Cultural and Collective Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Venezuela: Political and Legal Framework

Cultural and Collective Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Venezuela: Political and Legal Framework

Soledad Torrecuadrada García-Lozano (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain), Vladimir Aguilar Castro (Universidad de Los Andes, Venezuela) and Carlos Grimaldo Lorente (Universidad de Los Andes, Venezuela)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8336-5.ch005


In this chapter, the authors attempt to demonstrate that respect for cultural identity of all human groups should be seen as a fundamental right. Ignoring Collective rights of indigenous peoples, those related to their cultural traditions, generally causes the lack of respect. Thus, knowledge of the cultural manifestations and their origin and meaning (as part of the history of the territories they inhabit) can conquer this respect on a par with its defense. This obviously with comprehensive training aimed to sensitize the general population in the positive assessment it deserves it different. The actions of nation-states governments with strong indigenous population has been characterized, until recently, by a remarkable disregard for indigenous cultures, having as a result the result of which such attitude, today from the non - indigenous perspective indigenous cultural manifestations are reduced to colorful folklore shows, when not seen as backward and primitive traditions. This chapter delves deeply into the legal framework for the protection of collective and cultural rights of indigenous peoples. The authors also attempt to show the weaknesses of the law and how states should act to strengthen them. Proposed article does emphasis on indigenous traditional knowledge and not in a wider debate on the topic of knowledge in general.
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From the reading of the Venezuelan Constitution, and more specifically article 119, recognition of indigenous cultures is clear, which corresponds to a prior conceptual stage to that occupied by the respect for cultural identity of indigenous peoples or different forms of manifestation that integrates it, since respect presupposes recognition but not to on the contrary. Despite that, the entry into force of 1999 Constitution marks only the starting point in which the system of protection and guarantee of indigenous peoples’ rights concerns and, although it has not yet managed to reach its goal, solid progress has being made as far as Venezuelan society has demand it. If such respect is not certainly proclaimed in the constitutional rule, it can be clearly be found in the right that develops it, and it starts from the right of free indigenous cultural practice and development of the characteristics that define their traditions, along with the state's obligation to foster and protect them7.

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