|President of the Republic of Venezuela|
13 March 1964 – 11 March 1969
|Preceded by||Rómulo Betancourt|
|Succeeded by||Rafael Caldera|
|Senator for life|
11 March 1969 – 5 July 1972
|President of the National Congress of Venezuela|
|Minister of Labor of Venezuela|
|Born||Raúl Leoni Otero
26 April 1905
El Manteco, Bolívar State, Venezuela
|Died||5 July 1972
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Political party||Acción Democrática|
|Spouse(s)||Carmen América Fernández Alcalá (Menca de Leoni)|
Raúl Leoni Otero (26 April 1905 – 5 July 1972) was President of Venezuela from 1964 until 1969. He was a member of the Generation of 1928 and a charter member of the Acción Democrática party, and the first Labor minister of Venezuela (during El Trienio Adeco, 1945–48).
Leoni was born in El Manteco, Bolívar State, son of Clement Leoni Scribani, born in Corsica. He graduated at the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas as a lawyer. He was a member of the Generation of 1928, and the first Labor minister of Venezuela (during El Trienio Adeco, 1945–48).
One of the pillars of a political consolidation in Venezuela, the Pacto de Punto Fijo, was underestimated by Leoni, since in his opinion it reduced the "coherence and organization of the regime". Strictly, the pact mandated that the composition of the executive cabinet be limited to representatives of three of the more important political parties: Acción Democrática (AD), COPEI and Unión Republicana Democrática (URD). Leoni initially formed a cabinet with a few members of his party and a good number of independents. Later, in November 1964, Leoni initiated conversations with leaders of the involved parties to rescue the spirit of the pact. A new cabinet was formed, but it lasted for only 16 months.
During his government, Leoni carried out important structural projects in Venezuela, specifically the development of heavy industry in Guayana (hydroelectric, iron and steel), inauguration of the Bank of the Workers, and construction of road infrastructure (highways, freeways, and bridges – the most important of which crossed the Orinoco). Important changes to labor and social programs also occurred; unions gained force and the Social Security law was modified. Leoni made an attempt at reforming tax structure, but was restrained by a coalition of left and right that openly served the interests of oil companies.
During Leoni's presidency the conflict with the leftist guerrilla movement Armed Forces for National Liberation (FALN) intensified.
In 1967 the Invasion of Machurucuto happened during the presidency of Leoni where 12 guerrillas attempted to help Venezuelan guerrillas in the Venezuelan Andes. Soon after, he suspended constitutional guarantees and in a press conference denouncing Cuban aggression against the Republic of Venezuela showing the two captured Cubans, Manuel Gil Castellanos, and Pedro Cabrera Torres. Cuba was denounced by Venezuela to the OAS. Cuba did not recognize his action even if the investigation of the AK 47 in possession of the guerrillas had serials weapons sold by the Czech Republic to Cuba. The Government of Venezuela broke relations with Cuba after this incident and then take them back in 1974.
On 11 March 1969, Leoni transferred power to Rafael Caldera, member of the Christian Democratic Party COPEI and signatory of the Pacto de Punto Fijo. This transfer definitively instituted the alternation of power between the important parties through the end of the 20th century in Venezuela.
Raúl Leoni's cabinet
|Home Affairs||Gonzalo Barrios||1964–1966|
|Reinaldo Leandro Mora||1966–1969|
|Outer Relations||Ignacio Iribarren Borges||1964–1969|
|Finance||Andrés Germán Otero||1964–1965|
|Eddy Morales Crespo||1965–1967|
|Benito Raúl Losada||1967–1968|
|Defense||Ramón Florencio Gómez||1964–1969|
|Luis Hernández Solís||1964–1968|
|Ana María Casanova||1968–1969|
|Public Works||Leopoldo Sucre Figarella||1964–1969|
|Education||José Manuel Siso Martínez||1964–1969|
|Labor||Eloy Lares Martínez||1964|
|Hens Silva Torres||1964–1967|
|Simón Antoni Paván||1967–1968|
|Communications||Lorenzo Azpúrua Marturet||1964|
|J. J. González Gorrondona||1964–1966|
|Juan Manuel Domínguez Chacín||1967–1968|
|Lorenzo Azpúrua Marturet||1968–1969|
|Juan José Palacios||1964–1965|
|Pedro Segnini La Cruz||1965–1966|
|Health and Social Assistance||Alfredo Arreaza Guzmán||1964|
|Domingo Guzmán Lander||1964–1967|
|Alfonso Araujo Belloso||1967–1968|
|Armando Soto Rivera||1968–1969|
|Justice||Miguel Ángel Burelli Rivas||1964|
|Ramón Escovar Salom||1964–1966|
|José S. Núñez Aristimuño||1966–1969|
|Mines and Hydrocarbons||Manuel Pérez Guerrero||1964–1967|
|José Antonio Mayobre||1967–1969|
|Secretary of Presidency||Manuel Mantilla||1964–1969|
Personal life and death
Raúl Leoni was married to Carmen América Fernández, who served as First Lady of Venezuela from 1964–1969. Leoni died on 5 July 1972 when he was 67 years old, at the Cornell Medical Center in New York City, where he was recovering from medical treatment after suffering a hemorrhage.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Raúl Leoni.|
- Much of the content of this article comes from the equivalent Spanish-language Wikipedia article. The following references are cited by that Spanish-language article:
- Polar Foundation
- Biography of Leoni at Venezuela Tuya
- Interview to Raúl Leoni by Miguel Otero Silva PDF format.
- Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Venezuela (1965). Oficina de Información, Prensa y Publicaciones. "El Presidente y su Gabinete."
|President of Venezuela
|Party political offices|
Rómulo Betancourt (1958)
|AD presidential candidate
Gonzalo Barrios (1968)