Sunday, November 10, 2013

Modern Venezuela

Over the years Venezuela has had 24 constitutions, many dictators, and constant border squabbles with its neighbours.
Venezuela was the first of the south American Countries to be discovered by Europeans, for Columbus touched its shores on his third voyage in 1498. The Spaniards built settlements in the early 16th century, and for the next 300 years country was a Spanish colony. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Great Simon Bolivar led a successful rebellion.against Spanish rule , enabling Venezuela to become an Independent nation in 1830.
From 1870 to 1935 the country was ruled by aseries of dictators, and national prosperity suffered accordingly.  
    Juan Vicente Gómez,  (born July 24, 1857, San Antonio de Táchira, Venez.—died Dec. 17, 1935, Maracay), dictator of Venezuela from 1908 until 1935, reputed to have been the wealthiest man in South America.
Although a nearly full-blooded Indian with almost no formal education, Gómez became a figure of local prominence in the Andean region. Joining the private army of Cipriano Castro in 1899, he was appointed vice president when Castro captured Caracas and the government. In 1908, when Castro was recuperating from illness in Europe, Gómez seized power and ruled either as president or through puppet figures until his death.
Under Gómez, Venezuela achieved a measure of independence and economic Lake Maracaibo in 1914, Gómez bargained shrewdly with the United States, British, and Dutch petroleum interests for the benefit of Venezuela. He continued to maintain good relations with foreign nations and managed to eliminate all foreign indebtedness. He exercised control over the local caudillos (“bosses”) and the Roman Catholic church, embarked on a program of public works, and organized an efficient administration.
progress. After oil was discovered near
All the while, however, he added to his legendary fortune, acquiring farms, businesses, and various industries. While he was growing richer, he controlled the nation through force and terror. His army was the best equipped in South America, and his spies and agents were everywhere. When he died, the nation was left without a single political figure untainted by association with Gómez. Venezuela became the world's largest oil-exporter and second-largest producer by 1928 which enabled the growth of a small middle class that began to demand greater participation in Politics. This demand was met with brutal repression leading to the change to a relatively liberal dictators of General Medina Angarita. 
Isaías Medina Angarita (6 July 1897 – 15 September 1953) was a Venezuelan military and political leader, president of Venezuela from 1941 until 1945. He followed the path of his predecessor Eleazar López Contreras, and ruled the country's democratic transition process.
Medina was born in San Cristóbal, Venezuela. He served as War Minister from 1936 to 1941 under Contreras. In 1943, he founded the Venezuelan Democratic Party. Some in the Army considered his presidential regime too liberal while other political enemies accused him of being too conservative, and both sides were involved in a putsch to remove him from power on 18 October 1945. Medina died, aged 56, in Caracas.
Democratic Action (Spanish: Acción Democrática, abbreviated as AD) is a Venezuelan political party established in 1941. The party and its antecedents played an important role in the early years of Venezuelan democracy, and led the government during Venezuela's first democratic period (1945–1948). After an intervening decade of dictatorship (1948–1958) saw AD excluded from power, four presidents came from Acción Democrática from the 1960s to the 1990s. By the end of the 1990s, however, the party's credibility was almost nonexistent, mostly because of the corruption and poverty that Venezuelans experienced during the last two full-term administrations of the party's time in power, namely, those of Jaime Lusinchi (1984–1989) and Carlos Andrés Pérez (1989–1993). The latter president was impeached for corruption in 1993, and spent several years in prison as a result. Since the 1998 election of Hugo Chávez, a range of newer parties (such as A New Era and Justice First) have been more prominent in opposition .

Marcos Pérez Jiméne

Marcos Pérez Jiménez,  (born April 25, 1914, Michelena, Venezuela—died September 20, 2001, Madrid, Spain), professional soldier and president (1952–58) of Venezuela whose regime was marked by extravagance, corruption, police oppression, and mounting unemployment.

As a result, Venezuela experienced another ten years of dictatorship.
A graduate of the Venezuelan Military Academy, Pérez Jiménez began his political career in 1944, participating in the coups d’état of October 1945 and November 1948. After the second coup he served as a member of the military junta that ruled Venezuela. In December 1952 he became provisional president by designation of the armed forces—an appointment confirmed by the constituent assembly of 1953, which, under his control, elected him to a five-year presidential term (1953–58).
Financed by income from oil royalties, Pérez Jiménez began a vast program of public works, including the construction of highways, hotels, office buildings, factories, and dams. Pérez Jiménez and his associates received a commission from every project. The ubiquitous secret police, the ruthless suppression of opponents, the closing of the university, the silencing of the press, rampant inflation, and the jailing of five priests led the church to ally itself with the opposition parties, the dissatisfied workers, and younger military men who felt excluded from the rewards of the administration. After being forced out of office in January 1958, Pérez Jiménez fled to the United States, reportedly taking with him approximately $200 million.
In 1963 Pérez Jiménez was extradited by the United States to stand trial for embezzlement of government funds. After serving five years in jail, he was released and went to Spain in August 1968. Elected to the Venezuelan Senate in 1969 in absentia, his election was annulled on the grounds that he was not a registered voter in Venezuela. In March 1972 in Madrid he announced his candidacy for president in the forthcoming elections. He returned once more to Caracas in May 1972, but his visit prompted riots in the city, and he returned to Spain.
 Ladtly democracy was installed by two parties Action democratica and Partido Social Cristiano ( AD and COPEI)
A pluralistic splinter of The Communist Party led a pact of Puntoi Fijo.

Carlos Andrés Pérez, in full Carlos Andrés Pérez Rodríguez    (born Oct. 27, 1922, Rubio, Venez.—died Dec. 25, 2010, Miami, Fla., U.S.), president of Venezuela from 1974 to 1979 and from 1989 to 1993.
Pérez began his political life as a member of the liberal political party Democratic Action, led by Rómulo Betancourt. When Betancourt took power as president of the junta that overthrew Pres. Isaías Medina Angarita in 1945, Pérez followed as his secretary. A right-wing coup drove Pérez and other party leaders into exile until 1958, when the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez was overthrown. Pérez then served in several important government and party posts.
With Betancourt’s support, Pérez easily won the 1973 presidential elections. The most important issues facing his administration concerned Venezuela’s petroleum production, in particular the question of foreign ownership and how to invest the enormous proceeds received by the government. In 1976 Venezuela nationalized the entire oil industry, while maintaining foreign technical and managerial personnel to ensure efficient operation. Pérez also ordered a production slowdown to conserve resources, passed measures designed to stimulate small business and agriculture, and channeled petroleum income into hydroelectric projects, education programs, and steel mills. While preserving friendly relations with the United States, he underscored his policy of autonomy from it by supporting Panama’s demand for control of the Panama Canal and reestablishing diplomatic relations with Cuba.(broken in 1961).

As a former president, Pérez was barred by law from seeking reelection for 10 years. Upon that period’s termination, Pérez was again elected to the presidency, where he promoted free-market economic reforms. He survived two attempted military coups in 1992, including one led by military officer and future president Hugo Chávez, and was removed from office in 1993. Pérez was then arrested in 1994 on charges of embezzlement and misuse of public funds and spent two years under house arrest. In 1996 he was released, and in 1998 he was elected a senator. He left Venezuela the following year, in the wake of Chávez’s drafting of a new constitution, thereafter spending most of his time in the Dominican Republic and the United States.
Luis Herrera Campíns,  (born May 4, 1925Acarigua, Venez.—died Nov. 9, 2007, Caracas), politician who served as president of Venezuela from 1979 to 1984.
Born into a middle-class family, Herrera Campíns was educated at a university in Caracas. With Rafael Caldera Rodríguez, he founded the Social Christian Party in 1946. This moderate party, also known as the Christian Democrats, became the second largest political party in Venezuela (after the Democratic Action party) in the decades after World War II. In 1952 Herrera Campíns was arrested and sent into exile as a result of his activities against the dictatorial regime of President Marcos Pérez Jiménez. He returned to Venezuela after the overthrow of Pérez in 1958 and was elected a member of the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of parliament) in 1959. Successively reelected, he served as chairman of the Social Christian faction in parliament until his election to the Senate in 1973. He was also secretary-general of the Latin American Congress of Christian Democratic organizations from 1969 to 1977.

Herrera Campíns was nominated as his party’s presidential candidate in 1977 and went on to win the presidential election in 1978. He took office when the economic boom that Venezuela had enjoyed since world oil prices had quadrupled in 1973 had begun to show serious defects. The Christian Democrats did not have control of Congress, and the measures Herrera Campíns took to rein in inflation and the government’s spiraling expenditures were ineffective. His party lost the presidency in the elections held in late 1983.

 Rafael Antonio Caldera Rodríguez

(born Jan. 24, 1916, San Felipe, Venez.—died Dec. 24, 2009, Caracas, Venez.), Venezuelan politician who served as president of Venezuela (1969–74; 1994–99) and helped to establish democratic stability. A pioneer of the Christian Democratic movement in Latin America, he cofounded (1946) Venezuela’s centre-right Social Christian Party (COPEI). Caldera entered politics in the mid-1930s before earning a doctorate (1939) in political science from the Central University of Venezuela. He was first elected to Congress in 1941. As COPEI’s candidate for the presidency in 1947, Caldera made the first of four unsuccessful bids for the office. Following the fall of a military dictatorship in 1958, he was one of the signatories to an agreement between the three largest political parties intended to ensure the soundness of the country’s democracy, in part by having the electoral victor share government positions with the other two parties. During Caldera’s first term as president, he restored ties with the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Latin American military dictatorships (Argentina, Panama, and Peru) and granted amnesty to leftist revolutionaries, encouraging them to enter politics peacefully. He also restored the legal status of the Communist Party (outlawed since 1962) and attempted to diversify the country’s oil-dependent economy. Caldera returned to power some 20 years later as an independent, having fallen out with COPEI. Facing a severe banking crisis, he instituted exchange controls but failed to rein in runaway inflation. In 1994 Caldera pardoned Hugo Chávez, who had been imprisoned for a 1992 coup attempt, a pardon that ironically enabled Chávez to succeed him as president in 1999.

Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution.