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Yearbook 1997

Venezuela. In the capital, Caracas, on March 11, the largest organized protest to date was held against the current government's economic austerity policy. According to Countryaah, prices had doubled in relation to 1996, while real incomes had fallen by 30%.

Two days later, in his annual speech to the nation, President Caldera praised his three years in power and his government's austerity policy. At the same time, reports of the 81-year-old president's faltering health came.

At the end of March, Caldera appointed a number of new ministers to his government.

An earthquake in July, which measured 6.9 on the Richter scale, was reported to have cost 59 lives and seriously injured more than 300 people.

1997 Venezuela

1989 Rebellion in Caracas

In the December 4 election, AD candidate Carlos Andrés Pérez won with the support of the national organization CTV. He got 54.5% of the vote against COPEI's 41.7%. Just 25 days after he took over the presidential post, a wave of riots and looting of business came. They became known as «Caracazo» as they were concentrated in the capital Caracas. The rebellion was a spontaneous reaction from the socially marginalized groups, after the government raised a number of public tariffs and the price of oil. The rebellion was beaten by police, leaving over 1,000 dead and missing - the government's numbers were 246 - as well as 2,000 injured and hundreds arrested.

The government implemented the IMF's economic adjustment policy and it cost most of its support in the population. In December 89, for the first time in history, Venezuelans elected governors of the country's 20 states and mayors in its 200 municipalities. The election was boycotted by 70% of those voting and made significant progress to the Christian and the left. AD won the election in 10 of the states, but lost several of its traditional core areas. COPEI won in 4, but most surprisingly, the left won in 3: In the industrial state of Bolívar, union leader Andrés Velázquez won, in Aragua won MAS and in Anzoátegui won one of the leaders in MEP.

The left

A large part of the explanation that Venezuela has had a fairly stable political system for a long period after 1958 is due to the fact that the large oil revenues provided the opportunity to establish a working class, reformist and politically controlling layer - a workers' aristocracy. The political and social forms of control through state, party, peasant and trade union movement have a strong corporate character, without the need to enact it in laws. This was also the main reason why the left wing in Venezuela was among the weakest in Latin America.

The Communist Party has been banned for long periods of time, and separated itself from its sister parties elsewhere on the continent by actively supporting guerrilla activity for a period of time. The party, incidentally, had little support. The most active party among the guerrillas was the MIR (the left-revolutionary movement), which broke out of AD in 1960. Another outbreak group from AD, MEP (People's Election Movement), which stands for a left-nationalist opposition, has gradually gained some support in trade union movement.

The largest party on the left today is the MAS (Movement for Socialism), which broke out of the Communist Party in 1970, including in protest of this party's support for the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. MAS tried to develop a program for what is called a "Venezuelan path to socialism", but today it is dominated by reformist and left-wing social democratic forces.


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