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Venezuela's Constitution: Political Division (Art. 16-18)

By Aleksander Boyd

London 02.01.05 | In the Political Division section of the Constitution one finds explicit guarantee to decentralization...

Chapter II, Political Division

Article 16: For purposes of the political organization of the Republic, the territory of the nation is divided into those of the States, the Capital District, federal dependencies and federal territories. The territory is organized into Municipalities.

The political division of the territory shall be regulated by an organic law which shall guarantee municipal autonomy and administrative/political decentralization. Such law may provide for the creation of federal territorial in certain areas within the States, the taking effect of which shall be subject to the holding of a referendum to approve the same in the organ concerned. By special law, a federal territory may be given the status of a State; being allocated part or all of the territorial area concerned.

Article 17: Federal dependencies are the maritime islands which are not incorporated into the territory of a State, as well as any island that may form or appear in the territorial sea or that covering the continental sheaf. Their regime and administration shall be provided by law.

Article 18: The city of Caracas is the capital of the Republic and the seat of the Organs of National Power.

The provisions of this article shall not prevent the exercise of National Power elsewhere in the Republic.

A special law shall establish the territorial and political unit of the city of Caracas, incorporating into a two-tier system of municipal government the Municipalities of the Capital District and those of the State of Miranda. Such law shall provide for the organization, government, administration, competency as well as resources of the city, with a view to its harmonious overall development. In any case the law shall guarantee the democratic and participative character of its government.

Violations

Article 16: one has to wonder whether Fidel's toy boy has ever read this article, specifically; "The political division of the territory shall be regulated by an organic law which shall guarantee municipal autonomy and administrative/political decentralization". Let us not kid ourselves, decentralization was never held in high esteem by the previous political ruling class, all enamoured with the possibility of controlling regional powers by way of stopping the money flow to the provinces. However Chavez, as the outstanding revolutionary that he is, has taken the concept of a centralized regime to a new level, just like his Cuban master. Thus not only areas where he's not liked, such as Zulia state, are dependant on his whimsical desires to receive much needed portions of the national budget, hospitals and universities in Caracas, where chavismo is in a weak footing, are struggling to operate for lack of funding.



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