Indictment of a Dictator

The Extradition and Trial of Marcos Perez

978-1-58544-014-6 Paperback
6 x 9 x 0 in
216 pp.
Pub Date: 06/01/2000


In 1963, after four years of hearings in this country, Venezuelan former president Marcos Pérez Jiménez was extradited from the United States to his homeland, where a five-year-long trial before that country's supreme court found him guilty of misusing Venezuela's wealth. This book outlines the early career and dictatorial government of Pérez Jiménez and the efforts of his rival and eventual successor, Rómulo Betancourt, to hold him legally responsible for his abuses of power.

Among the conclusions drawn from the case, Judith Ewell shows that the effort to hold a former dictator responsible for his crimes can help legitimize the new revolutionary government, that U.S. cooperation depends more on its foreign policy of the moment than on the merits of the legal case, that extradition of a former head of state always has political overtones in spite of the statutory crimes charged, that a long trial can unexpectedly portray the former dictator as a victim and revive his political popularity, and that the former dictator's eventual return to power depends more on his own tenacity, political acumen, and will than on the nature of the crimes he committed or the skill of his opposition.

Published by Texas A&M University Press