One of the major points of controversy in recent Venezuelan political history is the October, 1945, Revolution and the events surrounding it. The 1963 presidential campaign revived the controversy, and it has been extended by the posthumous publication of this autobiography by the deposed president, General Isaías Medina Angarita. The volume is brief and rather sketchy. It encompasses Medina’s entry into politics after a military career, outlines the major policies of his administration, and concludes with a description of his ultimate removal from office.
Writing in measured tones of his executive responsibility, the author declares that “in order to avoid for my country the ills of prolonged turbulence, of insecurity, of civil war and of loss of international prestige, I hesitated not a moment in sacrificing … the Government over which I presided.” Yet this does not square with the fact that sometimes heated fighting continued some two days after his departure from Venezuela. Furthermore, it is questionable whether the bulk of the military remained loyal to Medina, as he believes.
There is little question that the medinista period marked a substantial stride forward in the evolution of Venezuelan public affairs. Yet Medina’s intellectual ties with the traditions of the past are apparent in his almost naive discussion of political problems and his unguarded optimism in the armed forces. A certain primitiveness shines forth in broad criticisms of the value of political parties in a constitutional democracy.
In sum, this book gives Medina’s views on certain important matters but is far too brief to provide the kind of detailed analysis that might strengthen the position of his administration in the eyes of history.