|55th Mayor of Maracaibo|
1 December 2008 – 24 April 2009
|Preceded by||Gian Carlo Di Martino|
|Succeeded by||Daniel Ponne
|34th Governor of Zulia|
2 February 2000 – 23 November 2008
|Preceded by||Germán Valero|
|Succeeded by||Pablo Pérez Álvarez|
|53rd Mayor of Maracaibo|
|Preceded by||Fernando Chumaceiro|
|Succeeded by||Gian Carlo Di Martino|
December 12, 1952 |
Santa Bárbara del Zulia, Zulia State
|Political party||Un Nuevo Tiempo|
|Spouse(s)||Eveling Trejo de Rosales|
Manuel Antonio Rosales Guerrero (born December 12, 1952, in Santa Bárbara del Zulia) is a Venezuelan educator and politician and was the most prominent opposition candidate in the 2006 presidential election, losing to incumbent Hugo Chávez. He served as a congressman, mayor, and governor, but in April 2009, stepped down as Mayor of Maracaibo when he was charged with corruption in Venezuela and fled to Peru. Rosales denies the charges, and was granted political asylum in Peru.
Rosales began his political career as a youth leader of the political party, Acción Democrática (AD), described by the BBC as "one of the two parties that dominated Venezuelan politics for most of the second half of the 20th Century". In 2000 he founded "his own centre-left party which he called Un Nuevo Tiempo" (A New Era); he describes "himself as a social democrat".
Rosales served as a congressman in the Zulia Legislative Assembly (1983–1994), Mayor of Maracaibo (1996–2000)—Venezuela's second-largest city, in Zulia, Venezuela's wealthiest state—and Governor of Zulia for two terms (2000–2004 and 2004–2008).
Rosales was accused of participating in the 2002 "attempt to oust the president"; according to the BBC, "government supporters accuse him of taking part in a short-lived coup ...". Rosales signed the Carmona Decree—a document drawn up on the day following the Venezuelan coup attempt of 2002, which saw the temporary removal of President Chávez. He declared that he signed during a "moment of confusion" after "Chavez's resignation, although [Chavez] later denied [the resignation]", and that he signed his attendance at a meeting he was urgently requested to attend.
Rosales was defeated by Chavez in the December 2006 Venezuelan election to choose a president for the six-year term beginning in January 2007. A primary election organized by Sumate had been scheduled for August 2006, but was cancelled when other presidential opposition candidates agreed to withdraw from the race and support Rosales. As "one of only two governors" opposed to Chavez, Rosales united the opposition, representing a broad coalition of parties and organizations opposed to Hugo Chávez. According to the BBC, "critics ... describe him as uncharismatic".
Rosales' platform was based on what he called "democracy and social justice" and crime; according to the BBC, "He has accused Mr Chavez of wasting the country's oil wealth on friendly governments abroad and of trying to introduce Cuban-style communism." Rosales said that the backbone of his government program would be the social arena, saying it would be a "sound and well defined" program, including a "fair allocation of oil revenues by means of two axes – minimum wage for all unemployed and direct contribution to the underprivileged". He stated that Chávez was vulnerable on his "massive foreign aid programs, government-approved takeovers of land and buildings, and the perception that crime is increasing". Rosales said, "We will distribute land to the peasants, but we will buy it in such a way as to respect the principle of private property, just as we will respect those of human rights and social justice." His platform would halt oil giveaways, "including sales of discounted oil to Cuba, until Venezuela reduced its high poverty rate."
Rosales accused Chávez of "overspending on a military buildup" and pledged "to use Venezuela's oil wealth to help the poor and improve education and health care", ridiculing Chávez's "claims of a possible war with the U.S." and saying, "Venezuela's real war should be against rampant street crime." The New York Times said, "Rosales has focused on other themes, including fierce criticism of the alliances Mr. Chávez has made with countries on the fringes of American influence, like Iran and Cuba. But his campaign's predominant message is that Mr. Chávez, despite his socialist talk, has failed to deliver oil wealth to the poor." The New York Times also said Rosales "has been pounding the crime issue, questioning why murders have surged since Mr. Chávez entered office", and saying Chavez's "confrontational style" was "feeding the crime epidemic".
Incumbent president Hugo Chávez was re-elected with 62.87% of the vote.
Corruption and assassination charges
Rosales was re-elected Mayor of Maracaibo in the 2008 Venezuelan regional elections; according to the BBC, in "the campaign, Mr Chavez railed against him, threatening him with prison and accusing him of corruption and plotting to assassinate him". According to USA Today, Rosales characterized the allegations as an "electoral ploy to distract Venezuelans from pressing problems such as double-digit inflation and rampant crime".
Rosales was charged by the Venezuelan Attorney General with corruption in late 2008, accused of "misusing public funds" during his term as Governor of Zulia—charges which he denies. Prosecutors say he obtained $60,000 illicitly while he was governor. According to Rosales, a 2002–2004 investigation that "was closed for lack of evidence" was "'suddenly reopened by orders from above,' alluding to Chavez".
Rosales went into hiding in March 2009 when charges were filed, and failed to appear in court in April. On 22 April it was reported that he had sought political asylum in Peru. Interpol issued a "red notice" (requesting international cooperation in the apprehension of a suspect, with a view to enabling extradition proceedings) at Venezuela's request.
According to CNN, "[o]ne of Rosales' lawyers noted that Chavez said publicly in October 2008, before Rosales was charged, that he wanted the mayor in prison." Rosales' supporters characterized the charges as a "political witch hunt". According to the BBC, "His decision to leave Venezuela is the latest development in a long-running feud with Mr Chavez." Venezuelan authorities deny that the charges are politically motivated.
On April 28, 2009, Venezuela withdrew its ambassador to Lima in response to Peru's decision to grant Rosales political asylum. Peruvian officials said the decision was part of their "long-standing commitment to international law"; Venezuelan officials called it a "mockery of international law, a strong blow to the fight against corruption and an offence to the people of Venezuela", saying that Rosales should have been detained and extradited.
The newspaper El Nuevo Herald reported in 2009 about allegations by Geovanny Velásquez Zambrano, a member of the Colombian paramilitary group Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia serving a 40-year prison term for paramilitary massacres, that Rosales met with Colombian paramilitaries in 1999 to plot the assassination of Chávez. Zambrano claims that he attended two meetings with Morales, in which Morales offered him and his subordinates US$ 25 million to kill Chávez. Rosales denies these allegations, saying they are a lie and that his passport documents that he was in Aruba during the time of the alleged meetings, saying "The only plan in which I have been involved to 'do away with' Chavez has been the electoral plan". Venezuela's Attorney General announced an investigation of these allegations in October 2009.
Rosales was a teacher before moving into public service. He was a co-founder of Universidad Nacional Experimental Sur del Lago, and received numerous distinctions and honors for his public service.
- (Spanish) "Curriculum del gobernador". Zulia State Government. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-01-17. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- "Profile: Manuel Rosales". BBC. 2009-04-22. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- (Spanish) "Contest for Venezuelan Presidency begins". El Universal. 2006-08-01. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- "Venezuela recalls envoy in Peru". BBC News. 2009-04-28. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- "Q&A: Venezuela votes". BBC. 2006-12-01. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
- (Spanish) "A juicio de Manuel Rosales, la democracia venezolana 'está enferma'". Globovisión. 2006-08-30. Retrieved 2010-01-01. "En sus declaraciones, Rosales se defendió de quienes le acusan de haber participado en el golpe que depuso a Chávez brevemente del poder, en abril de 2002. 'Fue un momento de confusión, que nació a partir de la renuncia de Chávez, pese a que después la negó', dijo Rosales. 'Estaba en el estado Zulia (del cual era gobernador) y me llamaron para que viniera de urgencia a Caracas. Asistí a un evento (la auto proclamación de Carmona como presidente) y firmé mi asistencia', relató. 'Si cometí un error, lo reconozco, pero fue de buena fe. No lo planifiqué, no pasé varios años armando un plan para dar un golpe y causar muertes, a diferencia de Chávez', dijo el candidato, al hacer referencia a la fallida intentona golpista que el actual mandatario dirigió en febrero de 2002 contra el entonces presidente Carlos Andrés Pérez."
- "Súmate: there will be no primary elections". El Universal. 2006-08-09. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- Kraul, Chris (2006-08-09). "Chavez's Foes Cancel Primary, Line Up Behind One Candidate". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-02-02.[dead link]
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- Romero, Simon (2006-11-12). "Venezuelans Square Off Over Race, Oil and a Populist Political Slogan". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- Romero, Simon (2006-12-01). "As Crime Soars for Venezuela, Chávez Coasts". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- (Spanish) "Resultados Electorales". Consejo Nacional Electoral. 2006-12-04. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
- Jones, Rachel (2008-10-26). "Chavez threatens to imprison opposition governor". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- "Anti-Chavez mayor faces corruption charges". The Boston Globe. 2008-12-02. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
- "Interpol seeks Chavez foe arrest". BBC. 2009-04-24. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- "Venezuelan opposition leader indicted for corruption". Agence France Presse -- English (LexisNexis). 2008-12-12. "Rosales told reporters the charges stem from a 2004 investigation into his 2002-2004 tenure as Zulia state governor that was closed for lack of evidence, but that was 'suddenly reopened by orders from above,' alluding to Chavez."
- Flores, Andreina; Belaunde, Maria Elena (2009-04-21). "Venezuelan mayor 'seeking asylum' in Peru". CNN. Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- (Spanish) "El líder opositor venezolano pide asilo político en Perú". NY1 Noticias. 2009-04-22. Retrieved 2010-02-01. "”El presidente Chávez llega a decir cosas como ésta, 'voy a meter preso a Manuel Rosales lo voy a desaparecer del mapa político venezolano, a ese desgraciado lo meto preso'”, dijo Javier Valle Riestra, abogado de Rosales en Perú."
- (Spanish) Guillen, Gonzalo (2009-09-24). "Vinculan a Rosales con plan para asesinar a Chávez". El Nuevo Herald. Retrieved 2010-06-08.
- (Spanish) Benel, Omar (2009-03-10). "Objetivo: matar a Chávez". El Mundo. Retrieved 2010-06-08.
- "Venezuela: Events of 2009". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- Brice, Arthur (2009-12-08). "Venezuelan protesters end hunger strike over prisoners". CNN. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- (Spanish) "Human Rights acusa a Chávez de neutralizar al Poder Judicial". El Universal. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-02-01. "HWR también cuestionó los procedimientos judiciales iniciados contra el ex gobernador del Zulia y ex alcalde de Maracaibo, Manuel Rosales; y contra el ex ministro de la Defensa, Raúl Baudel, por considerarlos una demostración del uso de los tribunales para perseguir a adversarios del Gobierno."
- (Spanish) "Manuel Antonio Rosales Guerrero". Atrevete con Manuel Rosales. Archived from the original on 2006-09-03. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
Gian Carlo Di Martino
|Mayor of Maracaibo
|Governor of Zulia
Pablo Pérez Álvarez
|Mayor of Maracaibo
Gian Carlo Di Martino
|Party political offices|
|Un Nuevo Tiempo Presidential nominee