Second presidency of Carlos Andrés Pérez

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The second presidency of Carlos Andrés Pérez (1989–93) started with an economic crisis, a major riot in which hundreds were killed by security forces (Caracazo, 1989), followed by an economic recovery by also two coup attempts in 1992, and his 1993 impeachment. He was the first Venezuelan President to be impeached.

Background[edit]

Venezuelan Presidential election 1988
Results
Candidates Votes %
Carlos Andrés Pérez 3,868,843 52.76%
Eduardo Fernández 2,955,061 40.40%
Teodoro Petkoff 198,361 2.71%
Abstention: 1,660,887 18.08%
Total votes: 7,524,760

For the 1988 presidential election Democratic Action (AD) President Jaime Lusinchi backed Octavio Lepage as AD candidate,[1] but in a primary election the party chose Carlos Andrés Pérez[2] (previously president from 1974 to 1979).

Presidency[edit]

Carlos Andrés Pérez based his campaign for the 1988 Venezuelan general election in his legacy of abundance during his first presidential period[3] and initially rejected liberalization policies.[4] However, Venezuela's international reserves were only $300 million USD at the time of Pérez' election into the presidency; Pérez decided to respond to the debt, public spending, economic restrictions and rentier state by liberalizing the economy.[3] He announced a technocratic cabinet and a group of economic policies to fix macroeconomic imbalances known as El Gran Viraje [es] (English: The Great Turn), called by detractors as El Paquetazo Económico (English: The Economic Package). Among the policies there was the reduction of fuel subsidies and the increase of public transportation fares by thirty percent (VEB 16 Venezuelan bolívares, or $0.4 USD).[5][6][7]

The increase was supposed to be implemented on 1 March 1989, but bus drivers decided to apply the price rise on 27 February, a day before payday in Venezuela. In response, protests and rioting began on the morning of 27 February 1989 in Guarenas, a town near Caracas;[8] a lack of timely intervention by authorities, as the Caracas Metropolitan Police [es] was on a labour strike, led the protests and rioting quickly spread to the capital and other towns across the country.[9][4][10] President Andrés Pérez ordered the activation of Plan Ávila and the intervention of the military.[10] A commission was established in the Venezuelan Congress with all its political parties to investigate the events during the Caracazo and unanimously voted for a report that concluded that 277 people were killed,[11] though the Venezuelan media reported up to 3,000 deaths.[10]

By late 1991, as part of the economic reforms, Carlos Andrés Pérez' administration had sold three banks, a shipyard, two sugar mills, an airline, a telephone company and a cell phone band, receiving a total of $2,287 million USD.[12] The most remarkable auction was CANTV's, a telecommunications company, which was sold at the price of $1,885 million USD to the consortium composed of American AT&T International, General Telephone Electronic and the Venezuelan Electricidad de Caracas and Banco Mercantil. The privatization ended Venezuela's monopoly over telecommunications and surpassed even the most optimistc predictions, with over $1,000 million USD above the base price and $500 million USD more than the bid offered by the competition group.[13] By the end of the year, inflation had dropped to 31 %, Venezuela's international reserves were now worth $14,000 million USD and there was an economic growth of 9 % (called as an "Asian growth"), the largest in Latin America at the time.[12]

In 1992, his government survived two coup attempts. The first attempt took place 4 February 1992, and was led by Lieutenant-Colonel Hugo Chávez from the Venezuelan Army, who was later elected president. With the attempt having clearly failed, Chávez was catapulted into the national spotlight when he was allowed to appear live on national television to call for all remaining rebel detachments in Venezuela to cease hostilities. When he did so, Chávez famously quipped on national television that he had only failed "por ahora"—"for now". The second, and much bloodier, insurrection took place on 27 November 1992, and this time, civilians and military personnel from both the Venezuelan Air Force and the Bolivarian Navy of Venezuela were involved. 172 died during the second coup attempt.

Impeachment[edit]

On 20 March 1993, Attorney General Ramón Escovar Salom, introduced action against Pérez for the misappropriation of 250 million bolivars belonging to a presidential discretionary fund, or partida secreta. The issue had originally been brought to public scrutiny in November 1992 by journalist José Vicente Rangel. The money was used to support the electoral process in Nicaragua,[14][15][16] and during the process it was revealed that the money was used to support and hire bodyguards for President Violeta Chamorro.[9] On 20 May 1993, the Supreme Court considered the accusation valid, and the following day the Senate voted to strip Pérez of his immunity.[17] Pérez refused to resign, but after the maximum 90 days temporary leave available to the President under Article 188 of the 1961 constitution, the National Congress removed Pérez from office permanently on 31 August.[17]

Pérez' trial concluded in May 1996, and he was sentenced to 28 months in prison.[17]

Second presidency cabinet (1989-1993)[edit]

Ministries [18]
OFFICE NAME TERM
President Carlos Andrés Pérez 1989–1993
Home Affairs Alejandro Izaguirre 1989–1992
  Virgilio Ávila Vivas 1992
  Carmelo Lauría Lesseur 1992
  Luis Piñerúa Ordaz 1992–1993
  Jesús Carmona 1993
Foreign Relations Enrique Tejera París 1989
  Reinaldo Figueredo Planchart 1989–1991
  Armando Durán 1991–1992
  Humberto Calderón Berti 1992
  Fernando Ochoa Antich 1992–1993
Finance Egle Iturbe de Blanco 1989–1990
  Roberto Pocaterra Silva 1990–1992
  Pedro Rosas Bravo 1992–1993
Defense Italo del Valle Alliegro 1989
  Filmo López Uzcátegui 1989–1990
  Héctor Jurado Toro 1990–1991
  Fernando Ochoa Antich 1991–1992
  Iván Jiménez Sánchez 1992–1993
Development Moisés Naím 1989–1990
  Imelda Cisneros 1990–1992
  Pedro Vallenilla Meneses 1992
  Frank de Armas Moreno 1992–1993
Education Gustavo Roosen 1989–1992
  Pedro Augusto Beauphertuy 1992–1993
Health and Social Assistance Felipe Bello González 1989–1990
  Manuel Adrianza 1990–1991
  Pedro Páez Camargo 1991–1992
  Rafael Orihuela 1992–1993
Agriculture Fanny Bello 1989
  Eugenio de Armas 1989–1990
  Jonathan Coles Ward 1990–1993
  Pedro Luis Urriola 1993
Labor Marisela Padrón Quero 1989–1991
  Jesús Rubén Rodríguez 1991–1993
Transport and Communications Gustavo José Rada 1989
  Augusto Faría Viso 1989–1990
  Roberto Smith 1990–1992
  Fernández Martínez Mótola 1992–1993
Justice Luis Beltrán Guerra 1989–1992
  Alfredo Ducharme 1992–1993
  Armida Quintana Matos 1992-1993
Energy and Mines Celestino Armas 1989–1992
  Alirio Parra 1992–1993
Environment Enrique Colmenares Finol 1989–1993
Urban Development Luis Penzini Fleury 1989–1992
  Diógenes Mujica 1992–1993
Family Senta Essenfeld 1989–1992
  Mabely de León Ponte 1992
  Teresa Albánez 1992–1993
Secretary of Presidency Reinaldo Figueredo Planchart 1989
  Jesús Carmona 1989–1990
  Armando Durán 1990–1991
  Beatrice Rantel Mantilla 1991–1992
  Celestino Armas 1992–1993
Office of Coordination and Planification Miguel Antonio Rodríguez 1989–1992
  Ricardo Hausmann 1992–1993
National Council of Culture José Antonio Abreu 1989–1993
CVG Leopoldo Sucre Figarella 1989–1993
Presidential Commission for the Reform of the State Carlos Blanco 1989–1992

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ New York Times, 28 June 1987, In Venezuela, Ex-President Seeks Old Job
  2. ^ Los Angeles Times, 12 October 1987, The World
  3. ^ a b Márquez 2018, p. 131
  4. ^ a b Fastenberg, Dan (2011-01-10). "Carlos Andrés Pérez". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  5. ^ Marquez 2018, p. 132
  6. ^ Rivero 2011, p. 102
  7. ^ Margarita López Maya, 2003. "The Venezuelan Caracazo of 1989: Popular Protest and Institutional Weakness", Journal of Latin American Studies, Vol.35, No.1 (2003), pp 120-121 (See #Further reading).
  8. ^ El Caracazo Case, Judgment of 11 November 1999, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, accessed 1 May 2007
  9. ^ a b Rivero 2011, p. 109
  10. ^ a b c "Venezuela's Chavez Era". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  11. ^ Rivero 2011, p. 118
  12. ^ a b Rivero 2011, p. 180-181
  13. ^ Rivero 2011, p. 179
  14. ^ Kada, Naoko (2003), "Impeachment as a punishment for corruption? The cases of Brazil and Venezuela", in Jody C. Baumgartner, Naoko Kada (eds, 2003), Checking executive power: presidential impeachment in comparative perspective, Greenwood Publishing Group
  15. ^ Rivero 2011, p. 361
  16. ^ Marquez 2018, p. 142
  17. ^ a b c Kada, Naoko (2003), "Impeachment as a punishment for corruption? The cases of Brazil and Venezuela", in Jody C. Baumgartner, Naoko Kada (eds, 2003), Checking executive power: presidential impeachment in comparative perspective, Greenwood Publishing Group
  18. ^ Presidency of Venezuela (1989). “Gabinete Ejecutivo y Altos Funcionarios del Gobierno del Presidente Carlos Andrés Pérez”

Bibliography[edit]