The food riots in Caracas in early 1989, which took place in spite of the overwhelming popular vote for the then recently inaugurated president Pérez revealed a certain popular dissatisfaction. Opinion polls have shown that many Venezuelans felt as though they had little impact on their leaders and the way that policies were drafted and implemented. The alternatives on either the right or left of the political spectrum, however, seemed to hold little appeal, and almost no one desired a return to an authoritarian regime.
It was not until 1989, perhaps as a result of the shock of the food riots and looting in Caracas that resulted in hundreds killed, that the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez began to make a concerted effort to move toward a leaner and more accountable bureaucracy. The Pérez administration adopted privatization as its new motto; implementation, however, remained a slow, uncertain, and difficult process.