Thousands of Venezuelans marched in Caracas on Monday to celebrate 15 years since the Bolivarian Constitution was passed in a nationwide referendum, creating the legal framework for the Bolivarian revolution.
The constitution is considered to be one of the most progressive in the world on many issues, enshrining social rights such as access to health and education as well as political and civil rights. It also guarantees direct and collective political participation, and allows citizens to organise referendums to revoke the mandate of elected officials during their term of office, including the president.
Further, the constitution recognises the identity and rights of discriminated, disadvantaged and minority groups in the population.
The constitution was approved on 15 December 1999 by 71.78% of the popular vote, after an elected constituent assembly had received proposals from across society and had drawn up the document. An assembly to write a new constitution was the initiative of Hugo Chavez, elected president in December 1998.
The march also served as a platform for Venezuelans to express their outrage at the sanctions recently imposed by the United States government on the Caribbean nation.
President Nicolas Maduro addressed the crowd from a podium stamped with the message “Venezuela Demands Respect, We Accept No Sanctions.”