Pacto de Punto Fijo
The Pacto de Punto Fijo was an accord between the Venezuelan political parties Democratic Action (AD), COPEI and Democratic Republican Union (URD). It was signed on October 31 in 1958, only a few months after the defeat of Marcos Perez Jimenez and before the December elections of that same year.
The objective of the pact was to achieve the sustainability of the recently formed democracy, through the equal participation of all member parties in the executive cabinet of the winning party.
To the contrary of conventional wisdom, the defeat of Marcos Perez Jimenez did not lead immediately to a civil democratic regime and to the exit of the Armed Forces from the political scene. Additionally not all of the tendencies that defeated Perez Jimenez wanted to install a democratic regime and instead maintained a preference for a government of the Armed Forces the likes of which quelled the democratic "disorder" from 1945-1948.
During the year 1958 coups were attempted at various times against the Government "Junta." The concrete dangers of a military regression led to the formation of a civil Front to pave the way to democratic normalization.
Objectives of the Pact
The finality of the Pacto de Punto Fijo was expressed with the following points:
Defense of constitutionality and the right to govern conforming to the electoral result.
National Unity Government. That is to say, to consider equally all the signed parties and other elements of society in the formation of the executive cabinet of the winning party.
Program of common minimum government.
The signers of the pact were Romulo Betancourt, Raul Leoni and Gonzalo Barrios (AD), Jovito Villalba, Ignacio Luis Arcaya and Manuel Lopez Rivas (URD) and Rafael Caldera, Pedro del Corral and Lorenzo Fernandez (COPEI), while meeting in Caracas, in the residence of Caldera. The pact would be named Punto Fijo. The winner of the elections of 1958 was Romulo Betancourt.
The Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) was left out of this pact, a notable omission due to its role as one of the principle parties that fought against the dictatorship of general Marcos Perez Jimenez. The marginalization of PCV is owed to, according to some opinions, the dynamic of the Cold War, the defeat of that party by the Church and by COPEI, and a special aversion by Betancourt against the PCV.
Without a doubt the "Pacto de Punto Fijo" was complemented by the closing of the electoral process, with a declaration of principles and a program of minimum government, subscribed to by the presidential candidates of the three parties: for AD, Romulo Betancourt; for COPEI; Rafael Caldera, and for URD and the Communist Party, Wolfgang Larrazabal.
The pact, in practice, created a bipartisanship between AD and COPEI (URD lost influence progressively in the system). Even though "legally" it only lasted until the first government of Rafael Caldera (of COPEI), in reality it was maintained until 1999, when Hugo Chavez rose to the presidency. The political collapse of the signing parties signified the real end to the system of Puntofijismo.
(Spanish) Texto del Pacto de Punto Fijo
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