CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
In Jaime Lusinchi's last year in government, corruption escalated. Any one who filed complaints was dismissed while wrongdoings within state institutions were concealed. Pressure on mass media was exercised through access to foreign exchange at preferential rates, and Venezuelans saw election as a panacea. In spite of this scenario, Carlos Andrés Pérez rose to victory again, and the people's hopes of a new bonanza, similar to the one during his first term in office, flourished
With his peculiar way of waving, a charismatic Carlos Andrés Pérez was elected as Venezuelan president for the second time. He easily defeated Copei candidate Eduardo Fernández File Photo: Andrés Mata Foundation / Enio Perdomo
Twenty-four candidates run for Venezuelan presidency this year. Carlos Andrés Pérez (AD) won the race with 3,868,843 (52.88 percent) votes, followed by Eduardo Fernández (40.40 percent), Teodoro Petkoff (2.71 percent), and Godofredo Marín and Ismenia de Villalba (the first female presidential candidate).
As in previous campaigns, political advertising flooded television screens, banners filled the streets and the campaigns ended in rallies in Bolívar Avenue to measure the candidate's popularity. The only exceptional event of this campaign was candidate Fernández's move aimed at gaining the vote of the lower classes. He opted not only to visit a family in the slums of Caracas, but also to spend the night at their home. According to analysts, his bold attempt actually caused him to lose popularity instead.
Carlos Andrés Pérez won, leaning heavily on the memory of the economic bonanza of his previous government despite being discredited by his fellow AD member Jaime Lusinchi, the outgoing president. Pérez also made his campaign more attractive by showcasing the support of singer José Luis Rodríguez, "The Puma."
On this year, accusations of corruption against Lusinchi's government abounded. Congressman Paciano Padrón accused Attorney General Héctor Zerpa Arcas of making illegal profits. Also, a huge administrative embezzlement scandal plagued Corporación Venezolana de Guayana. The Director of Inspection, Ministry of Finance, Ana Teresa Herrera, was dismissed for wanting to investigate into the foreign exchange control body Recadi.
During Lusinchi's term in office, his moral image was smeared by his extramarital affair with Colombian Blanca Ibáñez, who was also his private secretary. Mrs. Ibáñez thirst for power and interference in matters of the state made people call her "the woman with the most political power in Venezuela in the 20th century."
Other Venezuelans, however, were recognized internationally. Doctor Arnaldo Gabaldón was awarded a prize by John Hopkins University in the US for eradicating malaria. Ambassador Andrés Aguilar Mawdsley was appointed president of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and Marco Tulio Bruni Celli was named president of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission.
In spite of the flaws evidenced in domestic hospitals, both the Miguel Pérez Carreño healthcare center and the Vargas Hospital of Caracas spurred on positive news. In the former, heart transplants were being performed successfully, even on children, while in the latter, bone marrow transplants were being carried out.
5.- Renewed status
6.- Radio Capital
9.- Cyber Radio
We are giving our readers a sample of the work “100 Years, 100 Pages,” to be available soon. On your left hand side, you will find a page of El Universal featuring what we consider the news of the year. The opposite page is a collage of reports and advertising that show significant events occurring that year.
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