The constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (1999) declares the Venezuelan State as multiethnic and multicultural, and guarantees the population the full exercise of its cultural rights, thanks to articles 98 through 101, thus providing a solid legal and institutional framework that has allowed the drawing up of many public policies aimed at safeguarding, appraising and enhancing the visibility of the nation’s cultural diversity.
In terms of public agencies, and in accordance with the Convention, 2005 saw the creation of the Ministry of Culture, along with the Vice Ministry for Cultural Identity and Diversity, the main function of which has been to plan and oversee all programs and projects relating to this area. That same year, the Center for Cultural Diversity was also created. The goal of this government entity has been to develop short and medium-term strategies aimed at ensuring that other government agencies and institutions, as well as private entities and social movements, adopt multicultural and multiethnic elements in their concepts, programs and ideology, as is dictated by the country’s constitution.
In terms of legislation, Chapter II of the Organic Law of Culture (2014) deals with “Venezuela’s cultural identity and diversity”, and focuses on three aspects: the joint responsibility of the State and every community, the protection of private property, and the publication of creative works.
In addition to the abovementioned piece of legislation, other instruments, such as the Law for People with Disabilities (2007) , the Law for the Cultural Heritage of Indigenous Peoples (2009), the Law against Racial Discrimination (2011), and the Law for Artisanal Creation and Development (2015), have been vital when it comes to the development of cultural policies aimed at fostering and enhancing the diversity of cultural expressions across the country, and providing social, economic and legal protection to artists, creators and tradition bearers.
The projects and goals of local and state entities have been set in accordance with the “Plan de la Patria” for the 2013-2016 period, as was enacted by Venezuela’s National Assembly, to bring about a fair, equal society, protect the historical and cultural heritage of Venezuela and the rest of Latin America, and move forward towards the creation of a new social structure.
Said plan also focuses on the efforts to recover our historical and collective memory, raise awareness about our cultural diversity, and strive for the inclusion, visibility and dignity of our artists, creators and tradition bearers. It also seeks to strengthen, decentralize and democratize the cultural efforts of the State, develop and consolidate cultural industries, foster the emergence of new generations of creators, and reinforce ties with Latin America and the Caribbean.