Venezuela, a Recent History: Politics

The Venezuelan President is elected by vote for everyone over the age of 18 and voting is not compulsory.

The economical crises of the 1980’s and 1990’s led to mass protests and resulted in hundreds dead in the Caracazo riots in 1989, two attempted coups in 1992 and the impeachment of President Carlos Andres Perez for corruption in 1993. This led to the collapse in confidence in the existing parties and paved the way for Hugo Chavez who was elected in 1998, the man who had led the two coups in 1992.

hugo chavez

Hugo Chavez formed a constitutional assembly in 1999 to write a new constitution of Venezuela. As mentioned in the introduction Hugo Chavez faced a country wide strike in 2002/2003 and the Venezuelan recall referendum in 2004, these all failed and he was re-elected in 2006 although he has a significant set back in 2007 with the rejection of constitutional referendum, which offered two packages aimed at reforming the constitution.

After the death of Hugo Chavez in early 2013 Nicolas Maduro took over as interim President and then narrowly won the Presidential election later in 2013. Not long after he began his Presidential term Maduro was faced with mass protests as the middle took to the streets in protest to his government. However the poorest people in the country stood with him and the military and police rallied to supports him. This eventually let to several high-profile critics being imprisoned. These protests ended in just a few months.


Some of Maduro’s economic policies led to the richest people in Venezuela leaving due to high taxes, this has led to extremely high inflation and more protests all over the country.

Maduro continued to characterise the protests as an attempted coup fostered by a U.S.-supported capitalist conspiracy. In May 2017 he announced his intention to convene a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution, which he pledged would be submitted to a consultative referendum.