Image: Cipriano Castro

Cipriano Castro (1858-1924)

Cipriano Castro (1858-1924), Venezuelan military leader and dictator, born near San Antonio del Tchira, Tchira State. In 1899 Castro led an insurrection, captured Caracas, and became president of Venezuela. One of the most corrupt dictators in South American history, Castro was also a libertine. His administration was marked by insurrections and by disputes with foreign countries over his attempts to confiscate foreign property and over Venezuelan foreign debt. These quarrels with European creditor nations took place between 1902 and 1907, and Venezuela was brought close to bankruptcy. In 1908, during Castro`s absence in Europe, his lieutenant and friend, Vice President Juan Vicente Gmez, declared him deposed and had himself elected president. Castro subsequently lived in exile, mostly in Puerto Rico.

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