Plan of Investigation
Venezuela was almost at the end of a period of more than 30 years of stable democratic rule. On February 1988, President Perez was elected for his second term. Venezuela had an export economy which heavily relied on high international oil prices; in the 1980’s there was a decline of oil prices which gave the government a strong strain in public spending. The economy was on its way to crashing which led to an increase of the economic gap in the country as well as in the military. Also there were many suspicions of corruption inside the government, with President Perez leading.
How did the two failed 1992 coup d’état attempts led by Hugo Chavez help his political career? This investigation will answer the question by analyzing the result of the rwo failed coups; first, that the coups exposed the corruption, failures and weakness of President Perez and his government; second, that the coups presented an image to the Venezuelan people of a dynamic, charismatic and populist leader in the person of Chavez. The most important sources used will be contemporary press accounts, Chavez’s speech and reactions from ordinary Venezuelan people at the time.
This investigation will only asses the period between 1990 and 1998 in order to account for Chavez’s rise to power.
Summary of Evidence
Venezuela had experienced an interrupted civilian democratic rule from 1958 until 1992; with the exception to some minor coup attempts in the early 60s, but the country’s elected leaders were able to keep the military loyal and a democratic government in place.
Venezuela has one of the biggest oil reserves in the world, so they heavily on relied on high prices of oil in the international market for their export. When the price of oil went down in the international market it brought economical difficulties for the government. In the military, spending was cut back by lowering the wages of junior officers but the senior official still received lucrative wages. With inflation on the rise, junior military member’s ability to purchase was decreasing meanwhile their superiors were not struggling at all because their salaries were not lowered. This economic gap made between the ranks led to the start of leftist ideologies being accepted.
Another problem in Venezuela’s government was the vast amount of corruption instituted in Perez’s government. Perez won office for the second time and had his second term from February of 1989 until May of 1993. He was suspected all along his term to be a very corrupt politician who was later impeached in 1993 by the Supreme Court for the embezzlement of 250 million bolivares (around 17 million dollars).
The COMACATE was a group inside the military who initially wanted to change the corruption inside the military but later decided to change the whole country. This group used Simon Bolivar’s nineteenth century liberation campaign as a reference to how they thought the country should be. After the elections of...