Path: Table of Contents > Essay on Party Politics > Party 392
Venezuelan Social Christian Party, 392
Variables and Codes for 1950-1962
For the concepts and variables below, use these links to Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey:
Governmental Status
Issue Orientation
Goal Orientation
Organizational Complexity
Organizational Power
Organizational Coherence
Membership Involvement
The "ac" code is for "adequacy-confidence"--a data quality measure ranging from 0 (low) to 9 (high)
Party name and code number
Venezuelan Social Christian Party, 392
Paartido Social Christiano, or Comite de Organizacion Political Electoral Independiente, COPEI
Information base and researchers
The information base for Venezuelan party politics is 795 pages from 68 documents, with 188 pages or 24 percent pertaining to COPEI. Marcelino Miyares and Judy Newsome Gillespie indexed the literature. Don Sylvan coded the variables in clusters 1, 2, and 5 through 11.

Institutionalization Variables
, 1.01-1.06
1.01 year of origin and 1.02 name changes
1946, AC7
0, AC9
The party was founded in 1946, but it had roots in a Catholic student opposition group active in the 1930's. No name changes have occurred during our time period.
1.03 organizational discontinuity
0, AC6
Although progressive and moderate wings exist, the tensions between them do not appear to be nearly as marked as the generational conflict that has racked the ad party.
1.04 leadership competition
4, AC5
Caldera is often credited with founding COPEI, but Del Corral was named first party president in 1946. Caldera became president sometime thereafter but the circumstances are not clear.
1.05 / 2.05 legislative instability and strength
Instability is 1.17, AC7
Strength is .00 for 1952-57, AC7 and .13 for 1958-63, AC8
COPEI seemed not to hold any seats in Perez Jimenez-appointed congress through 1957. After elections in the second part of our period, COPEI representation grew from 14 to 22 percent of the seats.
1.06 / 2.06 electoral instability and strength
Instability is 1.0, AC5
Strength is undefined for 1952-57, and .18 for 1957- 63, AC8
The COPEI vote is unavailable for the questionable 1952 elections to the constituent assembly. In the 1958 and 1963 congressional elections, COPEI won 15 and 21 percent of the vote respectively.

Governmental Status Variables, 2.01-2.07
2.01 government discrimination
15 for 1952-57, AC9
0 for 1958-63, AC6
During the first time period COPEI was discriminated against and Caldera was arrested, but the party was not outlawed and was allowed to participate in the aborted 1952 elections. After the Perez Jimenez regime was overthrown there were free and honest elections. During this time period COPEI was part of the government coalition.
2.02 governmental leadership
0 out of 6 for 1952-57, AC9
0 out of 6 for 1958-63, AC9
The party was forced to operate underground until 1958 when Perez Jimenez was overthrown. Betancourt was the leader of the country during the second half of our time period, which was redefined to coincide with the end of the dictorship.
2.03 cabinet participation
0 out of 6 for 1952-57, AC9
5 out of 6 for 1958-63, AC8
The party was outlawed throughout the first time period. During the second time period, three COPEI members participated in Betancourt's fifteen man cabinet.
2.04 national participation
4, AC5
In the 1958 election, COPEI received 39 percent of its vote from the Andes, with about 13 percent of the population.
2.07 outside origin
5, AC5
Formed by Pedro Del Corral, Caldera, Fernandez, Landaez, and Edecio la Riva Aravjo. Caldera had been in the government when the party was founded. The presence of some governmental officials among the founders produces the relatively "inside" origin score.

Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
5.01 ownership of means of production
1 for 1st half, AC6
-1 for 2nd half, AC8
The party stands for more aid to private enterprise and greater industrialization. COPEI supports greater government participation in the oil income.
5.02 government role in economic planning
No information
5.03 redistribution of wealth
3, AC9
The party was responsible for most of AD's land reform policies, since the minister of agriculture was a COPEI member.
5.04 Social welfare
3, AC6
COPEI pushed for family subsidy legislation and maternity benefits.
5.05 secularization of society
3, AC6
COPEI believes in freedom of religion and a strictly apolitical church, but like most Christian democrat groups, the party favors state support of private schools.
5.06 support of the military
1, AC3
The military has been traditionally inclined toward COPEI as the least radical of the major parties, but COPEI does not completely reciprocate the affection.
5.07 alignment with east-west blocs
3, AC6
Party stressed heavily its claim to be the most determined and effective counterweight to communism.
5.08 anti-colonialism
No information
5.09 supranational integration
3, AC5
Economic and political integration among Latin American states is a major tenet of the COPEI. Specifically, COPEI has sought solidarity with neighboring states.
5.10 national integration
No information
5.11 electoral participation
5, AC6
Introduction of popular vote was only possible road to office for COPEI. Party called for free elections in 1951.
5.12 protection of civil rights
No information.
5.13 interference with civil liberties
3, AC6
The COPEI position on civil liberties is inferred from the fact that it shared responsibility for programs and action with the ad through the minister of justice, a COPEI member, during the second half of our time period.
5.14 / 5.15 us--soviet experts left-right ratings
U.S. says 3, non-communist left
Soviets say 1, represents interests of landowners, upper bourgeoisie, church leaders.

Goal Orientation Variables, 6.01-6.55
6.00 open competition in the electoral process
3.5 for 1st half, AC9
4 for 2nd half, AC9
Although the political atmosphere in the country was not always conducive to elections, COPEI always stood for a policy of open competition as its major goal. But COPEI did not count on Perez's eventual defeat.
6.10 restricting party competition
0, AC9
The party always opposed the restriction of competition.
6.20 subverting the political system
.5 for 1st half, AC9
0 for 2nd half, AC9
COPEI did not propose to subvert the political system, but it cautiously participated in planning for party competition following Perez's defeat.
6.30 propagandizing ideas and program
6.31, 6.32, 6.33--AC1. No information.
6.34--1 for 1st half, AC6 and 2 for 2nd half, AC6. COPEI's publication program was restricted by the government in the first part of our time period but was active in the second half.
6.50 providing for welfare of party members
6.51, 6.52, 6.54--0, AC3. None of these activities is mentioned in the literature and it is assumed that they do not exist.
6.53, 6.55--AC1. No information.

Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
7.01 sources of funds
7 for 1st half, AC4
7 for 2nd half, AC6
The bulk of the party funds come from members' contributions, and officeholders are required to return 20 percent of their salaries to the party.
7.02 source of members
No information
7.03 sources of leaders
5, AC5
The leaders come from a wide variety of backgrounds. According to one source, the party stands for breadth of interest representation with the upper class being the one Social sector lacking a voice. The leadership is basically middle class, or slightly lower. Educational backgrounds run the gamut from university professors to professional men to self-educated labor leaders.
7.04 relations with domestic parties
7 for 1st half, AC6
4 for 2nd half, AC9
There is a parliamentary coalition and government participation in second time period. In first time period there were no official links with other parties. In the second time period coalition is with AD.
7.05 relations with foreign organizations
3, AC9
COPEI sends representatives to and generally follows the international Christian Democrats policy line.

Organizational Complexity Variables, 8.01-8.07
8.01 structural articulation
7 for 1st half, AC4
7 for 2nd half, AC6
COPEI's organizational structure is similar to AD and URD. There is a 500 member national convention which meets annually to decide rules, policies, and candidates. This is the top of the hierarchical structure. Strongest party organ is the national committee. There is also a regional level, and local level organizational structure.
8.02 intensiveness of organization
5 for 1st half, AC4
5 for 2nd half, AC6
At the bottom of the organizational structure there are village units which are established in every village or locality where there are enough members to warrant it.
8.03 extensiveness of organization
5, AC3
This inference is made by combining the statement--organismos de base are set up in every village or locality where there are enough members to warrant it--with electoral data for our time period.
8.04 frequency of local meetings
No information
8.05 frequency of national meetings
6 for 2nd half, AC6
Central executive committee meets periodically, sometimes on a monthly basis. There is no information for the first part of our time period.
8.06 maintaining records
No information
8.07 pervasiveness of organization
10 for 2nd half, AC5
The party's labor and agrarian appeal is growing, but still there are relatively few members. The score is raised to 10 because of the great strength and importance of the COPEI youth organization. There is no information for the first half of our period.

Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
9.01 nationalization of structure
5, AC3
This variable is coded chiefly on strength of COPEI patterning after ad.
9.02 selecting the national leader
3 for 2nd half, AC5
Municipal party members elect delegates to district conventions, which elect delegates to state conventions, which select delegates to national conventions, which choose party leaders and top party candidates. It is not clear how the selection process operated during the first part of our period.
9.03 selecting parliamentary candidates
No information
9.04 allocating funds
5 for 1st half, AC3
5 for 2nd half, AC6
Does not fit definition for score of five, but is definitely between four and six. Funds are collected on regional and national levels and distributed on all levels, with the higher levels getting somewhat more money.
9.05 formulating policy
No information.
9.06 controlling communications
7 for 2nd half, AC6
The national committee is said to have charge of the party publication. There is no information for the first half of our period.
9.07 administering discipline
4 for 2nd half, AC6
The national committee can dissolve leadership of regional and functional organizations and can assume temporary command. There is no information for the first half of our period.
9.08 leadership concentration
No information

Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
10.01 legislative cohesion
.90 for 1957-62, AC6
Source states that another circumstance that can be considered special is the internal coherence of the party, which prevented rival status seekers from leading segments of the party into opposition.
10.02 ideological factionalism
0, AC3
COPEI apparently weathered its shift from a conservative to center party without public debate of its ideological stance.
10.03 issue factionalism
0, AC3
No standing issues seem to provoke divisions within the party.
10.04 leadership factionalism
0, AC6
The only source with any relevant information denies the existence of any leadership conflict within the party.
10.05 strategic or tactical factionalism
1 for 2nd half, AC3
There was some discussion over the supportive role that COPEI played in Betancourt's government. Some felt the party should have been in opposition. No information exists on the first half of our period.
10.06 party purges
0, AC9
No splits or purges

Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 membership requirements
No information
11.02 membership participation
No information.
11.03 material incentives
No information
11.04 purposive incentives
2, AC3
The Christian philosophy is assumed to be the main motivating force for about half of the militants.
11.05 doctrinism
1, AC6
Papal encyclicals influence this Social Christian party.
11.06 personalism
1, AC3
Caldera has clearly left his stamp on the party, and one must suspect some personal following among the militants.