Caldera Rodríguez, Rafael (1916–)

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Caldera Rodríguez, Rafael (1916–)

Rafael Caldera Rodríguez (b. 24 January 1916), president of Venezuela (1969–1974; reelected 5 December 1993). In 1936, Caldera helped found the National Student Union (Unión Nacional Estudiantil), an anti-Marxist Catholic student organization. He served as attorney general of the republic in 1946, and between 1959 and 1961 as president of the Chamber of Deputies. In 1946, he organized the Independent Political Electoral Organization Committee (Comité de Organización Política Electoral Independiente, COPEI), which became the Social Christian Party (Partido Social Cristiano, COPEI). Elected president in 1968 on a "democratic progressive" platform, Caldera formed a government that addressed popular issues such as distribution of wealth, housing, and education. He also established an accord with leftist guerrillas that ended a decade of internal warfare. His foreign policy broke with his predecessors' anticommunism, accepted international social justice, and reflected a growing anxiety over the expansion of Brazil's power. Caldera also negotiated an agreement with Guayana in which both nations agreed not to claim each other's territory for twelve years.

See alsoVenezuela, Political Parties: Social Christian COPEI Party .


Rafael Caldera, Ideario: La democracia cristiana en América Latina (1970).

Daniel H. Levine, Conflict and Political Change in Venezuela (1973).

David J. Myers, Democratic Campaigning in Venezuela: Caldera's Victory (1973).

John D. Martz and David J. Myers, Venezuela: The Democratic Experience (1977).

Jesús Araújo, Política y realidad (1979).

Donald L. Herman, Christian Democracy in Venezuela (1980).

José Antonio Gil Yepes, The Challenge of Venezuelan Democracy, translated by Evelyn Harrison, Lolo Gil de Yanes, and Danielle Salti (1981).

Additional Bibliography

Cartay Ramírez, Gehard. Caldera y Betancourt: Constructores de la democracia. Caracas: Ediciones Centauro, 1987.

Méndez, Ana Irene. Democracia y discurso político: Caldera, Pérez y Chávez. Caracas: Monte Avila Editores Latin-oamericana, 2004.

Perry, William, and Norman Bailey. Venezuela 1994: Challenges for the Caldera Administration. Washington DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1994.

                                      Winthrop R. Wright

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Caldera Rodríguez, Rafael (1916–)

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