Venezuela Politics and Administration

By | December 16, 2021

Venezuela is a federal republic that is made up of 20 states, a federal district – seat of the central government – and two federal territories or dependencies. The current constitution is that of July 16, 1936. Under the federal constitutional pact, the states that make up the union have left to the central government all matters relating to their international relations. The Federal Pact also grants the central power many rights and powers that are generally limited by the confederate states. Central government and that of individual states are and will always be republican, federal and democratic, elective, representative and responsible. The only ruler is the people.

The president of the republic must be a citizen of at least 30 years, and is elected by Congress for 5 years: he is irresponsible, irremovable and exercises executive power; it cannot dissolve Congress. This consists of two chambers elected for 3 years and which meet separately every year, on April 19, to exercise legislative power. Gathered in Congress, they elect – as already mentioned – the president, approve the budget and appoint the commander in chief. The two chambers are: the Senate, made up of 40 members elected by the legislative assemblies of the individual states, 2 for each state: the senators must be at least 30 years old; the Chamber of Deputies, made up of 81 members elected by general and direct vote in the proportion of one deputy for every 35,000 residents. The right to vote is granted to every citizen, male and female,

The supreme judicial power of the republic resides in the Federal and Cassation Court – composed of 7 ministers – residing in Caracas.

The following table gives the surface area and the population of the various states and territories.

Cults. – The missionary activity was carried out by various religious orders: Augustinians, Capuchins, Dominicans and Jesuits. The diocese of Caracas, or Santiago del Venezuela, was founded in 1637 and became a metropolitan see in 1803. The constitution of 1831 proclaimed the Catholic religion as the state religion, granting tolerance to other cults.

Later, there were secularizations of ecclesiastical assets and, from 1854, the recognition of full religious freedom. The vast majority of the population is Catholic; there are, however, some reformed North American missions to indigenous peoples; and a certain number of non-Catholics, especially among the immigrant population.

The Catholic hierarchy includes the ecclesiastical province of Santiago del Venezuela or Caracas (see above) with suffragans: Barquisimeto (1907), Calabozo (1863), Coro (1922), Cumaná (1922), Guiana (formerly St. Thomas, 1790; residence in Ciudad Bolívar), Valencia (1922); and that of Mérida (1777, metropolitan since 1923) with suffragans: San Cristóbal (1922), Zulia (1897); also the apostolic vicariate of Caroni (1922) and the apostolic prefecture of Alto Orinoco (1932).

Army. – The Venezuelan army is on permanent conscription. The balanced expenditure on national defense (war and navy) amounts to 30.5 million bolívares. The supreme commander of the army is the president of the republic, who can delegate his duties to a commanding general recognized as suitable by the federal government.

The supreme military authority for the organization and administration of the army is the Ministry of War and the Navy, which is, at the same time, the body used by the general commander-in-chief of the army for the exercise of his functions.

The territory of the republic is divided into the following five military districts: 1st states of Táchira, Mérida, Trujillo, Zamora; 20 states of Falcón, Lara, Portuguesa, Zulia; 3rd states of Aragua, Carabobo, Miranda, Yaracuy and Cojedes, federal district; 4th states of Anzoátegui, Nueva Esparta, Monagas, Sucre; 5th states of Apure, Bolívar and Guárico, federal territories of Amázonas and Delta Amacuro.

The army consists of the active army and the reserve army. The active army comprises, in total: 43 infantry battalions, 1 cavalry regiment, 1 field artillery regiment and 5 fortress and coast groups, aviation (about twenty aircraft).

Military service is compulsory for all male citizens, aged 21 to 45. Duration of the detention, 3 years. Call to arms, in the 21st year of age. For Venezuela military, please check

The career officers of the fighting weapons are drawn: from the students of the military and naval school, who complete a course of study lasting 4 years; by non-commissioned officers in possession of certain requirements, after verifying their technical-professional capacity. The services are supervised by personnel assimilated to the rank of officer.

The military navy of Venezuela is made up of a few antiquated units of little war value, of which the most important is the gunboat Mariscal Sucre, launched in 1886 in Spain, conquered by the United States in 1898 and sold to Venezuela in 1912, of 1120 tons. and 11 knots, armed with 2 pieces of 100, two of 57 and 6 of 37. The main naval base is Puerto Cabello.

Finances. – Budgets and public debt. – Customs duties and revenues from mining concessions are the main assets of Venezuela’s budget. Among the expenses, those for public works have acquired a predominant position in recent years; noteworthy are also those for national defense; expenditure on education and public health, while increasing, is still quite low.

An examination of the balance sheets (in millions of bolívares) shows the great increase in both revenues and expenses in the last fifteen years, in relation to the economic development of the country, as well as the solidly maintained equilibrium situation, with the exception of the three-year period 1928- 29 / 1930-31, in which, thanks also to the particularly large income, the works for new communication routes, ports and public works were intensified.

However, in the financial year 1935-36, mainly due to the need to protect agriculture against a decline in resources, budget expenditures increased enormously and the deficit also affected the prices of the bolívar.

It should also be remembered the great effort made by Venezuela to get rid of the external and internal public debt, which were thus reduced respectively in October 1936 to 0.2 and 3.0 million bolívares, from 69.9 and 44.9 million which amounted to. as of December 31, 1922.

Coins and credit. – The monetary unit is the bolívar, divided into centimos, adopted in 1879 and equivalent for the law of 1918 to gr. 0.290323 of fine gold. Following the world crisis, the bolívar abandoned its old parity with the dollar of 5.17 bolívares = 1 dollar, and its exchange rate against the dollar was fixed at 3.93. Since then it has undergone the same events as the North American currency.

The circulation is made up of silver and divisional coins and notes, nominally convertible into gold, which the Banco de Venezuela (which has been invested with circulation control since 1930 and which is the sole depositary of government funds) and 5 other institutions (Banco Caracas, Banco Venezolano de Crédito, Banco mercantil, Banco comercial de Maracaibo, Banco de Maracaibo), are authorized to issue, guaranteeing them with a gold reserve of at least 33%, up to double their paid-up capital, and 100%, beyond this limit.

At the end of 1936 the circulation amounted to 234.7 million bolívares of which 131.3 in notes, against which the total gold reserve was over 170 million.

Venezuela Politics