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Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes


Constitution Year 1999
Last Amended 2009
Source Political Database of the Americas
Translation Unofficial translation by ARDA staff from Spanish source
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2


The people of Venezuela, in exercising its creative powers and invoking the protection of God, the historical example of our Liberator Simón Bolívar and the heroism and sacrifice of indigenous ancestors and the pioneers and founders of a free and sovereign homeland;

Article 21

All persons are equal before the law, and accordingly:
1. There is no discrimination based on race, sex, creed, social status or with the intent or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of equal rights and freedoms of every person.

Article 57

Everyone has the right to freely express their thoughts, ideas or opinions orally, in writing or by any other form of expression, and to make use of any means of communication and diffusion, with no censorship.
Anyone making use of this right assumes full responsibility for everything expressed. Anonymity is not permitted, nor is war propaganda war, discriminatory messages or messages promoting religious intolerance.

Article 59

The State guarantees freedom of religion and worship. Everyone has the right to profess their religious faith and worship and to express their beliefs in private or in public, through teaching or other practices, provided they do not run counter to morality, decency and public order. The independence and autonomy of churches and denominations is also guaranteed with no limitations other than those arising from the Constitution and the law. The father and mother have the right to have their sons or daughters receive religious education in accordance with their convictions.
No one may invoke religious beliefs or practices to avoid compliance with the law or to prevent someone or another from exercising their rights.

Article 61

Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience and expression, except when the exercise of these rights [tr. note: "affects others"? Original is "afecte la personalidad"] or constitutes an offense. Conscientious objection cannot be invoked to evade law enforcement or prevent others from compliance with the law or from exercising their rights.

Article 89

Work is a social deed and enjoys the protection of the state. The law provides for the improvement of the material, conditional and intellectual conditions of workers. To fulfill this obligation, the state establishes the following principles:
…5. Discrimation on account of political reasons, age, race, sex, or creed or any other condition is prohibited.

Article 119

The state shall recognize the existence of indigenous peoples and communities, their social, political and economic organization, their cultures, traditions and customs, languages and religions, as well as their habitat and original rights to ancestral lands they have traditionally occupied and which are necessary to develop and guarantee their ways of life. The National Executive, with the participation of indigenous peoples, demarcates and guarantees the right to collective ownership of their lands, which are inalienable, indefeasible and non-transferable in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution and the law.

Article 121

Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and develop their ethnic and cultural identity, their worldview, values, spirituality and sacred places of worship. The state shall promote the appreciation and dissemination of the cultural expressions of indigenous peoples, who are entitled to their own education and an educational system that is intercultural and bilingual, according to their cultural particularities, traditions and values.

[Note: The constitutional text hosted by the Political Database of the Americas is reproduced from official government sources.]


1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

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