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Isaías Medina Angarita (July 6, 1897 in San Cristóbal, Venezuelamarker – September 15, 1953 in Caracasmarker) was a Venezuelan military and political leader, president of Venezuela from 1941 until 1945.

Medina followed the path of his predecessor Eleazar López Contreras, and ruled the country's democratic transition process. He founded the Venezuelan Democratic Party in 1943. However, some in the Army considered him too liberal while other political enemies accused him of being too conservative, and both sides produced a putsch on October 18, 1945.

Early life and career

He was the son of the corianomarker general José Rosendo Medina and Alejandrina Angarita García. He went to primary and secondary school in his native city and at the age of 15 transferred to Caracasmarker to register in the Military academy on March 9, 1912. He graduated with the rank of second lieutenant on July 23, 1914. That same year he directed the third squad of the third company and the Manuel Piar second battalion of the infantry regiment.Later, on February, 1919 he returns to the Military Academy as commander of a company of cadets and as professor of this institution. He is made lieutenant colonel on January 15, 1927, and also becomes professor of Spanish in the Officer Training School and of physical education in the Federal Schools of Caracas, the Men's Normal School and the grammar school Andrés Bello.

These educational positions helped him to relate with other professors and students and to absorb new ideas and new political tendencies. He even comes to support the autonomy of the university. Later, he becomes associated with the Athens Group and the Club of the Seven, two intellectual clubs. However, he also becomes head of the Military Directorate of the War and Navy Ministry, where he initiated his friendship with Eleazar López Contreras. In 1930 he became a member of the Commission for the regulation of the military and the navy, was designated in 1931 temporary assistant of the Headquarters of the General Staff and from July 15, 1931, was head of the Cabinet and secretary of the War and Navy Ministry, a position that he held until July 12, 1935. Promoted to colonel rank, he is named by executive decree minister of War on March 1, 1936 and Brigadier general on July 5, 1940.

Presidency and last years

In the elections conducted by the National Congress on April 28, 1941, Medina Angarita was elected president with 120 votes, against 13 obtained by his closest opponent, Rómulo Gallegos. In April 30, 1941, he married Irma Felizola, and on May 5 he assumed the Presidency of the Republic. At the time, Venezuela had 3.870.771 inhabitants and Caracas 269,000, and a national budget of Bs. 300.000.000. Medina Angarita as president was a military man who respected human rights and freedom of expression, allowed the free activity of the political parties, promoted constitutional reforms which granted for the first time the vote to women, instituted the direct election of deputies and allowed the legalization of the Venezuelan Communist Party. However, he failed to implement universal, direct and secret suffrage, which was one of the main complaints used to justify his overthrow on October 18, 1945. He was arrested and expelled from the country.

On May 8, 1952, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, and was hospitalized at the Doctor's Hospital of New Yorkmarker, where he was in exile. He was allowed to return to Caracasmarker by the government, but he then suffered an abdominal aneurism, passing away on September 15, 1953.

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