History of Venezuela
This article deals with the history of Venezuela from the indigenous people to the present day.
In pre-Columbian times, Indian groups lived in Venezuela as nomadic hunters and gatherers as well as fishermen and farmers.
Archaeologists have found evidence of earlier residents in the Venezuelan area in the form of leaf-like stone tools on the Pedregal River in western Venezuela. Hunting tools such as spears were also discovered in the northwest, in El Jobo . According to a radiocarbon dating from 13000 to 7000 BC, these tools are said to have been used. Come from BC.
Taima-Taima, Muaco, and El Jobo in Falcón State are some of the areas where finds from this period have been discovered. These groups lived at a time when species of megafauna such as megatheria , glyptodonts and todoxons were predominant.
At the lower Orinoco, the Saladoid culture emerged , which included a large part of the Caribbean island world until the 6th century.
Indigenous peoples at the end of the 15th, beginning of the 16th century
In the center and east of today's Venezuela lived u. a. Ethnic groups of the Carib language group : Meregotos and Caracas from the Aragua Valley to the Tuytal , Palenques and Cumanagotos east of it to the Neveri River and Chaimas and Parias on the Araya and Paria peninsulas and south of it. The Waikerí lived on Margarita Island , on Coche and also on the mainland. The Warao live in the Orinoco delta .
In the west of Venezuela mainly arawakos lived . In the area of the current states of Falcón , Yaracuy and Lara , the Arawakoethnie of the Caquetíos , as well as the Jirajas and Guayones , were resident.
Discovery by Europeans, first contacts and conquest
Until the European "discovery" of Venezuela , the country was inhabited by the indigenous people who practiced agriculture and hunted. They settled mainly in El Tocuyo (northwest), in the Andes and on the coast.
On his third voyage in 1498, Christopher Columbus reached the eastern coast of Venezuela and went ashore at the mouth of the Orinoco River. It was the first time he and his crew set foot on the American mainland.
On August 24, 1499, an expedition of Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci followed , who allegedly gave the country the name Venezuela (Little Venice) because of the frequent use of stilt houses. This theory comes from Vespucci's travel report Cuatro Navegaciones (“4 boat trips”) and is well known, but not historically proven. Martín Fernández de Enciso , who also took part in the expedition, wrote in his book de Geografia Summa of 1518 a different theory: " On a promontory of Coquibacos-Gulf there is a sandbank Similarly, large rock on which a Zaparas-village called Veneciuela stands . "
In the first few decades, the region between Margarita Island and the mainland became one of the main sources of pearl production in the world. Many Indians were forced to pearl-dive as slaves. Alexander von Humboldt writes about this :
“In the early days of the conquest, the island of Coche alone delivered 1,500 marks per month of pearls. The quint, which the royal officials raised from the yield of pearls, amounted to 15,000 ducats, a very considerable sum given the value of the metals at that time, and considering the heavy smuggling. By 1530, the annual average value of pearls sent to Europe appears to have been more than 800,000 piastres. In order to appreciate the importance of this branch of trade in Seville, Toledo, Antwerp and Genoa, one must consider that at the same time none of the mines in America were delivering two million piasters and that Ovando's fleet was considered immeasurably rich because it was about 2600 Mark Silber led. "
The Franciscans sent a mission to preach on the Cumana coast in the second decade of the sixteenth century. European slave traders tried at the same time to kidnap native Americans and use them for their plantations on Hispaniola or Cuba, which was fatal for the Franciscans. By 1519 the monks already had two churches in the Cumana region. Bartolomé de las Casas arrived in Cumaná in 1521. Shortly before his arrival, the forays of the conquistadores had led the Indians to attack all Europeans, including the monks.
The first permanent Spanish settlement called Nueva Cádiz was founded in 1522.
In 1527, the governor of Santo Domingo sent Juan Martín de Ampués to Venezuela to end the slave trade on the coast. Juan Martín and 60 Spaniards arrived in Coriana, a region where the Caquetíos lived. The Cacique Manaure received him with 100 Indians. They were adorned with feather crowns, pearl bracelets, and gold earrings. Juan Martín made an agreement with the Indians and founded the city of Coro.
Colonization attempt by the Welser
In 1528, the emperor Charles V , who was in dire financial straits, granted the Welser trading house in Augsburg the right to colonize South America in exchange for cash. In the same year Bartholomäus Welser sent an expedition to Venezuela to explore the country's riches. For almost 20 years, natural resources were mined along the coast in the interior and brought to Europe for profit.
Ambrosius Ehinger from Ulm became the first governor of the province of Venezuela. He arrived in Coro in 1529 and marched west from there. During a foray into the connection between Lake Maracaibo and the Caribbean, he attacked the tribe of the region and founded Maracaibo on September 8, 1529. From there, Ehinger returned to Coro suffering from malaria. There he left Nikolaus Federmann as a representative on July 30, 1530 and traveled to Santo Domingo to recover.
In September 1530, Federmann decided to leave Coro without permission and explore the region. 110 soldiers walked with him, 16 horsemen and about 100 Indians. They crossed the Venezuelan Llanos in search of the "South Pacific". In February 1531 they had to return to Coro. The troops were sick and tired because of the many battles against the residents. These inhabitants, who had received the Welsers in a friendly way, now fled their villages and destroyed their provisions so that the Europeans could not use them.
Between 1529 and 1538, the Welsers enslaved and sold at least 1005 Indians, although the Spanish king had banned the enslavement of Indians in 1528. The Welsers mainly wanted to find gold and sell slaves, which violated the agreements they had signed. This and the economic interests of the Spanish settlers led to constant conflicts.
Diego de Ordás on the Orinoco
Diego de Ordás , for his part, heard of the possible existence of a Dorado and decided to travel to Venezuela in 1530. In 1531 he arrived at the Orinoco Delta. In June he sailed upriver with several smaller ships until he reached the Río Meta and then the Raudales de Atures on the Orinoco. During this trip disputes arose with the Indians. At the Raudales de Atures, Ordás was finally forced to return under pressure from his soldiers. When he arrived on the Caribbean coast, he became embroiled in discussions with the settlers in the region who contested his research rights. They took him to Santo Domingo as a prisoner. Jerónimo de Ortal (or Dortal), former treasurer of Ordás, arrived in the Pariah Peninsula in October 1534. From there he sailed along the Orinoco with Alonso de Herrera in search of gold. De Ortal first traveled to Cubagua for assistance. Herrera didn't want to wait for him and so left. He reached the Río Meta, but was killed there by the Indians. His companions returned to meet Ordal. Ordal started a new expedition. When he got to the place where Herrera was killed, he convinced himself that no gold would be found and gave up. Nevertheless, the myth of the Eldorado persisted.
The end of Nueva Cádiz
In 1541 a strong earthquake destroyed the city of Nueva Cádiz. Two years later, Cubagua was attacked by French pirates. The residents decided to leave the island and move to Margarita or the mainland.
End of the Welser rule
After differences of opinion between the Spanish court and the Welsers, the Spanish took over the administration on site in 1546. With the abdication of Charles V in 1556, the Welsers finally lost the rights granted personally by the emperor and their trading territory in Spanish America .
Second phase of colonization by the Spaniards in the 16th century
Francisco Fajardo, the son of a Spaniard and an Indian woman, who was born in Margarita, landed in Chuspa , in what is now the state of Vargas , in 1555 and began a foray to conquer the Caracas Valley. But he soon returned.
The governor of Venezuela, Alonso Arias de Villasinda, sent Alonso Díaz Moreno to the region of Lake Tacarigua to found a city there. Alonso Díaz Moreno founded Valencia in March . The Spaniards wanted a city near the Caribbean that wasn't as open to pirate attacks as the port of Borburata.
At least since the introduction of the New India Laws of Charles V , there have been repeated revolts against the Spanish crown in the colonies. The reasons for this were the restrictive trade regulations, state monopolies, attempts to improve the position of the indigenous people, the poor treatment of slaves and, last but not least, tax increases. An example of this is the rebellion of the Caribbean cacique Guaicaipuro . A slave revolt led by the slave Miguel took place in 1552 in what is now Yaracuy.
In 1560 Francisco Fajardo sailed from Margarita back to central Venezuela. He landed in Caruao and marched from there to Valencia. Then he went to the Tuy Valley with a small group of soldiers. There he was able to communicate with the Kazike Terepaima. He went back to Valencia and sent a request to Governor Pablo Collado in El Tocuyo for reinforcements. Collado sent him 30 soldiers. Fajardo marched with them and with his soldiers towards Teques and founded a settlement and a cattle hacienda on the Guairoufer. He named the place Valle de San Francisco. The hacienda was abandoned shortly afterwards due to resistance from the Indians.
Today's capital Caracas was founded in 1567. In 1577 the Spanish crown appointed a governor to manage it.
In 1569 Pedro Malaver de Silva sailed towards Venezuela with 600 soldiers, 100 of whom took women and children, 300 slaves, 200 horses, 500 cows, 1000 sheep and 200 pigs and goats. Most of them, like Malaver, came from Extremadura . The settlers arrived on Margarita in May 1569. There remained about 100 of them. Malaver traveled with the rest to Borburata and from there to Valencia. Most of them left Malaver between Borburata and Valencia and settled in the whole central region.
Expedition to the east
Diego Fernández de la Serpa arrived in Margarita in October 1569. On October 13, 1569, he landed in Cumaná with 280 soldiers and their families and rebuilt Nueva Córdoba, where only 20 mestizos had remained until then .
Late 16th century
Between 1579 and 1580 Garci González de Silva made several forays against the Cumanagotos in the Tuy valleys.
At the end of the 16th century, the Caracas Valley became a center for growing wheat . The sowing took place in September and October and the harvest in March and early April. The wheat was ground in May and transported to the port of La Guaira , where ships took it to Cartagena de Indias and other cities in the Caribbean. The wheat business continued for a few decades, but climate change and greater competition from other regions meant that wheat cultivation was replaced by the cultivation of other products such as cocoa. Nevertheless, the wheat helped to establish the first agricultural ties between Venezuela and the surrounding area and to promote the development of Caracas.
In the last decade the Spanish began to establish encomiendas in the valleys of Aragua and to found settlements in the Llanos . In 1591, a group of Portuguese settlers founded the village of Guanare in what is now the state of Portuguesa . In 1595, Spaniards from the Caracas Valley, who were looking for new regions to mine gold and benefit from Indian labor (in encomiendas, which in fact meant slave labor), founded the town of San Juan de los Morros . The Spaniards invaded the Palenques and Cumanagotos further west of Cumaná . In 1594 they founded the village of Clarines .
Antonio de Berrío appointed his son, Fernando de Berrío , as the new governor of Guiana in 1597 . Fernando worked in the following years to strengthen the Spanish presence in Guiana.
In April 1595, Walter Raleigh came to Trinidad, then in Spanish possession but with few Spanish officials. He landed with a hundred soldiers, captured the first village, San José de Oruña, and arrested the governor, Berrío. There he established a base. At the end of May, a group of his soldiers drove through the Orinoco Delta in search of El Dorado. They had a galley and several smaller boats. They exchanged goods with the locals and there was fighting with the Spaniards.
In June, the pirates Preston and Somers attacked La Guaira . Between 40 and 50 knights went from Caracas to the main entrance of Caracas from El Ávila. The British sneaked into the city by a different route, where they found and killed a single defender, Alonso Andrea de Ledesma. The British were there between June 8th and June 13th. They burned down the city and left. On June 19, Preston and Somers destroyed three Spanish ships near Chichiriviche.
In the East
The Dutch embarked on an expedition across the Orinoco in 1598. The trip was led by Nicolaes De Haen, a Flemish who worked for the Republic of the Seven United Provinces . The Dutch took two ships, the Zeeridder and the Jonas, and arrived at the Orinoco estuary on July 27th. 22 days later they reached Santo Tomé de Guayana, a village that had just been rebuilt by the Conquistador Antonio de Berrío. The Dutch also began to explore the Esequibo River. From that time on, the Dutch tried to gain a foothold in Guiana. Sometimes they sold weapons to the Indians who supplied slaves from other tribes or products from the region.
Colonial period in the 17th century
The colony was rather neglected by the Spanish in the 16th and 17th centuries, as they concentrated more on gold from other parts of America. The cultivation of cocoa, sugar, tobacco, coffee and cotton led to the fact that large numbers of slaves were brought to Venezuela, who, after the indigenous culture was largely destroyed, had a lasting effect on the culture in Venezuela.
Cocoa became the main export product (especially after 1615). Salt, sugar and tobacco as well as leather from cattle breeding in the Llanos were also exported. Wheat, which thrives in the temperate regions of the Andes, was mainly transported by mules to Maracaibo , Mérida and Gibraltar .
At the beginning of the 17th century, the Spaniards had insufficient control of Guajira and the regions east of the Tuy Valley and west of Cumaná . The Cumanagotos offered bitter resistance. In 1603 they killed the Conquistador Sebastián de Roa. A punitive expedition led by Juan Pérez de Agorreta took 14 months to subdue the Indians in the Neverí basin.
From 1618, Spanish monks founded new villages. They wanted to proselytize the Indians there. This is how Turmero , Guarenas , Choroní , Petare , Baruta , La Victoria , Cagua , San Mateo , Santa Lucía , El Valle and Antímano were created. In 1628 the Spaniards succeeded in defeating the last Jirajara resistance fighters in the Yaracuy area. They founded a settlement in Nirgua where they wanted to dig for gold. The finds were only mediocre.
From 1632 onwards, the Catalan Joan Orpí made a foray to control the area of the Unare and Neverí basins, where the Cumanagotos still resisted. About two years later, Orpí founded the city of Nueva Barcelona .
Loss to the Netherlands
In 1634, 400 Dutch people, led by Johannes van Walbeeck, occupied the islands of Curaçao , Bonaire and Aruba , islands that Spain was never able to recapture. When the Dutch arrived, 32 Spaniards lived on Curaçao, 11 of whom were children. These had to emigrate to the mainland, along with the local Arawaco Indians who had refused to be loyal to the Dutch.
The French attacked the port of La Guaira in 1651.
Spanish Franciscans founded a monastery in Cumaná and a mission in Píritu in 1656 to preach near Cumanagotos.
In 1657 an epidemic killed large numbers in Caracas and other Spanish cities.
In the sixties the Spanish clergy continued to found Indian missions. Around 1661 the Jesuits began z. B. suggest preaching in the central area of the Llanos.
The Kazike Chiparara was able to organize Carib tribes and Otomaks under his leadership and at this time began to attack the Spaniards. The native Americans were definitely pushed back in March 1663. Many fled south and others remained scattered in the Llanos. The Catholic orders slowly established further missions in the Llanos.
Maracaibo was attacked by pirates in 1666. The Frenchman Jean-David Nau arrived with six ships and about six hundred men and promptly took the city. At that time the city had about 4,000 inhabitants. Then Jean-David Nau sailed with 380 people to Gibraltar, in the southeast of Lake Maracaibo, to fight a Spanish force there. The Spaniards suffered great losses: around 500 Spanish soldiers were killed and 60 were killed and 30 injured among the pirates. The French pillaged Gibraltar for weeks, but were hit by an epidemic and retreated to Maracaibo, which they pillaged again.
Charles François d'Angennes , Marquis of Maintenon, attacked Margarita Island and the port city of Cumaná in 1667 with a fleet of 10 ships and 800 privateers.
Immigration from the Canary Islands
Independence from Portugal in 1670 created economic problems for the Canary Islands , which were dependent on Portuguese markets. This contributed to emigration. Venezuela received many of these settlers. The Canary Islands settled on the coast, but also in the Llanos. At the end of the century there were large groups of Canaries in Caracas and La Guaira. At the end of the seventeenth century, Canarians accounted for 16% of marriage in Venezuela. In 1683 they founded San Antonio de los Altos . Many of the Canarian immigrants were engaged in agriculture. They made up the majority of the small traders. Some villages on the Canary Island had a particularly large number of immigrants, such as B. El Sauzal or Vilaflor .
French pirates last sacked Valencia in 1677.
Late 17th century
In the last decade of the 17th century, more settlements were established on the coast. In 1694, Governor Francisco Berroterán founded the Indian villages of Guacara , San Diego and Los Guayos north of Lake Valencia . Caribs attacked the mission villages of the Chaima Indians in 1697 and caused great damage.
Colonial period in the 18th century
The country was administered and ruled by the Royal Court of Justice ( Real Audiencia ) in Santo Domingo, which was dependent on the Viceroyalty of New Spain (Mexico) until 1718 , and then until 1742 by the Royal Court of Justice in Bogotá , in the viceroy of New Granada. After that, individual provinces were administered by both viceroyalty or directly from Spain.
In March 1723 Capuchins founded Calabozo in the central Llanos with 500 Indians of various ethnicities. Among the Indians there were Mapoyes, Tamanaks, Otomaks and others. Around 1726 the city of Valle de Pascua emerged, also in the Llanos. The company of the Guipuzcoana or Compañía de Caracas was established in 1728. This company monopolized the cocoa trade and the sale of imports from Spain, such as wine, grain, cloth and iron. The monopoly led to constant conflicts with producers in Venezuela.
From 1739 to 1742 a colonial war took place between Great Britain and Spain, the so-called War of Jenkins' Ear . On February 18, 1743, a fleet led by Charles Knowles attacked the port of La Guaira. But the British are repulsed.
The Jesuits founded Cabruta between 1740 and 1743.
From 1730 to 1733 and again between 1748 and 1752, two movements were directed against the Real Compañía Guipuzcoana , who had been given a far-reaching trade monopoly for the province of Caracas by Philip V : First, a smuggler, the Zambo Andresote, fought against some Creole landowners with the support or tolerance of some Creole landowners the Compañía. Between 1748 and 1752, several hundred landowners under Juan Francisco de León rose against the company.
Uprising of Juan Francisco de León
Canarian landowner Juan Francisco de León led an uprising that started in the Barlovento region. Numerous Canarians, but also numerous zambos, mestizos and slaves, who also suffered from the monopoly of the Compañía Guipuzcoana, joined. The insurgents were able to buy weapons from Curaçao and initially achieve some success. Echeverría, head of the Compañía Guipuzcoana, had to flee. In the end, however, the uprising was suppressed. Juan Francisco de León was arrested in mid-1752 and executed on September 25, 1753.
The Portuguese had advanced over the Rio Negro and the isthmus of Pimichin into the area on the upper reaches of the Río Atabapo and set up bases there. Under their leadership, Indians captured Indians other than slaves, who were sold on Portuguese territory.
The Spanish crown decided to send out an expedition to draw borders. On December 14, 1753, José de Iturriaga was entrusted with this task by royal decree. Among the expedition members were José Solano y Bote and the Swedish botanist Pehr Löfling . The expedition left Cádiz on February 15, 1754 and reached Cumaná on April 11. The group stayed in Venezuela for years. She managed to establish Spanish-controlled settlements and stop the Portuguese expansion.
General Capitol of Venezuela
In 1777 Carlos III created the governorship of Venezuela (Capitanía General de Venezuela) by decree .
From 1780 onwards Spain began to loosen trade relations between the colonies. In 1789 the Spanish government decided to allow free trade for Venezuela and New Spain. The Bourbon reforms began to have positive results, but the increase in trade remained modest: many of the other Spanish colonies did not have much demand for Venezuelan products.
In 1788 the governor of Barinas Province ordered the establishment of San Fernando de Apure .
Economic situation at the end of the colonial period
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Venezuela imported goods worth over 35 million francs. Over 4 ⁄ 5 of these goods came from Europe. Venezuela produced cocoa, coffee, cotton and tobacco. It also produced leather products, mainly in the Carora region, hammocks on margarita and cotton blankets in El Tocuyo. These latter products, however, could hardly satisfy the internal market. On the other hand, Humboldt noted that the towns and villages in the Aragua Valley were as wealthy as the villages on the Rhine and in the Netherlands. These regions mainly produced coffee, cocoa, indigo and cotton.
Aspirations for independence
Only with the Enlightenment, the independence of the USA, the French Revolution and the spread of these ideas was another component added, which also called for the separation of the colonies from the monarchist motherland and their republican orientation. For example, José Leonardo Chirino led a slave revolt in the city of Coro in 1795 and explicitly referred in his demands to the human rights declaration of the US Declaration of Independence ; in this case, Spanish authorities and local landowners jointly suppressed the uprising. Similar demands, which were to be realized in an autonomous Venezuelan republic and which this time found the support of many criollos and even some Spaniards, formulated in La Guaira Manuel Gual and José Maria España in 1797 . But the Spanish colonial apparatus was still strong enough to crush this movement.
The cosmopolitan and well-read Francisco de Miranda , who had also served in the French Revolutionary Army, had been on the road for independence in Europe for years, but the British hesitated, and many Venezuelans were suspicious of de Miranda's actions, whom they accused of “themselves almost an instrument of British politics under William Pitt ”; They were not prepared to exchange the Spanish rule for the English. In April 1806, for example, de Miranda failed with a landing maneuver for which he had recruited English, Irish, French and North American volunteers, at Ocumare de la Costa to take Puerto Cabello , at the Spanish coast guard and in August - despite support from the British Governor of Trinidad - after a successful landing this time, to the mostly loyal, royalist residents of the province of Coro.
On April 19, 1810, after revolts broke out in other South American countries and most of the Venezuelans opposed the French occupation, which was tolerated by the authorities, a junta was formed to depose Captain General Vicente Emperan y Orbe. Although independence was not proclaimed on that day, today - alongside July 5th - this is Venezuela's national holiday. There was great approval for this act by a small group of activists among the population and the enthusiasm to finally achieve a little more self-determination. The difficulties that the now self-governed patriots faced, however, proved to be overwhelming. What still worked halfway in the administration was only halfway successful in the armed struggle against the loyal countrymen and the Spaniards. A delegation including Simón Bolívar negotiated with the British Foreign Secretary for assistance. Her greatest success was bringing Francisco de Miranda, who lived in exile in England, to Venezuela in early 1811. This took over the helm first militarily and later also politically, while the attacks of the Spaniards and their Venezuelan allies became more violent. The Wars of Independence were mainly fought between Venezuelans. The Spaniards in the Spanish troops were a minority. On the side of the independence troops, there were numerous mercenaries, especially from Great Britain, especially after 1818.
The Wars of Independence in Venezuela , which began in 1810 and ended in 1823, drastically decimated the population and weakened the economy considerably, but ultimately brought the end of Spanish patronage and a self-determined republic.
Independent Venezuela in the 19th century
Numerous civil wars and revolutions slowed the country's continuous development. The worst war after independence was the Federal War , which lasted from 1859 to 1865 and cost the lives of more than 150,000 people out of a population under 3 million.
The first caudillo in independent Venezuela was José Antonio Páez , who became president on April 11, 1831. He was the head of the Conservative Party. Many of the leaders of this party were military personnel who took part in the wars of independence. Coffee exports increased in these years. In 1835, Páez was replaced as president by the doctor José María Vargas .
Various groups began to protest against the Vargas government and especially against the power of Páez. They didn't want a centralized government. They also wanted to reunite Venezuela with Colombia. On July 7, 1835, an uprising began in Maracaibo . General Santiago Mariño became the leader of this movement. The uprising failed, but it sparked unrest elsewhere in Venezuela. In Caracas, Pedro Carujo and Captain Julián Castro put President Vargas under house arrest on July 8th. Vargas and the Vice President Andrés Narvarte had to go into exile: they were first sent to Saint Thomas . Páez marched through Valencia , Maracay and La Victoria to Caracas . Because of his popularity as a general of the Wars of Independence, Paéz managed to recruit troops. He arrived in Caracas on July 28, 1835. The reformists had left the city. Páez formed a government council and instructed General José María Carreño to temporarily head the government. He then sent a commission to Saint Thomas to bring Vargas and Narvarte back. On August 20, 1835, Vargas was again President of the Republic.
Peasant uprising of 1846 and the Monagas dynasty
Venezuela's economic situation deteriorated in early 1846. Preparations for the elections scheduled for August had also increased tensions. The main candidates were José Tadeo Monagas , Antonio Leocadio Guzmán, Bartolomé Salom, José Félix Blanco and José Gregorio Monagas . The first had government support. The second was the Liberal Party candidate. Soublette accelerated conscription, which the opposition denounced as a technique of intimidation.
Confirmed by Congress at the end of January 1847, Monagas took office on March 1. The election results were contested. In order to reach a compromise, Santiago Mariño decided to organize an interview between José Antonio Páez and the second candidate, Antonio Leocadio Guzmán. Guzmán traveled from the Aragua Valleys with many followers and many others joined on the way. The army saw this as a threat.
The conversation did not take place: on September 2, when Guzmán was in La Victoria, the so-called People's Revolution broke out in Tacusuruma: Francisco José Rangel claimed that the government had taken land from him and prevented him from taking part in the election. Rangel and his supporters appealed to Guzmán, traveled to Güigüe and raided the Yuma hacienda, property of the politician and lawyer Ángel Quintero who was close to Páez. The insurgents killed the hacienda administrator, wounded several and freed the slaves.
The government blamed Guzmán for the violence and arrested him shortly afterwards. The uprising spread as many servants and slaves left the haciendas. Ezequiel Zamora, who accompanied Guzmán in La Victoria, joined the movement and became one of the most important leaders.
Monagas exchanged conservative for liberal ministers and led a more liberal policy, whereupon the mood in parliament turned against him. The situation came to a head when MPs tried to hold the President accountable. An angry crowd stormed Congress on January 24, 1848 in favor of Monagas. The attack on Congress, in which some MPs were killed, prevented the conviction of Monagas and also consolidated the power of later presidents over parliament.
Zamora was arrested in 1848. After that, the uprising lost strength. Monagas' successor was his brother José Gregorio in 1851.
In the following years there were several uprisings led by the Conservatives. José Gregorio Monagas approved the definitive abolition of slavery on March 24, 1854. On April 10, Congress appointed him Marshal. José Gregorio then supported his brother's return to power.
José Tadeo Monagas was elected President in 1855. He followed his brother in government. Since he tried to set up a family dynasty on the presidential chair and abused his office for self-enrichment on a large scale, his popularity continued to decline. A year before the regular end of his term in office, in 1858, he had an uprising against him before. He had to leave the presidential palace to the shouts of the population "death to thieves". Monagas resigned and fled to the French embassy.
The federal war
In 1859 the Federal War broke out. On the one hand there were the liberals, also known as federalists, because they wanted more autonomy for the states, and on the other there were the conservatives of the government.
On February 20, 1859, the commandant Tirso Salaverría occupied the military command of Coro and captured a large number of weapons.
The war mostly took the form of guerrilla warfare. The first important battle was the Santa Inés battle on December 10, 1859. The rebels, led by Ezequiel Zamora, were victorious. Zamora was able to consolidate control of the Llanos and prepare for the advance of the Liberals north.
Juan Crisóstomo Falcón and other uprisings
Juan Crisóstomo Falcón became President of the Republic in 1863. Venezuela was one of the first countries to abolish the death penalty.
The unitary state was transformed into a federal republic in 1864. On May 3, 1864, it was transformed into the state of Estados Unidos de Venezuela .
Falcón's policies led to increasing tensions with the conservatives and with the dissidents of the liberals. Both groups tried from 1867 to overthrow the government. They declared a "Blue Revolution". An army led by Miguel Antonio Rojas rebelled in central Venezuela, while former President José Tadeo Monagas called for an uprising in the east. Falcón passed power to Manuel Ezequiel Bruzual. In mid-1868, Rojas besieged the capital Caracas. After brief negotiations, he signed the anti-mano agreement with the government, after which he recognized this government and only took over the military control of the country. The insurgents in the east, who viewed this action as treason, marched on to Caracas, which they occupied in June. This is how “the blues” came to power under the leadership of Guillermo Tell Villegas and José Ruperto Monagas.
On April 27, 1870, Antonio Guzmán Blanco launched a coup against Tell Villegas. Guzmán initially ruled for almost seven years until he handed power to the military Francisco Linares Alcántara.
Guzmán Blanco won the elections in 1885. He ran for the period 1886–1888, but had to give up power in 1887 due to health problems. During this tenure, Venezuela broke ties with Great Britain as that country continued its expansion in the Guyana area and conquered Venezuelan territory.
at the end of the 19th century
Raimundo Andueza Palacio won the elections in 1890. When he wanted to extend his term of office two years later, in 1892, he was deposed by the so-called "revolución legalista". Joaquín Crespo, the leader, took over the presidency.
Border disputes with neighboring Colombia in the years 1891–1896 were finally settled peacefully.
On the way to the 20th century
Cipriano Castro (1899–1908)
In 1899 , Cipriano Castro , who came from the state of Táchira , came to power through an invasion ("Invasion of the Sixty") from Colombia and through a coup against Ignacio Andrade . His reign is primarily considered to be the beginning of the end of the so-called "caudillismo", in which local and regional rulers (" caudillos ") had divided power since independence in 1821 . Under Castro, the National Army (Ejercito Nacional) was brought into being and used against the individual interests of the caudillos. At the same time, weapons outside the army were confiscated, the regional armies dissolved and the army modernized. The structures that Cipriano Castro built up in the years of his reign are considered to be the beginning of Gomecismo, the system of the dictator Juan Vicente Gómez . He, Castro's friend and division general in his government, took power in a coup in 1908 when Castro was out of the country for treatment for health problems.
One conflict of that time was the Venezuela crisis of 1902/03, when several major European powers threatened military intervention and imposed a naval blockade because the country refused to settle its foreign debts - the crisis was only ended by political intervention by the United States opposed European interference.
Juan Vicente Gómez (1908-1935)
From 1908 to 1935, the dictator Juan Vicente Gómez, who had come to power, determined the fate of the country for 27 years. The dictatorship is described as personalized and military, because on the one hand it was based on the army and on the other hand, in all respects, it was tailored to the person of the dictator who ruled the country with an iron hand. Even if certain representative structures continued to exist and even two other men ( Victorino Márquez Bustillos 1914–1915, Juan Bautista Pérez 1929–1931) exercised the presidency during his term in office , everything ran through the person of Gómez, who at no time pulled the strings Hand gave. This can be seen, among other things, in the fact that large parts of the dictatorship's leadership elite came from the Andean states , especially from Táchira: In a tight network of social relationships, Gómez ensured that his interests were asserted. The conditions for higher office in the state almost always included membership in the military and origin from the Andes. The Gómez dictatorship was characterized by massive repression against the opposition and the corruption of the ruling elite. It only came to an end in 1935 when Gómez died at the age of 78.
The German Reich was also involved in an attempted coup against Gómez in August 1929, initiated by General Román Delgado Chalbaud , as the putschists used the chartered German steamer Falke to attack the port of Cumaná , where Delgado fell while fighting against government troops. The Venezuelan government protested in Berlin against the participation of the German ship in the company, but the Reich government was able to give a credible assurance that it was neither directly nor indirectly involved in the company.
Rise of the Oil Industry
The boom in the Venezuelan oil industry began in the first three decades of the 20th century. Crude oil was already known as a natural product to the pre-Columbian population, who used the raw material found on the earth's surface for lighting and for waterproofing canoes. Under President Gómez, concessions for exploration, production and refining of crude oil were mostly granted to minions, but these concessions were mostly passed on to foreign companies. Crude oil first appeared in official government export statistics in 1918 with a volume of around 21,000 tons. Just ten years later, Venezuela was the largest oil exporter in South America and the second largest oil producer in the world after the USA. The rise of the oil industry was so rapid that the Venezuelan economy began to suffer from the paradox of the Dutch disease . The share of agricultural production in Venezuela's overall economic output shrank from a third in the 1920s to a tenth in the 1950s.
Eleazar López Contreras (1935-1941)
After Gómez's death, the country's political system was gradually liberalized, but for years it was still permeated by the structures and personalities of Gomecismo. The provisional successor to the president was taken over in 1935 by the military man from Táchira , Eleazar López Contreras , who was then elected president by the Congress on April 19, 1936. In the interim period, the strengthened opposition demanded the realization of democratic rights, some of which were granted by the López government. Political prisoners have been released from prisons, exiles have been allowed to return, the presidential term has been reduced from seven to five years, and trade unions and public meetings have been allowed.
Isaías Medina Angarita (1941–1945)
This trend was continued by the following government under Isaías Medina Angarita (also military and Tachirense) elected in 1941 . In June 1941, for example, the social democratic party Acción Democrática (AD) and in October 1945 the Communist Party were legalized, and in April a constitutional reform was implemented. This established the direct election of members of parliament by all men over 21 and the participation of women in the elections of the municipal councils and deleted paragraph 6 of Article 32 of the old constitution, which had banned "communist and anarchist propaganda". However, the universal, free and direct election of the president demanded by the opposition was not realized and women's suffrage was only introduced to a limited extent. Dissatisfaction with these shortcomings in the political parties and, for other reasons, in parts of the military, led to a coup on October 18, 1945 against the government of Medina Angaritas .
Rómulo Betancourt, Rómulo Gallegos (1945–1948)
With the coup the Revolutionary Government Council ( Junta Revolucionaria de Gobierno ) was set up, which was chaired by Rómulo Betancourt (AD) and consisted of five civil and two military representatives (civil: Rómulo Betancourt (AD), Raúl Leoni (AD), Gonzalo Barrios (AD), Luis Beltrán Prieto Figueroa (AD), Edmundo Fernández, military: Carlos Delgado Chalbaud and Mario Ricardo Vargas). The new de facto government implemented the previously promised reforms to democratize and fight corruption relatively quickly, set up an examination commission for civil and administrative responsibility (Jurado de Responsabilidad Civil y Administrativa) on November 27, 1946, and called elections for December 1946 a constituent assembly.
The electoral law of 1945 granted women the right to vote for local representative bodies for the first time. On March 28, 1946, universal, equal and direct suffrage was established. This achieved the active and passive right to vote for women .
On December 14, 1947, for the first time in Venezuela's history, the president was elected by all men and women over 18 - including illiterate people. The Revolutionary Government Council had agreed that none of its members would run for the election. Sun won Rómulo Gallegos (AD) with nearly 75% of the votes, the elections the candidate Rafael Caldera ( COPEI , 22.4%) and Gustavo Machado ( PCV , 3.2%) and was sworn in as the new president early 1948th However, his reign soon ended. On November 24, 1948 , the military of the Revolutionary Government Council staged another coup, this time against the government they had previously supported.
Military governments from 1948 to 1958
From November 1948 a military government ruled the country, first chaired by Carlos Delgado Chalbaud (term of office 1948–1950), after his assassination in 1950 by Germán Suárez Flamerich (term of office 1950–1952). In 1952 presidential elections were scheduled, from which Jóvito Villalba (URD) emerged as the winner, whose victory the military government did not recognize and instead appointed Marcos Pérez Jiménez (term of office 1952-1958) as president. He ruled the country dictatorially until he was overthrown on January 23, 1958.
In April 1953, Pérez Jiménez was declared president for five years by the military junta. During his tenure, the press was heavily censored. The Dirección de Seguridad Nacional - Department of National Security - continuously arrested opposition members. They were often held and sometimes executed in Guasina Prison. Pérez Jiménez's government was supported by the United States for its stance against communism and socialism. In the five years that followed, this government invested heavily in construction projects.
In December 1957, the government organized a plebiscite to grant Pérez Jiménez a new term. Pérez Jiménez clearly won, even when the population spoke of fraud. On January 1, 1958, there was a first coup attempt against Pérez Jiménez.
Waves of immigration
After the end of the Second World War, many Europeans immigrated to Venezuela. In the forties and fifties there were over 300,000 Italians. Many Portuguese came to this. The largest number of European immigrants, however, were those of the Spaniards.
Political development until today
Governments from 1958 to now
In 1958 the dictator Marcos Perez Jiménez was overthrown jointly by the social democratic Acción Democrática and the Communist Party . After the fall, however, the AD broke with the Communists and allied with the Christian Democratic COPEI . With the Puntofijo Agreement , both parties agreed to respect election results. The Venezuelan Communist Party was excluded from this agreement.
The disappointed and isolated Communist Party began a guerrilla war , but was either assimilated or militarily crushed by the Alliance during the 1960s. In the first free elections, Rómulo Betancourt , from Acción Democrática, was elected. He was president from 1958 to 1964.
In 1958, 56.8% of the population was illiterate. In the decades that followed, various governments invested in education, even if the measures were not always implemented efficiently. In 1958–1959, the government set up a number of organizations to combat illiteracy: the Centros Colectivos de Alfabetización, the Legiones Alfabetizadoras y cívicas, the Plan de Cuarteles and the Traveling Teachers. While the budget for literacy measures in the period 1957–1958 amounted to B 14,415,296, it grew to B 14,415,296 for the period 1958–1959. The following table shows the number of literate adults due to the state programs:
In 1991 the literacy rate was 90.61% and in 2001 93.5% of the population could read and write.
From 1964 to 1969, Raúl Leoni ruled , also from Acción Democrática. During his tenure, the education budget was increased by 98%. The government passed a law on social security. Among other things, the Universidad Simón Bolívar was opened and the first bridge over the Orinoco, the Angostura Bridge, was completed.
The economy grew 6.5% annually. The industry grew 7.5% annually. The currency, the bolívar, remained stable and inflation was around 1.4% annually. Leoni reduced public spending. Unemployment fell from 14.2% in 1962 to 6.4% in 1968.
Rafael Caldera and the Christian Democrats
The elections of 1968 led to the first democratically legitimized change of power, the Christian Democratic Rafael Caldera became president . He decreed a general amnesty for the guerrilla fighters who were still numerous. In 1969 the Venezuelan Communist Party decided to take part in the elections as a new party called Unión Para Avanzar . Rafael Caldera decided that same year to legalize the Venezuelan Communist Party.
Carlos Andrés Pérez's first term in office
In 1973 Venezuela joined the Andean Community , which was to control the economic development of the region since 1969. In the same year, the socialist Carlos Andrés Pérez won the election for president.
Carlos Andrés Pérez introduced the Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho student program, which allowed thousands of students to study in foreign universities. Pérez established nine national parks. He nationalized the iron industry in 1975. Venezuela founded OPEC with other oil-producing countries . The oil price quadrupled in the period that followed. At the Venezuelan government, Democratic Action and the Christian Socials alternated.
After the oil crisis of 1973, during the first term of office of Carlos Andrés Pérez (1974 to 1979), the country's income from oil exports rose rapidly and the country became one of the most prosperous countries in South America , "[...] through the sale of oil Venezuela has from 1973 raised around 240 billion dollars by 1983 ”( Arturo Uslar Pietri ); The associated distribution policy led to an extraordinarily high level of political stability in the country by Latin American standards.
Carlos Andrés Pérez established the Fundayacucho Foundation in 1975 , with which thousands of students have received scholarships for domestic and international study since then. In 1976 the oil industry was nationalized.
Luis Herrera Campins and the Christian Democrats back in power
In the 1979 elections, Christian Democrat Luís Herrera Campíns won the presidency. Oil prices tripled during the second oil crisis, which resulted in additional revenue. Nevertheless, the government could not get the foreign debt under control, also because the oil price collapsed again from 1983 onwards.
The economy had stagnated since 1979 and slipped into recession shortly afterwards. On February 18, 1983, the bolívar was devalued (the old rate of 4.3 bolívar per dollar was replaced by a multiple exchange rate system), a massive flight of capital began, and Venezuela's external debt rose to $ 30 billion in early 1983.
With the blatant drop in the price of oil since 1983, however, the income collapsed and since there had been no investments in other branches of the economy that were able to compensate for the drastic drop in oil revenues, this, together with the ever-increasing foreign debt (about $ 35 billion in 1993) , to an ongoing economic crisis. So it was easy for Acción Democrática to win the next election on December 4, 1983.
Jaime Lusinchi and the lost decade
Jaime Lusinchi began his tenure on February 4, 1984 . He tried to achieve stability through an expansive economic policy. In the end, Venezuela was as good as bankrupt.
In 1989, 12 fishermen in El Amparo, Apure, were killed by the Venezuelan armed forces under unclear circumstances and portrayed as guerrilla fighters, which later led to a scandal. At this massacre u. a. Ramón Rodríguez Chacín , later Minister of the Chávez government, was involved.
Carlos Andrés Pérez's second term in office
The neoliberal economic course announced on February 26, 1989, during Carlos Andrés Pérez ' second term in office (1989–1993) as a result of instructions from the International Monetary Fund , led to the so-called Caracazo from February 27, 1989, triggered by a price increase in public transport . The first riots took place in Guarenas . Starting from the barrios , the slums of the capital, there were heavy uprisings and looting of the inner cities and shopping centers for several days. The Pérez government violently suppressed the police and military riots. Between 180 and 5,000 people were killed. Various non-governmental organizations have so far criticized the government for not allowing an independent commission to investigate the crimes.
Over two years later, in 1992, there were two bloody coup attempts against the Pérez government. Hugo Chavez carried out the first coup attempt on February 4, 1992. Chavez failed and was arrested, but released after two years in prison. Several civilians and military personnel were killed in this attempted coup. The second attempt took place on November 27th and was carried out by the military who supported Chavez and had not been spotted on the first attempt.
In 1993, a year with negative economic growth, President Carlos Andrés Pérez was finally ousted by the Supreme Court for embezzlement and corruption .
Caldera and the second term with the socialist coalition
In the 1994 elections, Rafael Caldera became the new president. Although he managed to stabilize politically by 1998, he was unable to cope with the economic crisis either. When he took office in 1994, the inflation rate was 71%, there was a serious currency crisis and the collapse of the banking system. Oil prices had also fallen to historic lows, bringing the state far less revenue than ever before.
Hugo Chávez 1999 to 2013
In December 1998 Hugo Chávez was elected President with 56% of the vote. Its declared goals were, among other things, the creation and strengthening of the most direct democracy possible as well as national and economic independence. Henrique Salas Römer received 31.48% of the vote. The two established parties ( COPEI and Acción Democrática ), which he accused of nepotism and corruption, suffered massive losses of votes and only received 9% approval. In December 1999 a “Bolivarian” constitution was passed by referendum and on December 29, 1999 the name Bolivarian Republic was adopted.
On July 30, 2000, Chavez was confirmed in office until 2006 with almost 60% of the votes cast. In April 2002, the opposition tried to protest Hugo Chávez and bring about early elections. This resulted in shootings in which a total of 19 people died, including both Chavez supporters and opponents. The opposition broadcasters claimed that opposition supporters had been attacked and killed. Shortly afterwards, the military removed Chavez and replaced him with Pedro Carmona as interim president, flanked by a campaign by the private media. This sparked mass protests from millions of Chavez supporters; the coup failed, its leaders were arrested and Chavez reinstated as president.
After renewed protests by Chavez opponents in December 2002, the longest general strike in Venezuelan history began on December 3, 2002 . It sometimes had features of a lockout , as it was initiated, among other things, by the employers' associations. In February 2003 the strike ended without success.
On June 3, 2004, the President of the National Electoral Council (Consejo Nacional Electoral) (CNE) Francisco Carrasquero announced that of 3.4 million votes collected by the opposition for a referendum against Chavez, 2.54 million would be recognized; the referendum will be approved with a 15,738 vote surplus. In the referendum on August 15, 2004, around 58% of all eligible voters were against the impeachment of Hugo Chávez and thus against new elections. According to the electoral commission, the turnout was 69.92%. According to initial figures, international election observers , among them the American ex-President Jimmy Carter , certified that the election went smoothly. The country's economic recovery was seen as a key factor in Chavez's success. After the announcement of the result, there were riots in Caracas.
The EU sent a group of observers. One of them, the Spanish MP Willy Meyer Bankrupt ( Izquierda Unida ) described the election in Venezuela as "massive, orderly and happy". Another observer criticized u. a. the fact that, due to a robbery by one of them, observers stayed at the hotel until the day of the elections and that there were more votes in the voting machines than signatures on the electoral roll.
In the 2006 presidential election, the candidate Hugo Chávez won with 62.84% of the votes cast. The new government's declared important project was the re-nationalization of the companies and oil fields that were privatized in the 1980s and 1990s as part of a neoliberal policy. A constitutional reform supporting this path, which also provided for unlimited re-election for the president, was rejected in December 2007 by 50.7% of the voters. Shortly thereafter, on a national television show, Chavez described the opposition's victory as a shitty victory . He also said he would put the same reforms to the vote again. "If you collect signatures, this reform can be submitted to a referendum again, under different conditions, at a different time, in this place called Venezuela". At the beginning of 2009, Chávez again voted for unlimited re-election in a new referendum and won this time.
Venezuela also played a role in establishing the Union of South American Nations in 2008.
In 2010, Hugo Chavez declared that he wanted to run again in 2012. He also said that the PSUV did not need to hold internal elections to have him as a candidate, as that would be a waste of time.
On September 26, 2010 the election of the National Assembly took place. The opposition, which boycotted the elections in 2005, ran again. The PSUV and PCV got 98 seats with a share of the vote of 48.13%, the Mesa de la Unidad Democrática ( Table of Democratic Unity , MUD) got 65 seats with a share of the vote of 47.22% and Patria Para Todos got 2 seats for 3.14% of the vote. There have been numerous complaints about Gerrymandering because the 'National Electoral Council' had changed constituencies shortly before.
Patria Para Todos later stated that she would support the 'table of democratic unity'. The human rights organization Provea has criticized the fact that one of the MPs elected for the PSUV, Róger Cordero Lara , was one of the military who was involved in the Cantaura massacre in 1982.
For years, Chavez had expropriated many industries.
Venezuela's crime rate increased dramatically in the Chavez era: in 1998 the murder rate was 19.61 and in 2000 it was 33.15 per 100,000 inhabitants. In 2010 it was 58 per 100,000 (about 17,000 murders); In 2011 (19,336 murders) it was even higher. Venezuela has the highest murder rate in South America. The extent to which the population would associate the increase in crime with Chavez was discussed
- See also under Corruption in Venezuela
Venezuela has been showered with corruption scandals for years. Among the best known are the Plan Bolívar 2000 affair , the Barrueco affair , the PDVAL affair , the Aponte affair and the treatment of FONDEN , from a fund for the sustainable development of Venezuela. The country has had very poor spots in corruption indexes for years . According to Transparency International , Venezuela was the most corrupt country in Latin America as of 2012.
In 2010, shortly after the results of the elections for the National Assembly became known, the outgoing National Assembly, which consisted almost entirely of Chávez supporters, passed an enabling law for the President to “better deal with the great damage caused by the storms”. Since then, Chavez has passed 54 laws. This has often been criticized by the opposition and others. Chavez himself said he was only doing this to help the MPs.
The same MPs introduced a new law according to which any MP who opposes the guidelines of his party or joins another parliamentary group will be punished with expulsion for “fraud”. Until then, MPs were not bound by orders or instructions from their party or any organization and were only subject to their conscience. This was also heavily criticized by the opposition.
On October 7, 2012, Chavez was re-elected for 6 years. New regional elections were held in mid-December 2012. The ruling party's candidates won in 20 of the 23 states. 12 of them are in the military, which arouses criticism from the opposition.
Maduro's presidency since 2013
Nicolás Maduro was Foreign Minister from 2006 to January 16, 2013 and Vice-President of the presidential Federal Republic of Venezuela from October 2012 . He carried out the official business for the sick Chavez. From Chavez's death until after the presidential elections, he continued to lead her as incumbent head of state.
During the election campaign, the opposition and the media were severely intimidated and hindered.
At the end of November, Maduro was given extensive powers by an enabling law by the parliament, which is dominated by his party, which allows him to govern for twelve months with decrees and without parliamentary participation. For the necessary three-fifths majority, an opposition MP was revoked. Instead, a parliamentarian loyal to the government voted. The predecessor Chavez was able to rule large parts of his term of office with decree powers.
Venezuela's inflation rate was 56% in 2013. The currency was highly overvalued. The shortage economy that has existed for years has increased: people often have to stand in line for hours to buy products such as milk or meat.
From February 2014, mass protests took place in several cities in Venezuela. The opposition politician Leopoldo López as well as the opposition mayors of the cities of San Diego and San Cristóbal were arrested and sentenced to several months in prison. In February 2015, the opposition mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma , was arrested. According to Maduro, he was allegedly involved in a plot against the government.
Several senior officials, entrepreneurs and other government-related people have been charged with drug trafficking and money laundering by US authorities. In 2014, for example, Carvajal, former head of the Venezuelan secret service, was arrested in Aruba. He was only able to avoid extradition to the USA at the last minute.
Spanish anti-money laundering unit Sepblac said that at least six officials from President Hugo Chávez's previous government are under investigation into money laundering . Spanish companies reportedly gave them over $ 80 million to obtain concessions for government projects in Venezuela. US President Obama issued a decree in March 2015: The US is "obliged to move forward in respecting human rights, protecting democratic institutions and protecting the US financial system from the illegal financial inflows of public corruption in Venezuela."
Entrepreneur Roberto Rincón, who got rich doing business with the Venezuelan government, was arrested in the United States in late 2015 for money laundering.
The military has great economic and political power. The army's loyalty to the Chavist government was based on political cleansing in Chavez's time, as well as privileges, economic advantages and the control of smuggling.
In 2018, gasoline smuggling had become a major source of income not only for corrupt military officials but also for the general public. At the beginning of 2016 one had already paid more for a liter of water than for a full tank of a truck, in May 2017, despite a significant price increase in the meantime, a bottle of drinking water was equated with 1,500 liters of normal gasoline. 80 percent of the population were impoverished in 2017 after 4 years of galloping inflation.
Colectivos and paramilitaries
Chavist revolutionary militias attacked participants in demonstrations and the parliamentary referendum in 2017 or broke up such a referendum event, the participants who fled to a church, like Cardinal Jorge Urosa, were besieged for hours by the pro-government revolutionary militias. The Frente Miliciano de Sucre (FMS) could be identified among the pro-government raiders who shot at the participants . In 2017 there were more than 50 such paramilitary, partly heavily armed revolutionary militias, although according to Articles 324 and 328 ( Constitution of Venezuela of 1999 ) the monopoly of war weapons should lie with the impartial Venezuelan state.
Venezuela produced less oil in 2012 than in 1998, despite the fact that the number of employees at the state oil company tripled.
According to the government, the economy contracted by 4% in 2014. In 2018, it was found that economic data such as inflation and the economy had not been published by the Venezuelan Central Bank for years.
Due to a massive worldwide drop in oil prices and a new high in inflation in the three-digit range, which exacerbated Venezuela's financial problems, President Maduro issued a decree on January 15, 2016, an emergency economic ordinance (Decreto de Emergencia Económica) for the entire country, which he authorized to carry out economic reforms without the consent of the National Assembly. The prescription is limited to 60 days and can be extended for a further 60 days.
Inflation was around 800 percent in 2016, rose to 2,400 percent in 2017 and hit the 1,000,000 percent mark in 2018.
On December 7, 2015, the National Assembly elections took place. The opposition won an absolute majority with 112 seats. From the outset it was expected that the government would block the work of the National Assembly entirely.
Removal referendum in Venezuela in 2016
In early March 2016, the opposition began the process of the recall referendum in Venezuela 2016 , a referendum to vote the president out. The government-dominated national electoral council declared that one must not only collect 1% of the signatures of all voters, as stipulated in the law, but that in each state. The required approximately 198,000 signatures were far exceeded with 399,412 votes found to be valid by the electoral council. The Maduro government delayed and dragged on the deadlines by all possible means, which are clearly described in the procedure: In June, the electoral council also demanded that the signatures be proven using fingerprints and IDs. Of the 1.8 million signatures actually collected, the 399,412 mentioned had been confirmed in this way by the end of July. The proceedings should then have been continued within three days. Instead, the chairwoman of the electoral council said that the next step, collecting 20% of the signatures of all voters, would not take place until the end of October. This means that the referendum could only have taken place after January 10, 2017, which would mean that if Maduro had been voted out of office, there would have been no new elections, but would have only been replaced by his vice-president.
From August 2016, the Maduros government blocked the payment of members of the National Assembly. On October 14th, the national government announced that the budget was approved "from the street". According to the constitution, the budget has to be accepted by the National Assembly, but the National Government does not recognize it.
On October 19th the National Electoral Council announced that the December 2016 gubernatorial elections would be postponed to mid-2017. There was no justification for this. On October 20th He explained that the collection of signatures for a referendum to vote out Maduro, which would take place at the end of October, had to be stopped because signatures were supposed to be forged in the first phase.
Since the beginning of April 2016 there have been demonstrations across the country. Up to 55 people were killed, almost all of them opposition. The National Electoral Council postponed the regional elections again to December 2017. However, it immediately accepted Maduro's petition to organize a meeting in July to draft a new constitution. The opposition parties reject this.
Disempowerment of the elected parliament by the “Constituent Assembly” in 2017
On March 29, 2017, the Supreme Court lifted the immunity of all parliamentarians as well as deprived parliament of all powers and transferred itself. Two days later, the attorney general had called this practice a breach of the constitution. On April 1, the decision was reversed. It was unclear on whose initiative the court acted. The pressure from international diplomacy to reverse it was correspondingly great. In fact, the Supreme Court had exercised the functions of the legislature, thus abolishing the separation of powers and de facto equating the situation with a dictatorship . President Maduro wanted to return to normal without any consequences, the opposition demanded the removal of the judges. OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro condemned Maduro's authoritarian style of government, Venezuela's membership in Mercosur was suspended in December. At the same time, the powers of attorney that the court had transferred to Maduro remained in place, so that Maduro could independently negotiate contracts of the state oil company PDVSA with other companies.
After parliament was ousted in April 2017, there were various demonstrations against Maduro with tens of thousands of participants and several fatal incidents during confrontations with security forces. As early as mid-May, the opposition had called on the military, which was partly responsible for the violence against demonstrators, for dialogue. On June 20, the regime-loyal Supreme Court initiated proceedings to remove Prosecutor General Luisa Ortega , the woman who had called the takeover of that same court at the end of March unconstitutional.
On May 1, 2017, Maduro announced that he would convene a 540-member Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution. A month later he stated that the people (contrary to the original announcement) would only be able to vote on the drafted constitution, but not on the process. The constitution stipulates a prior nationwide referendum to convene such an assembly, making Maduro's actions clearly unconstitutional. Parliament or the opposition were eliminated through a sophisticated process in the selection of members. With over 364 "territorial deputies", representatives of small rural communities strongly anchored in Chavismus received a disproportionate influence. 168 seats were directly reserved for government-related sectors and eight for representatives of indigenous peoples. There was no date for the regional elections that had been outstanding since December 2016 and the constitutional reform announced by Maduro would postpone elections. There were also demonstrations against this and by May 6, 2017, a total of 37 people had died in all protests, by June 23 this number had increased to 76 and by the end of July to over 100.
Maduro announced that the constitutional amendment would be implemented and "If we can't make it with the votes, then with weapons."
In the run-up to the election of the Constituent Assembly, a general strike was organized and a referendum organized by Parliament on July 16 without the support of the Election Commission was held, in which seven million Venezuelans expressed their views. The three questions to be answered with yes or no were: 1. Do you want a Constituent Assembly? 2. Should the army defend the current constitution? 3. Do you support elections before 2019? and was thus also a call to the army to be constitutional. 95% of the participants refused to allow the President to convene the Constituent Assembly.
Maduro's government said it had won the unconstitutional vote on a constitutional assembly of the Asamblea Nacional Constituyente on July 30, 2017 ; The opposition described the result as manipulated and accused Maduro of establishing a dictatorship : In the course of the disempowerment of parliament by the Supreme Court, which is de facto controlled by the president, the unconstitutional convocation of a constituent assembly, not by the authorized parliament, but by the same After the meeting decided to dismiss General Prosecutor Ortega Díaz and arrest prominent opposition politicians, Venezuela is increasingly being described as on the way to a civil or military dictatorship .
At the end of March 2018, 68 people died in an overcrowded police prison after a prisoner riot.
The presidential election was pushed forward by the “Constituent Assembly” from late autumn 2018 to the end of April, and later to May 20, 2018. The aim was to expel the opposition, which had to register again after the boycott of the local elections in November 2017. The Supreme Court made registration impossible when it allowed the date for such registration to be postponed from late January to after the election.
The year 2018 was characterized by a predicted inflation of one million percent, as well as grotesque price distortions due to state regulations; For a single dollar bartered on the black market, Venezuelans could buy 600,000 liters of gasoline. The El pais newspaper made a different calculation: for a million liters of gasoline you could buy a can of tuna. Three million Venezuelans had left the country for neighboring countries and health care had collapsed.
Interim presidency of the President of Parliament January 2019
On January 15, 2019, the National Assembly of Venezuela declared future government decisions to be null and void. A week later, the President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó , constitutionally declared himself interim president in the event the government fails to perform its duties. During the street protests in January 2019, 26 people died within four days of January 24, when the President of the United States recognized Guaidó, as did the neighboring countries Colombia and Brazil and other OAS states . The European states called for new elections. Only Cuba , Nicaragua and Bolivia , profiting from cheap Venezuelan oil, stood behind Maduro. In Russia , the popular protests were compared and condemned by the state press with the civil revolution in Ukraine , which was traumatic for Russia , while independent media foresaw Russia's investments over the past 20 years and their loss. Mexico and another major believer in Venezuela, the People's Republic of China , called for dialogue. The Venezuelan Bishops' Conference had previously declared Maduro's presidency illegitimate and granted parliament sole authority and legitimation.
On January 23, 2019, Maduro announced the severance of diplomatic relations with the US, including a deadline, but the government only qualified this announcement three days later. Earlier, a default towards the United States has never occurred since the government Maduro had used open financial channels for those dollars with which they privileges funded and thus in the years 2015-2017 despite all the (war) rhetoric against the US loyalty and the Army bought. The inflow of American dollars, which is vital for the Maduro administration, was now capped by the Trump administration on January 28, 2019 by decreeing that payments for oil purchases were no longer transferred to the oil company PDVSA (and thus to the government) but to blocked accounts Need to become. The only decisive factor in this situation was the support of the army, which had been granted rich privileges during the reign of the Chavists and accordingly had a lot to lose. This also applied to the Bolivarian colectivos , who in some cases not only took on armed "police tasks" for the government, but even spoke the law.
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- Archive link ( Memento of the original from February 19, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Encyclopaedia of Exploration. Addenda and Corrigenda.
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- Education in Venezuela, literacy rate ( memento of the original from April 3, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Márquez, Walter: Comandos del Crimen, la masacre de El Amparo, Fuentes Editores, Caracas, ISBN 980-6297-15-6 .
- Caracazo Human Rights Library (English)
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- Victims in the first attempted coup in 1992 ( memento of the original from June 9, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- coup on February 4, 1992
- Elections of 1998 (Consejo Nacional Electoral) (PDF; 172 kB)
- Eva Gollinger: Mediawar against the People
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- New referendum favorable for Chávez (Der Spiegel)
- Chavez says his party doesn't need an election to elect him as a candidate
- Provea criticizes that Cordero was allowed to run as a member of parliament
- Chavez expropriates Hilton Hotel
- Chávez expropriates construction companies
- Der Spiegel on the expropriations
- Attorney Capriles takes on Chávez
- Crime, UNODC figures (PDF; 3.3 MB)
- Crime in Latin America (Süddeutsche Zeitung)
- BBC on crime in Venezuela
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- corruption in the food chain in Venezuela (The Economist)
- Carlos Ramos Rivas requests explanations for the use of the FONDEN
- Transparency International: Results from 2012
- Enabling law for Chávez
- Chávez passes laws by enabling law
- Criticism because of the use of the Enabling Act
- Law against conversions and resistance at the National Assembly (star) ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Chavez wins elections
- Venezuela es un cuartel (Tal Cual) ( Memento of the original from November 27, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Klaus Ehringfeld: Another cancer operation: Hugo Chávez chooses his successor. In: Spiegel Online. December 9, 2012, accessed January 21, 2013 .
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- zet.de March 8, 2013: Chávez received the system and ruined the country. - The Comandante used the oil to finance his socialist experiment in Venezuela. With Chavez's death, the system comes to an end
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- Mayor of Caracas arrested (2015)
- America's investigators against Venezuela's leadership (FAZ)
- Ex-head of the secret service in the Antilles arrested (Die Zeit) ( Memento of the original from December 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Spanish companies pay 4.8% of a mega-contract to high officials of the Chavez government (El País)
- Government by ordinance , Taz, March 16, 2015
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- A white lie in an economic emergency? , NZZ, August 8, 2018
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- A hamburger for $ 2,000 , Tages-Anzeiger, May 4, 2017
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- A tiros terminaron con la masiva votación de Catia. In: El Nacional. July 17, 2017, Retrieved July 17, 2017 (Spanish).
- Colectivos armados irrumpen y empañan jornada cívica en Catia. In: El Nacional. July 17, 2017, Retrieved July 17, 2017 (Spanish).
- La fuerza de los colectivos está en la ausencia del Estado. In: RunRun.Es. June 22, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2017 (Spanish).
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- Archive link ( Memento of the original from January 16, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- IMF predicts million percent inflation for Venezuela . Deutsche Welle, October 8, 2018.
- The opposition wins an absolute majority (El País)
- Raúl Stolk: Venezuela's opposition shouldn't celebrate yet. New York Times, December 8, 2015, accessed December 16, 2015 .
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- Lucesa anunció fecha de validación (El Nacional) ( Memento of the original from August 15, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Diosdado Cabello: Funcionarios públicos que firmaron no deberían seguir en sus cargos (El Nacional) ( Memento of the original from May 5, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Maduro and the National Budget
- elections postponed to mid-2017 (Reuters)
- Government stops referendum process ( memento of the original from October 22, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Maduro prepares new constitution (Reuters) , Reuters, May 24, 2017
- Controversial judgments of the Venezuelan Supreme Court are to be revised , swissinfo, April 1, 2017
- Venezuela: Parliament overturned from power , 6 p.m. News Radio SFR, April 1, 2017
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- A country on the edge - What is happening in Venezuela is not a crisis - it is a catastrophe. (Title of the print edition: Venezuela's unmasked dictatorship ), NZZ, April 13, 2017
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- Maduro is serious. Süddeutsche Zeitung from August 1, 2017
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- National Assembly declares Maduro's re-election unlawful faz.net on January 16, 2019
- Venezuela at the crossroads: the who, what and why of the crisis , The Guardian, January 25, 2019; "if the legislature deems the president to be failing to fulfill basic duties"
- 26 muertos en cuatro días de disturbios en Venezuela hasta este 24 de enero , El Comercio, January 24, 2019
- Putin wins, the longer Venezuela's Maduro hangs on , CBC, January 31, 2019
- "And it will be the same with the loans": What Russia will lose in Venezuela in the event of a coup The Bell, January 24, 2019
- Mexico stays neutral in Venezuela political crisis . In: www.aljazeera.com .
- Wary China offers support to embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro , South China Morning Post, January 24, 2019
- Venezuelan bishops denounce Maduro's new presidential term as illegitimate , Catholic News Agency, January 10, 2019; "... the National Assembly, elected by the free and democratic vote of the Venezuelan people, is currently the sole organ of public authority with the legitimacy to exercise its powers with sovereignty."
- Venezuelan opposition prepares to fight on as controversial election begins , sky.com, July 30, 2017
- The Legacy of the Caudillo , taz, September 6, 2016; "There is a lack of everything in the country, except for weapons."
- How to hasten the demise of Venezuela's dictatorship , The Economist, January 24, 2019; "Nicolás Maduro, (.. :) using the country's dwindling income (...) to pay off the armed forces that support him."
- USA issues sanctions against important oil sector , SRF, January 29, 2019
- Antonio María Delgado: El Nuevo Herald: Los colectivos, orden y terror chavista en Venezuela , accessed on runrun.es from January 1, 2014 (Spanish); Anthony Daquín, ex asesor de seguridad del Ministerio de Interior y Justicia: “El [Chávez] llegó a llamar a los colectivos como el Brazo Armado de la Revolución, y es una designación que sigue siendo utilizada dentro del chavismo”
- The Devolution of State Power: The 'Colectivos' , insightcrime.org, May 18, 2018