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Venezuela - Political Flags - Part 1

Last modified: 2005-10-15 by dov gutterman
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No party is allowed to use, among its symbols, theVenezuelan Flag or its colours (in any arranged order), the name of Simon Bolivar and the Coat of arms. At party rallies, candidate podiums and so on, it is alowed to use all of these (but it carries certain controversy). Parties rarely wave flags, beyond some rags with their colours (very rarelywith their logos on it), although I have seen a Communist Party Flag at somerallies. A flag with eight stars (as Bolivar's model in 1817 and 1819) has been flown at the current party in power (Fifth Republic Movement) rallies.But they are alligned in various positions, and move around the flag from one rally to another
Guillermo Aveledo, 24 September 1999

As part of the murky restlessness my country is getting used to , yet another Military officer is making political remarks: this time, Colonel (Air Force) Silvino Bustillos remarked in a press conference at the National Lectoral Council's free press room thet President (retired Lt. Colonel) Hugo Chavez, was, among some other nfr things, breaking the National Symbols Law, whichs bans the usage of the anthem, flag and Coat of Arms by political parties or factiones, or any politically interested group.
An hard-to-enforce law as it may be, this was already noted by me last year on this very list. President Chavez, both as a candidate and as a president-candidate (a first in Venezuela, when reelection was just instituted by the 1999 Constitution) has repeatedly used both the national flag (state and civil) and the anthem on political meetings and rallies.
Quite conscientously or not, the use of national symbols is forbidden in such activities (and no other candidate ever has used these colours).
Guillermo Aveledo, 17 July 2000

It isn't possible make a complete count of the Venezuelan politicas flags without happening through history. Specially considering the recent changes in the Venezuelan politics. For that reason, I've elaborated three historical periods, following the reigns bibliography about  Venezuelan political parties:

1) Political Flags during the formation of the National State (1830-1930s): Although images are few, almost null, the bibliographical information and the tracks me be useful. One treats, fundamentally, about flags of military commaders, leaders and pseudo-parties ("the historic" oligarchy parties), etc. On this stage the politics is nongiven for free partisan competition, with periods in which the politic fight was essentially belic, or was completely suppressed.

2) Political flags in the "National-Popular" stage (1930s-1989): the sprouting of the modern politic parties, with specifical organizations and ideologies, not always acompannied democraticas politic rules. But it forms the predominant system of parties during more of half century.

3) Contemporary Political flags (1989-2003): is the flags of new movements and politic organizations arisen by institutional changes of the last years of 1980s and the crises of the preceding system. Its sprouting was vertiginously accelerated since 1999, without it consolidates in a new clearly identifiable system.

Likewise, it can made another group of categories simultaneously ideologic and historic. Following the point of view of Professor Ramos Jimenez, we used his tipology about the origin of Latin American politic parties:
a.. Oligarchy Parties  (conervadores and liberal)
b.. Socialist Parties (Socialist -democratic, Communists, Revolutionaries, Integrists)
c.. National-Popular Parties (Nationalistic and Populists)
d.. Democratic Parties (Socialdemocratas, Christian Democrat, Neo-conservators, Neo-liberals)

The politic flag par excellence corresponds which we know of modern politic parties. Groups different of politic parties, nevertheless, it would be treaties like these ones. That is to say, grouped in a meta-category of politic flags. I suggest, in addition to sub-category "Politic Parties" the following additional sub-categories:
a) Irregular groups (insurgency or counterinsurgency politic movements, at the margin of the law, using or not violent methods);
b) Not-partisan Politic Organizations (organizations which don't have party discipline nor aspirations to reach power positions and which, nevertheless, propose subjects and objectives of the public politic agenda; usually they are very specifics in the subjects or sectors which it represents. Will be, in great part of cases, the Non Government Organizations, Unions, Employer's Associations, etc);
c) Politicized Flags (flags of groups whose function and nature aren't politic, but that due to the particularitities of each country may appear promoting itself or acting politically). As these flags belong from their nature to others categories, it will be mantain the original classification for it (would be originally religious, sport, etc.).
Guillermo Aveledo (translated by Raul Orta), 28 August 2003

"Law of National Flag, Coat and Anthem" in force since 1954 - Article 16 says: "Everyone that somehow offends or despises the Flag, the Coat and the Anthem of the Republic will be punished in accordance with the Law. Under no circumstance will be allowed to parties or politic organizations the use of the Symbols of the Homeland in public concentrations and proselytist propaganda".
Raul Orta, 10 June 2004

Acción Democrática

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 29 June 2004

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 29 June 2004

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 29 June 2004

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 29 June 2004

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 29 June 2004

Acción Democrática [Democratic Action], who has traditionally used bore the colour white, is one of Venezuela’s main parties. Founded in 1941, it emerged from the division of the Partido Democrático Nacional [National Democratic Party], a coalition of left-wing intelelctuals and politicians in the latter half of the 1930s. It has been the most succesful of modern parties, gaining the presidency seven times (once through a coup, in 1945). Its ideology is a creative blend of nationalism and social democracy; currently, AD holds a number of state governorships and is the second parliamentary force. AD is a full standing member of the Socialist International.
Its logo is a tricolor (blue-yellow-red) roundel, divided vertically. It mimicks the national colours, although the law forbids the use of the national tricolour as a party simbol. On its blue section, a roundened black "A" stands alone, as a solitary black "D" does on its red section. A torch and a stylised map of Venezuela stand on its central, yellow section. Circling the roundel, two green lauril branches and the partie’s mottoes in capital black letters: "POR UNA VENEZUELA LIBRE Y DE LOS VENEZOLANOS" [For a free Venezuela and for Venezuelans] and "PAN-TIERRA-TRABAJO" [Bread-Ground-Work].
Normally, the party uses varians of its logo-on white flag. In 1963, during one of its many crisis, two factions of the party claimed a right tu use the party colours in the upcoming national election. The Supreme Court forbade any of the facitons to use the party’s white and arms, deciding to award them to the faction with most votes in the election. The AD-government faction used black, with a cartoon figure of Juan Bimba (a traditional carachter representing the average Venezuelan, now definitely outdated; this cartoon was the famous depiction of Juan Bimba made by cartoonist Mariano Medina Febres, MEDO, in the 1930s). The AD-opposition faction used silver grey, with the orange silouette of a horse, rearing up. The AD-government faction prevailed, and the party has not had its colour contested ever again.
Guillermo Aveledo [remarks by Raúl Jesús Orta Pardo], 29 June 2004

Confederacion de Trabajadores de Venezuela (CTV) - Workers' Confederation of Venezuela

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 16 September 2000

The CTV is the most important labour organisation in Venezuela. Although recently under fire, it serves as an umbrella organisation for most of Venezuela's trade unions, much like Britain's TUC. It has been dominated by the labour organisations of the, again until recently, most important parties in Venezuela (AD and Copei, with a lesser participation of the MAS and LCR; the CTV emblem shows an uncanny familiarity to that of AD). There are some rival trade unions associations, but this has been the most important (founded in 1936) and the largest. It is now challenged, although I'm not sure if aiming towards replacing the upper cadres or removing the whole structure, by the newly formed 'Bolivarian Force of Workers'. This new movement has not shown a flag yet.
The flag itself is a red field (typical of labour movements) over which we see the CTV logo: a white gear (outlined in black), which has sixteen teeth, with an inner circle divided in a blue-yellow-red tricolor (unlike the national flag, but like the tricolor shown in AD's logo), a white map of Venezuela (with the white-red map of the claimed zone of Guyana by Venezuela, shown in the logo since the 1960s), and, above it all, black, bold and capital letters "CTV". Over the years, then logo has suffered slight modifications, none of which are too critical so as to be mentioned.
Guillermo Aveledo, 16 September 2000

COPEI - Comité de Organizacion Politico Electoral Independiente - Independent Electoral Politic Organization Commitee

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 8 July 2004

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 8 July 2004

by Guillermo Aveledo, 8 July 2004

Currently in use
image by Guillermo Aveledo, 8 July 2004

New logo
image by Guillermo Aveledo, 8 July 2004

Copei, the Venezuelan Christian Democratic party, was founded in 1946. Its original strength came from conservative parties in the Andes region and from young catholic students and organisations in the centre of the country. By the 1960s, it had established itself as a national party, and from 1968 until 1993, as the main contender against AD. Copei (which stands for the non-ideological name of Comité de Organizacion Politico Electoral Independiente - Independent Electoral Politic Organization Commitee) won the presidency in 1968 and in 1978; currently, its national presence has diminished, as a result of the disastrous elections of 2000; however, it remains as one of the main opposition parties.
The traditional colour of Copei is green, in a myriad of shades and tones. It used to fashion a darker, bottle-like, green, until the eighties, when the tone became lighter. In 1988 and 1993, an almost fluorescent green was used, but this was ultimately dropped. In any case, no other party uses green as its colour.
The party's logo, a spearhead (sometimes referred to as an arrowhead), has been depicted in several different ways. The classical way has the party's initials within the spearhead. A blunter spearhead is currently in use. These days the party also shows a flag where this new spearhead stands within a green globe, encircled by the caption: UNIDAD POR VENEZUELA (Unity for Venezuela).
Guillermo Aveledo, 8 July 2004

Fuerza Bolivariana de Trabajadores - Bolivarian Worker's Force

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 30 November 2000

Here's the flag of the FUERZA BOLIVARIANA DE TRABAJADORES (Bolivarian Worker's Force), a government-supported labour union, which was instituted in order to substitute CTV (our longest-living and largest trade union) after today's referendum on labour freedoms. The flag is a regular Venezuelan tricolori, with the FBT's logo centered inside it. The logo consists of four concentric rings, from outside to the inside: black, red, blue and yellow. Within the rings, we have a white circle with three antropomorphic faces (namely, what seems to be a working man with a hard hat stands in front), drawn in red line art. Seven white five-pointed red-embroidered stars, incremental in their size, encircle almost half of the white circle, entering the red, blue and yellow rings. On the sides of the ring, we have two small trocolor tribands of yello-blue-red and, encircling it all, the letters "FUERZA BOLIVARIANA DE TRABAJADORES" in black, embroidered in white. This flag has been used as a paper waver flag for supporters of the FBT, and as a huge stage flag (made out of what seemed to be some sort of plastic or artificial cloth) was used during a national convention of the FTB a few months ago.
Guillermo Aveledo, 30 November 2000

Movimiento Revolucionario Tupamaro

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 10 March 2005

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 10 March 2005

There is a political organization in Venezuela which also responds to the name of Tupamaros, evidently inspired by the Uruguayan movement, and as them, in the history of Peruvian Tupac-Amaru. As they have stated tima and again, the Movimiento Revolucionario Tupamaro is not a "Venezuelan" movement,; it would be part of a global struggle againstimperial domination.
The Movimiento Revolucionario Tupamaro is an urban left-wing political movement founded in Western Caracas, having its headquarters in the "23 de Enero" parish. It has an imprecise origin, mostly related to the double struggle against barrio violence and corruption and against the system in general, and as dissidents of the major and institutionalized left-wing parties (PCV, MAS, etc.) through the 1980s and 1990s.
After the end of most Cuban-inspired guerrilla warfare in Venezuela, and the peaceful inclusion of the left into the political system, far left groups, such as the Movimiento Revolucionario Tupamaro, pursued a radical road, not participating in electoral politicas and avoiding links with mainstream organizations.
The flag of the Venezuelan Tupamaros (of which I send two spotted versions), is horizontally divided in two parallel strips of equal width and length, the upper strip being red and the lower black. On its center, a black-embroidered five-pointed red star sits. The variation has a white-embroidered star, with the name of the "San Juan" parish. Although the red-black combination is common for Anarchist groups, there's a certain ambivalence in the Tupamaro's statements on the matter: they are different from old-left parties, but they do not use the word "Anarchy" (or its known symbols) in a positive light. Mostly, the consider themselves not anarchic, and there should be a difference between anarchic and Anarchist.
A description can be found in an interview made to one of the Tupamaro's spokespersons, Jose Pinto at <>.
Guillermo Aveledo, 10 March 2005

MVR - Movimiento Quinta República - Fifth Republic Movement

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 30 August 2004

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 30 August 2004

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 30 August 2004

by Guillermo Aveledo, 30 August 2004

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 30 August 2004

The flags of the Fifth Republic Movement (MVR), the party of Lt. Col. (ret.) Hugo Chavez. Founded in 1997, as a coalition of non-partisan politicians from all extremes of the political spectrum, it promoted Chavez to the Presidency in the 1998 elections.   Its acronym, MVR, stands for Movimiento Quinta República, or Fifth Republic Movement. In their theoretical construction, the party follows a line commonly found throughout Venezuela's traditional historical literature. There have been, their analysis goes, four republics in Venezuela up to 1998. The first republic (1810-1812) from the Declaration of Independence to the fall of Puerto Cabello. The second republic (1813-1814) from Bolivar's "Admirable Campaign" to the social rebellion against the Republic; the third Republic (1821-1830), from the Cucuta Convention to the break-up of the Republic of Colombia. Then there was the Fourth Republic (1830-1998), which began with the "repudiation" of Simon Bolivar and lasted until the end of the forty years of democratic regime, in 1998. Chavez and his followers set out not only to modify the constitution, like many times before, but to start off a clean slate and start a new Republic. The new -Fifth- Republic began with the approbation through a popular referendum of the 1999 Constitution.   It has been noted that the capital "V" in their acronym, which stands for the Roman numeral 5, is a way to smoothly substitute the "B" appearing in the military movement which organised the failed coup attempts of 1992, and led the former paratrooper commander Hugo Chavez to national fame: the MBR-200, Movimiento Bolivariano Revolucionario-200. It is forbidden by law to use the national symbols, including Bolivar's name, in favour of a particular political party.   At first, the MVR wanted to have a radical appearance, but it could not choose red as its electoral colour. It decided to choose a parted per fess flag in yellow and white. Red is now its main colour, and Chavismo's followers sport a red beret, akin to the paratroopers' battalion Chavez led.   Although some flags were produced with those colours, most of them have been using an LOB format, over the colors red, white and yellow. The party's logo has the letters MVR, with the capital "V" mimicking an approval sign, and, to its left, an effigy of Commander Chavez. Another flag, which could be seen during the 2000 campaign, was the third flag: the cloth, parted per fess in two, with the hoist half id yellow, bearing the party's "V", and the fly half in red.
 Guillermo Aveledo, 30 August 2004

Partido Comunista de Venezuela - Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV)

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 2 September 2004

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 2 September 2004

image by Francisco Manuel Garcia, 2 September 2004

The PCV was founded in 1931, though it has its origin in 1929, in the Partido Revolucionario Venezolano. Its clandestine condition, and its tactics of dispersion and inflitration inside other organisations make difficult to folow a "lineal" path for its history, as it sometimes was forced to assume different names, like Partido Revolucionario del Pueblo, Unión Popular Venezolana, etc. Legalised for the first time in 1945, it assumes the name PCV. Although the party was outlawed againt on the late forties, it enjoyed a brief surge between 1958 and 1960, when it was once again dissolved, as it supported the guerrilla warfare movement in Venezuela, which emerged after the Cuban Revolution. The PCV is the bastion of marxist-leninist orthodoxy in Venezuela. Despite its historical importance as one of the first modern Venezuelan political parties, the PCV has never had a significant parliamentary presence beyond the 1958 Congress. It has nurtured, moreover, through its splits and divides, due to their own dynamics and to the divisions of socialism worldwide after the 1960s, a myriad of smaller parties. Its largest split came in 1972, when a large number of comrades formes the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) rebelling against the PCV's support of Soviet repression in Easter Europe; the MAS was to become one of the most succesful left-wing parties in Venezuela. Nowadays, the Venezuelan Communist Party has no representation in Congress, and is scarcely present in public office. However, its prestige gives it a prominent place in the coalition of parties supporting the government of Hugo Chavez.   The main symbol od the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) has been a red rooster. Although they also use the Comunist Hammer and Sickle, and even though the Venezuelan Communist Youth used a star with its acronym (JCV) during the 1950s, as can be seen through period photographs and documents, and as it is noted by Venezuelan historian Manuel Vicente Magallanes, the red rooster has been their main symbol for at least four decades.   The red rooster flag has a few variations, as shown above. Normally, the red rooster is placed within a yellow circle. Sometimes, though this is rarely sighted, they trace the rooster's contour in black. Normally, the Communist party's flag is almost square, and almost always a red field.  
The origin of the rooster as the main symbol of the PCV has, as we've been able to find, two different versions. The first one says that Venezuelan Communist exiled in France during the late forties took te Coq Gaoulois, used in a limited manner by the French resistance and by the Parti Communiste Francais. The other one goes as saying that the rooster was the symbol of the paper Tribuna Popular, the information organ of the PCV, ultimately becoming the symbol of the whole party. It must be said that those old communists which have been contacted are ambivalent about both stories. In any case, early documents of the PCV do not show the rooster.
Guillermo Aveledo, 2 September 2004

The Comunist Youth of Venezuela

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 2 September 2004

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 2 September 2004

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 2 September 2004

The Comunist Youth of Venezuela, the youth wing of the party, is the refuge of the more traditional communist symbols. The flag shown as above has an effigy of the Che Guevara, the famous Latin american Guerrilla Leader, sith the caption "Juventud Comunista". This flag has been mostly replaced by more traditional hammer-and-sickle flags. The bottom flag bearing the JCV emblem (which resembles a hammer-and-sickle red flag).
Guillermo Aveledo, 2 September 2004

At <> there is a large hammer-and-sickle flag marked JCV. That appears to be a Venezuelan communist.
jadjad, 17 August 2005

The flagis with <>, which is the predictable "Juventud Comunista de Venezuela" (which
means Venezuelan Communist Youth).
Antonio Martins, 17 August 2005

UNION para el Progreso - UNION for the Progress

UNION for the Progress
image by Guillermo Aveledo, 12 September 2002

Democratic Left
image by Guillermo Aveledo, 12 September 2002

MAS (Movement to the Socialism)
image by Guillermo Aveledo, 12 September 2002

The "UNION for the Progress" Political Party was formed around the groups that on year 2000 supported Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Francisco Arias Cárdenas in his candidacy for the Presidency of the Republic. Its principal nucleus is a party created at the end of 1999 with the old guard of the MAS (Movement to the Socialism) Party, called "Democratic Left" (Izquierda Democrática). The MAS, founded on 1973, fundamentally was originated by a rupture of the PCV (Communist Party of Venezuela), after which then Communist Youth was rebelled as opposed to the "stalinism" of the old guard, criticizing the repression to the  "Prague's Spring" on 1968. The Communist Youth of Venezuela and other leaders of the PCV were sanctioned by the Polit-bureau of the  Soviet Union Communist Party. But that one is another history (although very near one to three of the four greaters leaders of UNION). UNION also agglutinates some retired militaries (some, like Arias, involved in the 1992' putsches), old political and union leaders of left "not aligned" and others.
Its emblem is one capital "U" in white, blue and yellow, without greater meaning than the initial of the word "Union". Its "flag" is its logo on target, in proportion 1:1. It doesn't have reverse.
The Website of the Union is <>.
Guillermo Aveledo (translated by Raul Orta), 12 September 2002