Venezuelan Civil Wars (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Political ambition of local caudillos; peasant discontent with concentration of landownership. Result: Victory of federal forces, but central authority was restored with the accession of Blanco to power in 1870.
In the 1840’s, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party were formed in Venezuela. The Conservative Party represented the interests of the great landowners and of the import-export merchants and their foreign associates. The Liberal Party was a loose coalition of the urban middle class, debt-ridden planters, artisans, intellectuals, and disaffected local caudillos. Despite their differences, these two parties joined forces in March, 1858, in a revolution that overthrew the hated military regime of José Tadeo Monagas. The coalition soon broke apart, however, when a faction of extreme Conservatives seized power and installed a government even more repressive than the Monagas regime, imprisoning or deporting many Liberals, who responded with an uprising that began the Federal War (1858-1863).
The Federalists, as the Liberals came to be known, had two leaders, Ezequiel Zamora and Juan Crisóstomo Falcón. These two leaders represented two different views on federalism. Whereas for Falcón, “federalism” simply meant the continued supremacy of the local caudillo, for Zamora, it meant being for real social reform, against the...
(The entire section is 638 words.)
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