Indigenous peoples in Venezuela

According to the XIV National Census of Population and Housing conducted in 2011 with regard to the indigenous population key results highlighted that Venezuela's indigenous population totals 725,128 people, indicating that the indigenous population has increased 41.8% between 2001 and 2011. Of the 30 million inhabitants, 2.8% self-identify as indigenous.

The census recorded declarations of individuals belonging to 51 indigenous pueblos in the country. Among these are the:

  • Wayuu (58% of the total indigenous population)
  • Warao (7%)
  • Kariña (5%)
  • Pemón (4%)
  • Jivi, Cumanagoto, Anu, and Piaroa (3% each)
  • Chaima and Yukpa (2%)
  • Yanomami (1%)
  • Other pueblos (9%)

Legislation 

The 1999 Constitution recognised the country’s multi-ethnic and pluricultural nature for the first time and included a chapter specifically dedicated to indigenous peoples' rights, opening up indigenous spaces for political participation at national, state and local level.

Further developments in legislation include: 

  • The Organic Law on Demarcation and Guarantees for the Habitat and Lands of the Indigenous Peoples came into force in 2001
  • ILO Convention 169 was ratified in 2002
  • Organic Law on Indigenous Peoples and Communities (LOPCI) was developed in 2005, broadly consolidating this framework of rights.

These have been supplemented by the:

  • Law on Cultural Heritage of Indigenous Peoples and Communities (2009)
  • Law on Indigenous Artisans (2009)

Venezuela voted in favour of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

Yearly Update

Download the 2016 yearbook article on indigenous peoples in Venezuela to learn about major developments and events during 2015.