It was 1 o'clock in the morning of Venezuela's Independence Day (July 5). The galleries in the Capitol building in Caracas overflowed with impatient spectators. Below, members of the National Constituent Assembly, weary from 16 hours of continuous session, neared the end of six months' labors.

At last it was done. The final clause was approved and Venezuela had a new constitution. It was the 22nd since the country broke away from Spain 136 years ago. On hand for the signing and formal promulgation was Provisional President Rómulo Betancourt, who had promised a new constitution when he overthrew...

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