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Páez and the Revolution of the Reforms

Shortly after the Colombian union dissolved and Venezuela began its life as a Republic, a movement began that fractured the elite that until then had led the country. This rebellion is known by historiography as the Revolution of the Reforms, whose líder It was General Santiago Mariño. The reformists were part of the agrarian elite that had been confronting the commercial class for control of the State. Its members were soldiers who had participated in independence (Mariño, Monagas, Ibarra, Briceño Méndez, Pedro Carujo, Perú de la Croix, Silva) and also civilians. It was a mix between Bolivarians and anti-Bolivarians united in a conservative program that sought federation, military jurisdiction, the Catholic religion as a State creed, and the claim that public positions should fall to the makers of emancipation.
They did not accept Dr. José María Vargas in the presidency not only because he was a civilian or because he had achieved a command that had little attraction for him in elections that were not entirely transparent, but because he did not fight during the war. This condition - without taking into account the other qualities of the honest doctor - made him fall into the false position of an upstart and favorer of the "agiotistas", economic adversaries of the landowners.

Páez, committed to the idea of ​​leaving the reins of administration to civilians, had retired to his San Pablo ranch. Vargas, who was not a politician, began to have problems with Congress at the same time that supporters of the defeated candidate Mariño asked for changes. The panorama was served. On July 8, 1835, the reformists with the help of the Anzoátegui battalion took power in Caracas. Vargas was arrested and sent into exile in Saint Thomas.

The movement had support in Cumaná, Maracaibo and other places. However, Páez took the side of the deposed authorities, the Constitution and the laws. He restored Vargas, faced the rebels as head of the Constitutional Army (composed of 8.834 soldiers and 12 ships), made peace with Monagas in Pirital, in Maracaibo with Faría and fought Carujo in Puerto Cabello. This is how legality triumphed against anarchy even though Vargas would resign in April 1836. But that is another story.

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