The Full Wiki

Juan Vicente Gómez: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Juan Vicente Gómez

In office
19 December 1908 – 13 August 1913
Preceded by Cipriano Castro
Succeeded by José Gil Fortoul

In office
1922 – May 30, 1929
Preceded by Victorino Márquez Bustillos
Succeeded by Juan Bautista Pérez

In office
June 13, 1931 – December 17, 1935
Preceded by Juan Bautista Pérez
Succeeded by Eleazar López Contreras

Born 24 July 1857(1857-07-24)
Hacienda La Mulera, Táchira, Venezuela
Died 17 December 1935 (aged 78)
Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela

Juan Vicente Gómez Chacón (24 July 1857 - 17 December 1935) was a military general and de facto ruler of Venezuela from 1908 until his death in 1935. He was president on three occasions during this time, and ruled as an unelected military strongman for the rest of the era.




Early years

Gómez in 1899
Gómez and Cipriano Castro
Gómez and Eleazar López Contreras in 1934

Gómez was a barely literate cattle herder and a nearly full-blooded Native American. In 1899, he joined the private army of Cipriano Castro, with whom he had been friends since Castro's exile in Colombia. This army swept down on Caracas in 1899 and seized control of the country. He became Castro's vice president and, in 1902, head of the military, responsible for suppressing several major revolts against the government. Gómez seized power from Castro on 19 December 1908, while Castro was in Europe for medical treatment.


As president, Gómez managed to deflate Venezuela's staggering debt by granting concessions to foreign oil companies after the discovery of petroleum in Lake Maracaibo in 1918. This, in turn, won him the support of the United States and Europe and economic stability. Though he used the money to launch an extensive public works program, he also received generous kickbacks, increasing his personal fortune enormously. Because of his contributions to the country's development, the Congress bestowed the title of El Benemérito (the Meritorious One) on him. In contrast, his opponents, who disdained his brutal tactics at home, referred to him as El Bagre (the Catfish), a snide reference to his bushy moustache and outward appearance. They also called him "the Tyrant of the Andes"--a reference to his roots in the mountain state of Táchira.

On 19 April 1914, Gómez ostensibly stepped down from office in favor of provisional president Victorino Márquez, though he continued to rule the country from his home in Maracay. He returned to office in 1922, ruling until 22 April 1929. Though he was reelected to a new term of office by the Congress, he declined to return to the capital, and Juan Bautista Pérez assumed the presidency, though Gómez remained the final authority in the country. On 13 June 1931, Congress forced Perez to resign, and elected Gómez president again. This time, he resumed office, ruling the country until his death.


Gómez was married twice. His first wife was Dionisia Gómez Bello, with whom he had seven children: José Vicente, Josefa, Alí, Flor de María, Graciela, Servilia and Gonzalo. His second wife was Dolores Amelia Núñez de Cáceres, with whom we had eight children: Juan Vicente, Florencio, Rosa Amelia, Hermenegilda, Cristina, Belén, Berta and Juan Crisóstomo. Gómez also fathered a huge number of illegitimate children: at least 64 and possibly as many as 84. He appointed many of his children to public office, both legitimate and illegitimate, sparking charges of nepotism.


Gómez's rule of Venezuela is a controversial period in the country's history. His cunning leadership brought enrichment to the country, particularly after the discovery of oil. He used that wealth to develop a modern infrastructure.

On the debit side, he is one of the prominent examples of U.S. domination in Latin America[1]. During his rule, most of the country's wealth ended up in the hands of Gómez, his henchmen, and Wall Street[2]. Indeed, at the time of his death, he was by far the richest man in the country. He did little for public education and held basic democratic principles in disdain. Although cordial and simple in manner, his ruthless crushing of opponents through his secret police earned him the reputation of a tyrant. He was also accused of trying to make the country a personal fief.

Former Venezuelan President Rómulo Betancourt said in his book Venezuela: Oil and Politics that "(...) Gomez was something more than a local despot, he was the instrument of foreign control of the Venezuelan economy, the ally and servant of powerful outside interests". This is in reference to Royal Dutch Shell and Standard Oil's appeasement of the dictator in return for exploitation rights of the country's oil fields.

In Venezuelan politics, Juan Vicente Gómez has come to symbolize political endurance and a caudillo mentality. He was quoted as saying he needed a lifetime to fulfill his political work.

External links


  1. ^ Woddis, J. (1967). An Introduction to Neocolonialism. London: Lawrance & Wichart.
  2. ^ Woddis, J. (1967). An Introduction to Neocolonialism. London: Lawrance & Wichart.

See also


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address