Leoni, Raúl

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Leoni, Raúl

(räo͞ol` lāō`nē), 1905–72, president of Venezuela (1964–69). As a student (1921) he was jailed for political activity and during the next 37 years was several times exiled. He returned to Caracas after the overthrow of President Pérez Jiménez in 1958, was elected to the senate, and became leader of the Democratic Action party. As president, he continued Rómulo Betancourt's social and economic reforms and launched an ambitious program to develop the interior. His succession by Rafael Caldera, a Social Christian, marked the first time in Venezuelan history that power was peacefully transferred to a member of an opposition party.

Leoni, Raúl

 

Born Apr. 26, 1905, in Upata; died July 5, 1972, in New York. Venezuelan statesman and politician. Lawyer by education.

From 1927 to 1928, Leoni was president of the Venezuelan Student Federation, which opposed the J. V. Gomez dictatorship (1909–35). In 1941 he helped found the petit bourgeois reformist Democratic Action Party and subsequently was one of its leaders. Leoni was minister of labor from 1945 to 1947 in the R. Betancourt government and from 1947 to 1948 in the R. Gallegos government. Senator and chairman of the Democratic Action Party from 1958 to 1963, Leoni was president of Venezuela from 1964 to 1969. The Leoni government continued Betancourt’s reactionary policy.