Brooklyn Journal of International Law

First Page



For over twenty decades, Venezuelan political leaders have blatantly disregarded their citizens’ human rights, leading to the downfall of Venezuela’s economy and democratic institutions, including severe food and medicine shortages, as well as staggering inflation rates. As a result, Venezuela provides a unique affirmation of the Capabilities Approach introduced by Professor Amartya Sen, which focuses not only on the freedoms that individuals possess, but also on what individuals are capable of doing as possessors of these freedoms. This Note seeks to use Sen’s Capabilities Approach to understand the nature and scope of Venezuela’s multidimensional crisis, arguing that a Senian approach provides a unique perspective into the complexity and deeply intertwined and mutually reinforcing dimensions of this crisis. This Note proposes that each citizen should be represented individually and that there must be an understanding that political freedoms and rights, as described by the Capabilities Approach, are inherently intertwined with the process of development. Finally, when it comes to evaluating rights, the focus should be on what an individual is able to do and be rather than defining these as to how many rights individuals may have under a constitution.