TITLE III DUTIES, RIGHTS AND GUARANTEES
CHAPTER I General Provisions
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Any agent of authority who carries out measures restricting freedom must identify himself as such when the persons affected so demand.
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 infringed.
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 exercise thereof.
CHAPTER II Duties
Venezuelans have the duty to honor and defend their country, and to safeguard and protect the interests of the Nation.
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.
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.
Work is a duty of every person fit to perform it.
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.
All persons are obligated to contribute to the public expenditures.
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.
CHAPTER III Individual Rights
The right to life is inviolable. No law may establish the death penalty nor any authority carry it out.
Every person has the right to be protected against injury to his honor, reputation, or private life.
Personal liberty and safety are inviolable, and consequently:
- 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 that period.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 by law.
- 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.
- No one may be sentenced to perpetual or infamous punishment. Punishment involving restriction of liberty may not exceed thirty years .
- No one may be tried for the same acts by virtue of which he has been tried previously.
- No one may be the object of forced recruitment or subjected to military service except in terms regulated by law.
- 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.
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 recognized .
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.
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 morals .
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 his rights.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.
CHAPTER IV Social RightsArticle 72
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 economic situation.
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 be enacted.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 lack them.
All persons are obliged to submit to health measures established by law, within the limits imposed by respect for the human person.
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 and aptitudes.
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 mission.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 education.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 leisure time.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 freedom.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 protection.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.
Economic RightsArticle 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 interestArticle 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 developmentArticle 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.
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 law.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.