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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.