Second presidency of Carlos Andrés Pérez

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


Venezuelan Presidential election 1988
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).


In February 1989, at the beginning of his second term as President, he accepted an International Monetary Fund proposal known as the Washington consensus. In return for accepting this proposal, the International Monetary Fund offered Venezuela a loan for 4.5 billion US dollars. This cooperation with the IMF came about weeks after his victory in the 1988 presidential election, and a populist, anti-neoliberal campaign during which he described the IMF as "a neutron bomb that killed people, but left buildings standing" and said that World Bank economists were "genocide workers in the pay of economic totalitarianism".[3] Poor economic conditions led to attempts to revolutionize the political and economic structure of Venezuela, but the implementation of the neoliberal reforms (and in particular the liberalisation of petrol prices, which caused an immediate increase in the cost of petrol to consumers and rises in fares on public transport[4]) resulted in massive popular protests in Caracas, the capital. Carlos Andrés Pérez crushed the protest with the national guard, causing a large number of deaths—estimates range from 500 to 3000, and resulted in the declaration of a state of emergency. The protest is now referred to as the Caracazo.

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.

Corruption charges[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. Pérez and his supporters claim the money was used to support the electoral process in Nicaragua. On 20 May 1993, the Supreme Court considered the accusation valid, and the following day the Senate voted to strip Pérez of his immunity.[5] 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.[5]

Pérez' trial concluded in May 1996, and he was sentenced to 28 months in prison.[5]

Second presidency cabinet (1989-1993)[edit]

See also[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. ^ Ali, Tariq (9 November 2006). "A beacon of hope for the rebirth of Bolívar's dream". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
  4. ^ Joquera, Jorge (2003). "Neoliberalism, the erosion of consensus and the rise of a new popular movement". Venezuela: The Revolution Unfolding In Latin America. Chippendale, New South Wales: Resistance Books. p. 10. ISBN 1-876646-27-6. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ Presidency of Venezuela (1989). “Gabinete Ejecutivo y Altos Funcionarios del Gobierno del Presidente Carlos Andrés Pérez”