“Rómulo Betancourt is one of those people who made a difference, not only for his native Venezuela but as an exemplar of what might be possible for other nations in their quest for freedom and democracy within a context of economic prosperity and socioeconomic well-being.”—from the foreword by John V. Lombardi  

“A book twice essential: first for the man, beyond the question of whether this work on Betancourt’s significance matches the political preferences of the reader, and second, for the work’s clarification of Betancourt’s achievements and struggles that help us understand from where we have come and to where we are going.”—El Nacional

“Ensures that Venezuelans can gain the insight needed to understand the value of their past that remains alive, dynamic, and largely responsible, for better or worse, for their present.”—Vice Versa

“Romulo Betancourt has been and will continue to be an inspiration for Venezuelans attempting to recapture their democracy. That the volume is by Germán Carrera Damas, one of Venezuela’s greatest historians, only increases the pleasure of reading this book.”—Joseph S. Tulchin, author of Latin America in International Politics: Challenging US Hegemony

Available here for the first time in English, Rómulo Betancourt: His Historical Personality and the Genesis of Modern Democracy in Venezuela has been a Spanish-language classic in Venezuela since its publication in 2013. This book is an extended essay on a transformational figure in the country’s history from an internationally-renowned public intellectual, Germán Carrera Damas.            

In this work, Carrera Damas captures a significant transition for the nation that began in the 1940s when Rómulo Betancourt and his colleagues overthrew the ruling military dictatorship and established a modern democratic regime. However, the system Betancourt created eventually deteriorated after his presidency. Carrera Damas not only delves into the evolving political thought of a leader who remained dedicated to his cause throughout a varied career, but also offers insights on what it takes to create and sustain a democratic republic under difficult circumstances.           

As the country’s current economic and political crisis intensifies, this book will help English speakers understand the cultural context of Venezuela’s contemporary moment as well as historical precedent for the next stages in the development of its position in the world.  

Germán Carrera Damas is retired professor of history at the Central University of Venezuela and has served as Venezuela’s ambassador to Colombia, Mexico, and the Czech Republic. His many books include El culto a Bolívar and Una nación llamada VenezuelaElizabeth Lowe teaches in the MS in Translation and Interpreting program at New York University. She is the translator of Backlands: The Canudos Campaign by Euclides da Cunha.  

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