Friday, 3 September 2010

Mapping power in Venezuela

Here I have placed the birth locations for all Venezuelan heads of state since 1811. Of course, the municipios as they are now are a rather recent invention. The dots in blue represent civilians and the ones in red are military caudillos. The concentration in certain areas corresponds approximately with the density of population. You can see current density in the map for 2001. Density distribution was not quite the same before, but generally speaking, Northern Venezuela has always been more densely populated than the Llanos and definitely more than south of the Orinoco river.

XIX century
I put two little dots outside Venezuela because one of the heads of state, Ezequiel Bruzual, was born in Santa Marta, now Colombia, and the other, Baltasar Padrón, in Spain (probably Canary Islands).

XX century

The first part of the XX century was ruled by the "gochos", as Venezuelans call the inhabitants of the Andes region, where Táchira is located. I did not include the 3 puppet presidents who reigned while military Gómez was being the real dictator of the country.

XXI Century

Since 1999 we have had the military honcho Chávez as head of state. He holds more power than any other head of state since 1958. As he says, "jefe es jefe". We already had military dictators coming from the Llanos in the XIX century, but Chávez is the first one from the Southern Llanos. I will later write more about the Llanos phenomenon.

Although you see some blue, almost all civil presidents in Venezuela outside the 1958-1998 period stayed in power for very brief periods and their terms were almost always interrupted by some military coup. Civilians ruled for only 7 years from 1811 to the end of the XIX century. Latin America has quite some history of military manipulation of its masses, but Venezuela is probably the leading nation when it comes to military regimes. The second half of the XX century was the exception.

Notice there has been no head of state from Zulia. I have the strong suspicion blogger Juan Cristobal does not like that at all.

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