Páez, José Antonio (hōsāˈ äntōˈnyō päˈās) [key], 1790–1873, Venezuelan revolutionist, president, and caudillo. He boldly led (1810–19) a band of llaneros [plainsmen] in skillful guerrilla warfare against the Spanish, aided Simón Bolívar at the battle of Carabobo (1821), and drove (1823) the Spanish from their last Venezuelan stronghold at Puerto Cabello. He led the separatist movement that disrupted Bolívar's Colombian republic and was the first president of Venezuela (1831–35). A conservative oligarch and exponent of personalism, he served again (1839–43), dominating the nation until 1847. Páez commanded unsuccessful revolutions in 1848 and 1849 against José T. Monagas, his own choice for president, and was exiled (1850–58). He returned and in 1861 became supreme dictator. Two years later he again went into exile. He died in New York City.
See biography by R. B. Cunninghame Graham (1929, repr. 1970).
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