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

Professor Rogelio Pérez-Perdomo has just published on SSRN a Spanish language article on the Venezuelan legal system during the last decade. 

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

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1513568

Abstract:     
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 

South American Union of Nations

On May 23, 2008, 12 South American countries signed a treaty creating the South American Union of Nations. Although no formal institutions are functioning at this time, the treaty does envision a Secretariat in Quito, Ecuador (article 10)  and a Parliament in Cochabamba, Bolivia (article 17). It will be interesting to see what documents are produced by this new transnational body and how it affects Mercosur and the Andean Community. The nations involved are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uriguay and Venezuela. The South American Union of Nations Constitutive Treaty is available in English, Spanish, Portuguee and Dutch from the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Realtions: http://www.mre.gov.br/portugues/imprensa/nota_detalhe3.asp?ID_RELEASE=5466