Carlos Andrés Pérez Rodríguez (Rubio, Estado Táchira, Venezuela, 27 de octubre de 1922 – Miami, Estado de Florida, Estados Unidos, 25 de diciembre de 2010) fue un político venezolano perteneciente al partido Acción Democrática, que ejerció el cargo de Presidente de la República en dos periodos (1974-1979 y 1989-1993).
Durante su primer mandato, el país fue conocido con el apodo de "Venezuela Saudita" debido al flujo de petrodólares que ingresaron por la exportación del petróleo venezolano como consecuencia del embargo árabe de crudo. Su segundo mandato, a diferencia del anterior, estuvo marcado por escándalos de corrupción que culminarían con su separación del cargo, ante la declaración de procedencia de antejuicio de mérito por parte de la Corte Suprema de Justicia acusado de malversación de fondos públicos y fraude a la nación, y la crisis social manifiesta en el llamado Caracazo. Tanto los escándalos de corrupción como el Caracazo fueron utilizados como argumento por Hugo Chávez y Hernán Grüber Odremán para dos intentos de golpe de Estado el 4 de febrero y el 27 de noviembre de 1992, respectivamente. Al ser separado de sus funciones por el Congreso Nacional el 21 de mayo de 1993 por el delito de malversación de fondos públicos, se convirtió en el único presidente en ejercicio en la historia en ser destituido por una acción judicial.
Condenado por la justicia, recuperó su libertad en 1999, resultando electo como congresista en el Congreso bicameral, disuelto posteriormente por la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente que redactó la Constitución venezolana de 1999. Autoexiliado en República Dominicana y en los Estados Unidos, fue acusado de diversos delitos económicos.
Carlos Andrés Pérez Rodríguez (27 October 1922 – 25 December 2010), also known as CAP and often referred to as El Gocho (due to his Andean origins), was a Venezuelan politician, President of Venezuela from 1974 to 1979 and again from 1989 to 1993. His first presidency was known as the Saudi Venezuela due to its economic and social prosperity thanks to enormous income from petroleum exportation. However, his second period saw a continuation of the economic crisis of the 1980s, and saw a series of social crises, a popular revolt (denominated Caracazo) and two coup attempts in 1992. In May 1993 he became the first Venezuelan president to be forced out of the office by the Supreme Court, for the embezzlement of 250 million bolívars belonging to a presidential discretionary fund.
The political life of Carlos Andrés Pérez began at the age of 15, when he became a founding member of the Venezuelan Youth Association and a member of the National Democratic Party, both of which were opposed to the repressive administration of General Eleazar López Contreras, who had succeeded the dictatorship of Juan Vicente Gómez in 1935. He also co-operated with the first labour unions in his region. When he moved to Caracas, in 1939, he started an ascendant political career as a youth leader and founder of the Democratic Action (AD) party, in which he would play an important role during the 20th century, first as a close ally to party founder Rómulo Betancourt and then as a political leader in his own right.
At the age of 23, Pérez was appointed Private Secretary to the Junta President, Rómulo Betancourt, and became Cabinet Secretary in 1946. La República and kept in close contact with Betancourt and other AD leaders.
In 1948, when the military staged a coup against the democratically elected government of Rómulo Gallegos, Pérez was forced to go into exile (going to Cuba, Panama and Costa Rica) for a decade. He temporarily returned to Venezuela secretly in 1952 to complete special missions in his fight against the new dictatorial government. He was imprisoned on various occasions and spent more than two years in jail in total. In Costa Rica, he was active in Venezuelan political refugee circles, worked as Editor in Chief of the newspaper
In 1958, after the fall of dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez, Pérez returned to Venezuela and participated in the reorganization of the AD Party. He served as Minister of Interior and Justice from 1959 to 1964. After the end of the Betancourt administration and the 1963 elections, Pérez left government temporarily and dedicated himself to consolidating his support in the party. During this time, he served as head of the AD in Congress and was elected to the position of Secretary General of AD, a role that was crucial in laying the ground for his presidential ambitions.
In 1973, Carlos Andrés Pérez was nominated to run for the presidency for AD. He was elected in December of that year, receiving 48.7% of the vote against the 36.7% of his main rival. Turnout in these elections reached an unprecedented 97% of all eligible voters, a level which has not been achieved since. Towards the end of his first term in office, Pérez's reputation was tarnished by accusations of excessive, and disorderly, government spending.
His administration was often referred to as Saudi Venezuela for its grandiose and extravagant ambitions.
Carlos Andrés Pérez maintained a high profile in international affairs. In 1980, he was elected president of the Latin American Association of Human Rights. He collaborated with Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere in the organization of the South-South Commission. He actively participated in the Socialist International, where he served as Vice-President for three consecutive terms, under the presidency of Willy Brandt from West Germany. Willy Brandt and Carlos Andrés Pérez, together with the Dominican Republic's José Francisco Peña Gómez, expanded the activities of the Socialist International from Europe to Latin America. In 1988, he became a Member of the Council of Freely-Elected Heads of Government, established by the former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter. He was elected Chairman of the Harvard University Conference on Foreign Debt in Latin America, in September 1989.
In February 1989, at the beginning of his second term as president, he accepted an International Monetary Fund proposal known as the Washington consensus. In 1992, his government survived two coup attempts. The first attempt took place 4 February 1992, and was led by Lieutenant-Colonel Hugo Chávez, who was later elected president. With the attempt having clearly failed, Chávez was catapulted into the national spotlight when he was allowed to appear live on national television to call for all remaining rebel detachments in Venezuela to cease hostilities. When he did so, Chávez famously quipped on national television that he had only failed "por ahora"—"for now". The second, and much bloodier, insurrection took place on 27 November 1992.
On 20 March 1993, Attorney General Ramón Escovar Salom introduced action against Pérez for the embezzlement of 250 million bolivars belonging to a presidential discretionary fund, or partida secreta. The issue had originally been brought to public scrutiny in November 1992 by journalist José Vicente Rangel. Pérez and his supporters claim the money was used to support the electoral process in Nicaragua. On 20 May 1993, the Supreme Court considered the accusation valid, and the following day the Senate voted to strip Pérez of his immunity. Pérez refused to resign, but after the maximum 90 days temporary leave available to the President under Article 188 of the 1961 constitution, the National Congress removed Pérez from office permanently on 31 August. Pérez' trial concluded in May 1996, and he was sentenced to 28 months in prison. In 1998 he was prosecuted again. In 1999 he ran again for the National Assembly, but did not gain a seat.
On 20 December 2001, while in Dominican Republic, a court in Caracas ordered his detention, on charges of embezzlement of public funds. On 3 February 2002 he was formally asked in extradition. After that, he self-exiled in Miami, Florida, from where he became one of the most vehement opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. On 23 October 2003, at 81 years old, he suffered a stroke that left him partially disabled. On 24 February 2005 he was prosecuted for his responsibility in the Plan Ávila he endorsed while President in 1989, to the Army to repress the citizenry during the Caracazo, causing the death of hundreds of civilians.
On 25 December 2010, Perez was rushed to Mercy Hospital in Miami, where he died that same afternoon. The cause of death was initially reported as having been a heart attack, but was later referred to as "respiratory failure".
March 13, 2013