This incident that occurred in 1960 demonstrates an interesting view of corruption in Venezuelan history. These articles describe Dominican dictator, Rafael Trujillo’s attempt to assassinate Venezuela’s first democratically elected president, Rómulo Betancourt. Trujillo was an authoritarian, right-wing ruler (with a fondness for fascism) who was suspicious of everyone an anyone that did not pledge support for him. Betancourt, a very leftist politician who belonged to communist parties in his youth, spoke out openly against Trujillo, making clear that he stood firmly against such an oppressive form of government. Trujillo decided that he had to take out his enemy, so he flew members of his intelligence to the streets of Caracas to plant a bomb in a car that was to explode as the president’s vehicle passed by. The plan worked perfectly, except for the fact that the attackers didn’t put enough dynamite to actually kill Betancourt. He came out of the bombing alive and well, although he did suffer severe burns, particularly on his hands.
This was ironic to the millions of Venezuelan viewers who saw their president describing the attack with his hands heavily bandaged in white gauze; just a few days earlier, in a television interview, Betancourt angrily denied any claims to corruption, affirming that should he ever illegally take any public funds, his hands should burn in punishment.
“Si he robado algún dinero del erario nacional, entonces que se me quemen las manos.”