CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
The walls of his Los Chorros residence trembled minutes prior to a press conference to announce the orientation and guidelines of his political party. At the age of 42, this political leader from Lara state, who once said that "politics is a cause for life, but it is life itself what truly matters," put an end to his own existence. The Central University of Venezuela was raided by authorities and arms as well as subversive materials were seized. The bolivar became an international-reserve currency, and France patented the cassette
A crowd bid farewell to Alirio Ugarte Pelayo, a honest and determined political leader who gained significant support from the people Photo: Catalá Collection / Venezuelan National Library
A main street in Maturín, eastern Venezuela, is named
after him, and in Barquisimeto, Lara state, a school was baptized
in his honor. Alirio Ugarte Pelayo was a student leader and
political force behind the Unión Republicana Democrática
(URD) party but, on May 19, he committed suicide minutes prior
to a press conference. Two months earlier, he had presented
a government program to deal with the crisis.
Born in the state of Lara, Ugarte Pelayo at the age of 18 was named president of the Supreme Council of the Student Federation of Venezuela (1942) and two years later was appointed councilman by the Altagracia parish. He graduated from law school at the Central University of Venezuela and, after the coup d' etat of 1948, he collaborated in the original drafting of the bylaws of the Military Junta.
Appointed governor of Monagas in 1949, Ugarte Pelayo promoted the Broad Base during Raúl Leoni's government and was president of the Chamber of Deputies and general secretary of URD in 1965. In May of that year, in the meeting dubbed the URD Convention of One Hundred, he led the faction opposing AD. The following year, on April 30, the Disciplinary Board of URD expelled him from the party. "Politics is a cause for life, but it is life itself what truly matters," he once said.
His death took place in his home in Los Chorros minutes prior to a meeting with the press to announce the creation of a new political party. He was 42 at the time.
Five weeks after Ugarte Pelayo's death, but far from a press conference or the intimacy of his home, another leader, guerrilla member Fabricio Ojeda died in one of the dungeons of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces.
He was a great admirer of the Cuban Revolution, and in 1962 he resigned from his post as a congressperson "to immerse myself in the mounts and join those who have initiated combat and continue in the revolutionary fight for the freedom of Venezuela, the wellbeing of our people and the redemption of the humble social classes." Those were his words as he bid farewell to his parliamentary colleagues.
The political turbulence reached its climax when military and police forces raided the Elías David La Rosa student housing, known as Stalingrad, inside the walls of the Central University, to seize arms and subversive material. Because of its autonomous nature, the university campus had until then served as a hiding ground for revolutionary groups.
In economics, the bolivar joined the dollar and the sterling pound as international reserve currencies; therefore, countries such as Spain and Chile were authorized to pay their debts in bolivars.
In other latitudes, the cassette was patented in France and, by order of Queen Elizabeth II, the British colony known as Guyana gained its independence.
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