How different have the various constitutions of Venezuela been?
Rather difficult to say, but apparently many of the constitutions were quite similar.
Venezuela has had twenty-seven constitutions since 1811, the most recent of which was promulgated in 1999. Why this apparent surfeit of constitutions for a country that was dominated by caudillos1 and military elites throughout much of its independent history? Owing to chronic instability, virtually every new regime sought to declare its independence from predecessor regimes by writing a new constitution. In the Spanish American tradition, instead of adding amendments or changing specific provisions, an entirely new constitution was enacted, even if very little of substance was actually changed. In the nineteenth century two of the main changes dealt with the balance between centralism and federalism, and expansion or retraction of the suffrage. One feature of Venezuela's constitutional history has remained constant, however: Venezuelan government is essentially presidentialist. Even the most recent and most democratic constitution—that of 1999—provides for a powerful chief executive who can assume extraordinary powers.
The first constitution of the new Republic of Gran Colombia, written in 1811, was inspired by the U.S. Constitution and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and clearly reflects the thinking of an educated oligarchy. It provided for a weak central government and placed literacy requirements on suffrage and property-holding requirements on officeholding. The Angostura Constitution of 1819, reacting against excessive federalism, strengthened the power of the executive and central authority. In 1830, after breaking away from Gran Colombia, Venezuela promulgated its own constitution, which reflected a compromise between unitary and federalist government. Between 1830 and 1900 eight constitutions were written, effecting slight changes in the balance of power between the federal government and the states.
The balance of the article discusses the changes in some of the constitutions since 1864.
1 a military or political leader