The Venezuelan Declaration of Independence (Cinco de Julio) is a statement adopted by a congress of Venezuelan provinces on July 5, 1811, through which Venezuelans made the decision to separate from the Spanish Crown in order to establish a new nation based on the premises of equality of individuals, abolition of censorship and dedication to freedom of expression. These principles were enshrined as a constitutional principal for the new nation and were radically opposed to the political, cultural, and social practices that had existed during three hundred years of colonization.
Seven of the ten provinces belonging to the Captaincy General of Venezuela declared their independence and explained their reasons for this action, among them, that it was baneful that a small European nation ruled the great expanses of the New World, that Spanish America recovered its right to self-government after the abdications of Charles IV and Ferdinand VII at Bayonne, and that the political instability in Spain dictated that Venezuelans rule themselves, despite the brotherhood they shared with Spaniards. The seven provinces were Caracas Province, Cumaná Province, Barinas Province, Margarita Province, Barcelona Province, Mérida Province and Trujillo Province.
The three remaining provinces (Maracaibo Province, Coro Province and Guayana Province) which did not take part in the Venezuelan congress opted to stay under Spanish rule.
The declaration proclaimed a new nation called the American Confederacy of Venezuela and was mainly written by Cristóbal Mendoza and Juan Germán Roscio. It was ratified by Congress on July 7, 1811, and recorded in the Congress’s Book of Minutes on August 17, 1811, in Caracas.
The anniversary of this declaration is celebrated as Independence Day. The original Book of Minutes of the first Congress of Venezuela is in the Federal Legislative Palace in Caracas.
The document is kept at the museo de la Casa de las Primeras Letras Simón Rodríguez. The signature of president Hugo Chávez was added to an exhibited copy of the document on May 31, 2013, by the Maduro administration, as an homage to the former president. This resulted in outrage among various sectors opposing said administration.