Juan Vicente Gómez

Juan Vicente Gómez

[goh-mez; Sp. gaw-mes]
Gómez, Juan Vicente, 1857-1935, caudillo of Venezuela (1908-35). Of indigenous and white parentage, Gómez was born on a ranch in the Western Andes and grew up a nearly illiterate cattle herder. He catapulted into the national scene in 1899 when he led his guerrilla henchmen in support of Cipriano Castro, under whom he was vice president. When Castro was overthrown, Gómez became president, and although he relinquished the title for long intervals, he ruled continuously from his estate near Maracay. Congress conferred on him the title El Benemérito (the meritorious), but his enemies dubbed him El Bagre (the catfish) because of a supposed facial resemblance enhanced by a bushy mustache. Though cordial and simple in manner, Gómez was an absolute tyrant whose secret police ferreted out opposition and subjected victims to imprisonment and torture. He was also a patriot whose shrewdness and industry brought his country economic stability. Even before the oil development at Lake Maracaibo after 1918, he had put Venezuela on a sound financial basis; he was noted for fair dealing with foreign investors, and the capital he attracted made it possible for him to build Venezuela into a modern nation of railroads, highways, and other public works. Public education during his regime advanced little. In enriching the nation, he made himself enormously wealthy. He attempted to make the country a personal fief; nepotism was rife. Though unmarried, he fathered between 80 and 100 children, and many of these, as well as his local henchmen, filled civil positions; he dominated them as he did other men by savage force of character.

See biography by J. Lavin (1954); study by B. S. McBeth (1983).

Alberto Pérez-Gómez is an architectural historian and is also known as a theorist and a promoter of phenomenology. Born December 24, 1949 in Mexico City, Mexico, he graduated as an engineer and architect from the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico and pursued graduate studies in the history and theory of architecture at the University of Essex where he received his Master of Arts in 1975 and Ph.D. in 1979. In 1984, he won the Alice Davis Hitchcock Award for his book Architecture and the Crisis of Modern Science. He has taught and lectured at various schools of architecture around the world and was director of the Carleton University School of Architecture from 1983 to 1986. Currently, he chairs the History and Theory of Architecture program at the McGill University School of Architecture, where he is the Saidye Rosner Bronfman Professor in History and Theory of Architecture and the Director of Post-Professional programs. Together with Stephen Parcell, he is editor of the book series CHORA: Intervals in the Philosophy of Architecture. He has also published poetry in Spanish.


  • Architecture and the Crisis of Modern Science (1983) ISBN 0262160919
  • Polyphilo, or, The Dark Forest Revisited : an Erotic Epiphany of Architecture (1992) ISBN 0262660903
  • Architectural Representation and the Perspective Hinge with Louise Pelletier (2003) ISBN 0262161699
  • Anamorphosis (1997) ISBN 0773514503
  • Built upon Love: Architectural Longing after Ethics and Aesthetics (2006) ISBN 0262162385

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