It all started with the Constitution of 1990, written by an elected assembly in clear and inclusive language, which contained legislation that would transform the lives of Venezuelans and particularly, of women. It gave women the right of equal pay for equal work, (Article 91); the right to a life without violence, according to International Convention against Discrimination against Women (Article 21): the right to protection and public assistance for during maternity in all its phases (Article 76); and the now world famous Article 88 that recognizes women’s domestic work as productive economic activity entitled to public pensions. The constitution also adheres to the International UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child.
When the Constitution was only two years old and by no means was its mandate entirely implemented in law, in April of 2002, President Chávez was deposed and kidnapped in a coup d’etat orchestrated by the financial elites and abetted by the United States. It lasted 48 hours. The catalyst for its end was the tens of thousands of ordinary people who took to the streets to demand the return of their democratically elected president. They faced sharpshooters who were shooting indiscriminately at the crowds to create chaos. Masses of these people were women – women who realized that this government that they had elected now had been taken from them. The loyal armed forces then chose to side with the people and not the elites, and President Chávez was returned to his rightful position, becoming the first president in modern history to be deposed only to brought back due to widespread popular protest.[i]