Venezuela Recent History

In 1958, on the occasion of the visit of Richard Nixon, president of the United States, serious unrest occurred in Caracas, Nixon was outraged, there were various street demonstrations, strikes promoted by the far left, and two attempts at coups, in July and in September. At the presidential election on December 7, three were the accredited candidates: Romulo Betancourt of “Accion Democratica”, Rafael Caldera supported by the Christian Socialist Party and Admiral Larrazabal of the Democratic Union, supported by the Communist Party.

According to Abbreviationfinder, an acronym site which also features history of Venezuela, Romulo Betancourt won who took office on 13 May 1959 and who was always opposed by the opposition. There were several terrorist attacks whose provenance, attributed to the Dominican Republic, caused the breakdown of relations between the two countries.

Meanwhile, there was a recession for oil companies and union unrest and the reduction in sales on European markets. Betancourt sought to remedy by giving wider development to other sectors; promoted agrarian reform; issued a four-year plan for the development of industries, especially in the state of Bolivar, south of the Orinoco river, where the richest iron deposits in the world exist.

On June 26, 1960 he was wounded in an attack, attributed to the Dominican Republic which was condemned (August 26) by all American foreign ministers.

Betancourt continued his mandate with wisdom and competence but never met the favor of the leftists who gave life to the “Movimiento Izqierda Rivolucionaria” (MIR). There were rebellions which, although suppressed, gave way to terrorism (1962 / 63) perpetrated by leftist organization.

Betancourt in September 1963 had all the deputies of MIR arrested and, despite the various adversities created by the opposition, he managed to improve life in rural areas, introducing modern technical means for working the land among the farmers; he had schools, roads and hospitals built and was able to renovate and modernize the whole country by boosting the oil and iron extractive industries.

Venezuela Recent History

The next president, R. Leoni, who took office on March 1, 1964, continued the economic policy of Betancourt; tried with a four-year plan to combat unemployment, upgraded hydroelectric plants; he built new schools and tilled new lands to improve the production of foodstuffs which, unfortunately, had to be imported in large quantities.

Leoni’s mandate ended with the possession, by the State, of the Banks, the railways, the naval and air fleets, the food monopoly, the hydroelectric plants, the largest industries, the telegraph and the radio and, moreover, rare and unusual in Latin America, it had contained inflation and lowered the cost of living.

In 1968 R. Caldera won the election, candidate of the Christian Democratic Party and supported by the right. He not only continued Leoni’s economic policy, but aimed at the oil monopoly and the exploitation of the immense forests of the Orinoco.

He also carried out a prudent internal policy restoring legality to the Communist party and for foreign policy he re-established relations with all Eastern European states.
The 1974/78 mandate saw President CA. Perez, candidate of “Accion Democratica”. Shrewd statesman, he began the nationalization of the iron and oil industry, creating the “Petroven” (ie Petroleos de Venezuela). And with the revenue from these industries, he was able to grant special credits to the World Bank for Latin American Development.

In spite of everything, his party was defeated in the subsequent presidential elections which were won by Luis Herrera Campins, a Christian Democrat, who took office on March 13, 1979. And also the municipal elections recorded victory by the Christian Democratic party.

In foreign policy he oriented more towards a rapprochement with the United States, but when they supported Great Britain in the Malvinas (or Falklands) issue, he distanced himself from Washington.
Meanwhile, the domestic economic situation was worsening due to the international recession related to the decrease in the price of oil and Herrera Campins found himself forced to not keep the promises made to the population at the time of his inauguration. Which in the elections of December 1983 had its weight. In fact, J. Lusinchi of “Accion Democratica” was elected, who had special powers from Parliament to negotiate credits and debts with foreign countries. He tried to stem the difficult situation caused by rising unemployment and inflation. Then when he imposed austerity measures and a certain state of was discovered. corruption, also due to drug trafficking in which public figures, members of the armed forces and magistrates were implicated, popular protest rose.

In the 1988 elections, CA Perez, also of Accion Democratica, prevailed but disappointed the voters because he was unable to repeat the shrewd economic policy of the past.

In March 1989 a state of emergency was proclaimed which culminated in a general strike.
In this situation, a coup took place on the night between 3 and 4 February 1992 and Perez was saved from the troops remained loyal to him. He tried to regain the country’s trust by making promises he could not keep. Instead, all the leftist parties swelled so much that A. Isturiz, leader of ‘Causa Radical ”(CR) was elected mayor of Caracas. And when in March 1993 Perez was even accused of embezzlement, the Senate dismissed him and replaced him with Senator RJ Velasquez, who proposed some drastic measures to be applied immediately to improve the situation.

But this also provoked very strong popular protests and in the subsequent elections of December 1993, R.Caldera Rodriquez (a former president) imposed himself, who in March 1994 promulgated an emergency financial law aimed at obtaining special state control powers over the Banks in order to tame the financial crisis that broke out due to the bankruptcy of Banco Latino, the country’s second largest commercial bank.

The political and economic situation, after the financial crisis, required the president to take on special powers, including the massive use of anti-crime forces in order to eradicate corruption. There was great popular discontent and in fact in the 1995 elections, both administrative and regional, there was a 40% abstention.

On the other hand, the Socialist Movement was strengthened, whose founder, T. Petkoff, a former guerrilla, in the government reshuffle of March 1996, won the dicastery of Economic Planning. In the same year Caldera had to resort to the International Monetary Fund for a large loan, and this operation also swelled the anti-government protests and in August 1997 a general strike was proclaimed, especially after a strong increase in the price of gasoline.

To remedy, at least in part, this state of affairs, the government, together with the unions and entrepreneurs, undertook to draw up a pension reform and granted wage increases in the public sector.

But Caldera also made the mistake of restoring freedom to the advocates of the 1992 coup; the former chief of these, Chavez, immediately resumed the political struggle by founding a new Republican Movement in 1998 and allied himself with the Patriotic Pole, a pure nationalist brand.

The latter, in November 1998, won the regional elections and had a majority in the legislative elections, where the Chavez Movement was in second place, behind Democratic Action.

In the vicinity of the presidential elections, scheduled for December 1998, Chavez promised the people institutional reforms that would guarantee the application of better rules in justice, the recovery of the economy through the fight against oversized “neoliberalism”, but above all reassured the country on the need to renew the entire Constitution in just six months.

Since Chavez seemed destined to win the elections, the other historical parties, aware of their powerlessness, withdrew their candidates and asked that their supporters’ votes converge on another politician: H. Salas Romer, independent, who seemed to have ample opportunity to thwart the pass in Chavez.

This maneuver, however, betraying the weakness and opportunism of the leaders of those parties, had the opposite effect. Chavez won the elections with more than 56% of the votes and immediately set about forming a new government in which, for the first time, an Indian representative entered: AU Pocaterra, who was entrusted with the department for the Environment and Natural Resources.


On July 25, 1999 there were new elections for the distribution of seats in the National Assembly and the Patriotic Pole won 121 out of 128 seats.

Immediately the Assembly, by means of a special Commission, removed from the Congress those judges who had been found to be corrupt, completely renewed the Constitution, then passed with 71% of the consensus to the popular referendum specifically called and called the State “Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela” in honor of Simon Bolivar, the national hero to whom Venezuela was freed from Spanish rule.

Another important institutional change occurred with the suppression of the Senate. And then again the state’s control over oil production was increased and the permanence for two consecutive terms, of 6 years each, to the president in office was sanctioned.