Marcos Pérez Jiménez

Marcos Pérez Jiménez
Marcos Pérez Jiménez
Provisional President of Venezuela
In office
2 December 1952 – 19 April 1953
Preceded by Germán Suárez Flamerich
49th President of Venezuela
In office
April 19, 1953 – January 23, 1958
Succeeded by Wolfgang Larrazábal
Personal details
Born 25 April 1914(1914-04-25)
Michelena, Táchira
Died 20 September 2001(2001-09-20) (aged 87)
Alcobendas, Madrid, Spain
Spouse(s) Flor María Chalbaud Cardona
Religion Roman Catholic

Marcos Evangelista Pérez Jiménez (25 April 1914 – 20 September 2001) was a soldier and Presidents of Venezuela from 1952 to 1958.




Marcos Evangelista Pérez Jiménez was born in Michelena, Táchira State. His father, Juan Pérez Bustamante, was a farmer; his mother, Adela Jiménez, a schoolteacher. Pérez Jiménez attended school in his home town and in Colombia, and in 1934, he graduated from the Academia Militar de Venezuela, at the top of his class. He subsequently studied at military colleges in Peru.

In 1945, Pérez Jiménez participated in a coup that helped install left wing Democratic Action party founder, Rómulo Betancourt, as President of the Revolutionary Government Junta. After a constitutional change providing universal suffrage, elections were held in 1947 which resulted in the election of party member, Romulo Gallegos. Fears of cuts in pay for military men, reduction and lack of modernization of army equipment led Pérez Jiménez and Lt. Colonel Carlos Delgado Chalbaud to stage another coup in 1948, the 1948 Venezuelan coup d'état (Chalbaud has always been incorrectly referred to by his father's last names. Carlos Chalbaud's name was Carlos Roman Chalbaud Gomez). Betancourt and Gallegos were exiled, political parties were suppressed, and the Communist Party was once again banished by the Military Junta headed by Delgado Chalbaud, and included Pérez Jiménez. After a clumsily arranged kidnaping that ended in the murder of Delgado Chalbaud, the Military Junta changed its name to a Government Junta, and reorganized itself with Pérez Jiménez pulling the string of puppet President, Germán Suárez Flamerich. Results of the much anticipated 1952 elections were showing signs of rejection of the military government; it is widely believed that the junta fixed the results to show Pérez Jiménez as the winner.


The junta called an election for 1952. When early results showed that the opposition leader was ahead and would win, the junta suspended the election and made Pérez provisional president on 2 December 1952. He became president on 19 April 1953. Soon afterward, he enacted a constitution that gave him dictatorial powers.

Pérez Jiménez (widely known as "P.J.") changed the name of the country, which had been "United States of Venezuela" since 1864, to "Republic of Venezuela". This name would remain until 1999, when it was changed it to Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela by a Constitutional referendum. (Spanish: República Bolivariana de Venezuela.)

During his government, Pérez Jiménez undertook many infrastructure projects, including construction of roads, bridges, government buildings, large public housing complexes and the symbolic Humboldt Hotel overlooking Caracas. The economy of Venezuela developed rapidly during his term. Like most dictators, Pérez was not tolerant of criticism and his government ruthlessly pursued and suppressed the opposition. Opponents of his regime were painted as communists[1] and often treated brutally.[2] While Pérez was president of Venezuela, the government of the United States awarded him the U.S. Legion of Merit.

Pérez Jiménez was up for reelection in 1957, but dispensed with these formalities. Instead, he held a plebiscite in which voters could only choose between voting "yes" or "no" to another term for the president. Predictably, Pérez Jiménez won by a large margin, though by all accounts the count was blatantly rigged.

Pérez Jiménez cabinet (1952–1958)

President Marcos Pérez Jiménez 1952–1958
Home Affairs Laureano Vallenilla Planchart 1952–1958
  Luis Felipe Llovera Páez 1958
  Antonio Pérez Vivas 1958
Foreign Relations Aureliano Otañez 1952–1956
  José Loreto Arismendi 1956–1958
  Carlos Felice Cardot 1958
Finance Aurelio Arreaza Arreaza 1952–1953
  Pedro Guzmán Rivera 1953–1958
  José Giacopini Zárraga 1958
Defense Marcos Pérez Jiménez 1952–1953
  Oscar Mazzei Carta 1953–1958
  Rómulo Fernández 1958
  Marcos Pérez Jiménez 1958
Development Silvio Gutiérrez 1952–1958
  Carlos Larrazábal Ugueto 1958
Public Works Luis Eduardo Chataing 1952–1953
  Julio Bacalao Lara 1953–1956
  Oscar Rodríguez Gragirena 1956–1958
  Oscar Mazzei 1958
Education Simón Becerra 1952–1953
  José Loreto Arismendi 1953–1956
  Darío Parra 1956–1958
  Nestor Prato Chacón 1958
  Humberto Fernández Morán 1958
Labor Carlos Tinoco Rodil 1952–1958
Communications Oscar Mazzei Carta 1952–1953
  Félix Román Moreno 1953–1956
  Luis Felipe Llovera Páez 1956–1958
  José Saúl Guerrero Rosales 1958
  Luis Felipe Llovera Páez 1958
Agriculture Alberto Arvelo Torrealba 1952–1953
  Armando Tamayo Suárez 1953–1958
  Luis Sánchez Mogollón 1958
Health and Social Assistance Pedro A. Gutiérrez Alfaro 1952–1958
Justice Luis Felipe Urbaneja 1952–1958
  Héctor Parra Márquez 1958
Mines and Hydrocarbons Edmundo Luongo Cabello 1952–1958
Secretary of Presidency Raúl Soulés Baldó 1952–1958


In January 1958, there was a general uprising and, with rioting in the streets, Pérez left the country. He moved to the United States, where he lived until 1963, when he was extradited to Venezuela on charges of embezzling $200 million during his presidential tenure. The 1959–63 extradition of Perez, related to Financiadora Administradora Inmobiliaria, S.A., one of the largest development companies in South America, and other business connections, is considered by academicians to be a classic study in the precedent for enforcement of administrative honesty in Latin American countries.[4]

Upon arrival in Venezuela he was imprisoned until his trial, which did not take place for another five years. Convicted of the charges, his sentence was commuted as he had already spent more time in jail while he awaited trial. He was then exiled to Spain. In 1968, he was elected to the Senate of Venezuela, but his election was contested, and he was kept from taking office. A quick law was passed whereby former prisoners were excluded from participating in the governmental process.

Pérez had four daughters with his wife, Flor Chalbaud, and one daughter with Marita Lorenz. He died in Alcobendas, Madrid, Spain, at the age of 87.

See also


  1. ^ Adolf A. Berle, Jr., "Latin America: The Hidden Revolution," Reporter, 28 May 1959.
  2. ^ Time, 23 August 1963, as cited in John Gunther, Inside South America, p. 492-493
  3. ^ Mendoza & Mendoza Editores (1956). Presidency of Venezuela. “Así progresa un pueblo.”
  4. ^ “The Extradition of Marcos Perez Jimenez, 1959–63: Practical Precedent for Administrative Honesty?”, Judith Ewell, Journal of Latin American Studies, 9, 2, 291–313, [1]
Preceded by
Germán Suárez Flamerich
President of Venezuela
Succeeded by
Wolfgang Larrazábal

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