CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
While campaigning for reelection as US president, John F. Kennedy was in a car making his way through downtown Dallas, Texas, when Lee Harvey Oswald shot him three times and killed him. The US submerged in doubts that neither a presidential committee nor time has been able to dispel. In Venezuela, constitutional guarantees were restored, and on December 14 Raúl Leoni was elected as the second president of the democratic era
President Kennedy was accompanied by his wife Jacqueline and governor Connally, surrounded by a crowd exceeding 250,000 people File Photo: Andrés Mata Foundation / AP
If Venezuela was agitated by the extradition of dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez, expelled from the United States to be brought to justice for illegal appropriation of USD 13.5 million, the events of Dallas on November 22 paralyzed the world and left an air of controversy in their wake that still persists today.
President John F. Kennedy visited the city on the trail of his reelection campaign.
As the procession made its way through downtown Dallas, he, Jacqueline, governor John Connally and his wife greeted the crowds from the convertible presidential limousine. After crossing at Elm Street several people hear a gunshot; Kennedy no longer saluted the masses. Another gunshot was fired and a bullet reached his throat. A third shot causes his brain tissue to spatter. The time was 12:30 p.m. At 1:00 p.m., an official announcement is made: the president is dead.
Fifty minutes later, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested as a suspect to the assassination of the president and for the murder of a police officer.
On the 24th of that month, Jack Ruby shoots Oswald "out of impulse": That is how the Kennedy's killer died, and the legend of one or several conspiracy theories began, involving undiscovered snipers, the CIA and Fidel Castro.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy's successor, created the Warren Commission to delve into the facts. The conclusion and official version was that of a lone sniper: Oswald had acted on his own and fired all the shots.
1963 was an electoral year in Venezuela, and at the beginning of the year President Rómulo Betancourt restored constitutional guarantees suspended during the harsh struggles against left-wing groups.
Rafael Caldera, Wolfgang Larrazábal, Arturo Uslar Pietri, Germán Borregales, Jóvito Villalba, Raúl Ramos Giménez and Raúl Leoni were registered as presidential candidates. On December 14, the Supreme Electoral Council proclaimed Leoni as president elect; his campaign was supported by the image of peasant cartoon Juan Bimba.
Prior to that, however, the country once again went through another horrific episode: On September 29, an armed group of 15 individuals assaulted the tourist train covering the route from Los Teques to El Encanto.
The people involved called themselves "Operación Olga Luzardo" and "Operación Italo Sardi," but the events would be remembered as the "Assault of the Train to El Encanto." Yet there was little heroism to be found: the assailants killed the five troops of the National Guard in one of the wagons and two children and eight women were wounded as a result of gunfire.
The government replied with its characteristic heavy hand: it attributed the crimes to PCV, MIR and any other pro-Castro factors. Congress representatives and leaders were jailed. The episode still casts a shadow of embarrassment over the guerilla of the time.
MEMORY GAME >>
Try your ability to keep images in your head and discover wonderful pictures of all times !