Path: Table of Contents > Essay on Party Politics > Party 393
Venezuelan Democratic Action Party, 393
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 Democratic Action Party, 393
Accion Democratica, AD, 393
Iinformation base and researchers
The information base for Venezuelan Party politics is 795 pages from 68 documents, with 438 pages or 55 percent pertaining to the Democratic Action Party. Marcelino Miyares and Judy Newsome Gillespie indexed the literature. John Beam and Richard Frisbie double coded variables in clusters 1 and 2. Donald Sylvan coded clusters 5 through 11.

Institutionalization Variables
, 1.01-1.06
1.01 year of origin and 1.02 name changes
1941, AC7
0, AC9
AD was officially born in a public ceremony in September, 1941, upon gaining governmental permission for legal organization of the Party. However, one might consider the founding of ORVE, the Movimiento de Organizacion Venezolana, in 1936 as the real origin of AD. ORVE merged into the Partido Democratico Nacional, PDN, the same year. The PDN was declared illegal the same year, and many of its leaders were soon expelled or sent into hiding. As harassment lessened, the PDN backed a candidate for president to be chosen by the congress. Its candidate Gallegos lost the vote in congress in the 1941 election, but soon afterwards his backers in PDN were given permission to organize a political Party and the AD was born. There have been no name changes in the Party during our time period.
1.03 organizational discontinuity
9, AC5
In 1960, a major split occurred when AD expelled leftist elements, including some deputies and senators. The ousted members then formed the movement of the revolutionary left, MIR. In 1962, another leftist group under the leadership of Ramos left the AD to form the Revolutionary Party of national integration, PRIN.
1.04 leadership competition
12, AC6
Gallegos was named the first AD president in 1942,with Betancourt the director of organization. Blanco became president in 1947,and Betancourt in 1948. With the military coup in 1948, Betancourt was exiled and the Party declared illegal. It operated underground. Betancourt was elected President again in 1958, at the first convention after the overthrow of Perez Jimenez. Leoni was elected Party president in 1959 after Betancourt became president of Venezuela, and Leoni remained Party president during our time period.
1.05 / 2.05 legislative instability and strength
Instability is 1.17, AC8
Strength is .00 for 1952-57 AC9 and .33 for 1958-63, AC6
The Accion Democratica was outlawed in 1951 and did not participate in the government until 1959 when it held 55 percent of the seats. By 1962 this representation was reduced to 44 percent.
1.06 / 2.06 electoral instability and strength
Instability is 1.00, AC4
Strength is undefined for 1952-57 and .41 for 1958-63, AC8
The Accion Democratica was outlawed in 1951 and did not participate in the 1953 election for the constituent assembly. It ran in 1958 polling 49 percent of the votes and again in 1963 winning 33 percent.

Governmental Status Variables, 2.01-2.07
2.01 government discrimination
16 for 1952-58, AC9
0 for 1958-63, AC4
Following a military coup in 1948, the AD was outlawed, and it remained illegal until the overthrow of the Perez Jimenez dictatorship in 1958. In elections held later the same year, the AD candidate Betancourt was elected. Throughout the second half of our time period, the AD governed in coalition with other parties but seemed not to have enjoyed any special status. In 1962 two opposition partiesÐthe Communists and the Movement of the Revolutionary Left--were banned for insurrectional activities. But this action, coming at the very close of our time period, is not judged to affect the status of the AD during the second half of the period.
2.02 governmental leadership
0 out of 6 for 1952-57, AC9
5 out of 6 for 1958-63, AC9
Betancourt, the AD candidate, was elected president in the December election following the January, 1958 overthrow of Perez Jimenez. Because Betancourt was not inaugurated until February, 1959, the AD is credited with governmental leadership for 5 years out of the 6 years in our time period following the revolt. During virtually all of 1958, a junta led the country in preparation for a popularly elected government, and no party can be credited with governmental leadership during this year.
2.03 cabinet participation
0 out of 6 for 1952-57, AC9
5 out of 6 for 1958-63, AC9
As president, Betancourt of the AD was empowered to appoint his cabinet, and it naturally included members of his own Party. However, according to APRE, there was an election pact among the major parties, and he also included their representatives in a coalition cabinet.
2.04 national participation
5 for 1st half, AC8
5 for 2nd half, AC9
During the first half of our time period, the AD was declared illegal, but the skeleton organization that operated attempted to be national in scope with uneven results. Ananalys is of the 1958 election returns shows the AD ran the weakest of all three parties in the metropolitan centers, including Caracas, and stronger in the coastal region and in Llanos-Guayana. The average deviation of AD's support compared to the proportions of the population in five regions of Venezuela was seven percentage points in 1958.
2.07 outside origin
11, AC8
There is little doubt that the Party's founders were members of ORVE, an opposition political organization composed mainly of dissatisfied students who professed a revolutionary concept of the social struggle.

Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
5.01 ownership of means of production
3 for 1st half, AC6
3 for 2nd half, AC5
Coded on the basis of the Party's establishment of a national petroleum company.
5.02 government role in economic planning
5, AC9
The government, under AD control, plays a major role in planning for the industrial development of Venezuela and is implementing a plan which seeks to avoid a profusion of competing industries.
5.03 redistribution of wealth
3, AC9
The fact that the AD's reforms compensated capitalists causes them to be categorized as less than supporting equalization of all income, yet more than merely supporting an income or property tax.
5.04 social welfare
3, AC8
Sources are unanimous in the type of thorough social welfare program which the AD favors, but the adequacy score is lowered because of the ambiguity on the question of whether or not the program should be compulsory. The Party favors a broad social security program, as well as a public health program.
5.05 secularization of society
0, AC9
Coded chiefly on strength of continued advocacy of freedom of religion while insisting on state supervision of private education.
5.06 support of the military
1, AC9
Coded chiefly on strength of new and beneficial programs for individual soldiers. While in power the Party raised the technical level of the military and the officer and soldier enjoyed higher salaries and better living conditions.
5.07 alignment with east-west blocs
2, AC9
Much pro-U.S. rhetoric, but little Action. The administration is generally cordial towards the west and hostile towards Castro's Cuba. It maintains diplomatic relations with the Eastern European countries of Poland and Yugoslavia and permits Czechoslovakia to maintain a trade mission in Venezuela. Still, AD governments have accepted U.S. aid programs and have purchased arms from the U.S. on credit since 1958.
5.08 anti-colonialism
1, AC9
Advocates a reduction in foreign economic influences.
5.09 supranational integration
0, AC7
While AD has expressed interest in regional economic integration, Betancourt delayed entry into the Latin American Free Trade Area, LAFTA.
5.10 national integration
1, AC6
AD favors national planning and administrative decentralization together with municipal autonomy to make federalism effective.
5.11 electoral participation
5, AC7
The AD favored complete democracy based on the direct, secret vote of all Venezuelans over 18 years of age. Voting was compulsory.
5.12 protection of civil rights
3, AC6
The Party opposed admission of non-whites into Venezuela.
5.13 interference with civil liberties
2, AC7
The program treats civil liberties as sacred. In practice, AD suspends civil liberties occasionally, as occurred during the communist uprisings in the early sixties.
5.14 / 5.15 us--soviet experts left-right ratings
U.S. says 3, non-communist left.
Soviets say 2, supported by urban and rural petty bourgeoisie, workers and peasants, position of cooperation with labor and capital.

Goal Orientation Variables, 6.01-6.55
6.00 open competition in the electoral process
2.5 for 1st half, AC5
4 for 2nd half, AC9
The Party was outlawed from 1948- 58, but it still had an electoral orientation, even supporting the legal URD in the fraudulent 1952 election. Its role in overthrowing Perez was minor at best.
6.10 restricting party competition
0, AC9
AD functioned clandestinely in Venezuela until 1958. It never wanted to restrict competition.
6.20 subverting the political system
1.5 for 1st half, AC5
0 for 2nd half, AC9
The clandestine AD organization engaged in occasional plots to discredit Perez while it was outlawed and played a minor role in the oppositon Junta Patriotica, JP.
6.30 propagandizing ideas and program
6.31, 6.32--AC1. No information
6.33--AC1 for 1st half and 2for 2nd half, AC8. The passing of resolutions and platforms was a key AD tactic.
6.34--2, AC8. The publishing of position papers was the chief propaganda tactic.
6.40 allying with other parties
For 1950- , AC
There were no joint candidates during the time period.
6.50 providing for welfare of Party members
6.51, 6.52, 6.54--0, AC3.
The literature does not mention that the Party itself provides food, clothing, shelter, or employment services, nor does it appear to engage in basic education. And it is assumed that the Party does not perform these functions.
6.53, 6.55--AC1. No information.

Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
7.01 sources of funds
No conclusive information.
7.02 source of members
5, AC6
Although members are often recruited from predominantly AD labor or peasant movements, this cannot be considered indirect membership since recruitment is necessary rather than automatic. Membership by virtue of participation in the movement.
7.03 sources of leaders
5, AC5
A wide variety of leadership backgrounds is indicated by one source. With under representation of the upper class, the middle to lower class predominates in a composite of professional to self-educated labor and campesino leaders.
7.04 relations with domestic parties
7 for 1st half, AC8
4 for 2nd half, AC9
During the first time period, AD could engage in nothing approaching a formal partnership since it was banned. During second time period, AD was involved in a governmental coalition with COPEI and, for a time, with the URD, which left the government in 1960.
7.05 relations with foreign organizations
4, AC5
One mention was made of AD's membership in the league of popular parties, an Aprista organization, but no time period was indicated. The AD was not affiliated with the socialist international until 1966, when it became an observer member.

Organizational Complexity Variables, 8.01-8.07
8.01 structural articulation
11, AC9
Four national organs head the Party-- National Convention, Comite Directivo Nacional-CDN, Comite Executivo Nacional-CEN, and Tribunal Disciplinario Nacional-TDN. National convention is the supreme authority of the Party, and its decisions are not subject to appeal. The CEN, numbering about 20 members, is further divided in a policy-making bureau, Buro Politica, and an Administrative secretariat, Secretario Nacional.
8.02 intensiveness of organization
6, AC9
Junta locals are limited by Party statute to 100 members.
8.03 extensiveness of organization
6, AC6
Indications are that the coverage is rather thorough.
8.04 frequency of local meetings
6 for 2nd half, AC6
The local cells meet from two to four times monthly, and may be convened even more frequently. There is no information relating specifically to the first half.
8.05 frequency of national meetings
3 for 2nd half, AC6
The CDN of about 120 members meets every six months but may be convened more frequently. The CEN of about 22 members meets almost continuously. There is no information for the first half of our time period when the Party was illegal.
8.06 maintaining records
1 for 1st half, AC6
10 for 2nd half, AC7
The first code is based on an allusion in the literature to a Party manifesto appearing in the early 50's, indicating that some publishing occurred during this period. The second code combines information on an active publication program and references to rigorous membership registration and attendance procedures, which are a likely sign of good membership lists.
8.07 pervasiveness of organization
17 for 2nd half, AC8
Professional, labor, and peasant groups are all penetrated with generally large followings. There is no information for the first half of our time period.

Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
9.01 nationalization of structure
5 for 2nd half, AC9
AD structure is pyramidal, running from the national through the regional, and down to the local level. There is no information for the first half of our time period.
9.02 selecting the national leader
5 for 2nd half, AC7
The national convention selects the leader, but the executive committee apparently influences this decision. There is no information for the first half of our time period.
9.03 selecting parliamentary candidates
8 for 2nd half, AC6
National convention selects parliamentary candidates. No information for the first part of our time period.
9.04 allocating funds
No information
9.05 formulating policy
5 for 2nd half, AC8
The national convention formulates official policy when it holds its annual meetings, but the executive committees hold full policy making power in the interim. There is no information for the first half of our time period.
9.06 controlling communications
7 for 2nd half, AC6
The CEN is in charge of publication Ofaccion Democratica, a weekly publication. There is no information for the first half of our time period.
9.07 administering discipline
2 for 2nd half, AC6
The Tribuno Disciplinario Nacional, TDN,is chosen by the national convention to apply sanctions ranging from censure to expulsion. Disciplinary tribunals also operate at the state level. There is no information for the first half of our time period.
9.08 leadership concentration
3 for 2nd half, AC6
The CDN is regarded as the most important organ, despite its size of 120 members. Within the smaller CEN, the smaller Buro Politico is dominant on policy matters, but even in this smaller group, collective leadership is evident. There is no information for the first half of our time period.

Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
10.01 legislative cohesion
No information.
10.02 ideological factionalism
3 for 1st half, AC6
6 for 2nd half, AC9
Left-wing factionalism was brewing during the first time period and during exile, but it did not bloom until 1958. The more radical elements split from the Party in 1960, creating MIR.
10.03 issue factionalism
2 for 2nd half, AC6
The following issues constituted areas of factionalism-- revision of agrarian reform, restoration of constitutional guarantees. There is no information for the first half of our time period.
10.04 leadership factionalism
4 for 1st half, AC6
6 for 2nd half, AC9
The veteran AD leadership, called the Guardia Viejas or GV, had been opposed by young men not involved in the Party's founding. The younger Arjistas challenged the GV after 1958 and left the AD in 1962, behind Ramos Gimenez.
10.05 strategic or tactical factionalism
2 for 2nd half, AC8
One major strategic question centered on cooperation with COPEI in a coalition government, but this issue did not define factions. There is no information for the first part of our time period.
10.06 party purges
0 for 1st half, AC5
1 for 2nd half, AC8
For the first time period no purges were recorded, but left-wing elements, including 14 legislators were expelled in 1960, leading to the formation of the revolutionary leftist movement, MIR.

Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 membership requirements
3 for 2nd half, AC6
Review of application is necessary for acceptance, but no actual probationary period is mentioned. There is no information for the first part of our time period.
11.02 membership participation
4 for 2nd half, AC6
Regular attendance at Party meetings is required of members. There is no information for the first half of our time period.
11.03 material incentives
0 for 1st half, AC5
For 2nd half, AC1
During the first half of our time period, the Party was not in a position to offer material incentives to its militants.
11.04 purposive incentives
3 for 1st half, AC3
2 for 2nd half, AC5
The militants are basically purposively motivated, especially during the first time period, when the Party was in exile and could pass out no favors.
11.05 doctrinism
2 for 2nd half, AC8
A series of Party 'theses' were published in booklet form by AD study groups after 1958. References to the Party theses were common. There is no information for the first half of our time period.
11.06 personalism
1 for 2nd half, AC7
Betancourt sure commanded the personal loyalty of some significant fraction of AD members, but his influence over militants was undoubtedly less. There is no information for the first half of our time period.