This section deals with all but one of the democratic presidents of Venezuela between 1945 and the early 1990s and contains as well a short entry on Lt. Col. Carlos Delgado Chalbaud, the military man who seized power in October 1948. The one democratic chief executive of Venezuela who is obviously not dealt with in these pages is Rómulo Betancourt. This is because the first book in this series, Venezuela's Voice for Democracy, dealt exclusively with him.
The period covered by this book really began with the revolution of October 1945, when what had until then been the principal opposition party, Acción Democrática (AD), and a group of younger military men seized power. This revolution marked the definitive end of the rule of Venezuela by the "Tyrant of the Andes," Juan Vicente Gómez (who died in bed in December 1935), and his associates and heirs.
Of equal importance with these political and socio-economic changes was the establishment of a new relationship between the Venezuelan government and the foreign-owned oil industry which provided most of the country's foreign exchange. The "50-50 principle" was established for the first time in any country, which provided that half of the profits the oil firms generated in Venezuela should stay in Venezuela either as taxes or as investments agreed upon between the government and the petroleum companies.
Between October 1945 and February 1948, there was in power a Revolutionary Junta, headed by Rómulo Betancourt.