Photo: Ramon Velasquez
Attorney and journalist Ramon Velasquez, acting president of Venezuela in 1993-1994, died Tuesday in Caracas, the leader of his Accion Democratica party said. He was 97.
A “great Venezuelan, historian, writer and politician with an impeccable career” has died, AD chief Henry Ramos Allup said on Twitter, without mentioning when or where the death occurred.
Velasquez was the last ex-president of Venezuela of the AD party still living after Jaime Lusinchi, who governed from 1984-1989, died last month.
State news agency AVN originally reported that Velasquez “died this Saturday in Caracas,” which was later corrected by the son of the ex-president.
“Unfortunately he died this morning and his vigil will be held Wednesday in (the Caracas cemetery of) La Guairita, and his cremation will be Thursday afternoon,” Gustavo Velasquez said.
AVN recalled that Velasquez’s brief time in office was known for the imposition of the value-added tax and the pardon granted to a drug trafficker said to be a henchman for one of the kingpins of Colombia’s Medellin cartel.
Then-Sen. Velasquez was elected interim president by Venezuela’s National Assembly in June 1993 following the suspension of head of state Carlos Andres Perez on grounds of corruption.
Velasquez was a reporter for the Caracas daily Ultimas Noticias and editor of El Nacional, the latter an activity he performed while leader of the AD party.
As such he remained imprisoned during much of the 1953-1958 dictatorship of Gen. Marcos Perez Jimenez.