Caracas (Venezuela): Two-time President
Rafael Antonio Caldera, considered one of the founders of
Venezuelan democracy after decades of dictatorship, has died.
He was 93.
Caldera died around 2 am in the capital of Caracas, his
son Andres Caldera told Globovision news channel.
Andres Caldera did not give a cause of death, but the
former president suffered from Parkinson's disease for several
Born in 1916 in the northwestern state of Yaracuy,
Caldera obtained a political science degree at the Central
University of Venezuela, entered politics in the 1930s and
founded the Social-Christian COPEI party in 1946.
He was one of the three signers of the Punto Fijo pact,
which organised democratic elections after the fall of
dictator Gen. Marcos Perez Jimenez in 1958.
Under the pact, his Social Christian party, COPEI, and
Romulo Betancourt's Democratic Action party shared power for
nearly 40 years.
Caldera was president in 1969-74 and 1994-1999. Although
20 years divided his terms, his manner of ruling was the same:
Reserved, tough with political adversaries and inclined toward
During his first term, Caldera eliminated the remnants of
leftist guerrilla movements by granting them a general
amnesty. The period was also marked by lavish government
spending of oil revenues on public works and a growing
First Published: Friday, December 25, 2009, 11:32