Carlos Delgado Chalbaud

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Carlos Delgado Chalbaud
Carlos Delgado Chalbaud1.jpg
President of Venezuela
In office
24 November 1948 – 13 November 1950
Preceded by Rómulo Gallegos
Succeeded by Germán Suárez Flamerich
Assumed office
21 October 1945
Preceded by Delfín Becerra
Succeeded by Marcos Pérez Jiménez
Personal details
Born (1909-01-20)20 January 1909
Died 13 November 1950(1950-11-13) (aged 41)
Spouse(s) Lucía Devine

Carlos Román Delgado Chalbaud Gómez (20 January 1909 – 13 November 1950) was a Venezuelan career military officer, and as leader of a military junta was the President of Venezuela from 1948 to 1950. By 1945, he was one of the high-ranking officers who brought to power the Democratic Action party by a coup d'état. In 1948, as a Minister of Defence, he led another military coup and lingered as the President until his assassination in Caracas.

Early life and career

Delgado Chalbaud was the son of Román Delgado Chalbaud (grandson of a French immigrant and great-grandson of Andalusian colonist) and Luisa Elena Gómez Velutini (of Corsican descent). He was known as Carlos Delgado Chalbaud because he used the last name of his father Román Delgado Chalbaud as a tribute to his memory. When he was 20, he approached the cruiser Falke (es) in the port of Danzig (Poland), that landed in the coasts of Cumaná on 11 August 1929, with the purpose of overthrow the strongman Juan Vicente Gomez. In this failed operation his father Román commandant of the expeditionary was shot and died, the reason why Carlos decided to return to France. Delgado Chalbaud spent most of his life in Paris, where he studied engineering and later attended the Saint-Cyr military academy. He returned to Venezuela in 1939 and was promptly commissioned in the Venezuelan army by president General Eleazar Lopez Contreras with the rank of captain.


As one of the brightest officials of the Armed Forces associated with the group that overthrew Isaías Medina Angarita in 1945, Carlos was a member of the Government Revolutionary Junta which replaced Medina in power. He was Minister of Defence during the presidencies of Rómulo Betancourt and Rómulo Gallegos.

In 1948, Chalbaud was among those who overthrew that government of president Gallegos, and was a member of the Military Junta of Government along with Marcos Pérez Jiménez and Luis Llovera Páez, being the titular head of the three-person junta. Delgado Chalbaud was twice a betrayer, but Venezuelan historians tend to speak well of him, analogously as they argue in America that John F. Kennedy would not have allowed the Vietnam War to escalate. But both positions are counterfactual, hence unprovable. What is often said is that Delgado Chalbaud was planning to restore Venezuelan democracy. If that was his intention, he did not get the chance to accomplish it. He was kidnapped and assassinated on 13 November 1950,[1] by a group led by Rafael Simon Urbina and his nephew Domingo Urbina. The kidnapping took place in Caracas between the neighbourhood of Country Club and Chapellin, and his murder took place in the semi-abandoned Las Mercedes neighbourhood.

Although it has not been possible to confirm, for many people, the mastermind was Pérez Jiménez; nevertheless, some believe this is unlikely since the wife of Marcos Pérez Jiménez, Doña Flor María Chalbaud Cardona de Pérez Jiménez, was Delgado Chalbaud's cousin. His murder seems to be the unintended outcome of a failed kidnapping led by Simon Urbina who looked to overthrow the Chalbaud presidency. Some believe Urbina despised Delgado Chalbaud although others allege they were close until a falling out over politics split them apart. The day after the capture and imprisonment of Urbina, he was assassinated by orders of the Direction of National Security, efficiently securing Pérez Jiménez's position as the strongman in Venezuela for the next several years.

Personal life and legacy

Chalbaud was married to Lucía Devine,[citation needed] who served as First Lady of Venezuela from 1948–1950.[citation needed] Cerro Carlos Delgado Chalbaud (1047m), a mountain in Venezuela's Amazonas estate where the headwaters of the Orinoco River are located, is named after him.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ "State Funeral for Venezuelan Chief Delgado". Lewiston Evening Journal. 15 November 1950. p. 10. 
  • "Carlos Delgado Chalbaud" (in Spanish). Government of Venezuela. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. 
  • "Carlos Delgado Chalbaud" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Rómulo Gallegos
President of Venezuela
Succeeded by
Germán Suárez Flamerich
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