Carlos Andrés Pérez: Wikis


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Carlos Andrés Pérez

In office
12 March 1974 – 12 March 1979
Preceded by Rafael Caldera
Succeeded by Luis Herrera Campins

In office
February 2, 1989 – May 20, 1993
Preceded by Jaime Lusinchi
Succeeded by Octavio Lepage (who after Carlos Andrés Pérez became an Acting President till Ramón José Velásquez took over on 5'th June)

Senator for life
In office
March 12, 1979 – February 2, 1989

Born 27 October 1922 (1922-10-27) (age 87)
Rubio, Táchira, Venezuela
Political party Acción Democrática
Spouse(s) Blanca Rodriguez
Religion Roman Catholic

Carlos Andrés Pérez Rodríguez (born October 27, 1922), best known as CAP and often referred to as "El Gocho" (Due to his Andean origins), was President of Venezuela from 1974 to 1979 and again from 1989 to 1993. His first presidency was well-known as the Saudi Venezuela due to its economic and social prosperity thanks to enormous income from petroleum exportation. However, his second period was disastrous—it saw a series of social crises, a popular revolt (denominated Caracazo) and two coup attempts (4 February 1992 and 27 November 1992). Also, he was the first Venezuelan president to be forced out of the office on 20 May 1993 by the Supreme Court, for the misappropriation of 250 million bolívars belonging to a presidential discretionary fund.


Early life and education

Rómulo Betancourt, Leonardo Ruiz Pineda and Carlos Andrés Pérez during a visit to Táchira state in 1946

Carlos Andrés Pérez was born at the hacienda La Argentina, on the Venezuelan-Colombian border, near the town of Rubio, Táchira state, the eleventh of twelve children in a middle-class family. His father, Antonio Pérez Lemus, was a Colombian-born coffee planter and pharmacist of Spanish and Canary Islander ancestry who emigrated to Venezuela during the last years of the 19th century. His mother, Julia Rodríguez, was the daughter of a prominent landowner in the town of Rubio and the granddaughter of Venezuelan refugees who had fled to the Andes and Colombia in the wake of the civil war that ravaged Venezuela in the 1860s.

Pérez was educated at the María Inmaculada School in Rubio, run by Dominican friars. His childhood was spent between the family home in town, a rambling Spanish colonial-style house, and the coffee haciendas owned by his father and maternal grandfather. Influenced by his grandfather, an avid book collector, Perez read voraciously from an early age, including French and Spanish classics by Jules Verne and Alexandre Dumas. As he grew older, Pérez also became politically aware and managed to read Voltaire, Rousseau and Marx without the knowledge of his deeply conservative parents.

The combination of falling coffee prices, business disputes and harassment orchestrated by henchmen allied to dictator Juan Vicente Gomez, led to the financial ruin and physical deterioration of Antonio Pérez, who died of a heart attack in 1936. This episode would force the widow Julia and her sons to move to Venezuela's capital, Caracas, in 1939, where two of Pérez's eldest brothers had gone to attend university. The death of his father had a profound impact on the young Pérez, bolstering his convictions that democratic freedoms and rights were the only guarantees against the arbitrary, and tyrannical, use of state power.

In Caracas, Perez enrolled in the renowned Liceo Andrés Bello, where he graduated in 1944 with a major in Philosophy. In 1944, he enrolled in the Law School of the Central University of Venezuela. However, the intensification of his political activism would prevent Pérez from ever completing his law degree.

Political life

Carlos Andrés Pérez during his first term in office

The political life of Carlos Andrés Pérez began at the age of 15, when he became a founding member of the Venezuelan Youth Association and a member of the National Democratic Party, both of which were opposed to the repressive administration of General Eleazar López Contreras, who had succeeded the dictatorship of Juan Vicente Gómez in 1935. He also co-operated with the first labour unions in his region. When he moved to Caracas, in 1939 , he started an ascendant political career as a youth leader and founder of the Democratic Action (AD) party, in which he would play an important role during the XX century, first as a close ally to party founder Rómulo Betancourt and then as a political leader in his own right.

In October 1945, a group of civilians and young army officers plotted the overthrow of the government run by General Isaías Medina Angarita. At the age of 23, Pérez was appointed Private Secretary to the Junta President, Mr. Romulo Betancourt, and became Cabinet Secretary in 1946. However, in 1948, when the military staged a coup against the democratically elected government of Rómulo Gallegos, Pérez was forced to go into exile (going to Cuba, Panama and Costa Rica) for a decade. He temporarily returned to Venezuela secretly in 1952 to complete special missions in his fight against the new dictatorial government. He was imprisoned on various occasions and spent more than two years in jail in total. In Costa Rica, he was active in Venezuelan political refugee circles, worked as Editor in Chief of the newspaper La República and kept in close contact with Betancourt and other AD leaders.

In 1958, after the fall of dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez, Pérez returned to Venezuela and participated in the reorganization of the AD Party. He was appointed Minister of the Interior in 1961 and made his mark as a tough minister and canny politician who successfully neutralized small, disruptive and radical right-wing and left-wing insurrections, the latter Cuban-influenced and Cuban-financed, that were being staged around the country. This was an important step in the pacification of the country in the mid to late 1960s, the consolidation of democracy and the integration of radical parties into the political process.

After the end of the Betancourt administration and the 1963 elections, Pérez left government temporarily and dedicated himself to consolidating his support in the party. During this time, he served as head of the AD in Congress and was elected to the position of Secretary General of AD, a role that was crucial in laying the ground for his presidential ambitions.

Venezuelan Presidential election 1973[1]
Candidates Votes  %
Carlos Andrés Pérez 2,122,427 48.70%
Lorenzo Fernández 1,598,929 36.70%
Jesús Paz Galarraga 221,827 5.05%
José Vicente Rangel 186,255 4.26%
Abstention: 164,935 3.48%
Total votes: 4.572.187

First term as president

In 1973, Carlos Andrés Pérez was nominated to run for the presidency for AD. Youthful and energetic, Perez ran a vibrant and triumphalist campaign, one of the first to use the services of American advertising gurus and political consultants in the country’s history. During the run up to elections, he visited nearly all the villages and cities of Venezuela by foot and walked more than 5800 kilometers. He was elected in December of that year, receiving 48.7% of the vote against the 36.7% of his main rival. Turnout in these elections reached an unprecedented 97% of all eligible voters, a level which has not been achieved since.

Nationalization of the Iron, 1 January 1975

One of the most radical aspects of Pérez's program for government was the notion that petroleum oil was a tool for under-developed nations like Venezuela to attain first world status and usher a fairer, more equitable international order. International events, including the Yom Kippur War of 1973, contributed to the implementation of this vision. Drastic increases in petroleum prices that led to an economic bonanza for the country just as Pérez started his term. His policies, including the nationalization of the iron and petroleum industries, investment in large state-owned industrial projects for the production of aluminium and hydroelectric energy, infrastructure improvements and the funding of social welfare and scholarship programmes, were extremely ambitious and involved massive government spending, to the tune of almost $53 billion. His measures to protect the environment and foster sustainable development earned the Earth Care award in 1975, the first time a Latin American leader had received this recognition.

In the international arena, Perez supported democratic and progressive causes in Latin America and the world. He opposed the Somoza and Pinochet dictatorships and played a crucial role in the finalizing of the agreement for the transfer of the Panama Canal from American to Panamanian control. In 1975, with Mexican President Luis Echeverria, he found SELA, the Latin American Economic System, created to foster economic cooperation and scientific exchange between the nations of Latin America. He also supported the democratization process in Spain, as he brought Felipe González, who was living in exile, back to Spain in a private flight and thus strengthened the PSOE.

Nationalization of Oil, 1 January 1976

Towards the end of his first term in office, Pérez's reputation was tarnished by accusations of excessive, and disorderly, government spending. His administration was often referred to as Saudi Venezuela for its grandiose and extravagant ambitions. In addition, there were allegations of corruption and trafficking of influence, often involving members of Pérez's intimate circle, such as his mistress Cecilia Matos, or financiers and businessmen who donated to his campaign. A well-publicized rift with his former mentor Betancourt and disgruntled members of AD all pointed to the fading of Perez’s political standing. By the 1978 elections, there was a sense among many citizens that the influx of petrodollars after 1973 had not been properly managed. The country was importing 80% of all foodstuffs consumed. Agricultural production was stagnant. The national debt had skyrocketed. And whilst per capita income had increased and prosperity was evident in Caracas and other major cities, the country was also more expensive and a significant minority of Venezuelans were still mired in poverty. This malaise led to the defeat of AD at the polls by the opposition Social Christian Party. The newly elected president, Luis Herrera Campíns, famously stated in his inaugural speech that he was “inheriting a mortgaged country.”

First presidency cabinet (1974-1979)

Ministries [1]
President Carlos Andrés Pérez 1974-1979
Home Affairs Luis Piñerua Ordáz 1974-1975
  Octavio Lepage 1975-1978
  Manuel Mantilla 1978-1979
Outer Relations Efraín Schacht Aristiguieta 1974-1975
  Ramón Escovar Salom 1975-1977
  Simón Alberto Consalvi 1977-1979
Finance Héctor Hurtado 1974-1977
  Luis José Silva Luongo 1977-1979
Defense Homero Leal Torres 1974-1976
  Francisco Álvarez Torres 1976-1977
  Fernando Paredes Bello 1977-1979
Development Carmelo Lauría Lesseur 1974
  Constantino Quero Morales 1974-1975
  José Ignacio Casal 1975-1976
  Luis Álavarez Domínguez 1976-1979
Education Luis Manuel Peñalver 1974-1977
  Carlos Rafael Silva 1977-1979
  Gerardo Cedeño Fermín 1979
Justice Otto Marín Gómez 1974-1975
  Armando Sánchez Bueno 1975-1976
  Juan Martín Echeverría 1976-1979
Mines and Hydrocarbons Valentín Hernández Acosta 1974-1979
Environment Arnoldo José Gabaldón 1977-1979
Agriculture Froilán Álvarez Yépez 1974
  Luis José Oropeza 1974-1975
  Carmelo Contreras Barboza 1975
  Gustavo Pinto Cohén 1975-1979
Labor Antonio Leidenz 1974-1976
  José Manzo González 1976-1979
Health and Social Assistance Blas Bruni Celli 1974-1975
  Antonio Parra León 1975-1979
Communications Armando Sánchez Bueno 1974-1975
  Leopoldo Sucre Figarella 1975-1976
  Jesús Vivas Casanova 1976-1977
Transport and communications Jesús Vivas Casanova 1977-1979
  José Ignacio Álvarez Maldonado 1979
Urban Development Robert Padilla Fernández 1977-1979
Information and Tourism Diego Arria 1977-1978
  Celestino Armas 1978-1979
Youth Pedro París Montesinos 1977
  Alfredo Baldó Casanova 1977-1979
Secretary of Presidency Ramón Escovar Salom 1974-1979
  Efraín Schacht Aristiguieta 1975-1976
  José Luis Salcedo Bastardo 1976-1979
Office of Coordination and Planification Gumersindo Rodríguez 1974-1977
  Lorenzo Azpúrua Marturet 1977-1979

After the first presidency

President Carlos Andrés Pérez next to President George H. W. Bush during a visit to Washington during his second term in office
Helmut Haussmann, Carlos Andrés Pérez, Raymond Barre, Michel Camdessus and David Campbell Mulford at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, 1989

Carlos Andrés Pérez maintained a high profile in international affairs. In 1980, he was elected president of the Latin American Association of Human Rights. He collaborated with President Julius Nyerere in the organization of the South-South Commission. He actively participated in the Socialist International, where he served as Vice-President for three consecutive terms, under the presidency of Willy Brandt from West Germany. Willy Brandt and Carlos Andrés Pérez, together with José Francisco Peña Gómez, a political leader from the Dominican Republic, expanded the activities of the Socialist International from Europe to Latin America. In 1988, he became a Member of the Council of Freely-Elected Heads of Government, established by the former President of the United States, H.E. Jimmy Carter. He was elected Chairman of the Harvard University Conference on Foreign Debt in Latin America, in September 1989, and received the Henry and Nancy Bartels Award on World Affairs at Cornell University.

Venezuelan Presidential election 1988
Candidates Votes  %
Carlos Andrés Pérez 3,868,843 52.76%
Eduardo Fernández 2,955,061 40.40%
Teodoro Petkoff 198,361 2.71%
Abstention: 1,660,887 18.08%
Total votes: 7,524,760

Second term as president

In February 1989, at the beginning of his second term as President, he accepted an International Monetary Fund proposal known as the Washington consensus. In return for accepting this proposal, the International Monetary Fund offered Venezuela a loan for 4.5 billion US dollars. This cooperation with the IMF came about weeks after his victory in the 1988 presidential election, and a populist, anti-neoliberal campaign during which he described the IMF as "a neutron bomb that killed people, but left buildings standing" and said that World Bank economists were "genocide workers in the pay of economic totalitarianism"[2]. Poor economic conditions led to attempts to revolutionize the political and economic structure of Venezuela, but the implementation of the neoliberal reforms (and in particular the liberalisation of petrol prices, which caused an immediate increase in the cost of petrol to consumers and rises in fares on public transport[3]) resulted in massive popular protests in Caracas, the capital. Carlos Andrés Pérez crushed the protest with the national guard, causing a large number of deaths—estimates range from 500 to 3000, and resulted in the declaration of a state of emergency. The protest is now referred to as the Caracazo.

In 1992, his government survived two bloody coup attempts. The first attempt took place 4 February 1992, and was led by Lieutenant-Colonel Hugo Chávez, who was later elected president. Chávez's troops besieged the presidential residence. Captain Rene Gimon Alvarez which mission was to murder the director of the Military Academy, Manuel Delgado Gaiza, back down from his mission and continued to save president Carlos Andres Perez. Carlos Andrés Pérez escaped through the garage of the palace and managed to get to quell the attempt. The second insurrection took place on 27 November 1992, and was controlled by Pérez quickly.

Second presidency cabinet (1989-1993)

Ministries [4]
President Carlos Andrés Pérez 1989-1993
Home Affairs Alejandro Izaguirre 1989-1992
  Virgilio Ávila Vivas 1992
  Carmelo Lauría Lesseur 1992
  Luis Piñerúa Ordaz 1992-1993
  Jesús Carmona 1993
Outer Relations Enrique Tejera París 1989
  Reinaldo Figueredo Planchar 1989-1991
  Armando Durán 1991-1992
  Humberto Calderón Berti 1992
  Fernando Ochoa Antich 1992-1993
Finance Egle Iturbe de Blanco 1989-1990
  Roberto Pocaterra Silva 1990-1992
  Pedro Rosas Bravo 1992-1993
Defense Italo del Valle Alliegro 1989
  Filmo López Uzcátegui 1989-1990
  Héctor Jurado Toro 1990-1991
  Fernando Ochoa Antich 1991-1992
  Iván Jiménez Sánchez 1992-1993
Development Moisés Naím 1989-1990
  Imelda Cisneros 1990-1992
  Pedro Vallenilla Meneses 1992
  Frank de Armas Moreno 1992-1993
Education Gustavo Roosen 1989-1992
  Pedro Augusto Beauphertuy 1992-1993
Health and Social Assistance Felipe Bello González 1989-1990
  Manuel Adrianza 1990-1991
  Pedro Páez Camargo 1991-1992
  Rafael Orihuela 1992-1993
Agriculture Fanny Bello 1989
  Eugenio de Armas 1989-1990
  Jonathan Coles Ward 1990-1993
  Pedro Luis Urriola 1993
Labor Marisela Padrón Quero 1989-1991
  Jesús Rubén Rodríguez 1991-1993
Transport and Communications Gustavo José Rada 1989
  Augusto Faría Viso 1989-1990
  Roberto Smith 1990-1992
  Fernández Martínez Mótola 1992-1993
Justice Luis Beltrán Guerra 1989-1990
  Jesús Moreno Guacarán 1990-1991
  Alfredo Ducharme 1991-1992
  Armida Quintana Matos 1992
  José Mendoza Angulo 1992-1993
  José Francisco Cumare Nava 1993
Energy and Mines Celestino Armas 1989-1992
  Alirio Parra 1992-1993
Environment Enrique Colmenares Finol 1989-1993
Urban Development Luis Penzini Fleury 1989-1992
  Diógenes Mujica 1992-1993
Family Senta Essenfeld 1989-1992
  Mabely de León Ponte 1992
  Teresa Albánez 1992-1993
Secretary of Presidency Reinaldo Figueredo Planchart 1989
  Jesús Carmona 1989-1990
  Armando Durán 1990-1991
  Beatrice Rantel Mantilla 1991-1992
  Celestino Armas 1992-1993
Office of Coordination and Planification Miguel Antonio Rodríguez 1989-1992
  Ricardo Haussman 1992-1993
National Council of Culture José Antonio Abreu 1989-1993
CVG Leopoldo Sucre Figarella 1989-1993

Corruption charges

Pérez´s portrait during his second presidency

On 20 March 1993, Attorney General Ramón Escovar Salom, introduced action against Pérez for the misappropriation of 250 million bolivars belonging to a presidential discretionary fund, or partida secreta. The issue had originally been brought to public scrutiny in November 1992 by journalist José Vicente Rangel. Pérez and his supporters claim the money was used to support the electoral process in Nicaragua. On 20 May 1993, the Supreme Court considered the accusation valid, and the National Congress removed Pérez from office. He was imprisoned and sentenced to two years of prison on May, 1994 for malversation of funds of the so-called secret fund.[5]

Carlos Andrés Pérez and Octavio Lepage after the destitution

In 1998, he was imprisoned again, this time for holding joint bank accounts with his mistress, Cecilia Matos. As he was elected Senator of the State of Táchira in 1998, he gained his liberty. Pérez lost this position when Chávez dissolved the Senate as an institution and created a unique National Assembly. He then left Venezuela and went into exile in Miami. He has since gained notoriety by being one of the most vehement opposers of President Hugo Chávez.

Personal life

At the age of 26 he married his first cousin Blanca Rodriguez with whom he had six children, Sonia, Thais, Martha, Carlos Manuel, Maria de Los Angeles and Maria Carolina. In the late 1960s, he began an extramarital relationship with his former secretary Cecilia Matos, giving his last name to Mato's daughters, María Francia and Cecilia Victoria Pérez. Although rumours have circulated that Pérez and Matos are now married, his divorce suit against Blanca Rodriguez has not been successful and the two are still legally married. He has been living in exile since 1998 with Matos, dividing his time between his homes in Miami, the Dominican Republic and New York. In 2003, he suffered a debilitating stroke that seriously affected his mental and physical abilities. On 31 March 2008, the secretary general of Acción Democrática Henry Ramos Allup, announced that the former president of Venezuela, Carlos Andrés Pérez, wanted to return to Venezuela from exile, to spend his last years in Caracas.[6]


  1. ^ Gaceta Oficial de Venezuela, period 1974-1979.
  2. ^ Ali, Tariq (9 November 2006). "A beacon of hope for the rebirth of Bolívar's dream". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 October 2008. 
  3. ^ Joquera, Jorge (2003). "Neoliberalism, the erosion of consensus and the rise of a new popular movement". Venezuela: The Revolution Unfolding In Latin America. Chippendale, New South Wales: Resistance Books. pp. 10. ISBN 1876646276.,M1. Retrieved 12 October 2008. 
  4. ^ Presidency of Venezuela (1989). “Gabinete Ejecutivo y Altos Funcionarios del Gobierno del Presidente Carlos Andrés Pérez”
  5. ^ Pérez second period review at
  6. ^ Union Radio (1 April 2008). "Ex presidente Carlos Andrés Pérez desea regresar a Venezuela". Retrieved 10 April 2008.  (Spanish)

External links

See also

Party political offices
Preceded by
Gonzalo Barrios (1968)
AD presidential candidate
1973 (won)
Succeeded by
Luis Piñerúa Ordaz (1978)
Preceded by
Jaime Lusinchi (1983)
AD presidential candidate
1988 (won)
Succeeded by
Claudio Fermín (1993)
Political offices
Preceded by
National Congress Deputy
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Rafael Caldera
President of Venezuela
1974 – 1979
Succeeded by
Luis Herrera Campins
Preceded by
Jaime Lusinchi
President of Venezuela
1989 – 1993
Succeeded by
Octavio Lepage

Simple English

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