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Gunboats, Corruption, and Claims: Foreign Intervention in Venezuela, 1899-1908

Overview

The Cipriano Castro administration, which ruled Venezuela from 1899 to 1908, was characterized by a series of internal and external political crises which seemed capable of toppling it at any moment. In 1901, a number of foreign countries provided financial backing to Castro's former allies, united under the leadership of Manuel Antonio Matos, who almost brought the government down. In the midst of this civil war, Germany, the United Kingdom and later Italy instituted what came to be known as the peaceful ...

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Overview

The Cipriano Castro administration, which ruled Venezuela from 1899 to 1908, was characterized by a series of internal and external political crises which seemed capable of toppling it at any moment. In 1901, a number of foreign countries provided financial backing to Castro's former allies, united under the leadership of Manuel Antonio Matos, who almost brought the government down. In the midst of this civil war, Germany, the United Kingdom and later Italy instituted what came to be known as the peaceful blockade of Venezuela to force the government to honor its foreign debts. The claims and counter-claims stemming from the conflict would eventually force the three foreign countries to sever diplomatic relations in the ensuing years.

Far from its portrayal as a nationalist champion, the Castro administration was, in McBeth's findings, more focused on the accumulation of personal wealth than on defense of Venezuelan interests. Castro would pay dearly for his misdeeds, losing power in a 1908 coup to Juan Vicente Gómez and remaining in exile until his death in 1924. The conflict would prove to be a watershed in relations with Latin America, as the United States modified its own foreign policy in response and the European powers became more aware of the limit of their political influence in the region.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A financial analyst in the city of London, McBeth explains how Cipriano Castro, an obscure politician from the backwater state of T<'a>chira reached power in 1899. Then he looks at the foreign claims on the country and the intervention that took place because of the ill-treatment of foreign capital and nationals, especially at the foreign companies that got into trouble with Castro because their contracts were subject to contradictory interpretation, and because they backed a revolutionary uprising that failed to achieve power. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
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Product Details

Meet the Author

BRIAN S. MCBETH trained as an economist and holds a doctorate in politics from the University of Oxford.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction 1
1 Tachira Comes of Age 5
2 Castro Invades 21
3 Foreign Capital and Intervention 39
4 Matos and Foreign Companies 53
5 Matos Launches His Revolution 63
6 The "Peaceful Blockade" 81
7 Castro: Xenophobe or Blackmailer? 105
8 Diplomatic Relations Deteriorate 133
9 Castro Starts to Lose His Grip 151
10 Castro's World Collapses 171
11 A New Government in Venezuela 213
12 La Rehabilitacion 241
Conclusion 261
Bibliography 269
Index 287
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