CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
Two workers' strikes and a large student protest against press censorship signaled a year filled with people demonstrations. Thus, Venezuelans woke up from 27 years under the dictatorship of General Juan Vicente Gómez, who died on December 17th, 1935. Despite the government retaliation and control, incoming President Eleazar López Contreras softened the actions of the past and promoted change towards democracy
General López Contreras accompanied by members of his cabinet, following the death of President Juan Vicente Gómez, which ignited fears of protests nationwide (Photo: Andrés Mata Foundation)
Year 1936 can be termed after three words -change, freedom
and protests. Historians formally branded it a year of transition
towards democracy, because the country started January 1st
without Juan Vicente Gómez (1857-1935) in office.
General Gómez's demise on December 17th, 1934, and the inauguration of General Eleazar López Contreras marked the developments during the following 12 months, where Venezuelans, after a 27-year dictatorship, took the streets to speak up. At that time, El Universal reported that the government replied to looting and protests with cessation of constitutional rights, which in turn resulted in additional demonstrations.
Such "people outbreak" that the national history acknowledged as the starting point of citizen's participation in politics, had three key times. First of all, in February, concomitantly with suspended constitutional rights, Caracas governor Félix Galavís created a Censorship Office against newspapers. In this regard, a headline at El Universal read: "This newspaper is subject to public censorship."
On February 14th, a protest at Caracas' Bolívar square was attacked with shots from the local government offices. Six people died and 150 were wounded. Later, on that day, a student march headed for Miraflores presidential palace. After some meetings with President López Contreras, they succeeded in Galavís' removal. On February 21st, constitutional rights were effective again. Later, the President introduced his government plan, including reduction of the presidential term to five years and removal of immediate reelection.
Nevertheless, there was not calm. The promotion of the Lara Law on public order unleashed in June a strike staged by workers, students and political movements. While they failed because the law was finally passed, it was the first general nationwide political strike.
And December came, preceded by months filled with demonstrations -including some protests against the Spanish Civil War. All of them framed the development of the new country's politicians and resulted, for instance, in the creation of the National Democratic Party, led by Jóvito Villalba.
According to historian Ramón J. Velásquez, on December 9th, over 10,000 oil-sector workers went on the first strike of the oil sector in the country. "It was an extraordinarily significant political event," he said.
The strike lingered more than 40 days. On January 1937, López Contreras orders to resume the works after approving the increase by one Venezuelan bolivar requested by workers from foreign oil companies. El Universal reasoned at that time: "Fruitful teachings should be taken from this conflict for the domestic future." It seems that there is still a lot to learn.
5.- Renewed status
6.- Radio Capital
9.- Cyber Radio
MEMORY GAME >>
Try your ability to keep images in your head and discover wonderful pictures of all times !