Definition of Youth

Venezuela’s 2009 national youth law defines youth as aged 15 to 30 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 16
  • --
  • Female
  • 18
  • 14
  • --

  • Civil code states that a minor cannot marry without parental consent. No specific legislation for same-sex marriage. Homosexual acts legal. Source: Civil Code (1982) UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
From 12-15 years old, the state must prove criminal capacity. A child below 10 cannot be held legally responsible for their actions. Source:  Penal Code of Venezuela

Majority Age


Source: Civil Code (1982)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 98.76% Male (15-24) %
  • 99.04% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 71.20%Male %
  • 77.61% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 11% Male (13-15) %
  • 7.2% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Venezuela has a youth law from 2009 and a youth policy launched in 2013.

Venezuela’s national youth policy, Mission: Young People of the Homeland (2013), aims for the full development, mobilisation and social inclusion of young people in the areas of including culture, science, sport and production. It has four overarching objectives:  

  • Educational, occupational, social, political and cultural inclusion;
  • Mobilise training in recreation, culture and sport sectors;
  • Support youth-driven projects, of social and economic value, which aid in national development;
  • Reduce risk factors that can hinder the capacities and potential of young people.
As reported by Telesur TV in February 2014, a National Youth Fund was created as part of the policy, which will award VEF 500 million (USD 79.5 million) to “socio-productive” projects led by young people.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Ministry of Popular Power for Youth is the governmental body responsible for youth in Venezuela. Its mission is to promote the comprehensive development of young people through effective coordination with other governmental organs. Within the ministry lies the National Institute of Popular Power for Youth, which was created through the 2009 youth law. It is the policy arm of the ministry, responsible for the stewardship, formulation, and evaluation of policies that affect youth. It is advised by an interagency council to ensure coordination of policies.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The 2009 national youth law provides a description for a national youth council (National Council of Popular Power for Youth). The council would have the authority to represent youth in the design, monitoring and evaluation of policies, plans and programmes. It is tasked with the responsibility to report irregularities in the delivery of public services that may threaten the rights of young people. While state- and city-level youth councils have been created (ex. Táchira, Catia), it is unclear if a national-level youth council has been created.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
VEF 800.4 million
USD 127.3 million
In the 2014 state budget, the Ministry of Popular Power for Youthis allocated a budget ofVEF 800.4 million (USD 127.3 million). According to the World Bank, Venezuela spent 20.66% of its government expenditure and 6.87% of its GDP on education provision in 2009.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed May 2014).

Additional Background

From BBC News: What lies behind the protests in Venezuela? (2014):

What triggered the protests?
The protests began in early February in the western states of Tachira and Merida when students demanded increased security after a female student alleged she had been the victim of an attempted rape. Venezuela has the fifth highest murder rate in the world, and crime is rife in many urban centres.
The students also complained about record inflation (official figures suggest yearly inflation in December 2013 stood at 56.2%) and shortages of basic food items.
The protests in Tachira turned violent, triggering the arrest of several students, which in turn led to demonstrations in Caracas calling for their release.
The protests in Caracas started on 12 February and turned deadly when three people were shot by gunmen following a largely peaceful march that same day. There have been many demonstrations since then, varying in size from small gatherings to large rallies.
Who is protesting?
Students were the first to protest, but they were soon joined by hardliners from within the umbrella opposition group Table for Democratic Unity (MUD). Leopoldo Lopez, a former mayor and political maverick, and Maria Corina Machado, an MP, are the main political figures in the movement.
After the detention of hundreds of protesters and accusations that the security forces used excessive force, a more moderate wing of the opposition also took to the streets.
According to many observers and opposition leader Henrique Capriles, the protests are made up of a middle-class majority, with middle-class concerns.
From Youth and Public Policy in Venezuela (2012) English Translation: Google Translate (emphasis in original):
The first question that arises when establishing what we mean when we refer to a youth policy is: how has the state historically behaved in terms of what has been its role as guarantor of fundamental rights of the population and especially the young Venezuelan people?
[...] According to [Sergio] Balardini, from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) based in Argentina, the first thing to be clear is what is meant by youth public policy:
...a framework and long-term political commitment that enables the social processes necessary for the consolidation of an integrated, equitable national environment, which frames national policies and legislation, and promotes the implementation of an Action Plan that addresses young people in a comprehensive, strategic and tangible way .
It is also necessary to identify the modes of action of the State:  
  1. Policies FOR youth: made from a paternalistic point-of-view, where the state sees young people as vulnerable subjects, inexperienced and potential threats, emphasizing educational programs but from a position of adults controlling young people.
  2. Policies BY youth: where the state emphasizes youth mobilization for political indoctrination. The state acts passively, and youth act inadvertently on its behalf.
  3. Policies WITH youth:  the most recent and innovative trend, based on the principle of solidarity and participation, where young people are incorporated not only in performance measurement but also in the design and decision-making stages of policy-making.
  4. Policies FROM youth: which refer to activities and initiatives imagined, designed and implemented by young people in a self-managed way that incorporates their important role when it comes to the management of social and cultural projects. Gives primacy to youth collective action. They are autonomous initiatives, by formal or informal youth groups.