The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from Venezuela

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This page contains a list of the greatest Venezuelan Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 19,576 Politicians, 46 of which were born in Venezuela. This makes Venezuela the birth place of the 63rd most number of Politicians behind Algeria, and Cuba.

Top 10

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.

Photo of Simón Bolívar

1. Simón Bolívar (1783 - 1830)

With an HPI of 79.41, Simón Bolívar is the most famous Venezuelan Politician.  His biography has been translated into 148 different languages on wikipedia.

Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar Palacios Ponte y Blanco (24 July 1783 – 17 December 1830) was a Venezuelan military and political leader who led what are currently the countries of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, and Bolivia to independence from the Spanish Empire. He is known colloquially as El Libertador, or the Liberator of America. Simón Bolívar was born in Caracas in the Captaincy General of Venezuela into a wealthy family of American-born Spaniards (criollo) but lost both parents as a child. Bolívar was educated abroad and lived in Spain, as was common for men of upper-class families in his day. While living in Madrid from 1800 to 1802, he was introduced to Enlightenment philosophy and married María Teresa Rodríguez del Toro y Alaysa, who died in Venezuela from yellow fever in 1803. From 1803 to 1805, Bolívar embarked on a Grand Tour that ended in Rome, where he swore to end the Spanish rule in the Americas. In 1807, Bolívar returned to Venezuela and promoted Venezuelan independence to other wealthy creoles. When the Spanish authority in the Americas weakened due to Napoleon's Peninsular War, Bolívar became a zealous combatant and politician in the Spanish-American wars of independence. Bolívar began his military career in 1810 as a militia officer in the Venezuelan War of Independence, fighting Royalist forces for the first and second Venezuelan republics and the United Provinces of New Granada. After Spanish forces subdued New Granada in 1815, Bolívar was forced into exile on Jamaica. In Haiti, Bolívar met and befriended Haitian revolutionary leader Alexandre Pétion. After promising to abolish slavery in Spanish America, Bolívar received military support from Pétion and returned to Venezuela. He established a third republic in 1817 and then crossed the Andes to liberate New Granada in 1819. Bolívar and his allies defeated the Spanish in New Granada in 1819, Venezuela and Panama in 1821, Ecuador in 1822, Peru in 1824, and Bolivia in 1825. Venezuela, New Granada, Ecuador, and Panama were merged into the Republic of Colombia (Gran Colombia), with Bolívar as president there and in Peru and Bolivia. In his final years, Bolívar became increasingly disillusioned with the South American republics, and distanced from them because of his centralist ideology. He was successively removed from his offices until he resigned the presidency of Colombia and died of tuberculosis in 1830. His legacy is diverse and far-reaching within Latin America and beyond. He is regarded as a hero and national and cultural icon throughout Latin America; the nations of Bolivia and Venezuela (as the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) are named after him, and he has been memorialized all over the world in the form of public art or street names and in popular culture.

Photo of Hugo Chávez

2. Hugo Chávez (1954 - 2013)

With an HPI of 72.47, Hugo Chávez is the 2nd most famous Venezuelan Politician.  His biography has been translated into 139 different languages.

Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈuɣo rafaˈel ˈtʃaβes ˈfɾi.as] ; 28 July 1954 – 5 March 2013) was a Venezuelan politician and military officer who served as president of Venezuela from 1999 until his death in 2013, except for a brief period of forty-seven hours in 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, he founded the clandestine Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200 (MBR-200) in the early 1980s. Chávez led the MBR-200 in its 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 the Fifth Republic Movement political party, and then receiving 56.2% of the vote, was elected president of Venezuela in 1998. 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 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 on 5 March at age 58, he died in Caracas.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.Across the political spectrum, Chávez is regarded as one of the most influential and controversial politicians in the modern history of Venezuela and Latin America. His 14-year presidency marked the start of the socialist "pink tide" sweeping Latin America—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. 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. Chávez's ideas, programs, and style form the basis of "Chavismo", a political ideology closely associated with Bolivarianism and socialism of the 21st century. 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 neoliberalism and laissez-faire capitalism. He described himself as a Marxist.

Photo of Nicolás Maduro

3. Nicolás Maduro (b. 1962)

With an HPI of 66.86, Nicolás Maduro is the 3rd most famous Venezuelan Politician.  His biography has been translated into 94 different languages.

Nicolás Maduro Moros (Spanish: [nikoˈlas maˈðuɾo ˈmoɾos] ; born 23 November 1962) is a Venezuelan politician who has served as the president of Venezuela since 2013. 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, serving as President of the National Assembly from 2005 to 2006, as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2013 and as the vice president 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, where Maduro was declared the winner 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 a wave of protests in 2014 that escalated into daily marches nationwide, repression of dissent and a decline in Maduro's popularity. An opposition-led National Assembly was elected in 2015 and a movement toward recalling Maduro began in 2016, which was ultimately cancelled by Maduro's government; 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 another wave of protests in 2017. As a response to the protests, Maduro called for a rewrite of the constitution, and the Constituent Assembly of Venezuela was elected in 2017 under voting conditions that many concluded were irregular. On 20 May 2018, presidential elections were held; President Maduro was sworn in on 10 January 2019 with widespread condemnation, and the president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, was declared interim president on 23 January 2019 by the opposition legislative body—kicking off a presidential crisis that spanned nearly four years and divided the international community.Maduro has been described as an autocrat and a dictator. Between 2013 and 2023, Venezuela dropped 42 places in the Press Freedom Index. According to estimations by the United Nations (UN) and Human Rights Watch, under Maduro's administration, more than 20,000 people have been subject to extrajudicial killings and seven million Venezuelans have been forced to flee the country. The UN Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela concluded that the country's justice system independence has been deeply eroded; the mission also identified frequent due process violations, including political external interference and the admission of evidence through torture. Most Venezuelan television channels are controlled by the state, and information unfavorable to the government is not covered completely. In 2018, a Board of Independent Experts designated by the Organization of American States (OAS) found that crimes against humanity have been committed in Venezuela during Maduro's presidency, and in 2021 the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced the opening of an investigation regarding the situation in the country.

Photo of Antonio José de Sucre

4. Antonio José de Sucre (1795 - 1830)

With an HPI of 62.77, Antonio José de Sucre is the 4th most famous Venezuelan Politician.  His biography has been translated into 57 different languages.

Antonio José de Sucre y Alcalá (Spanish pronunciation: [anˈtonjo xoˈse ðe ˈsukɾej alkaˈla] ; 3 February 1795 – 4 June 1830), known as the "Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho" (English: "Grand Marshal of Ayacucho"), was a Venezuelan general and politician who served as the president of Bolivia from 1825 to 1828. A close friend and associate of Simón Bolívar, he was one of the primary leaders of South America's struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire. Born to an aristocratic family in Cumaná, Sucre joined the revolt against Spanish rule in 1814 and quickly established himself as a highly capable military leader. In 1822, he led the Patriot forces to triumph at Pichincha and liberated Quito, from which modern Ecuador would eventually emerge. As Bolívar's chief lieutenant, he went on to score a decisive victory over the Spanish Royalist army at the Battle of Ayacucho in 1824, which effectively secured the independence of Peru. Afterwards he moved into Upper Peru, pacified the Royalist resistance and set up an administration on Bolívar's orders. The region achieved independence as the Bolivia, and Sucre was inaugurated as president of the new republic after Bolívar passed on the duty. Sucre's tenure as president was beset by difficulties, and opposition to his rule mounted as the populace turned against Bolívar and his followers. He was forced to resign in 1828, but was recalled to military duty on the outbreak of the Gran Colombia–Peru War, in which he commanded Colombian forces and fought the Peruvian invaders to a standstill. He was assassinated in Berruecos, Colombia in 1830, and the identity of the conspirators remains a subject of historical speculation.

Photo of Carolina Herrera

5. Carolina Herrera (b. 1939)

With an HPI of 61.43, Carolina Herrera is the 5th most famous Venezuelan Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Carolina Herrera (born María Carolina Josefina Pacanins y Niño; 8 January 1939) is a Venezuelan fashion designer known for her personal style, and for dressing various First Ladies, including Jacqueline Onassis, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, and Melania Trump.

Photo of Rafael Caldera

6. Rafael Caldera (1916 - 2009)

With an HPI of 60.42, Rafael Caldera is the 6th most famous Venezuelan Politician.  His biography has been translated into 43 different languages.

Rafael Antonio Caldera Rodríguez (Spanish pronunciation: [rafaˈel anˈtonjo kalˈdeɾa roˈðɾiɣes] ; 24 January 1916 – 24 December 2009), twice elected the 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 the 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.

Photo of Carlos Andrés Pérez

7. Carlos Andrés Pérez (1922 - 2010)

With an HPI of 58.79, Carlos Andrés Pérez is the 7th most famous Venezuelan Politician.  His biography has been translated into 40 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 the 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. After the fall of dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez and returning from exile, Pérez served as the Interior Affairs Minister for Rómulo Betancourt between 1959 to 1964, when he became known for his tough response against guerrillas. 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, whose money was used to support the electoral process in Nicaragua and hire bodyguards for President Violeta Chamorro.

Photo of Rómulo Betancourt

8. Rómulo Betancourt (1908 - 1981)

With an HPI of 58.45, Rómulo Betancourt is the 8th most famous Venezuelan Politician.  His biography has been translated into 42 different languages.

Rómulo Ernesto Betancourt Bello (22 February 1908 – 28 September 1981; Spanish pronunciation: [ˈromulo βetaŋˈkuɾ]), known as "The Father of Venezuelan Democracy", was the president of Venezuela, 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 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.

Photo of Ramón José Velásquez

9. Ramón José Velásquez (1916 - 2014)

With an HPI of 56.96, Ramón José Velásquez is the 9th most famous Venezuelan Politician.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Ramón José Velásquez Mujica (28 November 1916 – 24 June 2014) was a Venezuelan politician, historian, journalist, and lawyer. He served as the president of Venezuela between 1993 and 1994.

Photo of Marcos Pérez Jiménez

10. Marcos Pérez Jiménez (1914 - 2001)

With an HPI of 56.82, Marcos Pérez Jiménez is the 10th most famous Venezuelan Politician.  His biography has been translated into 33 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 dictator 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 Venezuelan 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'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 Pérez was in power. On the other hand, Pérez presided over one of the most repressive governments in Venezuela. 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, Pérez was deposed in a coup perpetrated by disgruntled sectors within the Armed Forces of Venezuela on 23 January 1958. Pérez was then exiled to the Dominican Republic, later Miami, United States and afterwards went on to settle in Spain under the Franco regime's protection.

People

Pantheon has 54 people classified as Venezuelan politicians born between 1772 and 1983. Of these 54, 11 (20.37%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Venezuelan politicians include Nicolás Maduro, Carolina Herrera, and Pedro Carmona. The most famous deceased Venezuelan politicians include Simón Bolívar, Hugo Chávez, and Antonio José de Sucre. As of April 2024, 8 new Venezuelan politicians have been added to Pantheon including Victorino Márquez Bustillos, María Corina Machado, and Francisco Linares Alcántara.

Living Venezuelan Politicians

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Deceased Venezuelan Politicians

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Newly Added Venezuelan Politicians (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.