Venezuela's government under President Marcos Perez Jimenez (1914-) was denounced for corruption, police oppression, and extravagant spending for the construction of public works and tourist hotels. Public dissatisfaction led to overt revolutionary actions by several air force units on January 1, 1958, when planes bombed the capital city of Caracas and caused much destruction and loss of life. By the next day Perez Jimenez's forces had regained control. However, there was much unrest in the armed forces, and a week later a mutiny occurred in the navy. Perez Jimenez frantically reorganized his cabinet several times in an effort to obtain strong leadership. On January 21, 1958, a general strike erupted in Caracas that brough life there to a halt; two days later all the armed forces joined the popular protest. Realizing he could not govern without the support of the military, Perez Jimenez flew to Miami, Florida, taking a multimillion-dollar fortune with him. Five military officers set themselves up as a junta to head a provisional government until new elections could be held.
Venezuela's last dictator fled the country, carrying most of what remained of the national treasury. In addition, his ouster cost the nation some 300 dead and more than 1,000 wounded.