The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Venezuelan Politicians of all time. This list of famous Venezuelan Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Venezuelan Politicians.
With an HPI of 84.12, Simón Bolívar is the most famous Venezuelan Politician. His biography has been translated into 138 different languages on wikipedia.
Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Ponte Palacios y Blanco (24 July 1783 – 17 December 1830) (Spanish: [siˈmom boˈliβaɾ] (listen), English: BOL-iv-ər, -ar also US: BOH-liv-ar), also colloquially as El Libertador, was a Venezuelan military and political leader who led what are currently the countries of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama to independence from the Spanish Empire. Bolívar was born in Caracas (Venezuela) into a wealthy family and as was common for the heirs of upper-class families in his day, was sent to be educated abroad at a young age, arriving in Spain when he was 16 and later moving to France. While in Europe he was introduced to the ideas of the Enlightenment, which later motivated him to overthrow the reigning Spanish in colonial South America. Taking advantage of the disorder in Spain prompted by the Peninsular War, Bolívar began his campaign for independence in 1808. The campaign for the independence of New Granada was consolidated with the victory at the Battle of Boyacá on 7 August 1819. He established an organized national congress within three years. Despite a number of hindrances, including the arrival of an unprecedentedly large Spanish expeditionary force, the revolutionaries eventually prevailed, culminating in the patriot victory at the Battle of Carabobo in 1821, which effectively made Venezuela an independent country. Following this triumph over the Spanish monarchy, Bolívar participated in the foundation of the first union of independent nations in Latin America, Gran Colombia, of which he was president from 1819 to 1830. Through further military campaigns, he ousted Spanish rulers from Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, the last of which was named after him. He was simultaneously president of Gran Colombia (present-day Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador), Peru, and Bolivia, but soon after, his second-in-command, Antonio José de Sucre, was appointed president of Bolivia. Bolívar aimed at a strong and united Spanish America able to cope not only with the threats emanating from Spain and the European Holy Alliance but also with the emerging power of the United States. At the peak of his power, Bolívar ruled over a vast territory from the Argentine border to the Caribbean Sea. Bolívar fought 100 battles, of which 79 were important, and during his campaigns rode on horseback 70,000 kilometers, which is 10 times more than Hannibal, three times more than Napoleon, and twice as much as Alexander the Great. Bolívar is viewed as a national icon in much of modern South America, and is considered one of the great heroes of the Hispanic independence movements of the early 19th century, along with José de San Martín, Francisco de Miranda and others. Towards the end of his life, Bolívar despaired of the situation in his native region, with the famous quote "all who served the revolution have plowed the sea". In an address to the Constituent Congress of the Republic of Colombia, Bolívar stated "Fellow citizens! I blush to say this: Independence is the only benefit we have acquired, to the detriment of all the rest."
With an HPI of 77.73, Hugo Chávez is the 2nd most famous Venezuelan Politician. His biography has been translated into 132 different languages.
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (, Spanish pronunciation: [ˈuɣo rafaˈel ˈtʃaβes ˈfɾi.as] (listen); 28 July 1954 – 5 March 2013) was a Venezuelan politician who was president of Venezuela from 1999 until his death in 2013, except for a brief period in April 2002. Chávez was also leader of the Fifth Republic Movement political party from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when it merged with several other parties to form the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which he led until 2012. Born into a middle-class family in Sabaneta, Barinas, Chávez became a career military officer and, after becoming dissatisfied with the Venezuelan political system based on the Puntofijo Pact, founded the clandestine Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200 (MBR-200) in the early 1980s. Chávez led the MBR-200 in an unsuccessful coup d'état against the Democratic Action government of President Carlos Andrés Pérez in 1992, for which he was imprisoned. Pardoned from prison two years later, he founded a political party known as the Fifth Republic Movement and was elected president of Venezuela in 1998 with 56.2% of the vote. He was re-elected in 2000 with 59.8% of the vote and again in 2006 with 62.8% of the vote. After winning his fourth term as president in the October 2012 presidential election with a decrease to 55.1% of the vote, he was to be sworn in on 10 January 2013. However, the inauguration was postponed due to his cancer treatment, and he died in Caracas on 5 March 2013 at the age of 58.Following the adoption of a new constitution in 1999, Chávez focused on enacting social reforms as part of the Bolivarian Revolution. Using record-high oil revenues of the 2000s, his government nationalized key industries, created participatory democratic Communal Councils and implemented social programs known as the Bolivarian missions to expand access to food, housing, healthcare and education. The high oil profits coinciding with the start of Chavez's presidency resulted in temporary improvements in areas such as poverty, literacy, income equality and quality of life between primarily 2003 and 2007, though extensive changes in structural inequalities did not occur. On 2 June 2010, Chávez declared an "economic war" on Venezuela's upper classes due to shortages, arguably beginning the crisis in Venezuela. By the end of Chávez's presidency in the early 2010s, economic actions performed by his government during the preceding decade, such as deficit spending and price controls, proved to be unsustainable, with Venezuela's economy faltering. At the same time, poverty, inflation and shortages increased. Under Chávez, Venezuela experienced democratic backsliding, as he suppressed the press, manipulated electoral laws, and arrested and exiled government critics. His use of enabling acts and his government's use of propaganda were controversial. Chávez's presidency saw significant increases in the country's murder rate and continued corruption within the police force and government.Internationally, Chávez aligned himself with the Marxist–Leninist governments of Fidel and then Raúl Castro in Cuba, as well as the socialist governments of Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. His presidency was seen as a part of the socialist "pink tide" sweeping Latin America. Chávez described his policies as anti-imperialist, being a prominent adversary of the United States's foreign policy as well as a vocal critic of U.S.-supported neoliberalism and laissez-faire capitalism. He described himself as a Marxist. He supported Latin American and Caribbean cooperation and was instrumental in setting up the pan-regional Union of South American Nations, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, the Bank of the South and the regional television network TeleSUR. Chavez's ideas, programs, and style form the basis of "Chavismo", a political ideology closely associated with Bolivarianism and socialism of the 21st century.
With an HPI of 74.27, Nicolás Maduro is the 3rd most famous Venezuelan Politician. His biography has been translated into 89 different languages.
Nicolás Maduro Moros (, Spanish: [nikoˈlaz maˈðuɾo ˈmoɾos] (listen); born 23 November 1962) is a Venezuelan politician and president of Venezuela since 2013, with his presidency under dispute since 2019. Beginning his working life as a bus driver, Maduro rose to become a trade union leader before being elected to the National Assembly in 2000. He was appointed to a number of positions under President Hugo Chávez and was described in 2012 by the Wall Street Journal as the "most capable administrator and politician of Chávez's inner circle". He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2013 and as Vice President of Venezuela from 2012 to 2013 under Chávez. After Chávez's death was announced on 5 March 2013, Maduro assumed the presidency. A special presidential election was held in 2013, which Maduro won with 50.62% of the vote as the United Socialist Party of Venezuela candidate. He has ruled Venezuela by decree since 2015 through powers granted to him by the ruling party legislature.Shortages in Venezuela and decreased living standards led to protests beginning in 2014 that escalated into daily marches nationwide, repression of dissent and a decline in Maduro's popularity. According to The New York Times, Maduro's administration was held "responsible for grossly mismanaging the economy and plunging the country into a deep humanitarian crisis" and attempting to "crush the opposition by jailing or exiling critics, and using lethal force against antigovernment protesters". An opposition-led National Assembly was elected in 2015 and a movement toward recalling Maduro began in 2016; Maduro maintained power through the Supreme Tribunal, the National Electoral Council and the military. The Supreme Tribunal removed power from the elected National Assembly, resulting in a constitutional crisis and protests in 2017. On 1 April 2017, the Supreme Tribunal partially reversed its decision. Maduro called for a rewrite of the constitution, and the Constituent Assembly of Venezuela was elected in 2017, under what many—including Venezuela's chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega and Smartmatic, the company that ran the voting machines—considered irregular voting conditions; the majority of its members were pro-Maduro. On 20 May 2018, presidential elections were called prematurely; opposition leaders had been jailed, exiled or forbidden to run, there was no international observation, and tactics to suggest voters could lose their jobs or social welfare if they did not vote for Maduro were used. Multiple nations did not recognize the Constituent Assembly election or the validity of Maduro's 2018 reelection; the Canadian, Panamanian, and the United States governments sanctioned Maduro.Maduro has been described as a "dictator", and an Organization of American States (OAS) report determined that crimes against humanity have been committed during his presidency. According to estimations by the United Nations (UN), under Maduro's administration, more than 9,000 people have been subject to extrajudicial killings and more than four million Venezuelans have been forced to flee the country. China, Cuba, Russia, Iran, and Turkey support Maduro and denounce what they call interference in Venezuela's domestic affairs. AP News stated that "familiar geopolitical sides" had formed in the Venezuelan presidential crisis, with Russia, China, Iran, Syria, and Cuba supporting Maduro, and the US, Canada, and most of Latin America and Western Europe supporting Guaidó as interim president. Amid widespread condemnation, President Maduro was sworn in on 10 January 2019, and the president of the National Assembly, Guaidó, declared himself interim president on 23 January 2019. Maduro's government states that the crisis is a "coup d'état led by the United States to topple him and control the country's oil reserves." Guaidó denies the coup allegations, saying peaceful volunteers back his movement. Following a failed military uprising on 30 April 2019, representatives of Guaidó and Maduro began mediation, with the assistance of the Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution. On 26 March 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted Maduro on charges of drug trafficking and narco-terrorism, and the Department of State offered a $15 million reward for information that helps "bring him to justice".
With an HPI of 71.59, Antonio José de Sucre is the 4th most famous Venezuelan Politician. His biography has been translated into 56 different languages.
Antonio José de Sucre y Alcalá (Spanish pronunciation: [anˈtonjo xoˈse ðe ˈsukɾe j alkaˈla] (listen); 1795–1830), known as "Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho" (English: "Grand Marshal of Ayacucho"), was a Venezuelan independence leader who served as the 4th President of Peru and as the 2nd President of Bolivia. Sucre was one of Simón Bolívar's closest friends, generals and statesmen. Due to his influence on geopolitical affairs of Latin America, a number of notable localities on the continent now bear Sucre's name. These include the eponymous capital of Bolivia, the Venezuelan state, the department of Colombia and both the old and new airports of Ecuador's capital Quito. Additionally, many schools, streets and districts across the region bear his name as well.
With an HPI of 68.40, Carolina Herrera is the 5th most famous Venezuelan Politician. Her biography has been translated into 19 different languages.
Carolina Herrera (born 8 January 1939) is a Venezuelan-American fashion designer known for "exceptional personal style", and for dressing various First Ladies, including Jacqueline Onassis, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, and Melania Trump.
With an HPI of 67.45, Carlos Andrés Pérez is the 6th most famous Venezuelan Politician. His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.
Carlos Andrés Pérez Rodríguez (27 October 1922 – 25 December 2010) also known as CAP and often referred to as El Gocho (due to his Andean origins), was a Venezuelan politician and President of Venezuela from 12 March 1974 to 12 March 1979 and again from 2 February 1989 to 21 May 1993. He was one of the founders of Acción Democrática, the dominant political party in Venezuela during the second half of the twentieth century. His first presidency was known as the Saudi Venezuela due to its economic and social prosperity thanks to enormous income from petroleum exportation. However, his second presidency saw a continuation of the economic crisis of the 1980s, a series of social crises, widespread riots known as Caracazo and two coup attempts in 1992. In May 1993 he became the first Venezuelan president to be forced out of office by the Supreme Court on charges for the embezzlement of 250 million bolívars (roughly 2.7 million US dollars) belonging to a presidential discretionary fund.
With an HPI of 67.28, Rafael Caldera is the 7th most famous Venezuelan Politician. His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.
Rafael Antonio Caldera Rodríguez (Spanish pronunciation: [rafaˈel anˈtonjo kalˈdeɾa roˈðɾiɣes] (listen ); 24 January 1916 – 24 December 2009), twice elected President of Venezuela, served for two five-year terms (1969–1974 and 1994–1999), becoming the longest serving democratically elected leader to govern the country in the twentieth century. His first term marked the first peaceful transfer of power to an opposition in Venezuela's history. Widely acknowledged as one of the founders of Venezuela’s democratic system, one of the main architects of the 1961 Constitution, and a pioneer of the Christian Democratic movement in Latin America, Caldera helped forge an unprecedented period of civilian democratic rule in a country beleaguered by a history of political violence and military caudillos.His leadership established Venezuela’s reputation as one of the more stable democracies in Latin America during the second half of the twentieth century.After graduating with a degree in law and political science from Central University of Venezuela in 1939, Caldera embarked on a 70-year long career that combined political, intellectual and academic activities.
With an HPI of 66.85, José Antonio Páez is the 8th most famous Venezuelan Politician. His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.
José Antonio Páez Herrera (Spanish pronunciation: [xo.ˈse ãn̪.ˈto.njo ˈpa.es ɛ.ˈrɛ.ɾa]; 13 June 1790 – 6 May 1873) was a Venezuelan leader who fought against the Spanish Crown for Simón Bolívar during the Venezuelan War of Independence. He later led Venezuela's independence from Gran Colombia. He dominated the country's politics for most of the next two decades once the country had achieved independence from Gran Colombia, serving either as president of Venezuela (1830–1835; 1839–1843; 1861–1863) or as the power behind puppet presidents. He is considered a prime example of a 19th-century South American caudillo, and imbued the country with a legacy of authoritarian rule that lasted, with few exceptions, until 1958. He lived in Buenos Aires and New York City during his years in exile and died in the latter in 1873.
With an HPI of 66.45, Rómulo Betancourt is the 9th most famous Venezuelan Politician. His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.
Rómulo Ernesto Betancourt Bello (22 February 1908 – 28 September 1981; Spanish pronunciation: [ˈromulo betaŋˈkuɾ]), known as "The Father of Venezuelan Democracy", was the 47th and 54th President of Venezuela, serving from 1945 to 1948 and again from 1959 to 1964, as well as leader of Acción Democrática, Venezuela's dominant political party in the 20th century. Betancourt, one of Venezuela's most important political figures, led a tumultuous and highly controversial career in Latin American politics. Periods of exile brought Betancourt in contact with various Latin American countries as well as the United States, securing his legacy as one of the most prominent international leaders to emerge from 20th-century Latin America. Scholars credit Betancourt as the Founding Father of modern democratic Venezuela.
With an HPI of 65.64, Marcos Pérez Jiménez is the 10th most famous Venezuelan Politician. His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.
Marcos Evangelista Pérez Jiménez (25 April 1914 – 20 September 2001) was a Venezuelan military and general officer of the Army of Venezuela and the de facto leader of Venezuela from 1950 to 1958, ruling as member of the military junta from 1950 to 1952 and as president from 1952 to 1958. He took part in the 1948 coup d'état, becoming part of the ruling junta. He ran in the 1952 election. However, the junta cancelled the election when early results indicated that the opposition was ahead, and declared Jiménez provisional president. He became president in 1953 and instituted a constitution that granted him dictatorial powers. Under Pérez Jiménez's rule, the rise of oil prices facilitated many public works projects, including roads, bridges, government buildings and public housing, as well as the rapid development of industries such as hydroelectricity, mining, and steel. The economy of Venezuela developed rapidly while Jiménez was in power. On the downside, Pérez Jiménez presided over one of the most repressive governments in Latin America. His government's political police, the Dirección de Seguridad Nacional (National Security), suppressed criticism and imprisoned those who opposed his rule. Following massive public demonstrations in support of democratic reforms, Perez was deposed in a coup perpetrated by disgruntled sectors within the Armed Forces of Venezuela on 23 January 1958. Perez was then exiled to Dominican Republic, later Miami, United States and afterwards went on to settle in Spain under the Franco regime's protection.
Pantheon has 45 people classified as politicians born between 1772 and 1983. Of these 45, 8 (17.78%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Nicolás Maduro, Carolina Herrera, and Pedro Carmona. The most famous deceased politicians include Simón Bolívar, Hugo Chávez, and Antonio José de Sucre. As of October 2020, 5 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Isaías Medina Angarita, Edgar Sanabria, and Julián Castro.
1962 - Present
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1783 - 1830
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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.