|Supreme Court of Venezuela|
The Constitutional Court dismissed a case members of the Institutional Military Front (FIM) filed late last March against the Minister of Defense, Admiral Carmen Melendez, for ordering members of the National Armed Forces (FAN) to attend a demonstration organized by the government and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) on March 15 to support the operations of the National Guard (GN) during student protests.
"Participation by FAN members in political events does not impair their professionalism, but is a bastion of democracy and active participation," said Gladys Gutiérrez, Francisco Carrasquero, Marco Tulio Dugarte, Carmen Zuleta de Merchan, Arcadio Delgado Rosales, Luisa Estella Morales and Juan Jose Mendoza (rapporteur).
In Case No. 651 the court held that uniformed personnel are not excluded from exercising their rights under Article 62 of the Constitution to "participate freely in the political affairs and the formation, implementation and monitoring of public administration." The court added that participation of this group in public affairs "stands as a progressive act of consolidation of the civil-military union." The Constitutional Court gave the green light for soldiers to chant such slogans as "Independence and socialist fatherland!", "We will live and win!" or "Chavez lives!"
"Every army in the world has a military salute that reflects the idiosyncrasies or culture of the country or the historical, social and political moment through which it has passed, since the military salute symbolizes professional and institutional respect, discipline, obedience and subordination to the chain of command and the commander in chief to which it answers," the interpreters of the Magna Carta said in response to the FIM's objections.