Carlos Andrés Pérez Rodríguez (27 October 1922 – 25 December 2010), also known as CAP and often referred to as El Gocho (due to his Andean origins), was a Venezuelan politician, President of Venezuela from 1974 to 1979 and again from 1989 to 1993. His first presidency was known as the Saudi Venezuela due to its economic and social prosperity thanks to enormous income from petroleum exportation. However, his second period saw a continuation of the economic crisis of the 1980s, and saw a series of social crises, a popular revolt (denominated Caracazo) and two coup attempts in 1992. In May 1993 he became the first Venezuelan president to be forced out of the office by the Supreme Court, for the misappropriation of 250 million bolívars belonging to a presidential discretionary fund. After more than two years of house arrest, Pérez was released in September 1996.
Carlos Andrés Pérez was born at the hacienda La Argentina, on the Venezuelan-Colombian border near the town of Rubio, Táchira state, the 11th of 12 children in a middle-class family. His father, Antonio Pérez Lemus, was a Colombian-born coffee planter and pharmacist of Spanish and Canary Islander ancestry who emigrated to Venezuela during the last years of the 19th century. His mother, Julia Rodríguez, was the daughter of a prominent landowner in the town of Rubio and the granddaughter of Venezuelan refugees who had fled to the Andes and Colombia in the wake of the civil war that ravaged Venezuela in the 1860s.
Pérez was educated at the María Inmaculada School in Rubio, run by Dominican friars. His childhood was spent between the family home in town, a rambling Spanish colonial-style house, and the coffee haciendas owned by his father and maternal grandfather. Influenced by his grandfather, an avid book collector, Pérez read voraciously from an early age, including French and Spanish classics by Jules Verne and Alexandre Dumas. As he grew older, Pérez also became politically aware and managed to read Voltaire, Rousseau, and Marx without the knowledge of his deeply conservative parents.