The president and vice-presidents, who must be Venezuelans by birth and more than thirty years old, are elected by an electoral body or council composed of members of the national Congress, one member from each state and the Federal District.
For a people so accustomed to revolutionary outbreaks, the Venezuelans are singularly deficient in military organization.
It is drawn in imitation of European models, and makes military service compulsory for all Venezuelans between 21 and 50 years.
The Caracas institution dates from early colonial times and numbers many prominent Venezuelans among its alumni.
Shortly after the battle of Carabobo (June 24, 1821), by which the power of Spain in this part of the world was broken, Venezuela was united with the federal state of Colombia, which embraced the present Colombia and Ecuador; but the Venezuelans were averse to the Confederation, and an agitation was set on foot in the autumn of 1829 which resulted in the issue of a decree (December 8) by General Paez dissolving the union, and declaring Venezuela a sovereign and independent state.
On the 18th of September the Venezuelans, who had entered Colombia, were totally routed near La Hacha, and after fierce fighting the insurgents at Colon were compelled to surrender on the 29th of November.