Law and Legal Culture in Venezuela in Revolutionary Times (1999-2009)


  • Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo
Publish Date:
December 16, 2009
Publication Title:
Stanford Law School Papers, 2009
Working Paper
  • Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo,Law and Legal Culture in Venezuela in Revolutionary Times (1999-2009), Stanford Law School Papers, 2009.


The paper analyzes changes in the constitution, law and legal culture in Venezuela under the presidency of Hugo Chavez. In this period the main function of the constitution has been to express the political project of those in power. The 1999 constitution reflected a mixed project of democracy and socialism. Beginning in 2002 the government strengthened its socialist-authoritarian nature. This produced the need to change the constitution, as it was attempted in 2007. This attempted was defeated and the government introduced the changes trough legislation, profiting its tight control of the National Assembly. In 2009 the government won a referendum suppressing the limits for reelection of the President of the Republic, a part of the refused reform of 2007. The constitution and the legal system have become instruments for the actual implantation of a socialist regime in the country. All the branches of public power are controlled by Chavez and all contributed to his socialist project. The paper describes the way the legislation has been dominated by the executive branch and how the judges have become part of the political apparatus of the state. Note: Paper in Spanish