Venezuela, now the richest country in Latin America, on Thursday (July 5th) celebrated 143 years as an independent republic.
Venezuela, now the richest country in Latin America, on Thursday (July 5th) celebrated 143 years as an independent republic. This year's celebration began in an atmosphere of relative calm and stability compared with previous years. Oil production has increased and action by guerrilla groups has noticeably declined.
A major parade had been organised in Caracas to mark the anniversary. With a good deal of new military hardware on view -- including new tanks and recently purchased French Mirage fighter bombers -- the parade and flypast lasted for four hours.
SYNOPSIS: Venezuela celebrated its independence anniversary on Thursday with a major military parade in the capital, Caracas. This year, the celebration began smoothly in an atmosphere of relatively greater calm and stability than in many previous years. Oil production has increased -- contributing further to Venezuela's claim to the highest standard of living in Latin America -- and action by guerrilla groups has noticeably fallen off.
The anniversary parade recalls Venezuela's long struggle for independence against Spain. The hero of that struggle, Simon Bolivar, is especially honoured during the forces and military academies. Among the leaders watching the march past was President Raphael Caldera, who has this year steered the country into membership of the Andean pact alongside Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile following a successful six nation tour.
Though the armed forces have been strengthened -- these highly mobile Italian jeeps armed with cannons are a new acquisition -- the Presidency of Dr. Caldera has done much to promote the recent internal stability enjoyed by Venezuela. However, he ends his term of office this year, and the campaign has already started to find the new President in the December elections.
The independence anniversary also included a flypast by sections of the Air Force, including four newly purchased Mirage jets -- another symbol of the increasing strength of oil-rich Venezuela.