Dictatorship and Politics presents the first major study of General Juan Vicente Gómez’s regime in Venezuela from 1908 to 1935 and the efforts of Gómez’s enemies to overthrow him during his twenty-seven years in power. In this reappraisal of the Gómez regime, Brian S. McBeth demonstrates that Gómez’s success in withstanding opponents’ attacks was not only the result of his political acumen and ruthless methods of oppression. The political disagreements, personal rivalries, financial difficulties, occasional harassment by foreign powers, and at times plain bad luck of his opponents, usually in exile, were important contributing factors in the failure of their plots to overthrow him. In examining the opposition to the Gómez dictatorship, McBeth also intentionally removes the politics of oil from the center stage of the regime’s foreign relations and instead focuses on the tolerance and intolerance by foreign governments of the exiles’ activities.
This monumental work of scholarship encompasses political correspondence, personal memoirs, newspapers, British and U.S. sources, and various public and private archives in Venezuela. Historians, as well as political scientists working on themes related to dictatorships and opposition, will find the book of interest.
“Dictatorship and Politics is a fascinating revisionist study of the long regime of legendary Venezuelan dictator Juan Vicente Gomez. Brian McBeth provides a fresh analysis of a twenty-seven year autocracy that challenges the conventional depiction of a largely stable and uneventful era. To the contrary, he demonstrates that it was a period that bubbled over with revolutionary turmoil and family conflict. This exhaustively researched monograph is a valuable contribution to the fields of Latin American authoritarianism, Venezuelan political history, and oil politics in the era of gunboat diplomacy. Readers will quickly be drawn in to this shadowy world of power, revolt, and intrigue.” —Winfield Burggraaff, University of Missouri
“This book makes an original and important contribution to the study of Venezuela’s politics and international relations during the period when Juan Vicente Gómez ruled the nation (1908–1935). The massive research underlying this work is without parallel in the existing scholarly literature for this period of Venezuelan history. It will be the standard work on its subject for years to come.” —Douglas Yarrington, Colorado State University