Friday, March 6, 2015

President Cipriano Castro

Illustration of President Castro Ruiz.
Description of Illustration: a black and white illustrated portrait of President Castro, tie pin

José Cipriano Castro Ruiz (1858–1924) was a high-ranking member of the Venezuelan military, politician and the President of Venezuela from 1899 to 1908. He was the first man from the Andes to rule the country, and was the first of five military strongmen from the Andean state of Táchira to rule the country over the next 46 years.
      Amassing considerable support from disaffected Venezuelans, Castro's once personal army developed into a strong national army, and he used it to march on Caracas in October 1899 in an event called the Revolución Liberal Restauradora, and seize power, installing himself as the supreme military commander.
      Once in charge, Castro inaugurated a period of plunder and political disorder having assumed the vacant presidency, after modifying the constitution (1904). He remained president for the period 1904-1911, designating Juan Vicente Gomez his "compadre" as vice-president.
      Castro's rule was marked by frequent rebellions, the murder or exile of his opponents, his own extravagant living, and trouble with other nations. Castro was characterized as "a crazy brute" by United States secretary of state Elihu Root and as "probably the worst of Venezuela's many dictators" by historian Edwin Lieuwen. His nine years of despotic and dissolute rule are best known for having provoked numerous foreign interventions, including blockades and bombardments by British, German, and Italian naval units seeking to enforce the claims of their citizens against Castro's government. Read more . . .
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