Luis Herrera Campins: Wikis


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Luis Herrera Campíns

In office
March 12, 1979 – February 2, 1984
Preceded by Carlos Andrés Pérez
Succeeded by Jaime Lusinchi

Senator for life
In office
February 2, 1984 – December 20, 1999

Born 4 May 1925
Acarigua, Portuguesa, Venezuela
Died 9 November 2007 (aged 82)
Caracas, Venezuela
Political party Copei
Spouse(s) Betty Urdaneta
Religion Roman Catholic

Luis Antonio Herrera Campins (May 4, 1925 – November 9, 2007) was President of Venezuela from 1979 to 1984. He was elected to one five-year term in 1978. He was a member of the COPEI party.


Early Life and career

Luis Herrera at the age of 15

Luis Herrera was born in Acarigua, Portuguesa. He was 21 years old when the Social Christian Party Copei was created, being one of its founders in Acarigua, Portuguesa. At La Salle school of Barquisimeto, completed his high school degree in 1942. During that time, at the age of fifteen, started to work at politics and journalism, working for the newspapers El impulso, Surcos and the weekly magazine of the Student National Union. His law studies from the Central University of Venezuela were suspended in 1952 and he was imprisoned for four months in the Cárcel Modelo (Model Prison) by the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez. Shortly after, he continued pursuing his college degree, graduating as lawyer in 1955, at the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela.

Luis Herrera started parliamentary work in 1947, when was elected deputy to the Legislative Assembly of Portuguesa. From 1959 to 1979, in four constitutional periods, was deputy or senator representing Lara and Portuguesa at the National Congress. In March 12, 1979, became the President of Venezuela after his election on December 3, 1978.


Venezuelan Presidential election 1978
Candidates Votes  %
Luis Herrera 2.469.042  %
Luis Piñerúa 2.295.052  %
Abstention:  %
Total votes:

Luis Herrera won the December 1978 presidential elections for COPEI, replacing the social democrat Carlos Andrés Pérez of the Democratic Action (AD) party, who had nationalised the oil industry at the height of the boom in 1975. Oil revenues continued to rise during the early years of Herrera's presidency. Herrera had a dirigiste view of the Government's economic role, which involved channelling public funds into agricultural and industrial projects, paying generous subsidies and controlling the prices of many goods. His Government continued President Pérez's policy of borrowing on a world market awash with petrodollars, and by the early 1980s Venezuela owed the banks more than $20 billion. The Government's tacit assumption was that oil prices would remain high forever, and would sustain high levels of public and private consumption.

Luis Herrera developed a program of cultural development and reformed the education program, implementing the common basic cycle of nine years. He also tried to make adjustments to the democratic system. In regard to economics, he began with the policy of liberalisation of prices and at the end of his mandate introduced a series of exchange measures with dramatic results. The Venezuelan bolívar had been pegged at 4.30 to the dollar, but ended up something more than 15 bolivars by unit (Black Friday, 28 February 1983) - this produced a misalignment in the national economy. This was apparently the result of a “computational error” at the Central bank of Venezuela, declaring “collapsed” the international reserves.

Moved in part by territorial claims, Herrera developed a muscular foreign policy. He signed an agreement with Mexico in 1980 to jointly provide Central American and Caribbean countries with a steady flow of oil, a precursor of Hugo Chávez’s wide-reaching oil diplomacy in the developing world. In 1982 Luis Herrera sided with Argentina in its war with Britain over the Falklands, adroitly exploiting anti-British and anti-American sentiment to boost his flagging popularity. His support for Argentina came while he was asserting Venezuela’s longstanding claim to more than half of neighboring Guyana, a former British colony.

Herrera´s cabinet (1979-1984)

Ministries [1]
President Luis Herrera Campins 1979-1984
Home Affairs Rafael Montes de Oca 1979-1982
  Luciano Valero 1982-1984
Outer Relations José Alberto Zambrano Velasco 1979-1984
Finance Luis Ugueto 1979-1982
  Arturo Sosa 1982-1984
Defense Fernando Paredes Bello 1979
  Luis Rangel Burgoing 1979-1980
  Tomás Abreu Rescaniere 1980-1981
  Bernardo Leal Puchi 1981-1982
  Vicente Narváez Churión 1982-1983
  Humberto Alcalde Álvarez 1983-1984
Development Manuel Quijada 1979-1981
  José Enrique Porras Omaña 1981-1984
Transport and communications Vinicio Carrera 1979-1983
  Francisco Lara García 1983-1984
Education Rafael Fernández Heres 1979-1982
  Felipe Montilla 1982-1984
Justice José Guillermo Andueza 1979-1981
  J. Reinaldo Chalbaud Zerpa 1981-1984
Mines and Hydrocarbons Humberto Calderón Berti 1979-1983
  José Ignacio Moreno León 1983-1984
Environment Vinicio Carrera 1979-1983
  Francisco Lara García 1983-1984
Agriculture Luciano Valero 1979-1981
  José Luis Zapata Escalona 1981-1982
  Nidia Villegas 1982-1984
Labor Reinaldo Rodríguez Navarro 1979-1981
  Rangel Quintero Castañeda 1981-1984
Health and Social Assistance Alfonso Benzecri 1979-1981
  Luis González Herrera 1981-1984
Urban Development Orlando Orozco 1979-1982
  María Cristina Maldonado 1982-1984
Information and Tourism José Luis Zapata Escalona 1979-1981
  Enrique Pérez Olivares 1981-1982
  Guido Díaz Peña 1982-1984
Youth Charles Brewer Carías 1979-1982
  Guillermo Yépez Boscán 1982-1984
Secretary of Presidency Gonzalo García Bustillos 1979-1984
Office of Coordination and Planification Ricardo Martínez 1979-1982
  Maritza Izaguirre 1982-1984

Later life

By the time Herrera's term ended, the economy was in meltdown, poverty and hardship were widespread and the voters turned on the ruling Christian Democrat, ejecting him from office in the December 1983 elections. After the end of his presidency Herrera remained influential in the Copei party, becoming its president in 1995.

In 2001 Herrera made headlines when gunmen stole his car. Afterward, he could be seen on foot wearing old clothes and carrying his own groceries. He underwent surgery for two years for an abdominal aneurysm that led to a kidney infection and other complications. By the time he died, he was already retired from Venezuelan politics. Luis Herrera is survived by his wife Betty Urdaneta and three sons.

See also


  1. ^ Gaceta Oficial de Venezuela, period 1979-1984.

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