Spanish Version

Is the Legislative Branch Controlled by the Executive?

Is the Judicial branch controlled by the Executive?

Is the National Electoral Council controlled by the Executive?

Is the new Citizens' Power (the Public Prosecutor, the Office of the Comptroller and the Peoples' Advocate) controlled by the Executive?

Are the Supreme Court Justices biased in the discharge of their Duties?

Is the Independence of the Judicial Career respected?

Do Venezuelan Courts respect Constitutional Law principles?

Is the Supreme Court at the service of the Administration?

Is the National Electoral Council (CNE) an Impartial Body?

Does the CNE Address The Interests of Civil Society or those of the Government?

Does the National Electoral Council Act In Conformity to the law?

Is voting by way of electronic machines reliable?

Does the Electoral Register (RE) contain true and precise information?

Are the media really independent?

Does the Penal Code limit freedom of expression?

Are journalists persecuted, threatened or harassed because of the way they cover the news?

Are human rights violated in Venezuela ?

Does discrimination on political grounds exist in Venezuela?

Are there political prisoners in Venezuela ? Are people persecuted for political reasons?

Are those active in the defense of democracy in Venezuela persecuted and imprisoned?

Are private life and private property respected?

Is freedom in education respected?

Have the human rights of the April 2002 victims been respected and have those responsible been indicted?

Is the Executive ruling under a military style?

Is the political parties system declining in Venezuela?

Are traditional trade-union organizations being respected?

Is the civil society allowed to exercise the functions conferred by the Constitution?

 
State of the institutions
IS THE EXECUTIVE RULING UNDER A MILITARY STYLE?
 
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Summary

  • President’s military background dominates his speeches and government style.
  • A significant amount of militaries, in service and retired, exercising high positions in the public administration.
  • Purchase of armament to Russia and Spain represents a concern to analysts because of the destiny of the weapons in disuse and due to the possibility that those weapons may reach the hands of guerrilla groups.
  • Reform to the National Army Law introduces a two million “reservists” contingent depending on the Presidency and which is out of the National Army’s control.
  • On April 13th, 2005, the reserve command was activated, and such date declared as the day of the military reserve, the national mobilization and the civil-military unity.
  • Executive promotes the concept of  “asymmetric war” or fourth generation war, which includes “... the application of non conventional tactics, such as guerillas war and terrorism...”
  • Reform to the National Army Organic Law regarding the controversial topic of the “reserves”, discussed and approved.
  • President declares the bolivarian revolution as socialist and exhorted military quarters to discuss the topic.

1. The President Chávez Frías has a military background, which can be observed in his speeches and in his government style. There are multiple occasions in which he appears dressed up with the military uniform, notwithstanding that according to the Law, he is permitted to wear it only at determined protocol acts. On April 14 th , 2002, after his return to the Presidency of the Republic, he raised this topic as one of the points of his speech in which he promised not to wear the military uniform ever again.


2. The occasional use of the military uniform, the constant allusions to the military life and the use of military examples for electoral campaigns, are not the only areas in which the military character of the regime is showed. Even more significant is the amount of militaries, in service or retired, exercising high public positions in the Government .


3. The Government of President Chávez Frías is, at the present moment, negotiating the purchase of weapons -one hundred thousand "AK-103" attack rifles- with Russia, as well as armament with Spain. Besides the not so real prejudice that this could recall an armaments race in the region, the destiny that could be given to the disused weapons is a worry to the analysts, as well as the possibility that these weapons could reach the hands of guerrilla groups in the region or of some violent fellows of the régime.


4. In the presence of a suspected thread of an invasion by the United States or of an external aggression, the President of the Republic has promoted a modification in the Regulations of the National Army Law, in order to establish a contingent of two million "reservists" -beginning from a number not yet determined- which depends on the Presidency and which is out of the control of the National Army.


5. On April 13 th , 2005, declared as the "Day of the military reserve, the national mobilization and the civil-military union", President Chávez Frías, wearing his military uniform and with his parachutist beret, activated the reserve command at the Honor Patio of the Military Academy, denominated "Sovereignty or Death". This command is conformed by a starting contingent of 20 thousand reservists, equal to approximately one third of the National Army. Such command is under the orders of General Quintero Viloria, who declared as ". stateless or ignorant persons, or well-meaning people who are not yet acquainted with reality" those who have criticized the creation of such reserves directly depending on the Presidency and which are not under the authority of the National Army.


6. On recent date and within the context of a "possible invasion by the United States", the Executive has been promoting the concept of "asymmetric war" or fourth generation war. To that effect, the First Military Forum on Fourth Generation War and Asymmetric Conflict took place at "Fuerte Tiuna" Military Academy, organized by the National Army General Command (date). In that Forum, this topic was raised as the new philosophy or strategy of the National Army. The possible external aggression was constantly used as one of the reasons behind the purchase of weapons and the increase of reservists. President Chávez Frías stated in his speech, that some characteristics of the concept of asymmetric war are: ".the application of non conventional tactics, such as guerrillas war and terrorism, with the purpose of debilitating the adversary". ("El Nacional", April 9 th , 2005, page A-3).


7. As for the Legislature, it has discussed and approved an amendment to the National Army Organic Law, which is only waiting for the approval in plenary meeting, such law being modified in several articles affecting the topic of the "reserves" and which have caused great controversy.


8. Once declared the road of the bolivarian revolution as socialist, President Chávez Frías has been promoting this idea in all and every interventions and speeches and has exhorted this idea to be discussed in military quarters: "This topic shall be brought to the military quarters, without fear, because there we were brainwashed, the capitalist model and the terror of socialism were sold to us". ("El Nacional", May 23 rd , 2005).

9. During the third anniversary of the Francisco de Miranda’s Front, President Hugo Chávez gave a clear and precise order to its members: “As of today, I want the duly and complete fulfillment of the training, qualifying and furnishing tasks for the military defense of the country”, given that he had promised that the next lot of “Kalashnikov” Russian fusils arriving to the country, shall be allotted among its lines, integrated by civilians –mainly young people– organized in squadrons and depending on the same chief of State. (El Nacional, July 1st.,  2006)  Ver Video