Image: Guzman Blanco Antonio

Antonio Guzmn Blanco (1829-99)

Antonio Guzmn Blanco (1829-99), Venezuelan president (1870-77, 1879-84, and 1886-88). Born in Caracas, he was the son of Antonio L. Guzmn, founder of Venezuela`s Liberal Party. After studying law and medicine Guzmn became an adviser to Liberal president Juan Falcn and served (1863-68) as his vice president. When the so-called Blue (Azul) Revolution overthrew Falcn, Guzmn returned from England to take command of the Liberals, and after a successful invasion in 1870 he was declared president. For the next 18 years he ruled Venezuela either directly or through hand-picked subordinates. He encouraged foreign investment and brought a measure of prosperity to the country. At odds with the Roman Catholic church, he spread a kind of civic religion of his own, featuring a pantheon of great men of the past. Guzmn gave up power in 1888 and retired to Paris, where he died.

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