The Venezuela Constitution is an important part of Chavez’ Legacy Print
Justice News
Written by Joan Russow
Tuesday, 05 March 2013 22:28


By-Joan Russow-  - Global compliance research Project


Since Chavez’s death, there have been many comments, by opponents of Chavez, and by mainstream Canadian media, including the Globe and Mail and CBC, undermining what Chavez has achieved. His death is a tragic loss for global social justice. 

 On April 15, 2012 on the 30th Anniversary of the Charter, John Ibbitson wrote, in the Globe and Mail, that the Canadian Charter proves to be Canada’s gift to world. This arrogant Nationalistic statement by John Ibbitson, motivated me to read the 1999 Constitution of Venezuela to see what provisions were in the Venezuelan Constitution. I was amazed at the complexity and interdependence of issues addressed in its over 300 provisions. Perhaps  John Ibbitson should have read the Venezuelan Constitution before proclaiming Canada`s Charter as being a gift to  the world.  One may ask, could a Charter, without social justice provisions, be a gift to the world?



chavez photo: chavez chavez.jpg


The United States, Canada, and Venezuela all signed the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural rights (ICSECR). The US refused to ratify it; Canada ratified it but did not include the provisions in the Charter. Venezuela, however, ratified it, and included provisions in its 1999 Constitution

  I originally wrote about the venezuelannConstitution in May when I was living in Caracas. And then reposted it in September because in the lead up to the Venezuelan election the Canadian media have been unduly  relying on a questionable international NGO called UN Watch. This NGO targets socialist states, and any state that has criticized Israel while ignoring the egregious failing of many other member states of the UN. Its title as UN Watch is a misrepresentation of what it is actually doing. See comment at the end.


Here are some of the provisions in  the Venezuelan Constitution


Article 83: Health is a fundamental social right and the responsibility of the State, which shall guarantee it as part of the right to life. The State shall promote and develop policies oriented toward improving the quality of life, common welfare and access to services. All persons have the right to protection of health, as well as the duty to participate actively in the furtherance and protection of the same, and to comply with such health and hygiene measures as may be established by law, and in accordance with international conventions and treaties signed and ratified by the Republic.


Article 84: In order to guarantee the right to health, the State creates, exercises guidance over and administers a national public health system that crosses sector boundaries, and is decentralized and participatory in nature, integrated with the social security system and governed by the principles of gratuity, universality, completeness, fairness, social integration and solidarity. The public health system gives priority to promoting health and preventing disease, guaranteeing prompt treatment and quality rehabilitation. Public health assets and services are the property of the State and shall not be privatized. The organized community has the right and duty to participate in the making of decisions concerning policy planning, implementation and control at public health institutions.


Article 85: Financing of the public health system is the responsibility of the State, which shall integrate the revenue resources, mandatory Social Security contributions and any other sources of financing provided for by law. The State guarantees a health budget such as to make possible the attainment of health policy objectives. In coordination with universities and research centers, a national professional and technical training policy and a national industry to produce health care supplies shall be promoted and developed. The State shall regulate both public and private health care institutions. Article 86: All persons are entitled to Social Security as a non-profit public service to guarantee health and protection in contingencies of maternity, fatherhood, illness, invalidity, catastrophic

illness, disability, special needs, occupational risks, loss of employment, unemployment, old age, widowhood, loss of parents, housing, burdens deriving from family life, and any other social welfare circumstances. The State has the obligation and responsibility of ensuring the efficacy of this right, creating a universal and complete Social Security system, with joint, unitary, efficient and participatory financing from direct and indirect contributions. The lack of ability to contribute shall not be ground for excluding persons

from protection by the system. Social Security financial resources shall not be used for other purposes. The mandatory assessments paid by employees to cover medical and health care services and other Social Security benefits shall be administered only for social purposes, under the guidance of the State. Any net remaining balances of capital allocated to health, education and Social Security shall be accumulated for distribution and contribution to those services. The Social Security system shall be ruled by a special

organic law.



(2) Labor rights are unrenounceable; any action, agreement or convention

involving a waiver of or encroachment upon these rights is null and void.

Concessions and settlements are possible only at the end of the

employment relationship, in accordance with the requirements established

by law.

(3) When there are doubts concerning application or conflicts among

several rules, or in the interpretation of a particular rule, that most

favorable to the worker shall be applied. The rule applied must be applied

in its entirety.

(4) Any measure or act on the part of an employer in violation of this

Constitution is null and void, and of no effect.

(5) All types of discrimination because of political reasons, age, race,

creed, sex or any other characteristic is prohibited.



Article 91: Every worker* has the right to a salary sufficient to enable him or her

to live with dignity and cover basic material, social and intellectual needs for himself or herself and his or her family. The payment of equal salary for equal work is guaranteed, and the share of the profits of a business enterprise to which workers are entitled shall be determined. Salary is not subject to garnishment, and shall be paid periodically and promptly in legal tender, with the exception of the food allowance, in accordance with law. The State guarantees workers* in both the public and the private sector a vital minimum salary which shall be adjusted each year, taking as one of the references the cost of a basic market basket. The form and procedure to be followed, shall be

established by law.


Article 92: All workers* have the right to benefits to compensate

them for length of service and protect them in the event of dismissal. Salary and benefits are labor obligations due and payable immediately upon accrual. Any delay in payment of the same shall bear interest, which constitutes a debt certain and shall enjoy the same privileges and guarantees as the principal debt.


Article 93: Stable employment shall be guaranteed by law, with provisions as

appropriate to restrict any form of unjustified dismissal. Dismissals contrary to this

Constitution is null and void.


Article 96: All employees* in both public and the private sector have the right to

voluntary collective bargaining and to enter into collective bargaining agreements,

subject only to such restrictions as may be established by law.

Article 97: All workers in the public and private sector have the right to strike, subject to such conditions as may be established by law.[ note some members of the harper government claimed that there was no right to strike in Canada



Article 102: Education is a human right and a fundamental social duty; it is democratic, free of charge and obligatory. The State assumes responsibility for it as an irrevocable function of the greatest interest, at all levels and in all modes, as an instrument of scientific, humanistic and technical knowledge at the service of society. Education, is a public service, and is grounded on the respect for all currents of thought, to the end of developing the creative potential of every human being and the full exercise of his or her personality in a democratic society based on the work ethic value and on active, conscious and joint participation in the processes of social transformation embodied in the values which are part of the national identity, and with a Latin American and universal vision. The State, with the participation of families and society, promotes the

process of civic education in accordance with the principles contained in this Constitution

and in the laws.


Article 103: Every person has the right to a full, high-quality, ongoing education under conditions and circumstances of equality, subject only to such limitations as derive from such persons own aptitudes, vocation and aspirations. Education is obligatory at all levels from maternal to the diversified secondary level. Education offered at State institutions is free of charge up to the undergraduate university level. To this end, the State shall make a priority investment in accordance with United Nations recommendations. The State shall create and sustain institutions and services sufficiently equipped to ensure the admission process, ongoing education and program completion in the education system. The law

shall guarantee equal attention to persons with special needs or disabilities, and to those who have been deprived of liberty or do not meet the basic conditions for admission to and continuing enrollment in the education system. The contributions of private individuals to public education programs at the secondary and university levels shall betax deductible in accordance with the pertinent law.


Article 112: All persons may devote themselves freely to the economic activity of their choice, subject only to the limitations provided for in this Constitution and those established by law for reasons of human development, security, health, environmental protection or other reasons in the social interest



Article 127: It is the right and duty of each generation to protect and maintain the

environment for its own benefit and that of the world of the future. Everyone has the right, individually and collectively, to enjoy a safe, healthful and ecologically balanced life and environment. The State shall protect the environment, biological and genetic diversity, ecological processes, national parks and natural monuments, and other areas of particular ecological importance. The genome of a living being shall not be patentable, and the field shall be regulated by the law relating to the principles of bioethics. It is a fundamental duty of the State, with the active participation of society, to ensure that the populace develops in a pollution-free environment in which air, water, soil, coasts, climate, the ozone layer and living species receive special protection, in accordance with



Article 128: The State shall develop a zoning policy taking into account ecological, geographic, demographic, social, cultural, economic and political realities, in accordance with the premises of sustainable development, including information, consultation and male/female participation by citizens. An organic law shall develop the principles and criteria for this zoning.


Article 129: Any activities capable of generating damage to ecosystems must be

proceeded by environmental and socio-cultural impact studies. The State shall prevent toxic and hazardous waste from entering the country, as well as preventing the manufacture and use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. A special law shall regulate the use, handling, transportation and storage of toxic and hazardous substances. In contracts into which the ecological balance, to permit access to, and the transfer of technology on mutually agreed terms and to restore the environment to its natural state if the latter is altered, shall be deemed included even if not expressed, on such terms as may be established by law. Republic enters with natural or juridical persons of Venezuelan or foreign nationality, or in any permits granted which involve natural resources, the obligation to preserve the  environment


Article 153: The Republic shall promote, and encourage Latin American and Caribbean integration, in the interest of advancing toward the creation of a community of nations, defending the region's economic, social, cultural, political and environmental interests. The Republic shall have the power to sign international treaties that implement and coordinate efforts to promote the common development of our nations, and to ensure the welfare of their peoples and the collective security of their inhabitants. To these ends, the Republic may transfer to supranational organizations, through treaties, the exercise of the necessary authorities to carry out these integration processes. In its policies of integration

and union with Latin America and the Caribbean, the Republic shall give privileged status to relations with Bier American countries, striving to make this a common policy throughout our Latin America. Provisions adopted within the framework of integration agreements shall be regarded as an integral part of the legal order in force, and shall be applicable directly and with priority over internal legislation.




Article 305: The State shall promote sustainable agriculture as the strategic basis for overall rural development, and consequently shall guarantee the population a secure food supply, defined as the sufficient and stable availability of food within the national sphere and timely and uninterrupted access to the same for consumers. A secure food supply must be achieved by developing and prioritizing internal agricultural and livestock production, understood as production deriving from the activities of agriculture, livestock, fishing and aquiculture. Food production is in the national interest and is fundamental to the economic and social development of the Nation. To this end, the State shall promulgate such financial, commercial,  technological transfer, land tenancy, infrastructure, manpower training and other measures as may be necessary to achieve strategic levels of self-sufficiency. In addition, it shall promote actions in the national and international economic context to compensate for the disadvantages inherent to agricultural activity. The State shall protect the settlement and communities of non-industrialized fishermen*, as well as their fishing banks in continental waters and those

close to the coastline, as defined by law.


The NGO UN Watch targets specific states and ignores the failings of
other states.

Joan Russow – Global Compliance Research Project.

Caracas published May 18 2012  republished September 9, 2012

The Group UN Watch describes itself as an independent international
NGOs. It does, however, appear that it targets primarily socialist
states such as Venezuela and states that are critical of Israel.
Currently it has lobbied 20 states to oppose Venezuela’ bid to be a
member of the UN  Human Rights Council. Is the name UN Watch
legitimate if it watches only some states and some instruments?. One
is left with the question “whose interests is it serving? If it
serves special state interests, would UN Watch not lack credibility
and legitimacy?.

I think that the name UN Watch misrepresents what the group is doing.
It is not watching all states and their compliance with UN
instruments. The group is targeting socialist states, and any state
that appears to say anything against against Israel.

Has the group lobbied against Israel and others for not ratifying the
Non Proliferation Treaty?

Has the group lobbied against states that refuse to support a nuclear
free Middle East

Has the group lobbied against the US, Israel and others for not
respecting the jurisdiction and decisions of the International Court
of Justice?

Has the group lobbied against the US and other states for not
ratifying the Convention Against All forms of Discrimination against

Has the group lobbied against the US and other states for failing to
ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child?

Has the group lobbied against the US and other States for failing to
ratify the International Covenant on Social Economic and Cultural
Rights? And its protocol

Has the group lobbied against the use by some states, such as the US
and Israel of the pre-emptive strike in violation of the Charter of
the United Nations as being the egregious crime of aggression

Has the group lobbied against the states such as the US and others,
misinterpreting Article 51-the right of self-defence of the Charter of
the United Nations to justify an illegal act of aggression against
another state?

Has the group lobbied against states that have produced weapons that
would be prohibited under the Geneva Protocol I – V

Has the group lobbied against states like the US and Canada for not
ratifying or for withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol and for not
reducing sufficiently greenhouse gas emissions as required under art.
2 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Has it lobbied against states, such as the US, Canada and other NATO
states that violate the Convention Against Torture

Has the group lobbied against states like Israel and the United
States that have the death penalty in defiance of the Optional
Protocol II of the ICCPR

Has the group lobbied to block states like the US and Canada, that
have refused to ratified the Convention on the rights of migrant
workers and their families

Has the group lobbied against states like the US and Canada that have
failed to guarantee the rights of indigenous peoples

Has the group lobbied against states such as the US and Canada for
passing the Homeland security act and the Anti-terrorism act,
respectively, which violate certain sections of the International
Covenant of Civil and political Rights

Has the group lobbied against states , like Canada, US and others that
deprive a people of its subsistence, in violation of article 2 of
the International covenant on Civil and Poliical Rights.

Has the group lobbied against Canada and the new refugee proposal to
treat refugees from so-called “safe’ states differently than those
from so-called ‘unsafe” states in violation of section 2 of the UN
Convention on Refugees.

Has the group lobbied to block states like the united States and
Canada for failing to ratify most of the International Labour
Organization conventions related to labour rights

Has the group lobbied to block the US for failing to ratify the
Convention on the Rights of the Child


Does the group ever question the provocative nature of the US military bases,

including 7 in Colombia near the border of Venezuela.  


Does the group note that Israel has not ratified the NPT and that it is the only state

in the middle East with nuclear weapons, and that the US,Canada and Israel all oppose the

UN Declaration calling for a nuclear free middle East



Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 March 2013 10:17