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43 Duq. L. Rev. 629 (2004-2005)
Centralized Federalism in Venezuela

handle is hein.journals/duqu43 and id is 639 raw text is: 







CENTRALIZED FEDERALISM IN VENEZUELA*


                    Allan R. Brewer-Caria*

  Federalism in Venezuela reveals a very contradictory form of
government. Typically, a Federation is a politically decentralized
State organization based on the existence and functioning of
autonomous States. The power of that decentralized state organi-
zation is distributed among the national State (the Union or the
federation) and the member States. In contrast, the Federation in
Venezuela is a Centralized Federation, which of course, is a con-
tradiction in itself.
  That is why, unfortunately, my Country is not a good example
for explaining Federalism in the Americas, being as it is a Fed-
eration based in a very centralized national government, with 23
formal autonomous states. Each of these 23 formal autonomous
states is without their own effective public policies and without
their own substantive sub-national constitutions.
  But our Federation has not always been like it is now. The
process of centralization of the Federation progressively occurred
during the 20th Century, and has been particularly accentuated
during the past five years.
  The centralization process began with the installment of the au-
thoritarian government of Juan Vicente G6mez, who ruled
throughout a dictatorship that lasted approximately three dec-
ades, spanning the first half of the 20th Century. During these
years no democratic institutions were developed.
  The transition from autocracy to democracy began in Venezuela
between 1945 and 1958, when a democratic regime, in accordance
with the democratic Constitution of 1961, came into power. This
democratic Constitution was the longest Constitution in force in
all Venezuelan history. This Constitution, as it was of a product
of a political pact signed by all democratic forces (Pacto de Punto
Fijo, 1958), assured the dominance of a very centralized political
party system. During the last 40 years of democratic develop-

   * Paper submitted to the Seminar: Federalism in the Americas... and Beyond,
     Dquesne University, Pittsburgh, 11-13 November 2004.
   ** Professor, Central University of Venezuela.


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