Ramón José Velásquez
Ramón José Velásquez
Ramón J. Velásquez during his 93rd birthday, 28 November 2009
|President of Venezuela|
5 June 1993 – 2 February 1994
|Preceded by||Octavio Lepage (Acting)|
|Succeeded by||Rafael Caldera|
|Minister of Communications of Venezuela|
|Secretary of the Presidency of Venezuela|
|Succeeded by||Manuel Mantilla|
|Born||28 November 1916|
San Juan de Colón, Táchira, Venezuela
|Died||24 June 2014 (aged 97)|
|Spouse(s)||Ligia Betancourt Mariño|
(m. 1948–2008, her death)
|Alma mater||Central University of Venezuela|
Ramón José Velásquez Mujica (28 November 1916 – 24 June 2014) was a Venezuelan political figure. He served as President of Venezuela between 1993 and 1994. He was an important historian, journalist, lawyer and politician.
Background and personal life
Velásquez was born in Táchira, on 28 November 1916. His parents were Ramon Velasquez Ordoñez, a journalist and proofreader for a newspaper and educator Regina Mujica. For his initial studies he was home schooled by his parents in his hometown. He completed his primary education in San Cristóbal Simón Bolívar. In 1935 he traveled to Caracas to finish high school at the Liceo Andres Bello. Velasquez undertook his higher education at the Central University of Venezuela, from which he received a Ph.D. in Social and Political Sciences in 1942 and a Law degree in 1943.
As a historian, he had previously subscribed to the usual negative opinions of the Venezuelan dictator Juan Vicente Gómez, but re-examined them in Confidencias imaginarias de Juan Vicente Gómez (1979). (When he became President, he presided over a ceremony renaming Juan Vicente Gómez International Airport in Gómez' honour.) He authored numerous books on Venezuela's political history, being generally considered in his lifetime as Venezuela's foremost Historian. He was President of the National Academy of History.
During the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez, Velásquez was jailed for a year for his role at the compilation of the Libro negro de la dictadura (Black book of dictatorship). The files of this book helped expose the crimes of the dictatorial period.
He served as Secretary General (Chief of Staff) of the Presidency during the government of Rómulo Betancourt. After that, he was part of the National Congress. During Rafael Caldera's Presidential administration, Velásquez served as Minister of Communications from 1969 until 1971. From 1984 to 1987 he was President of the Comisión para la Reforma del Estado (COPRE), the Commission on the Reform of the State. Between 1989 and 1993, he chaired the "Comisión Presidencial para Asuntos Fronterizos con Colombia", Presidential Commission for border issues with Colombia (COPAF). At the time of his death, he was a board member of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation.
In 1993, as a result of the crisis produced by the impeachment of President Carlos Andrés Pérez, Congress appointed Velásquez President of the Republic, finishing the constitutional period in 1994. He served from 5 June 1993 to 2 February 1994. As a highly respected national figure there was general consensus around his name for such a task.In August Velásquez held an emergency meeting to respond to the tropical storm Bret's heavy damage that leaves at least 70 dead.  About 1,400 workers and volunteers helped in rescue efforts after the mudslides struck Caracas and surrounding areas, assisted by Red Cross volunteers and 800 firefighters. Storm victims were temporarily housed at the Fuerte Tiuna army base. Roads were quickly cleared of debris and mud, although many were not reopened initially due to the threat for additional mudslides. The government was overshadowed by the so-called narcoindulto to trafficker Larry Tovar Acuña, in this case the Private Secretariat of the Presidency obtained irregularly signed by the President for the release to a known drug dealer. Other events under his brief government include the bankruptcy of Banco Latino with subsequent leakage of foreign currency abroad and tragedy of Tejerías. Among his governmental measures was the introduction of Value Added Tax as part of the Enabling Act entrusted to the National Congress.
Velásquez's cabinet (1993–1994)
Personal life and death
In 1948, Ramón José Velásquez married Ligia Betancourt Mariño (1920 – 14 July 2008) who served as First Lady of Venezuela from 1993–1994. On 24 June 2014 Velásquez died at the age of 97 from natural causes. He died 5 weeks after former President Jaime Lusinchi did on 21 May 2014.
- Maria Moors Cabot prize (1967)
- Member of the National Academy of History of Venezuela (1968)
- National Prize for Literature (1973, prose category, for La caída del liberalismo amarillo
- Premio Nacional de Historia of Consejo Nacional de la Cultura (CONAC), 1980
- Premio Nacional de Humanidades of CONAC, 1998
- Member of the Academia Venezolana de la Lengua, 2002
- Honorary doctorates from the University of the Andes (Venezuela), University of Carabobo, Rafael Urdaneta University (URU) and the National Experimental University of Táchira (UNET).
- Coro. Raíz de Venezuela (1962)
- San Cristóbal. Donde la Patria empieza (1972)
- La caída del Liberalismo Amarillo. Tiempo y drama de Antonio Paredes (1972)
- Aspectos de la evolución política de Venezuela en el siglo XX (1976)
- Confidencias Imaginarias de Juan Vicente Gómez (1978)
- Individuos de Número (1981)
- Los héroes y la Historia (1981)
- Los pasos de los héroes (1988)
- Con segunda intención. Reportajes en tiempos de dictadura 1951-1955 (1990)
- Memorias de Venezuela (1990)
- Los alemanes en el Táchira (1993)
- Joaquín Crespo (2005)
- Memorias del Siglo XX (2005)
- Caudillos, historiadores y pueblo (2013)
- (in Spanish) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 June 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Ellner, Steve (1995), "Venezuelan Revisionist Political History, 1908-1958: New Motives and Criteria for Analyzing the Past", Latin American Research Review, Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 91-121. p100
- (in Spanish) CIDOB, Ramón José Velásquez Mújica
- "Board and International Council". The Human Rights Foundation. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
- "100 Killed as a Tropical Storm Batters Venezuela". New York Times. August 9, 1993. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
- Alberto Garnica (August 8, 1993). "Bret leaves at least 70 dead in Venezuela". United Press International. – via Lexis Nexis (subscription required)
- "Una tormenta tropical causa la muerte a 100 personas en Venezuela". El Pais (in Spanish). August 9, 1993. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- Vivian Sequera (August 9, 1993). "Rains Over, Fear of Mudslides Remains; Cholera, Dengue Alert". Associated Press. – via Lexis Nexis (subscription required)
- Gaceta Oficial de Venezuela, period 1993-1994.
- Columbia, Cabot Prize winners by name Archived 30 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- (in Spanish) Academia Venezolana de la Lengua, D. Ramón J. Velásquez
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ramón José Velásquez.|
- Biography by CIDOB Foundation (in Spanish)
- "La Paz Ramónica" (Velasquez´s government) by Edgar C. Otálvora (in Spanish)
- "RJV La Red de Liberales y Socialdemócratas" at the Wayback Machine (archived 26 October 2009). (Velasquez´s biography by Edgar C. Otálvora) (in Spanish)
- El siglo de Ramón Jota - Lo afirmativo venezolano
| President of Venezuela