custody at his residence and immediately notify the pertinent
Chamber or the Delegated Committee of the fact, with a duly detailed
report. This measure shall cease if within a period of ninety-six
hours the pertinent Chamber or the Delegated Committee does not
authorize his remaining in that situation until a decision is
reached on the search and seizure.
Public officials or employees who violate the immunity of
Senators and Deputies incur criminal liability and be punished
according to law.
Article 144. The court that hears accusations or complaints
against any member of Congress shall undertake the necessary
indictment proceedings and transmit them to the Supreme Court of
Justice for the purposes of section 2 of article 215 of this
Constitution. If the Court rules that there are grounds for
continuation of the case, the trial shall not be held until the
search and seizure are first approved by the respective Chamber or
the Delegated Committee.
Article 145. The Chamber or the Delegated Committee may not
agree to the search and seizure except at a session expressly
convoked, at least twenty-four hours in advance, and by a considered
decision approved by an absolute majority of the members.
Article 146. In cases in which the search and seizure have been
approved by the Delegated Committee, the pertinent Chamber may
revoke it at its sessions immediately following.
Article 147. Parliamentary immunity is suspended for a Senator
or Deputy while he is holding a public office that involves
separation from the Chamber or while he is on leave of absence for a
time exceeding twenty days, provided that the summoning of his
alternate is in order according to the regulations.
Alternates shall enjoy immunity while representing their
principals, from the time they are summoned until twenty days after the
Article 148. To form the Senate two Senators shall be elected
from each State by universal and direct vote and two from the
Federal District, plus any additional Senators resulting from the
application of the principle of representation of minorities as
established by law, which shall also determine the number and manner
of election of alternates.
Also members of the Senate are those citizens who have held the
Presidency of the Republic by popular election or have held it, in
accordance with article 187 of this Constitution, for more than half
a term, unless they have been convicted of an offense committed in
the performance of their functions.
Article 149. To be a Senator a person must be a Venezuelan by
birth and over thirty years of age.
Article 150.The powers of the Senate are:
- 1. To initiate the discussion of bills relating to treaties and international agreements;
- 2. To authorize the National Executive to alienate real property from the private domain of the Nation, with such exceptions as the law may establish;
- 3. To authorize public officials or employees to accept posts, honors, or recompense from foreign governments;
- 4. To authorize the use of Venezuelan military missions abroad or of foreign missions within the country, at the request of the
- 5. To authorize the promotion of officers of the Armed Forces from Colonel or Naval Captain inclusive;
- 6. To authorize the President of the Republic to leave the national territory;
- 7. To authorize the appointment of the Attorney General of the Republic and the chiefs of permanent diplomatic missions;
- 8. To authorize, by vote of a majority of its numbers, the trial of the President of the Republic following a ruling by the Supreme Court of Justice that there are grounds therefor. If the trial is authorized, the President of the Republic is suspended from office .
- 9. To grant to illustrious Venezuelans who have rendered eminent services to the Republic the honors of the National Pantheon, when twenty-five years have elapsed since their death;
- 10. Any others assigned to it in this Constitution or the laws.
The Chamber of Deputies
Article 151. To form the Chamber of Deputies the number of Deputies determined by law according to the required population base, which may not exceed one percent of the total population of the country, shall be elected by universal and direct vote and with proportional representation of minorities.
The law shall fix the number and manner of election of alternates .
At least two Deputies shall be elected in each State.
Article 152. In order to be a Deputy a person must be a Venezuelan by birth and over twenty-one years of age.
Article 153. The powers of the Chamber of Deputies are:
- 1. To initiate the discussion of the budget and of any bill concerning the system of taxation;
- 2. To adopt a vote of censure of the Ministers.
A motion of censure may only be discussed two days after it is presented to the Chamber, which may decide, by two thirds of the Deputies present, that the vote of censure includes removal of the Minister. It may, in addition, order his trial;
- 3. Any others assigned to it in this Constitution and the laws.
Article 154. The regular sessions of the Chambers shall begin, without the necessity of prior convocation, on March 2 of each year or the most immediately subsequent day possible and shall last until the following July 6. These regular sessions shall resume each year from October 1, or the most immediately subsequent day possible, until November 30, both inclusive. In the last year of a
constitutional term the regular session shall last from March 2 until August 15. In any case, the Chambers in joint session, by a vote of an absolute majority of their members, may prolong these periods, when necessary, for the dispatch of pending matters.
Article 155. Congress shall meet in special sessions to deal with matters stated in the convocation and others connected therewith. It may also consider those declared to be urgent by either Chamber.
Article 156. The requirements and procedures for the installation and other sessions of the Chambers, and for the functioning of their Committees, shall be determined by the regulations.
A quorum may in no case be less than an absolute majority of the members of each Chamber.
Article 157. The Chambers shall open and close simultaneously, and they must meet in the same town. Any difference that may arise between them shall be resolved in joint session, by the vote of an absolute majority of those present.
Article 158. The following are exclusive powers of each of the
- 1. To issue its regulations and apply such sanctions as are established therein against those who infringe them. The temporary removal of a Senator or Deputy may be approved only by a two-thirds vote of those present;
- 2. To rule on the qualifications of its members and take cognizance of their resignations;
- 3. To organize its police services;
- 4. To remove obstacles that may prevent the exercise of its functions;
- 5. To approve and execute its budget of expenses on the basis of the annual item fixed in the pertinent law;
- 6. To execute and order the execution of resolutions concerning its functioning and the exclusive powers previously enunciated.
. Acts of the legislative bodies in the exercise of their exclusive powers shall not be subject to the veto, examination, or control of the other powers, except as provided in this Constitution concerning the abuse of powers.
Article 160. The legislative bodies or their Committees may undertake any investigation they dean advisable, in conformity with the regulations.
All officials of the public administration and of the autonomous institutes are obligated, under penalty of such sanctions as are establish by law, to appear before them and to furnish such information and documents as are required for the fulfillment of their functions.
This obligation is also incumbent on private individuals, except as limited by the rights and guarantees established by this Constitution.
In all cases the interested party shall be notified of the purpose of his summons at least forty-eight hours in advance.
Article 161. Exercise of the power of investigation to which the preceding article refers does not affect the authority appertaining to the Judicial Power in accordance with this Constitution and the laws.
Judges shall be obligated to adduce evidence for which they receive a request from the legislative bodies.
Enactment of laws
Article 162. Acts approved by the Chambers as co-legislative bodies shall be termed laws. Laws which systematically assemble the rules relating to a given subject may be termed Codes.
Article 163. Organic laws are those which are so designated by this Constitution and those which are invested with this character by an absolute majority of each Chamber when the pertinent bill is introduced there.
Laws which are enacted on matters governed by organic laws shall be subject to the norms of the latter.
Article 164. Bills may be introduced in either Chamber, except those which by special provision of this Constitution must necessarily be introduced in either the Senate or the Chamber of Deputies .
Article 165. The initiative for bills appertains to:
- 1. The Delegated Committee of Congress or the Permanent Committees of either Chamber;
- 2. The National Executive;
- 3. Senators and Deputies numbering not less than three;
- 4. The Supreme Court of Justice, when the laws concerned relate to judicial organization or procedures;
- 5. Not less than twenty thousand voters, identified according to law.
. Every bill shall have at least two discussions in each Chamber, on different days and in full Chamber, in accordance with the rules established in this Constitution and in their respective regulations.
Article 167. When a bill is approved in one of the Chambers it shall be sent to the other. If the latter approves it without amendments, it becomes sanctioned as law. If it approves it with amendments it shall return it to the Chamber of origin.
If the Chamber of origin accepts the amendments, it is thereby sanctioned as law. Otherwise, the Chambers in joint sessions shall decide by majority vote what is to be done with the articles on which there are discrepancies and those having a connection with them, and they may agree on a text different from that adopted by either Chamber. When the differences have been settled, the Presidency shall declare the law sanctioned.
Article 168. A bill approved by one Chamber may be approved by the other in a single discussion if declared urgent by two thirds of its members.
Article 169. Bills rejected may not be considered again in either Chamber during the sessions of the same year, unless presented by an absolute majority of one of them.
The discussion of bills that are pending at the end of one session may be continued in the following sessions if so decided by the pertinent Chamber.
Article 170. In the discussion of laws relating to judicial organization and procedure, Ministers have the right to voice in the discussion of laws. A Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice designated by the latter for that purpose has the same right.
Article 171. The text of laws shall obey the following formula:
"The Congress of the Republic of Venezuela, Decrees".
Article 172. As soon as a law is sanctioned it shall be issued in duplicate in the final text resulting from the discussions. Both copies shall be signed by the President, the Vice President, and the Secretaries of Congress, and shall bear the date of final approval.
For purposes of promulgation, one of these copies shall be sent by the President of Congress to the President of the Republic.
Article 173. The President of the Republic shall promulgate the law within ten days after the date of receipt, but within that period he may, with the approval of the Council of Ministers, ask Congress for its reconsideration, by means of an explanatory
statement in order that certain provisions may be amended or its sanction of all or part of the law be withdrawn.
The Chambers in joint session shall decide on the points raised by the President of the Republic and may write a new text for the provisions objected to and those connected with them.
When a decision has been adopted by two-thirds of those present, the President of the Republic shall proceed with the promulgation of the law within the five days following its receipt, and he may not offer new comments.
When the decision has been reached by simple majority, the President of the Republic may choose between promulgating the law and returning it to Congress within the same five-day period for a new and final reconsideration. The decision of the Chamber in joint
session is definitive, even if by simple majority, and the promulgation of the law must be made within the five days following its receipt.
In any case, if the objection is based on unconstitutionality, the President of the Republic may, within the period fixed for promulgating of a law, have recourse to the Supreme Court of Justice, requesting its decision as to the alleged unconstitutionality. The Court shall decide within a period of ten days, counted from the date of receipt of the communication from the President of the Republic. If the Court denies the claim of
unconstitutionality, or does not decide within the aforementioned period, the President of the Republic must promulgate the law within five days after the decision of the Court or the expiration of that period .
Article 174. A law shall become promulgated upon being published with the corresponding "Cúmplase" (a formula of approval) in the Official Gazette of the Republic.
Article 175. Whenever the President of the Republic does not promulgate a law within the periods indicated, the President and Vice President of Congress shall proceed with its promulgation, without prejudice to any liability incurred by the President of the
Republic for his omission. In such cases the promulgation of the law be made in the Official Gazette of the Republic or in the Gazette of Congress.
Article 176. The time period for the promulgation of a law approving an international treaty, convention, or agreement is left to the discretion of the National Executive, in conformity with international usage and the convenience of the Republic.
Article 177. Laws may be repealed only by other laws, and they may be amended wholly or in part. A law which has been partially amended shall be published in a single text which incorporates the amendments approved.
The Delegated Committee of Congress
Article 178. While the Chambers are in recess there shall function a Committee composed of the President, Vice President, and twenty-one members of Congress who, with their respective alternates, shall be elected in a manner that reflects as far as
possible the political composition of the Congress. The pertinent regulations shall establish the manner and time of electing the Delegated Committee and its internal operation.
Article 179.The Powers of the Delegated Committee of Congress are :
- 1. To ensure the observance of the Constitution and respect for citizens' guarantees and to adopt far these purposes such measures as may be called for;
- 2. To exercise the functions of investigation invested in the legislative bodies;
- 3. To designate special committees consisting of members of
- 4. To convoke Congress into special session when the importance of a matter so demands;
- 5. To authorize the National Executive, by a favorable vote of two thirds of its members, to create, modify, or abolish public services, in case of proven urgency;
- 6. To authorize the National Executive to decree credits outside the Budget;
- 7. To authorize the President of the Republic to leave the national territory temporarily;
- 8. Any others conferred on it by this Constitution and the laws .
Article 180. The Delegated Committee shall report its actions to Congress .
THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE POWER
The President of the Republic
Article 181. The Executive Power is exercised by the President of the Republic and any other officials determined by this Constitution and the laws.
The President of the Republic is the chief of State and of the National Executive.
Article 182. To be elected President of the Republic a person must be a Venezuelan by birth, over thirty years of age, and a layman.
Article 183. The election of the President of the Republic shall be by universal and direct vote, in conformity with the law. The candidate who obtains a relative majority of votes shall be proclaimed elected.
Article 184. No one may be elected President of the Republic who is holding the Presidency at the time of an election or has held it for more than one hundred days in the immediately preceding year, or his relatives within the third degree of consanguinity or second of affinity.
Likewise, no one who is holding the position of Minister, Governor, or Secretary to the Presidency of the Republic on the day of his becoming a candidate or at any time between that date and the election may be elected President of the Republic.
Article 185. Anyone who has occupied the Presidency of the Republic for a constitutional term or for more than half thereof may not again be President of the Republic or perform that office within the ten years following the termination of his mandate.
Article 186. The elected candidate shall assume the office of President of the Republic by taking an oath before the Chambers meeting in joint session within the first ten days in which they are to inaugurate their regular sessions for the year in which a
constitutional term begins. If for any reason he is unable to take the oath before the Chambers in joint session, he shall do so before the Supreme Court of Justice. Whenever the President-elect does not take office within the period provided for in this article, the
outgoing President shall resign his powers before the person called upon to replace him provisionally in case of absolute vacancy, in accordance with the following article, who shall exercise them as Chargé of the Presidency of the Republic, until the President-elect assumes the post.
Article 187. Whenever there is an absolute vacancy before the President-elect takes office, a new universal and direct election shall be held on the date set by the Chambers in joint session. If the absolute vacancy occurs after the assumption of office, the Chambers shall, within the next thirty days, proceed to elect a new President, by secret vote and in joint session, for the remainder of the constitutional term. In this case the provisions of article 184 shall not apply.
In either case, until a new President is elected and assumes office, the Presidency shall be occupied by the President of Congress; if there is none, by the Vice President of Congress and, in his default, by the President of the Supreme Court of Justice.
Article 188. Temporary absences of the President of the Republic shall be filled by a Minister designated by the President himself and, in his default, by the person called upon to fill an absolute vacancy in accordance with the preceding article. If the temporary
absence is prolonged for more than ninety consecutive days, the Chambers in joint session shall decide whether an absolute vacancy should by considered to exist.
Article 189. The President, or whoever is acting in his stead, may not leave the national territory without authorization from the Senate or from the Delegated Committee. Nor may do so without such authorization within the six months following the date on which he leaves office.
Powers of the President of the Republic
Article 190. The powers and duties of the President of the Republic are:
- 1. To enforce this Constitution and the laws;
- 2. To appoint and remove the Ministers;
- 3. To exercise, as Commander in Chief of the National Armed Forces, the highest-ranking authority over them;
- 4. To fix the size of the National Armed Forces;
- 5. To direct the foreign affairs of the Republic and make and ratify international treaties, conventions, or agreements;
- 6. To declare a state of emergency and order the restriction or suspension of guarantees in the cases provided for in this Constitution;
- 7. To adopt measures necessary for the defense of the Republic, the integrity of its territory, and its sovereignty, in the event of international emergency;
- 8. To enact extraordinary measures in economic or financial matters whenever the public interest so requires and he has been authorized to do so by special law;
- 9. To convoke Congress into extraordinary session;
- 10. To regulate the laws in whole or in part, without altering their spirit, purpose, or sense;
- 11. To order, in case of proven emergency during a recess of the creation and funding of new public services, or the modification or abolition of those in existence, with the authorization of the Delegated Committee;
- 12. To administer the National Public Finances;
- 13. To negotiate national loans;
- 14. To decree credits outside the Budget, with the authorization of the Chambers in joint session, or of the Delegated Committee ;
- 15. To make contracts in the national interest permitted by this Constitution and the laws;
- 16. To appoint, with the authorization of the Senate or of the Delegated Committee of Congress, the Attorney General of the Republic and the heads of permanent diplomatic missions;
- 17. To appoint and remove the Governor of the Federal District and the Federal Territories;
- 18. To appoint and remove, in accordance with the law, those national officials and employees whose appointment is not vested in some other authority;
- 19. To assemble in convention any or all of the Governors of the federal entities for better coordination of the plans and tasks of the public administration;
- 20. To submit to Congress, personally or through one of the Ministers, special reports and messages;
- 21. To grant pardons;
- 22. Any others assigned to him in this Constitution or the laws. The President of the Republic shall exercise in Council of Ministers the powers enumerated in sections 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, and 15 and those which he is empowered by law to exercise in the
Acts of the President of the Republic, with the exception of those mentioned in sections 2 and 3 of this article, must be countersigned by the appropriate Minister or Ministers in order to be valid.
Article 191. Within the first ten days following the installation of Congress in regular sessions, the President of the Republic, personally or through one of the Ministers, shall present each year to the Chambers meeting in joint session a Message in
which he shall give an accounting of the political and administrative aspects of his actions during the immediately preceding year. In this Message the President shall set forth the features of the plan for the economic and social development of the Nation.
The Message corresponding to the last year of a constitutional term must be presented within the first five days following the installation of Congress.
Article 192. The President of the Republic is liable for his acts, in conformity with this Constitution and the laws.
Article 193. The Ministers are the direct agents of the President of the Republic, and together comprise the Council of Ministers. The President of the Republic shall preside over meetings of the Council of Ministers, but he may designate a Minister to
preside whenever he is unable to attend. In this case, the decisions taken shall not be valid unless they are confirmed by the President of the Republic. An organic law shall determine the manner and organization of the Ministries and their respective competence, and also the organization and functioning of the Council of Ministers.
Article 194. The President of the Republic may appoint Ministers of State without assigning them a specific department. In addition to participating in the Council of Ministers and advising the President of the Republic on such matters as he entrusts to them, the Ministers of State may take charge of matters assigned to them by law.
Article 195. To be a Minister a person must be a Venezuelan by birth, over thirty years of age, and a layman.
Article 196. Ministers are liable for their acts, in conformity with this Constitution and the laws, even when they act under the express orders of the President. Ministers who when present shall be jointly and severally liable for decisions of the
Council of Ministers, with the exception of those who have made known their adverse or negative vote.
Article 197. Each Minister shall present to the Chambers in joint session, within the first ten days of a regular session, a reasoned and adequate report on the actions of his Department during the immediately preceding calendar year and on its plans for the
following year. He shall also present an accounting of the funds he has managed. The reports corresponding to the last year of a constitutional term must be presented within the first five days following the installation of Congress.
Article 198. No pronouncement of the legislative bodies concerning the reports or accounts shall free a Minister from liability for the acts of his Department. In any case, and as long as prescription has not taken effect, they may undertake an investigation and examination of those acts, even if they pertain to previous fiscal periods.
Article 199. Ministers have the right to voice in the Chambers and in their Committees, and they are obligated to attend them when called upon to report or to answer interpellations.
The Office of the Attorney General of the Republic
Article 200. The Office of the Attorney General of the Republic shall be under the responsibility and direction of the Attorney General of the Republic, with the collaboration of such other officials as the law determines.
Article 201. The Attorney General of the Republic must have the same qualifications as those required of a Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice, and shall be appointed by the President of the Republic with the authorization of the Senate.
If during a recess of the Chambers an absolute vacancy occurs in the post of Attorney General of the Republic, the President of the Republic shall make a new appointment with the authorization of the Delegated Committee of Congress. Temporary and occasional absences shall be filled in the manner determined by law.
Article 202. The functions of the Attorney General of the Republic are:
- 1. To represent and defend the patrimonial interests of the Republic judicially or extrajudicially;
- 2. To render opinions in the cases and with the effects indicated in the laws;
- 3. To give legal advice to the National Public Administration;
- 4. Any others attributed to him by law.
All legal advisory services of the National Public Administration shall collaborate with the Attorney General of the Republic in the performance of his functions, in the manner
determined by law.
Article 203. The Attorney General of the Republic may attend, with the right to voice, meetings of the Council of Ministers when called upon by the President of the Republic.
THE JUDICIAL, POWER AND THE PUBLIC MINISTRY
Article 204. The Judicial Power is exercised by the Supreme Court of Justice and by such other courts as the organic law determines .
Article 205. In carrying out their functions judges are autonomous and independent of the other organs of the Public Power.
Article 206. Jurisdiction in matters of administrative law is vested in the Supreme Court of Justice and in such other Courts as the law determines.
The organs of the administrative-law jurisdiction are competent to annul general or individual administrative acts that are contrary to law, including misuse of power; to issue judgments requiring the payment of sums of money and the redress of damages originating in administrative liability; and to order whatever is necessary for the
reinstatement of subjective juridical situations injured by administrative activity.
Article 207. The law shall provide whatever conduces to the establishment of a judicial career and to ensuring the fitness, stability, and independence of judges, and shall establish rules relating to the competence, organization, and functioning of the
Courts insofar as this is not provided for in this Constitution.
Article 208. Judges may not be removed or suspended from office except in such cases and according to such procedure as the law determines .
Article 209. All other authorities of the Republic shall offer judges the collaboration they may require for the proper performance of their functions.
Article 210. The law shall determine matters relating to inspection of the functioning of the Courts, the means for attending to their functional and administrative needs, and the organization of auxiliary judicial services, all without impairing the autonomy and independence of judges.
The Supreme Court of Justice
Article 211. The Supreme Court of Justice is the highest Tribunal of the Republic. No recourse of any kind will be heard or admitted against its decisions.
Article 212. The Supreme Court of Justice shall function in Divisions, the composition and competence of which shall be determined by law. Each Division shall have at least five Magistrates.
Article 213. To be a Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice a person must be a Venezuelan by birth, a lawyer, and over thirty years of age.
In addition to these qualifications, the organic law may require practice of the legal profession, a judgeship, or university teaching of legal subjects for a specified time.
Article 214. Magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice shall be elected by the Chambers in joint session for terms of nine years, but they shall be renewed by thirds every three years. Alternates shall be appointed in the same manner to fill absolute vacancies among the Magistrates; temporary or occasional vacancies shall be filled in the manner determined by law.
Article 215. The powers of the Supreme Court of Justice are:
- 1. To declare whether or not there are grounds for the trial of the President of the Republic or persons acting in his stead, and, if there are, to continue trying the case, with the authorization of the Senate, until final sentence is issued;
- 2. To declare whether or not there are grounds for the trial of members of Congress or of the Court itself, of the Ministers, the Prosecutor General, the Attorney General, or the Comptroller General of the Republic, the Governors, or the chief of diplomatic missions of the Republic, and, if there are, to transmit the case to the
competent regular Court, if a common offense, or continue trying the case until final sentence if a political offense, except as provided in Article 144 with respect to members of Congress.
- 3. To declare the total or partial nullity of national laws and other acts of the legislative bodies that conflict with this Constitution;
- 4. To declare the total or partial nullity of state laws, municipal ordinances, and other acts of the deliberative bodies of the States and Municipalities that conflict with this Constitution;
- 5. To settle any conflicts that may exist between different legal provisions and declare which of them is to prevail;
- 6. To declare the nullity of regulations and other acts of the National Executive when they violate this Constitution;
- 7. To declare the nullity of administrative acts of the National Executive whenever this is appropriate;
- 8. To settle controversies in which one of the parties is the Republic or a State or Municipality, when the other party is also one of these entities, except for controversies between Municipalities in the same State, in which case the law may provide that the case be heard by another Court;
- 9. To decide conflicts of competence between Courts, either regular or special, when there is no other higher court common to them;
- 10. To hear cases in cessation;
- 11. Any others conferred on it by law.
Article 216. The powers enumerated in sections 1 to 6 of the preceding article shall be exercised by the full Court. Decisions shall be rendered by an absolute majority of all Magistrates.
The organic law may grant the powers enumerated in sections 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 to a Federal Division presided over by the President of the Court and composed of Magistrates who have competence in administrative-law matters, in number not less than two representatives of each of the other Divisions.
The Council on the Judiciary
Article 217. The pertinent organic law shall create a Council on
the Judiciary, the organization and powers of which it shall fix for
the purpose of ensuring the independence, efficiency, discipline,
and decorum of the Courts and of guaranteeing the benefits of a
judicial career to judges. Adequate representation on it must be
given to the other branches of the Public Power.
The Public Ministry
Article 218. The Public Ministry shall oversee the strict
observance of the Constitution and the laws, and shall be in
charge and under the direction and responsibility of the Prosecutor
General of the Republic, with the help of such officials as the
organic law determines.
Article 219. The Prosecutor General of the Republic must have
the same qualifications as those of Magistrates of the Supreme Court
of Justice, and shall be elected by the Chambers in joint session
within the first thirty days of each constitutional term. In the
event of an absolute vacancy in the post of Prosecutor General, a
new election shall be held for the remainder of the constitutional
term. Temporary and occasional absences of the Prosecutor General
of the Republic, and the interim vacancy before an absolute vacancy
is filled, shall be filled in the manner determined by law.
Article 220. The powers of the Public Ministry are:
- 1. To see to it that constitutional rights and guarantees are
- 2. To see to it that the administration of justice is swift
and smooth and that the courts of the Republic apply the laws fairly
in criminal trials and those that concern the public order and good
- 3. To bring criminal actions in cases in which a petition by a
party is not necessary to initiate and prosecute them, without
prejudice to the right of courts to act directly when the law so
- 4. To see to the correct enforcement of the laws and the
guarantee of human rights in jails and other prison establishments;
- 5. To initiate such actions as may be appropriate to enforce
civil, criminal, administrative, or disciplinary liability incurred
by public officials in carrying out their functions; and
- 6. Any others conferred on it by law.
The powers given to the Public Ministry shall not impair the
exercise of the rights and actions pertaining to private individuals
or to other officials in accordance with this Constitution and the
Article 221. The authorities of the Republic shall give to the
Public Ministry whatever collaboration it may require for the proper
performance of its functions.
Article 222. The Prosecutor General of the Republic shall
present a report of his activities to Congress annually, within the
first thirty days of its regular sessions.
THE PUBLIC FINANCES
Article 223. The system of taxation shall seek a fair
distribution of burdens in accordance with the economic capacity of
the taxpayer, based on the principle of progressivity and also the
protection of the national economy and the raising of the standard
of living of the people.
Article 224. No tax or other contribution may be collected that
is not established by law, and no exemptions or exonerations from
them may be granted except in the cases provided for in such a law.
Article 225. No tax payable in personal services may be
Article 226. A law which establishes or amends a tax or other
contribution must fix a period of time before it is to take effect.
If this is not done, it may not take effect until sixty days after
it has been promulgated.
This provisions does not limit the extraordinary powers which
are granted to the National Executive in the cases provided for in
Article 227. No expenditure shall be made from the National
Treasury that has not been provided for in the Budget Law. Credits
additional to the budget may be decreed only for necessary
expenditures not provided for or for which the items were
insufficient, and only if that the Treasury has the funds to meet
the expenditure. For this purpose a favorable vote of the Council
of Ministers and the authorization of the Chambers in joint session
or, if in recess, of the Delegated Committee shall be prerequisite.
Article 228. The National Executive shall submit the proposed
Budget Law to Congress at the time indicated in the organic law.
The Chambers may alter budgetary items but may not authorize
expenditures that exceed the amount of estimated revenues in the
Article 229. The Budget Law shall include annually, with the
name "allotment," an item which is to be distributed among the
States, the Federal District, and the Federal Territories in the
following manner: thirty percent (30%) of the amount in equal parts
and the remaining seventy percent (70%) to be divided in proportion
to the population of each of the Entities mentioned. This item
shall not be less than twelve and a half percent (12.5%) of the
total estimated ordinary revenues in the budget, and this minimum
percentage shall be increased annually and consecutively, beginning
with the budget for 1962, by at least one half percent (0.5%) until
it reaches a definitive minimum of fifteen percent (15%). The
pertinent organic law shall determine the share corresponding to
municipal entities under this allotment.
The law may enact rules to coordinate the expenditure of this
allotment with administrative plans developed by the National Power,
and may set limits on the emoluments to be received by officials and
employees of federal and municipal entities.
In the event of a decrease in revenues that requires a
readjustment of the Budget, the allotment will be readjusted
Article 230. Autonomous institutes may be created only by law,
and in conformity with the pertinent organic law.
Autonomous institutes and the State interest in corporate bodies
or entities of any nature shall be subject to the control of
Congress, in the manner established by law.
Article 231. Loans may be contracted only for income-producing
works, except in case of obvious national necessity or advantage.
Public credit operations shall require, in order to be valid, a special law which authorizes them, with only such exceptions as are established in the organic law.
Article 232. The State shall recognize no other obligations than those contracted by legitimate organs of the National Power, in accordance with the laws.
Article 233. The provisions which govern the National Public Finances shall govern the Public Finances of the States and Municipalities insofar as they are applicable.
The Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic
Article 234. The Office of the Comptroller General of the
Republic is entrusted with the monitoring, supervision, and auditing
of the national revenues, expenditures, and assets, and of
operations related to them.
The law shall determine the organization and functioning of the
Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, and the
occasions, nature, and scope of its intervention.
Article 235. The functions of the Office of the Comptroller
General of the Republic may be extended by law to the autonomous
institutes, and also to the state or municipal administrations,
without impairing the autonomy which is guaranteed to them by this
Article 236. The Office of the Comptroller General of the
Republic is an auxiliary organ of Congress in its function of
monitoring the Public Finances, and shall enjoy junctional autonomy
in exercising its powers.
Article 237. The Office of the Comptroller General of the
Republic shall function under the direction and responsibility of
the Comptroller General of the Republic.
To be Comptroller General of the Republic a person must be a
Venezuelan by birth, over thirty years of age, and a layman.
Article 238. The members in joint session shall elect the
Comptroller General of the Republic within the first thirty days of
each constitutional term.
In the event of an absolute vacancy in the post of Comptroller
General of the Republic, the Chambers in joint session shall conduct
a new election for the remainder of the constitutional term.
Temporary and occasional absences of the Comptroller General of
the Republic, and the interim vacancy before an absolute vacancy is
filled, shall be filled in the manner determined by law.
Article 239. The Comptroller General of the Republic shall
present to Congress annually a report of the activities of his
Office or concerning the Account or Accounts that have been
presented to Congress by agencies and officials required to do so.
He shall also present such reports as may be requested by Congress
or the National Executive at any time.
Article 240. The President of the Republic may declare a state
of emergency in the event of internal or external conflict or
whenever there exists good cause that either may occur.
Article 241. In case of emergency, of disorder that may disturb
the peace of the Republic, or of serious circumstances that affect
economic or social life, the President of the Republic may restrict
or suspend the constitutional guarantees, or some of them, with the
exception of those proclaimed in article 58 and in sections 3 and 7
of article 60.
The Decree shall state the grounds on which it is based, the
guarantees that are restricted or suspended, and whether it shall be
in force in all or part of the national territory.
The restriction or suspension of guarantees does not interrupt
the functioning or affect the prerogatives of the organs of the
Article 242. The Decree which declares a state of emergency or
orders the restriction or suspension of guarantees shall be issued
in Council of Ministers and submitted for consideration by the
Chambers in joint session or by the Delegated Committee, within the
ten days following its publication.
Article 243. The Decree of restriction or suspension of guarantees shall be revoked by the National Executive, or by the Chambers
in joint session, as soon as the reasons for it have ended.
Cessation of the state of emergency shall be declared by the
President of the Republic in Council of Ministers and with the
authorization of the Chambers in joint session or of the Delegated
Article 244. If there is well-founded evidence for fearing
imminent disturbance of the public order which do not justify the
restriction or suspension of constitutional guarantees, the
President of the Republic, in Council of Ministers, may adopt the
measures necessary to prevent such events from occurring.
Such measures shall be limited to the detention or confinement
of the suspects, and must be submitted to the consideration of
Congress or of the Delegated Committee within the ten days following
their adoption. If either body declares them to be unjustified,
they shall terminate immediately; otherwise they may be maintained
up to a limit of not more than ninety days. The law shall regulate
the exercise of this power.
AMENDMENTS AND REFORM OF THE CONSTITUTION
Article 245. Amendments to this Constitution shall be made in
the following manner:
- 1. The initiative may come from one fourth of the members of
one of the Chambers, or from one fourth of the Legislative Assemblies
of the States, by decisions taken in not less than two discussions
by an absolute majority of the members of each Assembly;
- 2. The amendment shall be initiated in regular sessions, but
action thereon may continue in subsequent special sessions;
- 3. The bill containing the amendment shall be introduced in
the Chamber where it was proposed, or in the Senate if it was
proposed by the Legislative Assemblies, and it shall be discussed
according to the procedure established in this Constitution for the
enactment of laws;
- 4. If the amendment is approved by Congress, its Presidency
shall transmit it to all the Legislative Assemblies for ratification
or rejection in regular sessions, by decisions considered in at
least two discussions and approved by an absolute majority of their
- 5. The Chambers meeting in joint session, in their regular
session of the following year, shall count the votes of the
legislative Assemblies and declare the amendment approved with
respect to those points that have been ratified by two thirds of the
- 6. Amendments shall be numbered consecutively and shall be
published at the end of the Constitution, without altering the text
of the latter, but with a footnote to the amended article or articles giving the number and date of the amendment.
Article 246. This Constitution may also be subject to a general
reform, in accordance with the following procedure:
- 1. The initiative must come from one third of the members of
Congress, or from an absolute majority of the Legislative Assemblies
by decisions adopted in at least two discussions by an absolute
majority of the members of each Assembly;
- 2. The initiative shall be transmitted to the Presidency of
Congress, which shall convoke the Chambers in joint session with at
least three days' advance notice, to decide whether it is in order.
The initiative shall be admitted by a two-thirds vote of those
- 3. If the initiative is admitted, discussion of the bill shall
begin in the Chamber indicated by Congress, and the procedure
established in this Constitution for the enactment of laws shall be
- 4. The approved bill shall be submitted to referendum at a
time fixed by the Chambers in joint session so that the people may
express themselves in favor of or against the reform. The count of
the votes will be communicated to the Chambers in joint session,
which shall declare the new Constitution sanctioned if it is
approved by a majority of the voters of the entire Republic.
Article 247. Rejected initiatives of amendment or reform may not
be reintroduced during the same constitutional term.
Article 248. The President of the Republic may not veto
amendments or reforms and is obligated to promulgate them within the
ten days following their sanction. If he does not do so the
provisions of article 175 shall apply.
Article 249. The provisions relating to cases of urgency in the
procedure for the enactment of laws shall not be applicable to amendments
and reforms of the Constitution.
INVIOLABILITY OF THE CONSTITUTION
Article 250. This Constitution shall not lose its effect even if
its observance is interrupted by force or it is repealed by means
other than those provided herein. In such eventuality, every
citizen, whether or not vested with authority, has the duty to
collaborate in the re-establishment of its effective validity.
Those who are found responsible for the acts mentioned in the
first part of the preceding paragraph shall be tried in accordance
with this Constitution and laws enacted in conformity with it, as
shall the principal officials of governments subsequently organized
if they have not contributed to the re-establishment of its force and
effect. Congress may decree, by decision approved by an absolute
majority of its members, the confiscation of all or part of the
property of such persons and of those who have been unlawfully
enriched under the protection,***** the usurpation, in order to indemnify
the Republic for the damages it has incurred.
Article 251. The transitory provisions are enacted in a separate
text. They have the validity of constitutional principles and are
sanctioned by the same formalities as those by which the present
Constitution is adopted. Their text shall not be subject to
amendment except by the procedure provided in Title X.
Article 252. The constitutional order that has been in effect up
to the promulgation of this Constitution is hereby repealed.
Done, signed, and sealed in the Federal Legislative Palace, in
Caracas, on the twenty-third day of January of nineteen hundred and
sixty-one. 151st year of Independence and 102nd year of the
OF THE REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA
In conformity with the provisions of Article 251 of the Constitution
and having called for the vote of the Legislative Assemblies of the
States of Anzoategui, Apure, Aragua, Barinas, Bolivar, Carabobo,
Cojedes, Falcon, Guarico, Lara, Merida, Miranda, Monagas, Nueva
Esparta, Portuguesa, Sucre, Tachira, Trujillo, Yaracuy, and Zulia,
and having seen the favorable result of the voting, decrees the following
OF THE CONSTITUTION
First. Until the laws provided for in Chapter IV of Title I of
the Constitution are enacted, the present municipal system and
organization of the Republic remains in force.
Second. Foreigners included in numerals 2 and 3 of Article 37
who become twenty-five years of age within one year following the
date on which this Constitution takes effect may make the statement
of desire within that period.
Third. Until a law establishes the special facilities to which
article 36 of the Constitution refers, the acquisition of Venezuelan
nationality by those who by birth have the nationality of Spain or
of a Latin American State shall continue to be governed by the legal
provisions row in effect.
Fourth. Until a law establishes the appropriate substantive and
procedural rules, the loss of nationality through revocation of
naturalization shall be subject to current provisions of law, but an
interested party may appeal the administrative decision to the
Supreme Court of Justice within a period of six months following the
date of publication of the revocation in the Official Gazette.
Fifth. The protection of personal liberty, until a special law
is enacted to govern it in conformity with the provisions of article
49 of the Constitution, shall be done in accordance with the
Any person who becomes subject to deprivation or restriction of
his liberty, in violation of constitutional guarantees, has the
right to ask the Judge of First Instance in Criminal Matters who has
jurisdiction at the place where the action which has given rise to
the request was taken or where the aggrieved person is to be found,
to issue a writ of habeas corpus.
When the request, which may be made by any person, is received,
the Judge shall immediately order the official in whose custody the
aggrieved person is held to report within twenty-hours hours as to
the grounds for deprivation or restriction of liberty, and shall
initiate a summary investigation.
The Judge shall decide, within a period of not more than ninety-
six hours after the request was submitted, on the immediate release
of the aggrieved or the cessation of the restrictions imposed, if he
finds that the legal formalities for deprivation or restriction of
liberty were not met. The judge may subject this decision to the
granting of bail or prohibition of departure from the country by the
aggrieved person, for a period of not more than thirty days, if he
considers this necessary.
The decision issued by the Judge of First Instance shall be
referred to the Superior Court, to which the case must be sent on
the same or the following day. This referral shall not prevent the
immediate execution of the decision. The Superior Court shall
render its decision within seventy-two hours following the date of
receipt of the case.
Sixth. Until ordinary legislation fixes the time limits and
periods to which the last paragraph of numeral 1 of article 60 of
the Constitution refers, police authorities who have employed
preventive detention measures must place the accused together with
the action that has been taken, at the disposition of the
appropriate Court within a time limit of not more than eight days,
for purposes of summary proceedings. The examining Court must
decide, with respect to the detention, within a time limit of
ninety-six hours, except in serious and complex cases which require
a longer time, which in no case shall exceed eight days. Only
police authorities who by law are auxiliary officials of the
Administration of Justice are empowered to take the measures
provided for in article 60 of the Constitution.
Seventh. The measures of banishment from the country adopted
between January 23, 1958, and July 31, 1960, shall remain in effect
until they are revoked by the Executive Power or by decision of the
Chambers in joint session, but they may not be prolonged beyond the
present constitutional term.
Persons subjected to deprivation or restriction of liberty for
reasons of public order must be set free or submitted to the Courts
of the Republic within a period of two months following the
proclamation of the Constitution.
Eighth. The provisions of the sole paragraph of article 148 of
the Constitution are declared applicable to the present President of
the Republic as soon as his term has expired and, as soon as this
Provision takes effect, to the citizen who constitutionally occupied
the Presidency of the Republic for the 1936-1941 term and to the
citizen who was elected President of the Republic by popular vote
for the constitutional term which began in 1948.
Ninth. Senators and Deputies who an the date of promulgation of
the Constitution are holding public offices not excepted in articles
123 and 141 of the Constitution may rejoin their respective Chambers
during the course of the next regular session.
Tenth. Until the law provides therefore, persons who have failed
to comply with the provisions of article 160 of the Constitution
shall be subject to the penalty provided in article 239 of the Penal
If an official of the public administration or of an autonomous
institute is concerned, he shall also be removed from office.
Eleventh. Bills relating to international treaties and
conventions and those concerning the system of taxation which on the
date of promulgation of this Constitution are under consideration in
the Chambers may continue to be discussed even if the former were
initiated in the Chamber of Deputies and the latter in the Senate.
Twelfth. The Chambers, if are meeting on the date of
promulgation of the Constitution, or in subsequent regular or
special session, shall, before recessing, conduct the election in
joint session of the Delegated Committee provided for in article 175.
Before conducting the election, the Chambers in joint session
shall enact the pertinent regulations.
Thirteenth. Whenever the law requires the authorization,
approval, or sanction of the National Congress for the validity of
an act, the decision shall be taken by the Chambers in joint
session, unless from the very nature of the act it appears that the
procedure for the enactment of laws should be followed.
Fourteenth. Judges shall continue to hold office for the term
established in the legislation in force.
However, the Judicial Council, without prejudice to its other
legal powers, may, within the year following the promulgation of the
Constitution, remove, following summary investigation, those who
have been guilty of any serious act affecting the dignity or decorum
of the judiciary or who have shown manifest incapacity or deficiency
in carrying out their functions.
The designation of a new judge and his alternates shall be made
according to law.
Fifteenth. The present sitting Members of the Federal Courts and
the Court of Cassation shall comprise the Supreme Court of Justice
for the remainder of the present constitutional term. The Court
shall be installed within thirty days after the Constitution takes
effect, and shall elect a President and two Vice Presidents from
among its members.
Until the Organic Law of the Supreme Court of Justice is
enacted, the following provisions shall govern: The Court shall
function in three autonomous Divisions, known as the Political-
Administrative Division, the Division of Civil, Commercial, and
Labor Cassation, and the Division of Penal Cassation. The first of
these Divisions shall consist of the sitting Members of the present
Federal Court and shall have the powers conferred on that body by
current legislation, and those established by numerals 2 and 4 to 9
of article 215 of the Constitution; the other two Divisions shall be
composed of the sitting Members of the respective Divisions of the
present Court of Cassation and shall have the powers conferred on
those bodies by current law. The full Court shall have powers 1 and
3 of article 215 of the Constitution.
The present alternates of the Federal Court shall fill absolute
vacancies of Magistrates of the Political-Administrative Division;
and those of the Court of Cassation, such vacancies of the
Magistrates of the Cassation Divisions.
The installation of the Supreme Court of Justice shall be
governed, insofar as they are applicable, by the provisions of the
Organic law of the Court of Cassation. Action taken by the full
Court and by the Political-Administrative Division shall be
governed, insofar as it is applicable, by the Organic Law of the
Federal Court, and that of the Cassation Divisions, by the Organic
Law of the Court of Cassation.
When the Magistrates are elected for the next constitutional
term, the Chambers shall indicate those who are to serve nine, six,
and three years respectively, for the purposes of article 214 of the
The full Court shall settle any questions that may arise
concerning the application of the system called for in this
provision, and shall also settle those that may arise concerning the
powers of the Prosecutor General of the Republic and of the Attorney
General of the Republic.
Sixteenth. The citizen elected to the post of Attorney of the
Nation for the present constitutional term shall continue to
perform, with the title Prosecutor General of the Republic, the
functions conferred on the Public Ministry by the Constitution until
the end of that term. He shall likewise perform the functions
conferred by the Constitution on the Office of the Attorney General
of the Republic until the President of the Republic makes the
appointment provided for in article 201 of the Constitution. In the
latter case, both officials shall perform the functions respectively
conferred on them by the Constitution, in accordance with the laws
in force, insofar as they are applicable according to the individual
nature of each institution, until the appropriate organic laws are
Seventeenth. The citizen elected to the post of Comptroller of
the Nation for the present constitutional term shall continue to
perform, with the title Comptroller General of the Republic, the
functions conferred by the Constitution on the Office of the
Comptroller General of the Republic.
Until an organic law provides therefor, the citizen elected to
the post of Assistant Comptroller of the Nation for the present
constitutional term shall continue to perform, with the title
Assistant Comptroller of the Republic, the functions assigned to him
by law. Temporary or occasional absences of the Assistant
Comptroller shall be filled by an official from the Office of the
Comptroller named for the purpose by the Comptroller General of the
Republic. In case of absolute vacancy, the Chambers in joint session
or the Delegated Committee shall elect a person to replace him.
Eighteenth. Until an organic law fixes the time for the
presentation of the draft Budget Law, it shall be presented annually
within the first fifteen days of the regular sessions of the Chamber.
Nineteenth. The next constitutional term shall commence on March
2, 1964. On that date the Chambers shall be installed. The
inauguration of the President of the Republic shall be conducted
according to article 186 of the Constitution. The election of the
Magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice shall be held within the
first thirty days after the beginning of the constitutional term.
The terms of the present deputies to the Legislative Assemblies
and members of the Municipal Councils shall end on January 1, 1964,
unless a law provides for their renewal at an earlier date.
Twentieth. The property referred to in Decree No. 28 of
February 6, 1958, of the Governing Junta reverts to the national
This measure includes all property of the person to whom the
Decree mentioned refers and that unlawfully held by persons who have
been declared intermediaries, in accordance with that Decree, before
the promulgation of the Constitution.
The Attorney General of the Republic shall take the measures
necessary for carrying out this provision, and the inventories he
prepares shall serve as title of ownership by the State of such
property, for all legal purposes.
Twenty-first. There shall also revert to the national patrimony,
to the amount determined by the Investigating Committee provided for
in the law against unlawful Enrichment by Public Officials or
Employees, the property belonging to persons summoned before it for
investigation up to the date of promulgation of the Constitution and
by reason of acts or occurrences prior to January 23, 1958.
In its decision, which shall have the character of a permanent
final judgment, the Investigating Committee shall determine what
property must revert to the national patrimony in accordance with
this provision and what amounts shall remain owing to the National
Exchequer from those who have unlawfully enriched themselves to an
amount greater than the value of the property restored to the
national patrimony. Interested parties may appear before the
Supreme Court of Justice, in the Political-Administrative Division,
within thirty consecutive days after publication of the decision, to
demonstrate the partial or complete lawfulness of their enrichment.
The Court shall examine and decide on the appeal in accordance with
the procedure established in article 25 of the Organic Law of the
The Committee shall decide the cases currently being
investigated in accordance with this provision within a period of
three months counting from the date on which the Constitution takes
effect. This period may be extended, in each case, by the Supreme
Court of Justice, in its Political-Administrative Division, upon
grounded application by the Investigating Committee.
The Attorney General of the Republic may also appeal to the
Supreme Court of Justice whenever he considers that a decision of
the Investigating Committee is contrary to the interests of the
Whenever by virtue of a decision of the Investigating Committee
the suspension of all or any of the preventive measures taken on
property of a person under investigation is in order, this suspension
may not be carried out except in the event that the Attorney General
of the Republic has not appealed to the Supreme Court of Justice
within the period provided for in this provision.
If the Supreme Court of Justice decides that there has been no
unlawful enrichment or that its amount is less than that estimated
by the Investigating Committee, it shall fix the amount to be
returned to the appellant to the extent that he was not unlawfully
enriched and shall so inform the National Executive in order that it
may determine the manner and time of payment, in accordance with
article 16 of the Organic Law of the National Finances. However,
the Court may order that such payment be made, wholly or in part,
from property which belonged to the person investigated, provided
that its restitution is not contrary to the public or social
In each case the Committee shall also decide on the claims of
third parties asserting rights in rem to property covered by a
decision and may order the cumulation of actions pending in the
Courts if it deems this advisable. Such third parties may also
appeal within thirty consecutive days to the Supreme Court of
Justice, in its Political-Administrative Division, to validate their
rights, and that body shall examine the claims pursuant to the
article 25 cited above. If the claims of a third party are ruled in
order, the National Executive may provide for their payment in the
manner and time it shall specify or may authorize the delivery or
auction of the property claimed, without prejudice to the terms of
this provision. The Committee may declare simulated any transfers
of property made by investigated persons after December 1, 1957.
Property which was acquired by investigated persons before
taking the offices they held or before committing the acts which
the measures are based may be included in the decision of the
Investigating Committee only if the other property is not sufficient
to cover the amount of the unlawful enrichment, except as
established in this provision with respect to property of public or
The circumstance that judicial action has been taken against
some of the persons included under this provision shall not prevent
its application. Suits initiated in application of the provisions
of the Law against Unlawful Enrichment of Public Official or
employees, against persons included under the present transitory
provision, shall be suspended and the cases shall be transmitted to
the Investigating Committee. The application of this provision does
not prevent the taking of criminal action for which there may be
grounds according to law.
For purposes of carrying out the measures regulated herein, the
rule contained in article 44 of the Constitution shall not apply,
and both the Investigating Committee and the Supreme Court shall be
subject only to the procedural provisions indicated here.
Twenty-second. Article 44 and the last part of article 42 of the
Law against the Unlawful Enrichment of Public Officials and
Employees shall be applicable to the persons to whom the eighteenth
provision refers and to those who have been unlawfully enriched
according to decisions of the Investigating Committee or the Supreme
Court of Justice.
Twenty-third. The existing juridical system shall remain in
effect unless it is amended or repealed by the competent organs of
the Public Power, or is repealed expressly or by implication by the
Done, signed, and sealed in the Federal Legislative Palace, in
Caracas, on the twenty-third day of January of nineteen hundred
sixty-one. -151st year of Independence and 102nd War of the
(L.S. ) Raul Leoni
(L.S.) Rafael Caldera
Oval Room of the Federal Palace, in Caracas, on the twenty-third
day of January of nineteen hundred and sixty-one. 151 year of the
Independence and 102nd year of the Federation.
Be it carried out and enforced.
The President of the Republic,
(L.S.) Romulo Betancourt
OF THE REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA
Having requested the vote of the Legislative Assemblies of the
States: Anzoategui, Apure, Aragua, Barinas, Bolivar, Carabobo,
Cojedes, Falcon, Guarico, Lara, Merida, Miranda, Monagas, Nueva
Esparta, Portuguesa, Sucre, Tachira, Trujillo, Yaracuy, and Zulia,
and having seen the favorable results of the voting, decrees the
AMENDMENT 1 OF THE CONSITUTION
Article 1 An amendment is hereby introduced in the Constitution, which shall bear the number 1 and be worded as follows:
"No person who has been found guilty by the Ordinary Courts and
given a final sentence of confinement or imprisonment for a period
of over three years for crimes committed in the exercise of public
office or as a consequence of said person's public functions, may be
elected President of the Republic, Senator or Deputy to the Congress,
or Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice.
As agreed by the competent organisms, the only recourse shall be
appealed before the Supreme Court of Justice, en banc, brought by any
qualified voter. The Court shall make its decision within the ten
days following receipt of the request. There shall be only one
hearing on the appeal."
Article 2. The text of the Constitution, followed by the approved Amendment, shall be printed in its entirety and a reference to the number and date of this amendment shall appear at the end of articles 149, 152, 182, and 213 in the body of the text of the
Done, signed, and sealed at the Federal Legislative Palace, in Caracas, on the ninth day of May of nineteen hundred sixty-three. 164rd year of Independence and 115th year of the Federation.
OF THE REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA
Having requested the vote of the Legislative Assemblies of the
States: Anzoategui, Apure, Aragua, Barinas, Bolivar, Carabobo,
Cojedes, Falcon, Guarico, Lara, Merida, Miranda, Monagas, Nueva
Esparta, Portuguesa, Sucre, Tachira, Trujillo, Yaracuy, and Zulia,
and having seen the favorable results of the voting, decrees the
AMENDMENT 2 OF THE CONSTITUTION
Article 1. For elections of Members of Municipal Councils, a
special electoral system may be adopted that is different from that
governing elections of Senators, Deputies, and Members of the
For elections of the latter, a special system may also be
decided upon that is similar to or different from that stipulated
for elections of municipal counselors.
Article 2. Retirement and pension benefits shall be regulated
by an Organic Law to which all public officials and employees in the
service of the central or decentralized administration of the
Republic, the States, or the Municipalities shall be subject. More
than one retirement or pension benefit may be received only in cases
expressly stipulated in that Law.
Article 3. In the first year of each constitutional term,
Regular Sessions of the Chambers shall begin, without the need for
prior convocation, on January 23 or the earliest possible date
Article 4. The Chambers in joint session shall designate in
each constitutional term a legislative committee composed of
twenty-three (23) members, who with their respective alternates
shall be elected in such a manner as to reflect as far as possible
the political composition of the Congress of the Republic. The
Rules of Procedure shall establish the procedures and other
requirements that shall govern the discussion of bills.
Article 5. The Chambers in joint session, at a meeting
expressly convoked for that purpose at least twenty-four (24) hours
in advance, may authorize the Legislative Committee to discuss and
approve individually determined bills, when agreed to by two thirds
of the members present. Once each bill has been approved by the
Legislative Committee, the Committee shall send it to the President
of the Congress, who shall order the text distributed among the
members of both Chambers and shall convoke them to a joint session,
after fifteen (15) days have passed since it was received.
The Chambers, meeting in joint session, in accordance with the
Notice of Convocation, shall approve or reject any text submitted to
them, and may introduce any amendments they deem desirable. Once a
Bill has been approved, with or without amendments, the President
shall declare it passed, and the subsequent procedures stipulated
for the formation of Laws shall be carried out.
Article 6. The Chambers may meet and function with whatever
number of their members the Rules of Procedure may determine, but in
no case fewer than one third of their members. To take a vote, an
absolute majority of the Members of the Chambers must be present.
Article 7. During the first year of each constitutional term,
the National Executive shall present the general outlines of the
plan for the social and economic development of the country to the
Chambers meeting in joint session for approval. Such guidelines
shall comply with the requirements stipulated in the pertinent
Article 8. Transitory provisions. In the 1979-1984
constitutional term, the length of the term of the President of the
Republic and of the Senators and Deputies shall be shortened by the
number of days resulting from the application of article 3.
Likewise, for the purposes set forth in article 185 of the
Constitution, the period shall be reduced by the number of days
resulting from the application of the above mentioned provision.
Article 9. Let the Constitution followed by the approved
amendment be printed in its entirety and let footnotes to articles
113, 122, 136, 139, 154, 156, 166, 167, 185, 227 and 231 of the text
of the Constitution show the number and date of this amendment. In
addition, let the transitory provisions of the Constitution that
have not yet been implemented and article 8 of this amendment be
Done, signed, and sealed at the Federal Legislative Palace in
Caracas on the eighteenth day of March of nineteen hundred
eighty-three. 172nd year of Independence and 124th year of the