On this day October 18, 1945

A group of the Venezuelan Armed Forces, led by Mario Vargas, Marcos Pérez Jiménez and Carlos Delgado Chalbaud, staged a coup d’état against then president Isaías Medina Angarita, who is overthrown by the end of the day.

In October 1945, the military declared themselves in open rebellion in Caracas and Betancourt called on the people to stage a civilian uprising. Medina resigned, but it is generally acknowledged that the army, except for the rebels, was on his side and could have put down the pardo adecos as well as arrest the insubordinate officers.

This is believable because the army was the making of Gomez and Lopez Contreras and even Medina. It was a disciplined institution. But there was the other historical antecedent and that was the long history of violence in Venezuelan politics during the previous century and Medina did not want a bloody civil war on his hands.

A junta was formed which was headed by Betancourt with Delgado as minister of defence. Fully democratic elections were held for congress, in which it was shown that AD under Betancourt had indeed become the party of the vast majority of Venezuelans.

Two other parties were founded: COPEI (Independent Electoral Committee), by the pro-clerical Rafael Caldera, whose party later was later re-baptized Social Christian COPEI; and URD (Republican Democratic Union), which was joined by Jóvito Villalba, considered one of the greatest orators in Venezuelan history, and made over practically into his personal party. Since the death of Gomez, the following governments had been gradually increasing oil taxes. In the junta, energy minister Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo decreed a 50-50 sharing agreement with the oil companies.


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