Vacaroiu, Nicolae (Gh.) (b. Dec. 5, 1943, Bolgrad, Romania [now in Ukraine]), prime minister of Romania (1992-96). He was president of the Senate in 2000-08. In April-May 2007 he was acting president during the suspension of Pres. Traian Basescu.
Vacher, Joseph Henri Alfred (b. Jan. 25, 1862, Arlanc, Puy-de-Dôme, France - d. 19...), governor of Martinique (1913-14).
Vadier, Joseph Zébédée Olivier (b. Sept. 21, 1881 - d. June 10, 1963), governor of French Guinea (1932-36).
Vaea (of Houma), Baron, original name Sia'osi Tu'ihala Alipate Tupou (b. May 15, 1921 - d. June 7, 2009, Houma, Tongatapu, Tonga), prime minister of Tonga (1991-2000); nephew of Salote Tupou III; cousin of Taufa'ahau Tupou IV. He served with the Royal New Zealand Air Force from 1942 to 1945. He entered the civil service in 1945 and was aide-de-camp to Queen Salote Tupou III prior to being appointed governor of Ha'apai (1960-68). From 1969 to 1972, he was Tonga's high commissioner to the U.K.; in 1970 he was appointed baron. He returned home in 1973 to become the first minister of labour, commerce, and industries, and in 1975 was also appointed minister of agriculture and forestry. He also acted as deputy prime minister on numerous occasions, and as minister of education, civil aviation, tourism, marine and ports, and of finance. In 1991, despite applying for retirement, he was appointed prime minister, replacing Prince Fatafehi Tu'ipelehake who resigned because of ill health.
Vafiadis, Markos (b. Jan. 28, 1906, Theodosia, Ottoman Empire [now Tosya, Turkey] - d. Feb. 22, 1992, Athens, Greece), Greek insurgent. He came to Greece in 1923 in the great population exchange after the unsuccessful Greek campaign against the Turks. He joined the Communist Party (KKE) in 1929 and was imprisoned or sent to internal exile on several occasions for seditious activities, provoking strikes, agitation, and similar charges. He headed ELAS, the armed force of the EAM (National Liberation Front), in western Macedonia during the German occupation in World War II. After the war he rose to commander (under the title General Markos) of the Communist-led Democratic Army, which began a guerrilla campaign against the royalist government in 1946. In December 1947 he proclaimed a provisional Greek government in the north with himself as prime minister, but it was never internationally recognized. Due to the material support received from Yugoslavia, he disagreed with demands from Moscow that the KKE line up against Titoism and was ousted from his command (August 1948) and sent to Albania, though orders were still issued in his name. In 1949 he was officially removed from his posts and sent to Moscow. When U.S.-backed royalist troops crushed the rebels that year, after Tito closed the border, his position seemed to have been justified. He was nevertheless purged from the exiled KKE in 1950. After the Stalinist secretary-general Nikos Zachariadis was himself purged in 1956, Vafiadis was rehabilitated and served on the Politburo (1957-58). He was stripped of his membership again in 1964 but, after a split in 1968, was restored in 1969 to the "Eurocommunist" KKE-Interior. He returned to Greece in March 1983 after a general amnesty was declared, and in 1989 and 1990 he was elected to parliament on the ticket of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement.
Vaghela, Shankersinh (Laxmansinh) (b. July 21, 1940, Vasan [now in Gandhinagar district, Gujarat], India), chief minister of Gujarat (1996-97).
Vagi, Legu (b. Feb. 28, 1950), foreign minister of Papua New Guinea (1985-86).
Vagnetti, Marino (b. Feb. 11, 1924), captain-regent of San Marino (1989).
Vagnorius, Gediminas (b. June 10, 1957, Plunge district, Lithuanian S.S.R.), prime minister of Lithuania (1991-92, 1996-99). He first took office in January 1991 amid a bloody Soviet crackdown aimed at crushing the Baltic state's independence movement. He launched market reforms which brought the country to the forefront of emerging European economies. But his rapid privatization program alienated many, and he was a target of criticism as living standards plummeted amid the severe economic depression that followed the Soviet collapse. He lost a general election to the former communist Democratic Labour Party in 1992, and won back the post in a general election in 1996. He resigned in 1999. Pres. Valdas Adamkus had long been critical of Vagnorius's style. In a speech the week before, he said he could no longer trust the premier, citing in particular his handling of a series of privatizations. Parliament countered by approving a non-binding resolution of support for the embattled premier. But Vagnorius said afterwards that he felt it was best to step aside amid "a situation of senseless political tensions and intrigues."
Vähi, Tiit (b. Jan. 10, 1947, Rebasemõisa, Valga county, Estonian S.S.R.), prime minister of Estonia (1992, 1995-97). He was also minister of transport and communications (1990-92).
Vaida-Voevod, Alexandru (Dionisie) (b. 1872, Olpret, Transylvania, Hungary [now Bobalna, Romania] - d. March 19, 1950, Sibiu, Romania), prime minister of Romania (1919-20, 1932, 1933). In 1906 he was elected to the Hungarian parliament, where he was foremost among the leaders of the Transylvanian political movement. In October 1918 he presented a resolution to parliament announcing the Transylvanian Romanians' right to self-determination, and in December, after Hungary's surrender in World War I, he became a member of the Directing Council which administered Transylvania until union with Romania was proclaimed in January 1919. He then became minister for Transylvania in the Romanian cabinet and took part in the post-World War I peace conference at Paris. His National Party was successful in the November elections, and he was named prime minister in a coalition government, also serving as foreign minister. His chief act was negotiation of the union of Bessarabia with Romania, and its recognition by the Allied powers in 1920. He also had Romanian troops intervene in Hungary to oust the Communist regime of Béla Kun. His proposal of a radical land-reform measure prompted King Ferdinand to dissolve his government in March 1920. In 1928-30 he served as minister of the interior, and in 1932 he again was prime minister, concurrently holding the interior and then the foreign affairs portfolio. His last premiership (1933) was marked by widespread labour unrest and growing fascist activity. After his dismissal, he became more virulently nationalist himself and in 1935 he broke away from the National Peasant Party to form the semifascist Romanian Front. Later he joined King Carol's National Renaissance Front and became its president.
Vaillant, Daniel (b. July 19, 1949, Lormes, Nièvre, France), interior minister of France (2000-02). A member of the Socialist Party, he first won a seat in the National Assembly in 1988, lost it in a 1993 Socialist rout but bounced back a year later after his conservative opponent was disqualified for exceeding the limit on campaign expenses. Vaillant gained expertise on immigration and law and order issues as mayor (1995-2001, 2003- ) of Paris's 18th district - a hotbed of crime, prostitution, and drug use.
Vaissière, (Auguste Adolphe Joseph Marie) Raoul de la, French resident commissioner of the New Hebrides (1923-25).
Vaithilingam, V. (b. 1950), chief minister of Pondicherry/Puducherry (1991-96, 2008-11); son of V. Venkatasubba Reddiar.
Vaitiekunas, Petras (b. March 26, 1953, Liudvinavas, Marijampole district, Lithuanian S.S.R.), foreign minister of Lithuania (2006-08). He has been ambassador to Latvia (1999-2004), Belarus (2005-06), and Ukraine (2010- ).
Vaivaikava, Vitolio (d. October 2002, Nouméa, New Caledonia), prime minister of `Uvea (1993-96).
Vajgl, Ivo (b. March 3, 1943, Maribor, Yugoslavia [now in Slovenia]), foreign minister of Slovenia (2004).
Vajiravudh, also called Rama VI (b. Jan. 1, 1881, Bangkok, Siam [now Thailand] - d. Nov. 26, 1925, Bangkok), king of Siam (1910-25).
Vajpayee, Atal Bihari, Bihari also spelled Behari (b. Dec. 25, 1924, Gwalior [now in Madhya Pradesh], India), prime minister of India (1996, 1998-2004). Before independence, he was briefly jailed in 1942 for anti-British activities. He was first elected to parliament in 1957 as a member of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, a forerunner of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and quickly made a reputation as a keen debater. During Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's state of emergency (1975-77), he was jailed along with thousands of opposition members. As foreign minister (1977-79), he won recognition for trying to improve relations with Pakistan, which India had fought in three wars since 1947. In 1980 he helped found the BJP, in which he stood out as a moderate among hardliners. When Hindu zealots smashed the historic Muslim mosque at Ayodhya in 1992, setting off bloody riots, he was one of the few Hindu leaders to condemn it. The BJP preached Hinduism as India's driving force - a position most Muslims found repugnant - and advocated testing a nuclear weapon and building a nuclear arsenal. He was sworn in as prime minister in 1996 but served only 13 days, failing to win the necessary support from other parties. In 1998 the BJP won a record number of seats but still had to form an alliance with regional parties, many of them opposed to Hindu nationalism. In May 1998 India exploded five nuclear bombs. Though the tests were widely condemned in the West, Vajpayee struck a defiant tone, declaring that "India has the sanction of her own past glory and future vision to become strong." But he also went to great lengths to establish friendly relations with Pakistan, despite periods of serious tension. His National Democratic Alliance coalition won elections again in 1999 but was defeated in 2004.
Vakhrukov, Sergey (Alekseyevich) (b. June 20, 1958, Rybinsk, Russian S.F.S.R.), governor of Yaroslavl oblast (2007-12).
Valadares, Antônio Carlos (b. April 6, 1943, Simão Dias, Sergipe, Brazil), governor of Sergipe (1987-91).
Valcárcel Siso, Ramón Luis (b. Nov. 16, 1954, Murcia, Spain), president of the Council of Government of Murcia (1995- ).
Valdés (Soublette), Juan Gabriel (b. June 1947, Santiago, Chile), foreign minister of Chile (1999-2000); son of Gabriel Valdés Subercaseaux. He was also ambassador to Spain (1990-94) and Argentina (2003-04) and permanent representative to the United Nations (2000-03). In 2014 he was appointed ambassador to the United States.
Valdés (Dancuart), Óscar (Eduardo) (b. April 3, 1949, San Isidro district, Lima region, Peru), interior minister (2011) and prime minister (2011-12) of Peru.
Valdés Subercaseaux, Gabriel (b. July 3, 1919, Santiago, Chile - d. Sept. 7, 2011, Santiago), foreign minister of Chile (1964-70). He was also president of the Senate (1990-96) and ambassador to Italy (2006-08).
Valdivieso (y Valdivieso), José Félix (b. 1780, Loja, New Granada [now in Ecuador] - d. 1856, Quito, Ecuador), supreme chief of Ecuador in rebellion (1834-35).
Valée, Sylvain Charles, comte (b. Dec. 17, 1773, Brienne-le-Château, Aube, France - d. Aug. 15, 1846, Paris, France), governor-general of Algeria (1837-40).
Valencia (Muñoz), Guillermo León (b. April 27, 1909, Popayán, Colombia - d. Nov. 4, 1971, New York City), president of Colombia (1962-66).
Valentic, Nikica (b. Nov. 24, 1950, Gospic, Croatia), prime minister of Croatia (1993-95).
Valentini, Pasquale (b. July 19, 1953, San Marino), finance minister (2010-12) and foreign minister (2012- ) of San Marino.
Valenzuela (Jáuregui), Pedro José (b. July 29, 1797, Nueva Guatemala, Guatemala - d. ...), acting supreme chief of state of Guatemala (1838).
Valera Aparicio, Fernando (b. 1899, Madroñera, Extremadura, Spain - d. Feb. 13, 1982, Paris, France), prime minister of the Spanish Republic in exile (1971-77). One of the founders of the Spanish Radical Socialist Party in the early 1930s, he was director-general of communications in the elected government overthrown by army forces under Gen. Francisco Franco and fled to France at the end of the 1936-39 civil war. He held several ministerial posts in the exile government from 1946 until 1971, when he assumed its presidency after Claudio Sánchez-Albornoz resigned. Spain's dictatorship ended with Franco's death on Nov. 20, 1975, and the government-in-exile was dissolved following democratic elections in 1977. He refused to return home, however, saying he would not go back until the legally established republic of the 1930s was reinstituted. He and other members of the exile government did agree to give the Spanish state the archives of the Republic.
Valionis, Antanas (b. Sept. 21, 1950, Zabieliskiu village, Kedainiai region, Lithuanian S.S.R.), foreign minister of Lithuania (2000-06). He was also ambassador to Poland (1994-2000), Romania and Bulgaria (1996-2000), and Latvia (2008-11).
Valière, François-Xavier (Joseph Michel Victorien) (b. Sept. 30, 1826, Eymoutiers, Haute-Vienne, France - d. Dec. 20, 1882, Paris, France), governor of Senegal (1869-76).
Válková, Helena (b. Jan. 7, 1951, Chlumec nad Cidlinou, Czechoslovakia [now in Czech Republic]), justice minister of the Czech Republic (2014- ).
Vall, Ely Ould Mohamed, Arabic A`li walad Muhammad Fal (b. Jan. 1, 1953), chairman of the Military Council for Justice and Democracy of Mauritania (2005-07).
Vallarino (Clement), Alberto (b. April 2, 1951, Panama City, Panama), Panamanian politician. An executive vice-president of one of Central America's most important banks, Vallarino broke with Panama's main opposition in December 1998 after losing in the Arnulfista Party primaries to Mireya Moscoso. Vallarino was the only candidate in the 1999 presidential election to have presented a detailed plan of government. His proposals included the removal of income tax for those who make less than $700 per month, increasing minimum wages by 15%, and creating 250,000 new jobs in the country in the next five years, among others. He was backed by Panama's Christian Democrat Party (PDC), which was crippled in the country's 1994 general elections when it went from holding 30 seats in the national assembly to just one. The Harvard-educated Vallarino was met with scorn by Panama's enormous lower and middle classes, who disdained his wealthy background. He came in third in the election. In 2009 he became economy and finance minister under Pres. Ricardo Martinelli.
Valle Riestra (González Olaechea), Javier (Maximiliano Alfredo Hipólito) (b. Jan. 5, 1932, Lima, Peru), prime minister of Peru (1998).
Valleix, Claude (b. May 22, 1945, Clermont-Ferrand, France), prefect of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (2002-05). He was also prefect of the départements of Haute-Marne (2005-07) and Ardèche (2007-09).
Vallejo Figueroa, Fausto (b. May 17, 1949, Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico), governor of Michoacán (2012- ).
Vallon, Aristide (Louis Antoine Maximin) (b. July 26, 1826, Le Conquet, Finistère, France - d. March 11, 1897, Paris, France), governor of Senegal (1882).
Valls (Galfetti), Manuel (Carlos) (b. Aug. 13, 1962, Barcelona, Spain), interior minister (2012-14) and prime minister (2014- ) of France. He became a French citizen in 1982.
Valmary, Alfred (Victor Joseph Gabriel) (b. Dec. 6, 1901 - d. March 28, 1970), interim commissioner of Laos (1948-49).
Vals, Francis (b. Jan. 9, 1910, Leucate, Aude, France - d. June 27, 1974, Luxembourg, Luxembourg), president of the Regional Council of Languedoc-Roussillon (1974).
Valuyev, Pyotr Aleksandrovich, (from March 2, 1880) Graf (b. Oct. 4 [Sept. 22, O.S.], 1815 - d. Feb. 8 [Jan. 27, O.S.], 1890), chairman of the Committee of Ministers of Russia (1880-81).
Valverde (Pérez), José Desiderio (often erroneously shown as José Desiderio Valverde Mallol) (b. c. 1822, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic - d. Jan. 5, 1904, Santiago de los Caballeros), president of the Dominican Republic (1858).
Valvis, Dimitrios (Ioannou) (b. 1814 - d. 1886), prime minister of Greece (1886); brother of Zinovios Valvis.
Valvis, Zinovios (Ioannou), original name Zafirios (Ioannou) Valvis (b. 1800, Missolonghi, Greece, Ottoman Empire - d. 1886, Missolonghi, Greece), prime minister of Greece (1863, 1864).
Van Acker, Achille (Honoré), byname Achiel Van Acker (b. April 8, 1898, Brugge, Belgium - d. July 9, 1975, Brugge), prime minister of Belgium (1945-46, 1946, 1954-58). He was also minister of labour and social security (1944-45, 1946), health (1944-45), coal (1945-46, 1946), and communications (1947-49) and chairman of the Chamber of Representatives (1961-74).
Van Bibber, Geraldine, née Kelly (b. July 3, 1951, Dawson, Yukon Territory [now Yukon]), commissioner of Yukon (2005-10).
Van Buren, Martin (b. Dec. 5, 1782, Kinderhook, N.Y. - d. July 24, 1862, Kinderhook), president of the United States (1837-41). He served in the New York Senate in 1812-20 and was state attorney general in 1815-19. After his election to the U.S. Senate in 1821, he created the Albany Regency, a political organization set up to govern the state during his absence in Washington. After the election of John Quincy Adams as president in 1824, Van Buren aided in the formation of a new political amalgam that resulted in the Democratic Party. Made up of factions of the Jeffersonian Republican party led by Andrew Jackson, William H. Crawford, and John C. Calhoun, it espoused the principles of Thomas Jefferson and capitalized on Jackson's popularity. In 1828 he successfully ran for governor of New York and resigned his Senate seat, but within months he left the governorship to become President Jackson's secretary of state. In 1831 he was appointed minister to Great Britain. Nominated for the vice presidency in 1832 by the first national convention of the Democratic Party, he was elected with Jackson on a ticket opposing the established bank system. He became Jackson's choice to succeed him, was unanimously nominated for the presidency in 1835, and won the 1836 election against a splintered Whig opposition. He maintained Jacksonian policies that magnified an economic downturn. Enforcing the Indian Removal Act of 1830, he caused the "Trail of Tears" that resulted in the death of one quarter of the Cherokee nation. In 1840 he was unanimously renominated by the Democrats but was overwhelmingly defeated by the Whig candidate William Henry Harrison. In 1844 he failed to win the Democratic nomination. In 1848 he was nominated by the antislavery Democrats ("Barnburners") and then by the Free-Soilers, with whom the Barnburners and "conscience" Whigs united, but he finished third in the election.
Van de Weyer, (Jean) Sylvain (b. Jan. 19, 1802, Louvain, France [now in Belgium] - d. May 23, 1874, London, England), member of the Provisional Government (1830-31) and cabinet chief (1845-46) of Belgium.
Van den Heuvel, Jules (Norbert Marie) (b. Nov. 16, 1854, Ghent, Belgium - d. Oct. 22, 1926, Ghent), justice minister of Belgium (1899-1907).
van der Byl, Pieter (Kenyon Fleming Voltelyn) (b. Nov. 11, 1923, Cape Town, South Africa - d. Nov. 15, 1999, Fairfield, South Africa), Rhodesian politician. After growing up in South Africa, he joined an elite British Army cavalry regiment, where he acquired patrician airs and a clipped British accent. During World War II, he fought in Italy, and once told a television interviewer: "Italy was a splendid country to conquer." After the war, he went to Rhodesia, where he joined Parliament in 1962. In 1965 he signed Prime Minister Ian Smith's Unilateral Declaration of Independence, an attempt to block efforts by Britain and the United Nations to foster nonracial rule in Rhodesia. That triggered a civil war by black rebels, who installed a Marxist government in 1980 and renamed the country Zimbabwe under black rule. Earlier, as rebel strength grew, van der Byl was asked by British journalists how Rhodesia's embattled 287,000 whites would react when black guerrillas fought their way through to the capital. "Well, we'll shoot them," he said contemptuously. In the interim, van der Byl served alternately as the country's information, foreign (1974-79), and defense minister. Van der Byl returned to South Africa in 1982, but he traveled frequently to the new Zimbabwe to continue service in Parliament, until the black government kicked out white members in 1987.
Van-Dúnem, Pedro de Castro (dos Santos), nickname Loy (b. Feb. 9, 1942, Bengo province, northeastern Angola - d. Sept. 23, 1997), Angolan politician. He fought as a guerrilla for the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola against Portuguese rule. After Angola gained independence in 1975, he began a political career that included holding the positions of foreign minister (1989-92), energy and oil minister, and third deputy prime minister. At the time of his death, he was minister for public works and town planning in the national unity government that took office in April 1997 as part of a 1994 peace pact to end almost two decades of civil war.
Van Houtte, Jean (Marie Joseph, [from 1970:] baron) (b. March 17, 1907, Ghent, Belgium - d. May 23, 1991), finance minister (1950-52, 1958-61) and prime minister (1952-54) of Belgium.< P>
van Niekerk, Sybrand (Gerhardus Johannes) (b. May 11, 1914, Vryburg district, Cape province [now in North West], South Africa - d. Nov. 16, 2011, Pretoria, South Africa), administrator of Transvaal (1966-79). In 1982 he was a founder member of the Conservative Party.
Van Rompuy, Herman (A.) (b. Oct. 31, 1947, Etterbeek, Belgium), prime minister of Belgium (2008-09). In 2007-08 he was chairman of the Chamber of Representatives. In 2009 he became the first president of the European Council.
van Schalkwyk, Marthinus (Christoffel Johannes) (b. Nov. 10, 1959, Pietersburg [now Polokwane, Limpopo province], South Africa), premier of Western Cape (2002-04). In 2004 he became environmental affairs and tourism minister of South Africa (from 2009 only tourism).
Van Tien Dung (b. May 2, 1917, Co Nhue village, near Hanoi, Vietnam - d. March 17, 2002, Hanoi), Vietnamese general. He joined the Communist Party in 1937. Part of an elite handful of revolutionaries who masterminded Vietnam's war of independence against France, he was named Hanoi's military chief of staff in 1953 and went on to fight against American forces during the Vietnam War. He headed the final communist offensive against U.S.-backed South Vietnam in the spring of 1975. The war came to an end on April 30 of that year as North Vietnamese tanks rolled through the gates of the presidential palace in Saigon, South Vietnam's capital. His military reputation in Vietnam stands second only to battlefield legend Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, who along with Ho Chi Minh and Pham Van Dong were considered the architects of the nation's communist revolution. Dung replaced Giap as defense minister in 1980 and was an advocate of a large standing army. Criticized from within the army for his autocratic style and rumours of family corruption, he was replaced in 1987 during a cabinet shuffle.
Van Tien Dung
Vanackere, Steven (b. Feb. 4, 1964, Wevelgem, Belgium), foreign minister (2009-11) and finance minister (2011- ) of Belgium.
Vance, Cyrus (Roberts) (b. March 27, 1917, Clarksburg, W.Va. - d. Jan. 12, 2002, New York City), U.S. secretary of state (1977-80). His government career began in 1957 when he served as special counsel to a Senate subcommittee. When John F. Kennedy became president in 1961 he appointed Vance general counsel to the Defense Department where he later became secretary of the Army and deputy secretary of defense, resigning in 1967. Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson sent him as a troubleshooter to investigate Canal Zone riots in Panama in 1964, to the Dominican Republic during the 1965 civil war, and to Detroit to study civil disturbances in 1967. As Jimmy Carter's secretary of state, Vance was a major architect of a foreign policy that produced historic achievements but was widely perceived as muddled and inconsistent. Persistent disagreements reached a climax over the abortive attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran. On April 28, 1980, Vance became only the second secretary of state in U.S. history to resign over a clear policy issue. However, he could point to several historic successes, headed by the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. Other foreign policy initiatives, such as the normalization of relations with China, were deeply divisive and pitted Vance against conservatives. In 1991 he became a troubleshooter for the United Nations and negotiated a ceasefire between Serbs and Croats in Croatia that led to the stationing of 15,000 peacekeepers to the newly independent republic. He lobbied unsuccessfully to prevent early recognition of Croatia without first solving political conflicts. He predicted Bosnia would have no choice but to follow because Serbs, angered at being cut off from Yugoslavia, would take up arms. Vance could not later secure peace in Bosnia and he resigned in 1993.
Vande Lanotte, Johan (Cyrille Corneel) (b. July 6, 1955, Poperinge, Belgium), interior minister (1994-98) and a deputy prime minister (1995-98, 1999-2005) of Belgium.
Vanden Boeynants, Paul (Émile François Henri) ("VDB") (b. May 22, 1919, Forest municipality, Brussels, Belgium - d. Jan. 9, 2001, Aalst, Belgium), Belgian politician. He developed an interest in politics and entered parliament in 1949. As Brussels alderman for city properties, he oversaw the drastic renewal of the stylish capital. Whole neighborhoods were razed to make way for drab modernist blocks, giving Brussels a reputation for destructive city renewal. Vanden Boeynants became the bane of preservationists and environmentalists, and allegations were rife that his friends in the construction industry profited from his decisions. In 1958-61 he was minister for the middle classes. He used his dealmaking skills to dominate Belgian politics for much of the 1960s and 1970s. He was prime minister in 1966-68 and 1978-79, both periods when tension peaked between Belgium's Dutch-speakers and Francophones. The Christian Democrat held brittle coalitions together by postponing and sidestepping divisive political issues. He was defense minister in 1972-79 and held his parliament seat until 1985. He remained a champion and a symbol for the small businessman. But his stature took a crippling blow in 1986 when he was convicted of tax fraud in connection with his business activities and given a three-year suspended sentence, with the judge calling him an "inveterate swindler." He later tried to become mayor of Brussels, but despite widespread support in the 1988 municipal polls, was told by the government his fraud conviction made him unfit for office. The feisty politician was abducted in 1989 for a month and released only after his family paid a hefty ransom. He was a great advocate of Belgian unity and was perhaps the last truly "Belgian" politician.
Vandenberg, Charles Alexis (b. Jan. 20, 1858, Antibes, Alpes-Maritimes, France - d. 1942), governor of Lebanon (1924-25).
Vandenberg, Hoyt S(anford) (b. Jan. 24, 1899, Milwaukee, Wis. - d. April 2, 1954, Washington, D.C.), U.S. director of central intelligence (1946-47). He was graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1923 and from the Air Service Flying School and its Advanced Flying School in 1924. After several years of flight training and teaching, he entered the Air Corps Tactical School in 1934, and the Command and General Staff School in 1935. He taught at the Air Corps Tactical School from 1936 to 1938, when he entered the Army War College. Early in 1942 he was operations and training officer of the air staff in Washington, D.C. Later that year he helped organize the U.S. air forces in North Africa, becoming chief of staff of the 12th air force, and later of the northwest African strategic air force. In August 1943 he became deputy chief of staff at air force headquarters and headed an air mission to the U.S.S.R. In April 1944 he was designated deputy commander in chief of the Allied Expeditionary Air Force and commander of its U.S. air component, assuming command of the 9th air force in August. His postwar positions included assistant chief of air staff (1945); director of intelligence on the War Department general staff (January-June 1946); director of what was then the Central Intelligence Group (1946-47); deputy commander and chief of air staff of the army air forces (June 1947); air force vice chief of staff with the rank of general (Oct. 1, 1947); and chief of staff of the U.S. air force (April 30, 1948). After the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 he presided over the Air Force buildup for the war and took part in the decision to invade Inch'on in September 1950 and the decision to remove Gen. Douglas MacArthur from command in the spring of 1951. He retired in 1953.
Vandenbroucke, Frank (Ignace Georgette) (b. Oct. 21, 1955, Louvain, Belgium), foreign minister of Belgium (1994-95). He was also minister of social affairs and pensions (1999-2003) and employment and pensions (2003-04).
Vander Zalm, William N(ick), originally Wilhelmus Nicolaas Theodore Marie Vander Zalm, byname Bill Vander Zalm (b. May 29, 1934, Noordwijkerhout, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands), premier of British Columbia (1986-91). His family immigrated to Canada in 1947. He was first elected alderman in Surrey, B.C., in 1965, and in 1969 he became that city's youngest mayor. As a member of the Liberal Party, he ran unsuccessfully in the 1968 federal election. In 1972 he was an unsuccessful candidate for leader of the provincial Liberals. In 1974 he joined the Social Credit (Socred) Party, and the following year he was elected to the provincial legislature in the Socred sweep. Between 1978 and 1983 he held a number of cabinet posts. Throughout his political career, he was noted for his blunt statements. In 1982, for instance, he called his fellow cabinet ministers "gutless" when the legislature defeated a land-use bill he had worked on for two years. Women asking for job training were told they would make better homemakers than plumbers, and welfare recipients were told to pick up a shovel. When he received complaints about this latter remark, he responded by selling silver shovel pins and auctioning off shovels at Socred fund-raisers. On July 30, 1986, he defeated members of the hierarchy to become leader of the provincial Social Credit Party. Seven days later he was sworn in as the 27th premier of the province. Having resigned from provincial politics in 1983, he did not hold a seat in the provincial legislature. This was remedied, however, in the general election of Oct. 22, 1986. His party was returned to power, and he was elected to represent the riding of Richmond. In 1987 he became the first Canadian premier to act as host on a regularly scheduled open-line radio talk show. An impatient politician with a dislike of bureaucracy, he promised "an open and up-front" style of government.
Vanderpoorten, Arthur (Pieter Frans) (b. Feb. 17, 1884, Puurs, Belgium - d. April 3, 1945, Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Germany), interior minister of Belgium (1940-43). He was also minister of public works (1939-40).
Vandervelde, Émile (Guillaume) (b. Jan. 25, 1866, Ixelles [now in Brussels-Capital region], Belgium - d. Dec. 27, 1938, Ixelles), Belgian statesman. He joined the Belgian Workers' Party in 1889 and soon became its acknowledged leader. He first entered parliament in 1894 as member for Charleroi but after 1900 was returned continuously from Brussels. In the Chamber of Representatives he achieved both influence and prestige and played a prominent part in the struggle to attain universal suffrage (finally granted in 1919), a struggle that resulted in more than one national general strike. Considered to be the most powerful socialist orator in the French language since Jean Jaurès, he played a conspicuous role in all the international Socialist congresses after the beginning of the 20th century. In August 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, he was summoned to join the government as minister of state, later becoming a member of the cabinet. At the time of peace negotiations and the signing of the Versailles Treaty, he used his influence to obtain the insertion of labour clauses, relating especially to the eight-hour day. As minister of justice (1918-21) in the Liberal-Catholic-Socialist cabinet formed after the war, he effected great humanitarian and scientific reforms in the prison system (1919). After the successes of the Workers' Party in the 1925 elections, he entered the Socialist-Catholic coalition cabinet as foreign minister and played an important part in negotiating the Pact of Locarno among Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain, and Italy. He was subjected to criticism because of his genuine internationalism and anti-militarism, the latter being the immediate cause of the fall of the Henri Jaspar cabinet in 1927. He later was minister without portfolio (1935-36) and minister of public health (1936-37).
Vandiver, Ernest, in full Samuel Ernest Vandiver, Jr. (b. July 3, 1918, Canon, Ga. - d. Feb. 21, 2005, Lavonia, Ga.), governor of Georgia (1959-63). An old-style Southern Democrat with a deep drawl and gentlemanly manner, he rose to national attention in 1958 when he vowed that "no, not one" black child would sit in a classroom with whites if he were elected governor. His anti-integration pledge, which came just four years after the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed school segregation in its landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling, helped him win the Democratic primary and the keys to the governor's mansion. Many whites in Georgia, Alabama, and other Southern states supported segregationists in the 1950s and 1960s as a protest against the federal government's efforts to extend equal rights to blacks. Vandiver had hoped to focus his administration on weeding out alleged corruption in government, but he was forced into the emotional civil rights debate when federal courts ordered the desegregation of public schools, including the historic University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. Despite pressure from white parents to close the schools rather than bow to the courts, Vandiver decided it was futile for Georgia to fight the federal government on the issue. He convinced lawmakers to repeal anti-desegregation legislation. Many credit Vandiver's reversal for sparing the Southern state the racial turbulence and violence that engulfed neighbouring Alabama and Mississippi in the early 1960s. But Vandiver said that allowing the schools to be integrated was "political suicide." He again ran for governor in 1966, but was forced to withdraw from the race due to a heart attack. In 1972 he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate.
Vanhanen, Matti (Taneli) (b. Nov. 4, 1955, Jyväskylä, Finland), defense minister (2003) and prime minister (2003-10) of Finland. He was a presidential candidate in 2006.
Vanhová, Jana (b. Jan. 1, 1955, Rakovník, Czechoslovakia [now in Czech Republic]), governor of Ústecký kraj (2008-12).
Vanier, Georges Philias (b. April 23, 1888, Montreal, Que. - d. March 5, 1967, Ottawa, Ont.), governor-general of Canada (1959-67).
Vannas, Meta, until c. 1975 Meta Jangolenko (Russian in full Meta Villemovna Yangolenko) (b. Nov. 9, 1924, Hiiumaa, Estonia - d. Nov. 25, 2002), acting chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian S.S.R. (1978). She was deputy chairman from July 4, 1975, to Feb. 24, 1985.
Vanossi, Jorge (Reinaldo Agustín) (b. 1939, Buenos Aires, Argentina), justice minister of Argentina (2002).
Vansittart, George Henry (b. July 16, 1768 - d. Feb. 4, 1824), governor of Saint Lucia (1802).
Vaquina, Alberto (Clementino António) (b. July 4, 1961, Timaquela village, Nampula province, Mozambique), prime minister of Mozambique (2012- ). He was governor of Sofala (2005-10) and Tete (2010-12) provinces.
Vara del Rey (y Rubio), Joaquín (b. 1840, Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Spain - d. [killed in battle] July 1, 1898, El Caney, Cuba), governor of the Mariana Islands (1890-91).
Varela (Bernadou), Benigno Ignacio (Marcelino) (b. June 21, 1917, Buenos Aires, Argentina - d. Feb. 29, 1996, Buenos Aires), member of the Revolutionary Junta of Argentina (1966).
Varela (Rodríguez), Juan Carlos (b. Dec. 12, 1963, Panama City, Panama), vice president and foreign minister of Panama (2009-11).
Varela (Olivera), Pedro (José) (b. Feb. 22, 1837, Florida, Uruguay - d. 1906, Montevideo, Uruguay), president of Uruguay (1875-76).
Varela Iglesias, José Enrique (b. April 17, 1891, San Fernando, Spain - d. March 24, 1951, Tétouan, Morocco), Spanish high commissioner of Morocco (1945-51).
Varenne, Alexandre (Claude) (b. Oct. 3, 1870, Clermont-Ferrand, France - d. Feb. 16, 1947, Paris, France), governor-general of French Indochina (1925-28).
Varenne, Antoine d'Arcy, marquis de la (b. 16... - d. 1732), governor of Martinique (1717).
Varga, Béla (b. Feb. 18, 1903, Börcs village, Hungary - d. Oct. 13, 1995, Budapest, Hungary), member of the High National Council of Hungary (1945-46).
Vargas (Huatatoca), Antonio (b. Dec. 1, 1958, Puyo, eastern Ecuador), member of the Council of State of Ecuador (2000).
Vargas, Getúlio (Dorneles) (b. April 19, 18821, São Borja, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil - d. Aug. 24, 1954, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), president of Brazil (1930-45, 1951-54). He entered politics in 1908 and in 1922 was elected to the National Congress, in which he served four years. In 1926 he became finance minister, retaining the post until his election as president of Rio Grande do Sul in 1928. From the latter position, he campaigned for the presidency of Brazil in 1930. Defeated in the March election, he claimed fraud and led a revolution in October which overthrew the oligarchical republic. He held power as provisional president from November, and was elected president by the constituent assembly in July 1934. The electorate was quadrupled and granted the secret ballot, women were enfranchised, national unity was heightened, and extensive educational and social reforms were introduced. But on Nov. 10, 1937, he presided over a coup d'état that ended the constitutional government and set up the authoritarian New State (Estado Novo). This in turn was overthrown by coup d'état on Oct. 29, 1945, in a wave of democratic sentiment sweeping the country after World War II. Still, he retained wide popular support. In December 1945 he was elected both as senator and congressman from several states and he chose the position as senator from Rio Grande do Sul. However, he kept a low profile until staging a comeback in 1950, when he was elected president as the candidate of the Brazilian Labour Party. Unable to deal effectively with economic problems, he resorted increasingly to nationalistic appeals to hold popular support. Faced with overpowering opposition from the armed forces, he shot himself rather than be removed from office again.
1 Year of birth was altered to 1883 to meet age limit for admission to military academy; this falsification was only publicly disclosed on the occasion of his centenary.
Vargas, Jesus (Miranda) (b. March 22, 1905, Manila, Philippines), defense secretary of the Philippines (1957-59) and secretary-general of SEATO (1965-72).
Vargas (y Celis), Jorge B(artolomé) (b. Aug. 24, 1890, Bago, Negros Occidental province, Philippines - d. Feb. 22, 1980, Makati City, Philippines), president of the Philippines under Japanese occupation (1943).
Vargas (Benalcázar), Telmo (Oswaldo) (b. October 1912), chief of staff of the armed forces of Ecuador (1966). General Vargas was a leader in ousting the ruling military junta in 1966 and restoring civilian rule, handing over power to Clemente Yerovi Indaburu as interim president. Yerovi then named Rear Adm. Carlos Montenegro to replace Vargas as chief of staff.
Vargas Fernández, Alfredo (b. May 24, 1911, Heredia, Costa Rica - d. March 25, 2002, Heredia), foreign minister of Costa Rica (1958-62).
Vargas Llosa, (Jorge) Mario (Pedro) (b. March 28, 1936, Arequipa, Peru), Peruvian presidential candidate (1990). One of Latin America's most famous novelists, he was elected the first Latin American president of International PEN (Association of Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, and Novelists) in 1976. Once a supporter of Cuba, Vargas Llosa since the 1970s had sought to portray himself as a centrist - defending democracy from the extremes of both right and left. In 1987 he stepped into the political limelight with his opposition to the government's attempt to nationalize private banks. Speaking for the conservatives, he accused Pres. Alan García of endangering democracy by attempting to "concentrate too much power in the hands of the government." Prior to that he had been chairman of a special governmental investigation into the murders of eight journalists in Peru's ongoing guerrilla war. Citing the "moral obligation" of a Latin American writer to be "involved in civic activities" and not simply to make pronouncements from the safety of the sidelines, Vargas Llosa said in 1988 that he would be willing to run for president. Expressing a determination to prevent the election of a Marxist president, he agreed to run as a candidate of the right-wing Democratic Front, a coalition of his own Liberty Movement and the centre-right Popular Action and Popular Christian parties. But he unexpectedly lost the 1990 election in a runoff against Alberto Fujimori. He was a strong critic of Fujimori's 1992 self-coup. In 1993 he was granted Spanish citizenship and in 1994 he was elected a member of the Royal Spanish Academy of Language. In 2010 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Vargas Lugo, Bartolomé (b. 1890, Tulancingo, Hidalgo, Mexico - d. June 19, 1972, Mexico City, Mexico), governor of Hidalgo (1929-33).
Várkonyi, Péter (b. April 3, 1931, Budapest, Hungary - d. Oct. 15, 2008), foreign minister of Hungary (1983-89). He was also ambassador to the United States (1989-90).
Varmann, Kolbjørn (Sigurd Verner) (b. Dec. 23, 1904, Nordfjordeid, Norway - d. Aug. 13, 1980), governor of Finnmark (1963-74).
Varnier, Maurice (b. Jan. 15, 1851, Valence, Drôme, France - d. 19...), acting governor-general of Algeria (1903).
Varona y Loredo, Manuel Antonio de, byname Tony Varona (b. Nov. 25, 1908, Camagüey, Cuba - d. Oct. 29, 1992, Miami, Fla.), premier of Cuba (1948-50). He was president of the Senate in 1950-52.
Varoprakar, Prince Devawongse (b. Nov. 27, 1858, Bangkok, Siam [now Thailand] - d. June 28, 1923, Bangkok), foreign minister of Siam (1885-1923); son of King Mongkut; half-brother of King Chulalongkorn.
Varshalomidze, Levan (b. Jan. 17, 1972, Batumi, Adzhar A.S.S.R., Georgian S.S.R.), chairman of the Interim Council (2004) and prime minister (2004-12) of Ajaria.
Vartholomaios I, English Bartholomew, original name Dimitrios (Christou) Archontonis (b. Feb. 29, 1940, Hagioi Theodoroi, Imroz [now Gökçeada] island, Turkey), ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople (1991- ). Receiving his diploma of theology from the Theological School of Chalki (near Istanbul), he entered the priesthood in Imroz as a deacon in 1961. He undertook further studies in Switzerland and Germany and in 1968 gained a doctorate in canon law in Rome. Returning, he served as sub-dean of the Theological School of Chalki, then in 1969 was ordained priest in Istanbul, and in 1970 was elevated to the rank of archimandrite. In 1973 he was elected metropolitan of Philadelphia and consecrated as a bishop. He was a member of the Holy Synod of the Eastern Orthodox Church from 1974. He participated in three general assemblies of the World Council of Churches (1968, 1983, 1991). In 1990 he was elected metropolitan of Chalcedon. On Oct. 22, 1991, the Holy Synod elected him as the 270th archbishop of Constantinople and ecumenical patriarch, making him the spiritual leader - "first among equals" - of all the self-governing Eastern Orthodox churches throughout the world. He gave spiritual and moral support to the resurgent Orthodox churches in Eastern European countries after the fall of Communism. He convened extraordinary meetings of the heads of all the autocephalous and autonomous Orthodox churches in Istanbul in 1992 and on the Greek island of Patmos in 1995. In 1995 he also visited Pope John Paul II and the Archbishop of Canterbury. His efforts in environmental awareness have earned him the title "Green Patriarch."
Vasconcelos (Vides y Ladrón de Guevara), Doroteo (some sources give the full name as Doroteo Vasconcelos Valle) (b. Feb. 6, 1803, Sensuntepeque, New Spain [now in El Salvador] - d. March 1883), president of El Salvador (1848-50, 1850-51).
Vasconcelos, Jarbas de Andrade (b. Aug. 23, 1942, Vicência, Pernambuco, Brazil), governor of Pernambuco (1999-2006). He was also mayor of Recife (1986-88, 1993-96).
Vasconsellos (López), César Augusto (b. May 4, 1899, Ygatimi, northeastern Paraguay - d. 1949), foreign minister of Paraguay (1947-48).
Vasey, Sir Ernest Albert (b. Aug. 27, 1901, Maryport, Cumberland, England - d. Jan. 10, 1984, Nairobi, Kenya), finance minister of Kenya (1952-59). He emigrated to Kenya after serving on Shrewsbury Town Council. He was twice mayor of Nairobi (1941-42, 1944-46), entered the Legislative Council as member for Nairobi North (1945-50), and in 1950 was appointed member for health, local government, and education. As minister for finance and development during the Mau Mau emergency he played an important role in ensuring increased funds for African development projects and in establishing relationships with international bodies for funding and aid. After his election to the Council of Ministers in 1958 was blocked by a boycott by African-elected members under the 1957 constitution, Vasey left for Tanganyika at the end of 1959 and served as finance minister in Julius Nyerere's government until 1962. From 1963 until his retirement in 1966 he was World Bank representative in Pakistan. During his retirement in Kenya he remained active in business and as a member of government committees. He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1959.
Vashadze, Grigol (Nodaris dze) (b. July 19, 1958, Tbilisi, Georgian S.S.R.), foreign minister of Georgia (2008-12). He was also minister of culture, monument protection, and sports (2008).
Vashchenkov, Leonid (Yefimovich) (b. 1933), acting head of the administration of Saratov oblast (1996).
Vasic, Srdjan (b. May 14, 1960), prefect of Kosovo district (2004-07). He is a member of the Socialist Party of Serbia.
Vasile, Radu (b. Oct. 10, 1942, Sibiu, Romania - d. July 3, 2013), prime minister of Romania (1998-99). Vasile, who belonged to the modernizing wing of the Christian Democrats, failed to revive the faltering economy or improve living standards. He was ousted by a revolt in his own party in December 1999. His government was accused by Pres. Emil Constantinescu of lacking coherence and organization in implementing reforms. Party leaders hoped to speed Romania's candidacy for membership of the European Union by replacing Vasile with a figure more committed to reform.
Vasilios V (b. 1872 - d. January 1950), metropolitan of Crete (1941-50).
Vasiliou, Georgios (Vasou), English George Vassiliou (b. May 21, 1931, Famagusta, Cyprus), president of Cyprus (1988-93). He was mentioned, among others, as a possible compromise candidate for centre and left-wing groups opposed to Pres. Spyros Kyprianou in the 1983 election. However, Kyprianou secured an election pact with the Communist Party (AKEL), which consistently polled around 30% of the vote. With AKEL's support he won a new five-year term but, once elected, he ignored the pact. Furious, the AKEL leaders began to plot his downfall, and Vasiliou again caught their eye. In July 1987 AKEL threw its support behind Vasiliou as an independent candidate. The other independent candidate, former foreign minister Nikos Rolandis - like Vasiliou a self-made millionaire - stood down and put his small Liberal Party behind Vasiliou to attract centre-right voters. Vasiliou defined himself as his own man by defying AKEL on two key issues. He backed a new customs union between Cyprus and the European Communities and took a moderate stand on the island's two British military bases, which AKEL wanted removed. In a first-round poll in February 1988, right-wing Rally Party leader Glafkos Kliridis won the most votes, but Vasiliou edged past Kyprianou into second place. In a hard-fought second round a week later, Vasiliou narrowly beat Kliridis to become president. Within months of his election, he persuaded the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas, to meet him in Geneva, and the two continued secret talks in Nicosia. Vasiliou was a strong supporter of the UN plan which proposed the establishment of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. In 1993 he narrowly lost a reelection bid to Kliridis. In 1998-2003 he was head of the negotiating team for the accession of Cyprus to the European Union.
Vasiljevic, Zivan (b. 1920 - d. 2007, Belgrade, Serbia), president of the National Assembly of Serbia (1974).
Vásquez Carrizosa, Alfredo (b. February 1909, Chia, Colombia - d. Dec. 19, 2001), foreign minister of Colombia (1970-74). He was also ambassador to Belgium (1961-63), permanent representative to the OAS (1963-67), and ambassador to the United Kingdom (1974-77).
Vásquez Colmenares, Pedro (b. Nov. 2, 1934, Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico - d. Sept. 25, 2012, Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico), governor of Oaxaca (1980-85). He was Mexican ambassador to Guatemala in 1989-95.
Vassal, Charles (Henri), commandant of Sainte-Marie de Madagascar (1874-78) and acting commandant of Mayotte (1878-79).
Vasylenko, Mykola Prokopovych (b. Feb. 2, 1866, Yesman village, Glukhov district, Chernigov province, Russia [now in Chernihiv oblast, Ukraine] - d. Oct. 3, 1935), chairman of the Council of Ministers of the non-communist Ukraine (1918).
Vatable, Louis François, baron (b. July 2, 1773, Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe - d. March 8, 1853, Paris, France), governor of Guadeloupe (1830-31).
Vatsa, Mamman (b. Dec. 3, 1940 - d. March 5, 1986), Nigerian minister for the Federal Capital Territory (1984-85). He was arrested in December 1985 on suspicion of plotting to overthrow Ibrahim Babangida's regime and was later executed by firing squad.
Vaudreuil, Joseph Hyacinthe de Rigaud, marquis de (b. June 26, 1706, Quebec - d.
1764), governor-general of Saint-Domingue (1753-57).
Vaugiraud de Rosnay, Pierre René Marie, comte de (b. Dec. 27, 1741, Les Sables-d'Olonne, Vendée, France - d. March 13, 1819, Paris, France), governor of Martinique (1814-18).
Vauthier, Maurice (Auguste Eugène) (b. March 2, 1860, Brussels, Belgium - d. June 25, 1931, Ixelles, Belgium), interior minister of Belgium (1927).
Vaux, Noël de Jourda, comte de, baron de Roche en Régnier et Velay, seigneur d'Youer et de Saintes Vertus (b. March 12, 1705, Vaux castle, near Puy-en-Velay, France - d. Sept. 14, 1788, Grenoble, France), governor of Corsica (1769-70). He was made a marshal of France in 1783.
Väyrynen, Paavo (Matti) (b. Sept. 2, 1946, Keminmaa, Finland), foreign minister of Finland (1977-82, 1983-87, 1991-93). He was also minister of education (1975-76), labour (1976-77), and foreign trade and development (2007-11). He was a presidential candidate in 2012.
Vaz (Ramela), Pedro (Humberto) (b. Dec. 2, 1963, Rocha department, Uruguay - d. Dec. 6, 2012, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile), foreign minister of Uruguay (2009-10). In 2005-08 he was ambassador to Brazil and from 2010 to his death he was ambassador to Chile.
Vázquez (Rosas), Tabaré (Ramón) (b. Jan. 17, 1940, Montevideo, Uruguay), president of Uruguay (2005-10). He was mayor of Montevideo in 1990-94 and an unsuccessful presidential candidate in 1999.
Vázquez Montes, Gustavo (Alberto) (b. Aug. 16, 1962, Colima, Colima, Mexico - d. [plane crash] Feb. 24, 2005, El Zapotito, Tzitzio municipality, Michoacán, Mexico), governor of Colima (2003-05).
Veber, René (b. Oct. 17, 1888 - d. Jan. 31, 1972), governor of Cochinchina (1939-40).
Védrine, Hubert (b. July 31, 1947, Saint-Sylvain-Bellegarde, Creuse, France), foreign minister of France (1997-2002).
Veer, Abraham de (b. Jan. 8, 1767 - d. Feb. 1, 1838), governor-general of Dutch Guiana (1822-27).
Vega de Lamadrid, Francisco (Arturo), byname Kiko Vega (b. May 22, 1955, Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, Mexico), governor of Baja California (2013- ).
Vega Imbert, José Augusto (b. Feb. 13, 1933, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic), foreign minister of the Dominican Republic (1982-86). He was also ambassador to Spain (2000-04).
Vega Rodríguez, José Miguel (b. December 1913, Ceuta, Spain - d. May 30, 1992, Madrid, Spain), governor-general of Ifni (1967-69).
Veiga, Carlos (Alberto Wahnon de Carvalho) (b. Oct. 21, 1949, Mindelo, São Vicente island, Cape Verde), prime minister of Cape Verde (1991-2000).
Veiga, (Maria de) Fátima (Lima da) (b. June 22, 1957, São Vicente island, Cape Verde), foreign minister of Cape Verde (2002-04). She has also been ambassador to the United States (2007- ).
Veiga, José Tomás (Wahnon de Carvalho) (b. May 8, 1951, Praia, Cape Verde), foreign minister of Cape Verde (1995-96); brother of Carlos Veiga.
Veil, Simone (Annie), née Jacob (b. July 13, 1927, Nice, France), French politician. Her schooling was interrupted in March 1944 by the family's deportation to Auschwitz, where her parents and brother died in concentration camps. She was repatriated in May 1945. During 1959-65 she was an assistant public prosecutor, and in 1970 became the first woman secretary-general of the Higher Council of Judges. She was appointed minister of health in Jacques Chirac's government in May 1974, the first woman to hold full ministerial rank in France. Virtually unknown at the time, she soon became France's most popular political personality, widely admired and respected for her force of character and the reforming zeal with which she set about modernizing and improving the nation's health services. Her two major achievements were the enactment of bills liberalizing official policies toward contraception and legalizing abortion - both sensitive issues in a predominantly Roman Catholic society. She remained in office under Premier Raymond Barre until March 31, 1978, being reappointed with additional responsibility for family affairs on April 5. In 1977 she also became chairman of the Information Council for Electro-nuclear Energy. She resigned as minister on June 11, 1979, the day after her election to the European Assembly at the head of the centre-right Union pour la France en Europe, which topped the poll in France with 27.6% of the votes cast. At the opening session of this first directly elected European Assembly (July 17), she was chosen as its president, serving until 1982. In 2010 she was inducted into the Académie Française, becoming only the sixth female member in its history.
Vekic, Ivan (b. Oct. 18, 1938), interior minister of Croatia (1991-92).
Velasco Alvarado, Juan (Francisco) (b. June 16, 1910, Piura, Peru - d. Dec. 24, 1977, Lima, Peru), president of Peru (1968-75). He rose in the army to the rank of division general before leading a bloodless military coup that toppled the civilian government of Pres. Fernando Belaúnde Terry in 1968, in the midst of a congressional dispute over the International Petroleum Co., a subsidiary of Standard Oil of New Jersey (later Exxon). Six days after taking power, he nationalized the subsidiary's refinery complex in Talara. Until he settled compensation claims in 1974 with the oil company and other nationalized U.S. firms, Peruvian-U.S. relations were quarrelsome, flaring into disputes over fishing off Peru by U.S. tuna boats and airline privileges. In his seven years in office, he instituted major social and economic measures that brought radical changes to Peruvian society. In 1969 he expropriated 25 million acres of land and turned them over to the peasants who worked them. This was regarded as his most significant reform. He also engineered profit-sharing programs for labourers in basic industries. His government nationalized or brought under state control such basic industries as petroleum, fishing, steel, communications, as well as banks and the mass circulation press - all of which diminished the power of an aristocracy that had run Peru since independence in 1821. Opponents and journalists who disagreed with Velasco were kept in exile abroad as the government adopted a foreign policy more attuned to the Third World. His government spurred internal development, including the building of the northern Peru oil pipeline. He was ousted in 1975 by military moderates who accused him of excesses and deviating from their 1968 "Peruvian revolution."
Velasco Curiel, Francisco (b. Sept. 16, 1917, San Jerónimo [now Cuauhtémoc], Colima, Mexico - d. Aug. 5, 2005), governor of Colima (1961-67).
Velasco Ibarra, José María (b. March 19, 1893, Quito, Ecuador - d. March 30, 1979, Quito), president of Ecuador (1934-35, 1944-47, 1952-56, 1960-61, 1968-72). He held various public posts before he won his first presidential election as candidate of the Conservative Party in 1933. Before taking office, he announced plans for a land-reform program in which the large estates would be divided. Congress refused to endorse his economic proposals, and a little more than a month after assuming office he submitted his resignation. Congress would not accept that either, so he stayed, but his rule became more authoritarian. In 1935 the army, denouncing him as a dictator, intervened and forced him into his first exile, in Colombia. In 1940 he tried to run for the presidency again, but the Conservatives would not back him and the Liberals already had a candidate; when the Liberals won, he led a revolt, but was arrested and exiled to Colombia again. In 1944 his supporters triggered strikes and demonstrations and forced the resignation of Pres. Carlos Arroyo; Velasco returned and took power. In 1947 the defense minister forced Velasco's resignation. He spent five years in exile in Argentina before returning to be elected president again in 1952. He won by the biggest vote in Ecuador's history after campaigning as an Independent Liberal, and served his only full four-year term. Elected for a fourth time in 1960, he was deposed again in 1961. He was elected yet again in August 1968, declared himself dictator in June 1970, but was overthrown by a group of military officers in February 1972. He spent most of the remainder of his life in Argentina, returning in February 1979 "to meditate and await death." He was a colourful, outspoken politician whose support came from the masses. He boasted once, "Give me a balcony in every town and I will arrive in power."
Velasco Suárez, Manuel (b. Dec. 28, 1914, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico - d. Dec. 2, 2001, Mexico City, Mexico), governor of Chiapas (1970-76).
Velásquez (Quesquén), (Ángel) Javier (b. March 12, 1960, Ciudad Eten district, Chiclayo province, Peru), prime minister of Peru (2009-10). He was also president of the Congress (2008-09).
Velásquez (Mujica), Ramón José (b. Nov. 28, 1916, San Juan de Colón, Venezuela), interim president of Venezuela (1993-94).
Velayati, Ali Akbar (b. June 25, 1945, Tehran, Iran), foreign minister of Iran (1981-97). He was a presidential candidate in 2013.
Velázquez, Elpidio G. (b. May 12, 1892, San Juan de Guadalupe, Durango, Mexico - d. Nov. 14, 1977, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico), governor of Durango (1940-44).
Velázquez Rivera, Ignacio (b. Aug. 5, 1953), president of Melilla (1991-98).
Velchev, Milen (Emilov) (b. March 24, 1966, Sofia, Bulgaria), finance minister of Bulgaria (2001-05).
Vella, George (William) (b. April 24, 1942, Zejtun, Malta), Maltese politician. He started his parliamentary career in 1978. He was subsequently elected member of parliament at the general elections held in 1981, 1992, and 1996. In 1978, he was a substitute member of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe and rapporteur on maritime pollution from maritime sources at the Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE). In 1987, he served as Malta's permanent representative at the Council of Europe between January and May. In 1992, he was elected Labour Party deputy leader for parliamentary affairs and spokesperson on foreign affairs. He served as vice chairman of the Joint EU/Malta Parliamentary Committee. In 1995 and 1996, Vella was a member of the House Business Committee and the Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Committee. During his political career, he led many delegations abroad and attended numerous conferences and seminars; he delivered speeches, mostly on foreign affairs and the environment, in Strasbourg, Aachen, London, Brussels, Paris, Moscow, Cairo, Damascus, and Tripoli. He was appointed deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs and environment in October 1996, but lost that position after the 1998 election. He again became foreign minister when the Labour Party returned to power in 2013.
Velliste, Trivimi (b. May 4, 1947, Tartu, Estonian S.S.R.), foreign minister of Estonia (1992-94). He was also permanent representative to the United Nations (1994-98).
Veloso, António Elísio Capelo Pires (b. Aug. 10, 1926, Folgosinho parish, Gouveia municipality, Portugal), governor (1974) and high commissioner (1974-75) of São Tomé and Príncipe. He was a presidential candidate in Portugal in 1980.
Veloso, Jacinto Soares (b. Aug. 11, 1937, Lourenço Marques [now Maputo], Mozambique), Mozambican politician. A member of Frelimo from 1963, he was minister of security (1975-83), economic affairs (1983-84), international cooperation (1984-94), and information (1994).
Veltroni, Walter (b. July 3, 1955, Rome, Italy), Italian politician. He entered politics as a Communist youth activist in the 1970s. In 1987 he became a member of the Communist Party's central committee and was elected to parliament. He was one of the masterminds of the centre-left Olive Tree alliance, which brought the former Communists to power for the first time in 1996 under Romano Prodi, and served as culture minister under Prodi (1996-98). When Massimo D'Alema became prime minister in 1998, Veltroni succeeded him as secretary of the Democrats of the Left (successor of the Communist Party). In 2001 he was elected mayor of Rome with 53% of the vote. He aggressively pushed a cultural agenda and created the Rome film festival in 2006. Known for his spirit of compromise, he was a successful mediator in conflicts with taxi drivers and Rome's immigrant population. He was reelected in 2006 with an unprecedented 61%. In October 2007 he was chosen, in an American-style primary, to lead the new Democratic Party, the result of a merger between the socialist Democrats of the Left and the liberal Christian Democrats of the Margherita (Daisy) party. After the collapse of Prodi's second government in February 2008, he resigned as mayor to take on conservative leader Silvio Berlusconi in the April elections. He took the bold decision not to run in coalition with the small far-left parties, but to run solo on a reformist platform instead. He failed to become prime minister as Berlusconi emerged victorious. He resigned as Democratic Party leader in February 2009, following a series of defeats in regional elections.
Venel, Paul Célestin Marie Joseph (b. Jan. 25, 1864, Hesse, Moselle, France - d. 1920), commandant (190...-11) and commissioner (1913-15) of Niger.
Veneman, Ann (Margaret) (b. June 29, 1949, Modesto, Calif.), U.S. secretary of agriculture (2001-05) and executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund (2005-10). The first woman to head the Agriculture Department, she presided during a period of unprecedented wariness about the safety of the U.S. food supply. Weeks after taking office in 2001, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Europe prompted her to increase inspections and testing to prevent its arrival in the United States. After the September 11 attacks that year, concern grew that terrorists might seek to contaminate the U.S. food supply. Then came the discovery in 2003 of the first case of mad cow disease in the United States. Veneman quickly upgraded U.S. defenses, banning high-risk meat products and meat from cows that could not stand or walk on their own, testing more cattle, and promising to speed a nationwide animal tracking system. Farm interests for the most part praised Veneman's response, while consumer advocacy groups said Veneman and her agency had not done enough.
Venetiaan, (Runaldo) Ronald (b. June 18, 1936, Paramaribo, Dutch Guiana [now Suriname]), president of Suriname (1991-96, 2000-10). He was also minister of education (1973-80, 1988-90).
Venizelos, Eleftherios (Kyriakou), Eleftherios also spelled Eleutherios (b. Aug. 23, 1864, Mournies, Crete, Ottoman Empire [now in Greece] - d. March 18, 1936, Paris, France), prime minister of Greece (1910-15, 1915, 1917-20, 1924, 1928-32, 1932, 1933). In 1897 he was one of the leaders of the Cretan rising. It failed to achieve union of the island with Greece, but after the intervention of the European great powers, Crete became autonomous and Venizelos was appointed minister of justice (1899-1901). He was soon at variance with Prince Georgios, the high commissioner of the powers, and formed an opposition group which set up a rival provisional government and proclaimed union with Greece. This forced Georgios to leave, and under the new high commissioner, Alexandros Zaimis, Venizelos rejoined the Cretan government. In 1909, a revolutionary group in Athens, the Military League, invited Venizelos to lead it. He was elected a deputy in the Greek elections of August 1910 and became prime minister in October. Working loyally with the king, he revised the constitution and reorganized the army and navy. He formed the Balkan League, and the ensuing Balkan Wars (1912-13) led to a doubling of Greece's area and population by the acquisition of southern Macedonia, southern Epirus, Crete, and the Aegean Islands. He brought Greece into World War I on the Allied side and in 1918-20 achieved diplomatic victories for the Greeks at the peace conferences. The continuance of war in Anatolia, however, contributed to his defeat in the 1920 elections. In his last years in office, he succeeded in restoring normal relations with all of Greece's neighbours. His career ended with a failed attempt in 1935 to prevent the restoration of the monarchy, although he had resigned in 1924 because he was unwilling to abolish it. He also held the portfolios of marine (1910-12), military (1910-15, 1917-20, 1930), foreign affairs (1912, 1914-15, 1915), aviation (1929-30), hygiene (1929-30), and justice (1931-32, 1932).
Venizelos, Evangelos (Vasiliou) (b. Jan. 1, 1957, Thessaloniki, Greece), defense minister (2009-11), finance minister (2011-12), and foreign minister (2013- ) of Greece. He has also been minister of press and mass media (1994-95), transport and communications (1995-96), justice (1996), culture (1996-99, 2000-04), and development (1999-2000) and deputy prime minister (2011-12, 2013- ).
Venizelos, Sophoklis (Eleftheriou) (b. Nov. 17, 1894, Chania, Crete, Ottoman Empire [now in Greece] - d. Feb. 7, 1964, at sea en route from Chania to Piraeus, Greece), prime minister of Greece (1944, 1950, 1950-51); son of Eleftherios Venizelos. He was also minister of aviation (1943, 1944, 1947, 1950), marine (1943-44, 1947, 1950), finance (1944), justice (1944), foreign affairs (1944, 1950, 1950-51, 1951-52, 1963), military (1944, 1947, 1950), hygiene (1947), post, telegraph, and telephone (1947), economy (1947), mercantile marine (1947, 1949), labour (1949), defense (1950, 1950-51, 1952), interior (1950), and coordination (1951, 1951) and deputy prime minister (1944, 1947, 1949-50, 1951-52, 1963).
Venkataraman, Ramaswamy (Iyer) (b. Dec. 4, 1910, Rajamadam village, Madras province [now Tamil Nadu state], India - d. Jan. 27, 2009, New Delhi, India), president of India (1987-92). His political activities started when he became an advocate of the Madras High Court in 1935, and he was associated with the formation of the Congress Socialist Party. In the "Quit India" movement of 1942, his activities led to his imprisonment for two years. By then he was heavily involved in the labour movement and fought for the rights of dock workers, railwaymen, and landless labourers. In 1946, when independence from the U.K. was imminent, he was among the team of lawyers who went to Singapore to defend Indian nationals charged with collaboration with the Japanese during World War II. After independence, he was a member of the provisional parliament in 1950-52 and then of the lower house (Lok Sabha) in 1952-57; he was secretary of the Congress party in 1952-54. He gained international experience as India's representative in the International Labour Organization and in the UN General Assembly. From 1955 to 1979 he served as a member of the UN Administrative Tribunal and from 1968 held its presidency. He returned to Madras politics at the request of the state's chief minister, who made him minister of industries, labour, power, and transport (1957-67), and he actively promoted the state's industrialization. For some years he retired from politics but later he was again elected to the Lok Sabha (1977-79, 1980-84). In the government of Indira Gandhi he held several ministerial posts - finance (1980-82), home affairs (1982), and defense (1982-84) - before being elected vice-president in 1984. His election as president in 1987 marked the culmination of a long political career.
Venkatasubba Reddiar, V. (d. June 6, 1981), chief minister of Pondicherry (1964-67, 1968).
Venkatasubbaiah, Pendekanti (b. June 18, 1921, Sanjamala village, Banganapalle princely state [now in Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh], India - d. Oct. 12, 1993), governor of Bihar (1985-88) and Karnataka (1988-90).
Venkatram, Bhavanam (b. July 18, 1931, Gollapadu, Guntur district, Madras province [now in Andhra Pradesh state], India - d. April 6, 2002, Hyderabad, India), chief minister of Andhra Pradesh (1982).
Ventre de la Touloubre, Patrice Louis Jules (b. Sept. 5, 1813, Neumarkt am Wallersee, Bavaria [now in Salzburg state, Austria] - d. ...), commandant of Nossi-Bé (1870-71) and commandant-superior of Mayotte (1871-75, 1875-78).
Ventura, Jesse, original name James George Janos (b. July 15, 1951, Minneapolis, Minn.), governor of Minnesota (1999-2003). He joined the U.S. Navy, became a SEAL (sea, air, land) commando, and served in the Vietnam War (1970-73). Following stints as a bodyguard and a bouncer, he changed his name to Ventura and embarked on a career (1975-86) as a bad-boy pro wrestler, known as "The Body," stomping around the ring in a feather boa. Later he took up acting, his roles including that of a gun-wielding mauler in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Predator (1987), in which he uttered the classic line, "I ain't got time to bleed." After making a first foray into politics as mayor of the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park (1991-95), he pulled off a stunning political upset in 1998 when he was elected governor of Minnesota. He entered the race in January, taking up the Reform Party ticket, and squared off against Democratic attorney general Hubert Humphrey III (son of the former vice president) and Republican St. Paul mayor Norm Coleman. He long remained in third place in the polls, but made major gains in October, when his offbeat television ads (one of which showed a Ventura action figure fighting off another figure named Evil Special Interest Man) and gruff straight talk brought a groundswell of support. He wound up with 37% of the vote to Coleman's 34% and Humphrey's 28%, becoming the first Reform Party candidate in the country to win statewide office. As governor he continued in his signature style, spewing politically incorrect remarks and growling at reporters (whom he called "jackals"). Buoyed by high approval ratings, he even temporarily toyed with the idea of running for president. In 2000 he successfully urged the Minnesota Reform Party to separate from the national party and rename itself Independence Party. Amid falling ratings, he did not seek reelection in 2002.
Venturini, Giancarlo (b. Feb. 25, 1962, San Marino, San Marino), captain-regent (1996-97) and interior minister (2012- ) of San Marino.
Veprev, Arkady (Filimonovich) (b. 1927 - d. July 23, 2006), head of the administration of Krasnoyarsk kray (1992-93).
Vera Cruz, Tomé (Soares da) (b. July 23, 1956, São Tomé), prime minister of São Tomé and Príncipe (2006-08).
Veraldi, Donato (Tommaso) (b. Jan. 12, 1941, Soveria Simeri, Calabria, Italy), president of Calabria (1994-95).
Verani, Pablo (b. Feb. 7, 1938, Reggio Emilia, Italy - d. Sept. 25, 2013, General Roca, Río Negro, Argentina), governor of Río Negro (1995-2003).
Veras Alcântara, Benedito Clayton, byname Beni Veras (b. Sept. 15, 1935, Crateús, Ceará, Brazil), governor of Ceará (2002-03). He was also Brazilian minister of planning, budget, and coordination (1994-95).
Vercammen, Joris A(ugust) O(dilus) L(udovicus) (b. Oct. 14, 1952, Lier, Belgium), Old Catholic archbishop of Utrecht (2000- ).
Verdam, Pieter (Jacobus) (b. Jan. 15, 1915, Amsterdam, Netherlands - d. March 11, 1998, Bilthoven, Netherlands), queen's commissioner of Utrecht (1970-80).
Verdet, Ilie (b. May 10, 1925, Comanesti, northeastern Romania - d. March 20, 2001, Bucharest, Romania), Romanian politician. He joined the Communist Party when he was 20. He rose within the ranks to become a deputy premier in 1965 and a first deputy premier in 1967. In 1973 he was made a vice-chairman of the newly-established Supreme Council of Social and Economic Development and the following year was appointed chairman of the Economic Council whereupon he relinquished his responsibilities as first deputy premier. In 1978, however, he was reappointed to this office and was concurrently made chairman of the State Planning Committee. In 1977, he was briefly held hostage after Pres. Nicolae Ceausescu sent him to quell a miners' protest in southwest Romania. In 1979, he was appointed prime minister, a position he held until 1982. Amid the power struggles of the 1989 revolt that led to Ceausescu's ouster and execution, Verdet at one point set up a government that lasted just 20 minutes. Outmanoeuvred by Ion Iliescu, he formed the Socialist Party of Labour in 1990 and chaired it from November 16 of that year until July 1, 2000, when he became honorary chairman. Reports that he was a brother-in-law of Ceausescu are dubious.
Vereker, Sir John (Michael Medlicott) (b. Aug. 9, 1944), governor of Bermuda (2002-07); knighted 1999.
Vergara Donoso, Germán (b. March 6, 1902, Constitución, Chile - d. April 13, 1987, Santiago, Chile), foreign minister of Chile (1958-61). He was also ambassador to Argentina (1948-52).
Vergès, Paul (Émile) (b. March 5, 1925, Ubon, Siam [now Thailand]), president of the Regional Council of Réunion (1998-2010).
Vergnes, Charles (Henri) (b. Sept. 23, 1863, Rodez, Aveyron, France - d. May 16, 1935, Paris, France), administrator of Mayotte (1908-09) and acting governor-general of French Equatorial Africa (1911, 1912-13); cousin of Hippolyte Laroche.
Verhagen, Maxime (Jacques Marcel) (b. Sept. 14, 1956, Maastricht, Netherlands), foreign minister (2007-10) and deputy prime minister (2010-12) of the Netherlands.
Verhofstadt, Guy (Maurice Marie-Louise) (b. April 11, 1953, Dendermonde, Belgium), prime minister of Belgium (1999-2008). He was also minister of budget, scientific policy, and planning (1985-88).
Verignon, (Auguste) Marius (b. Dec. 5, 1851, Toulon, France - d. 19...), governor of Réunion (1906).
Verity, C. William, in full Calvin William Verity, Jr. (b. Jan. 26, 1917, Middletown, Ohio - d. Jan. 3, 2007, Beaufort, S.C.), U.S. commerce secretary (1987-89).
Verma, Om Prakash (b. March 20, 1937), governor of Punjab (2003-04) and Haryana (2004).
Verma, R(ajani) K(ant), administrator of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and of Daman and Diu (2006-08).
Verma, Sahib Singh (b. March 15, 1943, Mundka village, Delhi, India - d. June 30, 2007, near Kahndula village, Rajasthan, India), chief minister of Delhi (1996-98). Following his association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, he was elected councillor in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi on a Janata Party ticket in 1977. In 1983 he won again, now on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket, and remained councillor till 1989. In 1993 he won the assembly elections and became education minister in the Delhi government headed by Madan Lal Khurana, before becoming chief minister himself. He was labour minister (2002-04) in the National Democratic Alliance government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He also held various positions in the BJP. He was killed when his car collided with a speeding truck on the Delhi-Jaipur highway.
Verma, Virendra (b. Sept. 18, 1916, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar district, United Provinces [now in Uttar Pradesh], India - d. May 2, 2009, Shamli), governor of Punjab (1990) and Himachal Pradesh (1990-93).
Verna, Carlos (Alberto) (b. May 8, 1946, Rivadavia, Buenos Aires, Argentina), governor of La Pampa (2003-07). He has been a senator in 1993-2003 and from 2009.
Vernet, José María (b. Feb. 24, 1944, Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina), governor of Santa Fe (1983-87) and foreign minister and acting defense minister of Argentina (2001-02).
Verninac de Saint-Maur, Raymond (Jean Baptiste) (b. June 11, 1794, Souillac, Lot, France - d. Feb. 11, 1873, Souillac), French minister of marine and colonies (1848) and governor of French India (1852-57).
Verrastro, Vincenzo (b. May 6, 1919, Avigliano, Basilicata, Italy - d. Aug. 8, 2004, Potenza, Basilicata), president of Basilicata (1970-82).
Verstandig, Lee (Lovely) (b. Sept. 11, 1937), acting administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1983).
Verstappen, René (b. July 12, 1895 - d. 19...), acting resident of Urundi (1938-40).
Vervoort, Rudi (b. Nov. 20, 1958, Sint-Agatha-Berchem [now in Brussels-Capital region], Belgium), minister-president of Brussels-Capital (2013- ).
Verwoerd, Hendrik F(rensch) (b. Sept. 8, 1901, Amsterdam, Netherlands - d. Sept. 6, 1966, Cape Town, South Africa), prime minister of South Africa (1958-66). His family migrated to South Africa when he was three months old. In 1937 he became editor of Die Transvaler, a new Nationalist daily in Johannesburg. In World War II the paper adopted a distinctly pro-Nazi line. He failed to win a seat in the lower house in the 1948 election, but two months later he became a nominated senator. In 1950 he was appointed to the important ministry of native affairs, where he was responsible for much apartheid legislation. In the 1958 election he won a seat in the House of Assembly; on September 2, following the death of Prime Minister Johannes G. Strijdom, the parliamentary caucus elected him leader of the National Party, and the next day he took office as prime minister. His government intensified the policies of apartheid and brushed aside internal and external criticisms. He pushed through the Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act in 1959, providing for the resettlement of blacks in eight separate "Bantu homelands." These policies provoked demonstrations by blacks, which led to bloodshed at Sharpeville in March 1960 and increased condemnation from Commonwealth countries. On Oct. 5, 1960, the white voters by a small majority approved his recommendation that South Africa should become a republic, which came true on May 31, 1961. He had survived an assassination attempt on April 9, 1960, when a deranged white farmer shot at him, but another, six years later, was successful. He was stabbed to death in the parliamentary chamber, as he sat waiting for a session to begin, by a temporary parliamentary messenger, Dimitri Tsafendas, an immigrant from Mozambique of mixed racial descent.
Vial, Paulin (François Alexandre) (b. April 16, 1831, Le Grand-Lemps, Isère, France - d. June 2, 1907, Grenoble, France), resident-superior of Tonkin (1886) and interim resident-general of Annam-Tonkin (1886-87).
Viala, (Pierre Elie) Maxime (b. 1875 - d. 1959), resident of Wallis and Futuna (1905-09).
Vialla, Frédéric Alexandre (b. Nov. 14, 1867 - d. 19...), administrator of Kwangchowan (1917-19).
Vian, Dominique (b. Dec. 15, 1944, Valence, Drôme, France), prefect of French Guiana (1997-99), Guadeloupe (2002-04), and Réunion (2004-05). He was also prefect of the départements of Ardèche (1999-2002) and Alpes-Maritimes (2006-08).
Viana (y Alzaibar), Francisco Xavier de (b. Dec. 3, 1764, Montevideo [now in Uruguay] - d. March 5, 1820, Montevideo), governor of the Falkland Islands (1798-99, 1800-01).
Viana Macedo Neves, Jorge Ney (b. Sept. 20, 1959, Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil), governor of Acre (1999-2007). He was also mayor of Rio Branco (1993-97).
Victoria, in full Alexandrina Victoria (b. May 24, 1819, Kensington Palace, London, England - d. Jan. 22, 1901, Osborne, Isle of Wight, England), queen of the United Kingdom (1837-1901). She was the only child of Edward, Duke of Kent, fourth son of King George III. The crowns of Great Britain and Hanover became separated on her accession because the Salic law prevented succession by a woman in Hanover. She was crowned on June 28, 1838, and married her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, on Feb. 10, 1840. They had nine children: Victoria ("Vicky"), the princess royal, was born in 1840; the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) in 1841; then followed Princess Alice, 1843; Prince Alfred, 1844; Princess Helena, 1846; Princess Louise, 1848; Prince Arthur, 1850; Prince Leopold, 1853; and Princess Beatrice, 1857. Albert became the dominant figure in her life, a visible sign of his power and influence being the building of the royal residences of Osborne, on the Isle of Wight, and Balmoral Castle in Scotland. But her mingling with the Scottish poor at Balmoral did not seem to raise her awareness of social problems, and she gave her full support to the government's policy of repression of the Chartists. The Great Exhibition (1851), an international trade show housed in the architectural marvel of the Crystal Palace, became a symbol of the Victorian Age. Albert died on Dec. 14, 1861. She later succumbed to Benjamin Disraeli and thus became a partisan in the most famous political rivalry of the 19th century, between Disraeli and William Ewart Gladstone. She cared little for Disraeli's program of social reform, but was entranced by his imperialism and his assertive foreign policy; the addition of "Empress of India" to the royal title in 1876 thrilled her. Her reign was the longest in English history.
Victoria (Victoria), Eladio (Abdom), byname Quiquí (b. July 7, 1864, Baní, Dominican Republic - d. July 27, 1939, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic), president of the Dominican Republic (1911-12).
Victoria, Guadalupe, original name José Miguel Ramón Adaucto Fernández y Félix (b. Sept. 16 or 29, 1786, Tamazula, Durango, Mexico - d. March 21, 1843, Perote, Veracruz, Mexico), president of Mexico (1824-29). He fought for Mexican independence from 1811, changing his name to show his devotion to the cause (the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's patron saint, had been a symbol of the insurgency). He took part under José María Morelos in the siege of Oaxaca in 1812, and was later designated to organize the revolution in the province of Veracruz, where he soon became feared by the Spaniards. In 1817, when the insurrection was nearly everywhere subdued, only Vicente Guerrero holding out in the southwest, Victoria, unable to reach the latter chief, hid for nearly four years in the mountains of Veracruz, till the proclamation of the Plan de Iguala in 1821. Then he joined Agustín de Iturbide, but was coldly received by the latter, who was already maturing his plan of monarchy. In December 1822, when Antonio López de Santa Anna proclaimed the republic in Veracruz, Victoria joined him. After Iturbide's fall in 1823, Victoria was elected to the executive council, but did not take his seat till July 1824. Shortly afterward he was elected the first constitutional president of Mexico, taking office on October 10. His government was notable for the establishment of diplomatic relations with other nations and the abolition of slavery (Sept. 16, 1825). In 1827 his vice president, Nicolás Bravo, led a revolt against him, but it was easily put down by Generals Santa Anna and Guerrero. His administration was disturbed by the rivalry between the Scotch and York masonic lodges, and his weakness gave them free play. He was well-meaning and honest, but easily controlled by his political followers. In 1829 he retired from public life.
Vidal, Bill, byname of Guillermo Vicente Vidal (b. 1951?, Camagüey, Cuba), mayor of Denver (2011).
Vidal, Carlos A(milcar) (b. 1885, Chiapas, Mexico - d. Oct. 3, 1927, Huitzilac, Morelos, Mexico), governor of Quintana Roo (1917-18), Tabasco (1919), and Chiapas (1925-27).
Vidal de Lingendes, Jean François Marie Félix Stanislas (b. Nov. 6, 1796, Wilmington, Del. - d. ...), governor of French Guiana (1851).
Vidaurri (Valdez), Santiago (b. July 25, 1808, Lampazos, Mexico - d. July 8, 1867, Mexico City, Mexico), chairman of the Council of Ministers of Mexico (1867).
Videla (Redondo), Jorge Rafael (b. Aug. 2, 1925, Mercedes, Argentina - d. May 17, 2013, Marcos Paz, Buenos Aires province, Argentina), president of Argentina (1976-81). After a long military career, he became chief of the Army General Staff in 1973 and commander in chief - appointed by Pres. Isabel Perón under pressure from the military establishment - in August 1975. He used this post to remove leading military officers sympathetic to Peronism. After a long-planned, bloodless coup overthrew Perón's almost nonfunctioning government in March 1976, General Videla took the presidency as head of a three-man (later a five-man) military junta. He suspended Congress (vesting legislative powers in a nine-man military commission), political parties, and labour unions, and filled all important posts with military personnel. Several thousand people - leftists and other opponents of the regime - disappeared during his rule, presumably killed, sometimes by being thrown into the ocean off "death flights." This "dirty war" against political subversion elicited strong international criticism. He took measures to restore economic growth and reduce inflation, with moderate success. Having completed a five-year term, he retired in 1981, handing over the presidency to Gen. Roberto Viola. After Argentina returned to civilian rule in 1983, various former junta leaders were charged with human-rights abuses. Videla was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in December 1985 but was released on a pardon by Pres. Carlos Menem in December 1990. He was rearrested in a probe into child kidnappings in June 1998 and remained under house arrest awaiting prosecution. In April 2007 a federal court struck down the 1990 pardon as unconstitutional, a largely symbolic decision since due to his age he would serve out his sentence at home. In 2010 he was again sentenced to life in prison for his role in the torture and murder of at least 31 political prisoners.
Videnov, Zhan (Vasilev) (b. March 22, 1959, Plovdiv, Bulgaria), prime minister of Bulgaria (1995-97).
Vidovic, Rudo (b. Nov. 5, 1958, Vitez [now in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina]), governor of Central Bosnia (2001-02).
Vieillescazes, Claude (Édouard Louis) (b. March 25, 1923, Cholet, Maine-et-Loire, France), prefect of Réunion (1972-75). He was also prefect of the départements of Dordogne (1975-77), Seine-Saint-Denis (1977-79), and Corse-du-Sud (1979-81).
Vieira, João Bernardo, byname Nino Vieira (b. April 27, 1939, Bissau, Portuguese Guinea [now Guinea-Bissau] - d. March 2, 2009, Bissau), president of Guinea-Bissau (1980-99, 2005-09). A pioneer of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde, he was sent to Conakry, Guinea, for military training. On his return, he built up a legendary reputation for skill and bravery as a guerrilla leader in the long war against the Portuguese. In 1961 he went on a guerrilla instruction course to China and later received further training in the U.S.S.R., Algeria, and Cuba. Military chief of Catió (1961-64) and of the southern front (1964-65), he developed tactics that were a key factor in defeating the Portuguese. After Guinea-Bissau became independent in 1974, he was appointed state commissioner for the armed forces and president of the National Assembly. In 1978 he became prime minister. On Nov. 14, 1980, two days after the Assembly had adopted a new constitution that virtually denuded the office of premier of its powers, he led a coup that overthrew Pres. Luís de Almeida Cabral. It was seen as a move by the blacks of the mainland to separate themselves from the mestizo-dominated Cape Verdians. It took some time for him to establish his position firmly; this was greatly helped after he released Cabral from prison in January 1982. He legalized opposition parties in 1991 and legitimized his rule in Guinea-Bissau's first multiparty elections in 1994. A period of instability led to an army rebellion in June 1998 and eight months of fighting between loyalists of Vieira and the army chief, Gen. Ansumane Mané, who overthrew Vieira in 1999. He then lived in exile in Portugal but returned April 7, 2005, to be an independent presidential candidate in the June 19 elections. He came second in the first round but won the runoff on July 24. He was killed in his palace by renegade soldiers in 2009.
Vieira, Paulo Afonso Evangelista (b. May 10, 1958), governor of Santa Catarina (1995-99).
Vieira, Vasco (Joaquim) Rocha (b. Aug. 16, 1939, Lagos, Portugal), minister of the republic in the Azores (1986-91) and governor of Macau (1991-99).
Vielman, (Gladys) Marithza Ruiz (Sánchez) de, née Ruiz Sánchez (b. Aug. 30, 1945, Guatemala City, Guatemala), foreign minister of Guatemala (1994-95).
Vielmann (Montes), Carlos (Roberto) (b. 1956?), interior minister of Guatemala (2004-07).
Viérin, Dino (b. Nov. 21, 1948, Aosta, Italy), president of Valle d'Aosta (1993-2002).
Vigenin, Kristian (Ivanov) (b. June 12, 1975, Sofia, Bulgaria), foreign minister of Bulgaria (2013- ).
Viglione, Aldo (b. Sept. 11, 1923, Morozzo, Piemonte, Italy - d. [car crash] Dec. 1, 1988), president of Piemonte (1975-80, 1983-85).
Viglione, Atilio (Oscar) (b. Sept. 16, 1914, Chivilcoy, Buenos Aires province, Argentina - d. March 20, 2010, Trelew, Chubut, Argentina), governor of Chubut (1983-87).
Vignon, Alexis Édouard (b. Sept. 2, 1806, Marseille, France - d. ...), commandant-particular of Gabon (1850-53, 1857-59).
Vignon, Robert (b. Nov. 17, 1910, Constantine, Algeria - d. Oct. 9, 1989), prefect of French Guiana (1947-55). He was also prefect of the départements of Allier (1955-56) and Tizi-Ouzou (1956-58).
Vikalo, Hazim (b. Nov. 29, 1960, Sladna [now in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina]), premier of Tuzla canton (1996-99).
Vike-Freiberga, Vaira, née Vike (b. Dec. 1, 1937, Riga, Latvia), president of Latvia (1999-2007). As Soviet forces took over German-occupied Latvia near the end of World War II, she moved with her family to Germany, then to French Morocco, and in 1954 to Canada. She became a leading figure among Latvian émigré intellectuals and, with her husband, Imants Freibergs, helped to keep the country's tradition alive by researching Latvian folk songs. In the early 1980s, she worked in a Canadian scientific research group for NATO. She returned to Latvia in 1998, when she was appointed director of a new cultural body, the Latvian Institute. The next year, thanks to her lack of party affiliation, she was picked as compromise choice for president by Latvian lawmakers who in five ballots had been unable to agree on a candidate. Vike-Freiberga, who gave up her Canadian citizenship to be eligible, became the first woman to head a postcommunist Eastern European state. The day she took office, parliament passed a controversial law requiring the use of the Latvian language in all public events, antagonizing not only Russia and the large Russian-speaking minority in Latvia but also the European Union (EU) which Latvia sought to join. She returned the law to parliament for rewriting to EU expectations. She named as prime minister Andris Skele, who had served in the position before, and charged him with reining in the state budget, after excessive spending had brought on near disaster. During her first term, she shuttled around Europe and North America to win backing for her country's bid to join the EU and NATO - a goal she achieved in 2004, a year after being reelected unopposed for her second, constitutionally-final term. Capping her NATO drive, she hosted a summit of the alliance in Riga in November 2006, the first such meeting in a former Soviet republic.
Vila Amigó, Marc (b. May 5, 1961, Andorra la Vella, Andorra), foreign minister (1994) and interior minister (2011-12) of Andorra.
Vildoso Calderón, Guido (b. April 5, 1937, Cochabamba, Bolivia), president of Bolivia (1982). He was also minister of public health and social security (1976-78).
Vilela, Luiz Alberto Maguito (b. Jan. 24, 1949), governor of Goiás (1995-98).
Viljoen, Daniel Thomas du Plessis (b. March 16, 1892, Hanover, South Africa - d. Dec. 11, 1972), administrator of South West Africa (1953-63).
Viljoen, Gerrit (van Niekerk) (b. Sept. 11, 1926, Cape Town, South Africa - d. March 29, 2009), administrator-general of South West Africa (1979-80).
Viljoen, Marais (b. Dec. 2, 1915, Robertson, Cape province [now in Western Cape], South Africa - d. Jan. 4, 2007, Pretoria, South Africa), state president of South Africa (1979-84). In 1937 he became a reporter on a newly founded Afrikaans newspaper edited by the future prime minister Hendrik Verwoerd. His political career began with his appointment as a National Party organizer in Natal in 1943. Years of efficient service led to his election as a member of the Transvaal provincial council in 1949 and to a seat in parliament in 1953. Under Verwoerd he became deputy minister of labour and mines (1958-61), and he later served as minister of labour (1966-76), Coloured affairs (1966-70), the interior (1970), and posts and telecommunications (1970-76). He firmly supported the National Party's policy of apartheid, although he was known as a relatively moderate member of the party. He allowed mixed-race workers, when needed, to work on certain construction projects in 1971, an early fissure in the "granite" apartheid policy, but in 1972, after illegal strikes by black workers, he stood out against the legalization of their unions, blaming the nationwide strikes on student and labour agitators rather than on the need for a living wage. He was president of the Senate in 1976-79 before he was elected to replace B.J. Vorster as state president. The position was largely ceremonial at the time. He served until September 1984, when, under a new constitution, Pieter Willem Botha took over the post, consolidating in the presidency the executive power he previously held as prime minister. Viljoen then retired from politics.
Villa, Pancho, byname of Francisco Villa, original name Doroteo Arango Arámbula (b. June 5, 1878, Hacienda de Río Grande, San Juan del Río, Durango, Mexico - d. June 20, 1923, Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico), Mexican guerrilla leader. At the age of 16 he killed a man for molesting his sister and then fled to the mountains and lived as a bandit, borrowing the name Francisco Villa from that of an earlier outlaw. He joined Francisco Madero's revolution against dictator Porfirio Díaz and after its success in 1910 remained in the irregular army. During the campaign against Pascual Orozco in 1912, Gen. Victoriano Huerta condemned him to death for insubordination, but Madero ordered a stay of execution and sent Villa to prison instead. He escaped in November and fled to the United States. He returned soon after Madero's assassination in 1913 and joined Venustiano Carranza against Huerta's dictatorship; his cavalry became the most famous force in the revolutionary armies. In December 1913 he became governor of Chihuahua and in June 1914 he and Carranza won the decisive victory over Huerta. Thereafter, the two split as a result of mutual distrust. They renewed the civil war and Villa was defeated in a series of battles. He and the revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata fled to the mountains of the north. By late 1915, when the United States recognized Carranza, Villa was no longer a serious contender for power. But he continued his guerrilla activities and in early 1916 executed 16 U.S. citizens at Santa Isabel and soon thereafter attacked Columbus, N.M., prompting the U.S. to send an expedition to Mexico, which, however, failed to capture him. As soon as Carranza was overthrown in 1920, he made peace with the government. In return for agreeing to retire from politics, he was given a large ranch, where he lived until his assassination three years later.
Villanueva (Arévalo), César (b. Aug. 5, 1946, Tarapoto, Peru), prime minister of Peru (2013-14). In 2007-13 he was president of San Martín region.
Villanueva del Campo, Armando (b. Nov. 25, 1915, Lima, Peru - d. April 14, 2013, Lima), prime minister of Peru (1988-89). He was also president of the Chamber of Deputies (1967-68) and the Senate (1986-87) and interior minister (1989). He was a presidential candidate in 1980.
Villanueva Madrid, Mario (Ernesto) (b. July 2, 1948, Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico), governor of Quintana Roo (1993-99). Arrested in Mexico in 2001, he was extradited to the United States in 2010 to stand trial on charges that he conspired to import more than 200 tons of cocaine into the U.S. while governor. In 2013 he was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Villaraigosa, Antonio (Ramon), original surname Villar (b. Jan. 23, 1953, Montebello, Calif.), mayor of Los Angeles (2005-13). When he married Corina Raigosa in 1987, he changed his name from Villar to Villaraigosa.
Villaret de Joyeuse, Louis Thomas, comte (b. May 29, 1747, Auch, Gers, France - d. July 24, 1812, Venice, Italy), governor of Martinique (1802-09).
Villate (y de la Hera), Blas, conde de Valmaseda (b. 1824, Sestao, País Vasco, Spain - d. Jan. 8, 1882, Madrid, Spain), governor of Cuba (1867, 1870-72, 1875-76).
Villeda Morales, (José) Ramón (Adolfo) (b. Nov. 26, 1908, Ocotepeque, Honduras - d. Oct. 8, 1971, New York City), president of Honduras (1957-63).
Villéger, Gaston (Claude) (b. April 24, 1904, Saint-Julien-du-Sault, Yonne, France - d. ...), prefect of Guadeloupe (1950-54) and Martinique (1954-57). He was also prefect of Morbihan département (1957-62).
Villepin, Dominique (Marie François René Galouzeau) de (b. Nov. 14, 1953, Rabat, Morocco), foreign minister (2002-04), interior minister (2004-05), and prime minister (2005-07) of France. He embarked on a career at the foreign ministry in 1980. In 1995 he became Jacques Chirac's secretary-general at the Élysée, and though he made a major blunder two years later by recommending a dissolution of parliament which led to five years of Socialist government, he remained extremely close to the president. As foreign minister he fiercely opposed the U.S. plans for war with Iraq. On Feb. 5, 2003, he spoke against it at the United Nations Security Council and won a highly unusual round of applause. He was appointed prime minister by Chirac in May 2005 after France rejected the EU constitution in a referendum. His time as head of government was marked by riots in ethnically-mixed suburbs, protests over a youth jobs law, and accusations that he orchestrated a smear scandal to tarnish his rightist rival Nicolas Sarkozy. But he also oversaw a steady fall in unemployment and a period of faster economic growth, and at one point it looked like he might run for president in the 2007 election. However, his image was severely dented in 2006 when widespread street demonstrations forced him to withdraw a law that would have made it easier to hire and fire young workers. Shortly after the protests, he ran into fresh problems over the Clearstream scandal in which he was accused of using the intelligence services to try to undermine Sarkozy. In December 2006 he was questioned by magistrates as a witness for 17 hours over the affair, which revolved around faked bank accounts and hushed-up government probes. In July 2007 preliminary charges were filed against Villepin, who denied any wrongdoing. He was acquitted in January 2010. He intended to be a candidate in the 2012 presidential election, but failed to secure the necessary 500 signatures from elected officials.
Villey-Desmeserets, Achille (Joseph Henri) (b. 1878 - d. Dec. 8, 1955), prefect of the départements of Rhône (1932-34) and Seine (1934-40).
Villiers, Georges (b. 1899 - d. April 13, 1982), mayor of Lyon (1941-43). Villiers, who spent two years in the Nazi concentration camp of Dachau during the German occupation, founded the National Council of French Employers in 1946 and served as its first president until 1966. He was an enthusiastic advocate of European unity.
Villiers, Sir (John) Michael (b. June 22, 1907 - d. Jan. 1, 1990), lieutenant governor of Jersey (1964-69); knighted 1962.
Villiger, Kaspar (b. Feb. 5, 1941, Pfeffikon, Luzern, Switzerland), defense minister (1989-95), finance minister (1996-2003), and president (1995, 2002) of Switzerland.
Villot, Jean(-Marie) Cardinal (b. Oct. 11, 1905, Saint-Amant-Tallende, France - d. March 9, 1979, Vatican City), Vatican secretary of state (1969-79). Ordained in 1930, he completed his studies at the Angelicum University in Rome and became professor and later director of the Grand Seminary of Clermont-Ferrand (1934-39). He was then professor of moral theology at the Catholic University of Lyons (1939-42) and secretary-general of the French Episcopal Conference (1950-54). In 1954 he was appointed bishop auxiliary in Paris and in 1965 became archbishop of Lyon. On Feb. 22, 1965, Pope Paulus VI created him cardinal and in May 1969 appointed him secretary of state - the first Frenchman and only the third non-Italian to hold the office. Made camerlengo (chamberlain) on Oct. 16, 1970, he administered church affairs after the deaths of Pope Paulus VI and Pope Ioannes Paulus I. Pope Ioannes Paulus II reappointed Villot his secretary of state on Oct. 25, 1978. Villot often acted behind the scenes as a conciliator, attempting to mediate theological disputes and conflicts between church groups. He died in office.
Vilms, Jüri (b. March 13 [March 1, O.S.], 1889, Kabala, Russia [now in Estonia] - d. April 13, 1918, Helsinki, Finland), Estonian politician. When the Germans occupied Estonia in February 1918, Vilms was sent abroad to gain recognition for Estonian independence. Together with three other persons he left for Finland across the frozen sea. According to the official version, they were arrested by Germans at their arrival in Finland. The German troops were involved in the civil war in Finland at the time. All four were shot in Helsinki. Seppo Zetterberg, a Finnish historian, has put this version in serious doubt, however.
Vilner, Meir, original name Ber Kovner (b. Oct. 23, 1918, Vilnius, Lithuania - d. June 5, 2003, Tel Aviv, Israel), Israeli politician. He came to Palestine in 1938 to study history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he became involved with the then-underground Communist Party of Palestine. He adopted the alias of Vilner, and eventually officially changed his name after the party was legalized. After the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, he served as a lawmaker until 1990. He was the last living signatory of Israel's Declaration of Independence. He served as secretary-general of Israel's communist party from 1965 to 1988, leading the party through a number of transformations, including the 1977 creation of Hadash (The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality). All the while, he remained committed to the idea of Jewish and Arab coexistence. He was instrumental in getting the party to adopt a platform in 1965 saying any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must consider the rights of both nations. In 1967, he survived a stabbing by a member of the right-wing Herut party who objected to the Communists' opposition to Israel's conquest of the West Bank.
Vilsack, Tom, byname of Thomas James Vilsack (b. Dec. 13, 1950, Pittsburgh, Pa.), governor of Iowa (1999-2007). He was elected mayor of Mount Pleasant in 1987 after his friend and predecessor was shot, and to the state Senate in 1992. In 1998 he was an upset winner in both the Democratic primary and in the general election for governor. In the primary, he was endorsed by the United Auto Workers and defeated better-known former state Supreme Court justice Mark McCormack, who ran as a moderate, 51%-48%. With his 52%-47% victory over the heavily favoured Republican candidate, former congressman Jim Ross Lightfoot, he ended 30 years of Republican control of the office. Vilsack called for upgrading education and attracting agribusinesses to make Iowa "the Silicon Valley of food," while Lightfoot, who even aides admitted disliked campaigning, ran mainly on the tax cut and ended with ham-handed negative ads. The legislature, however, remained in Republican hands, so Vilsack did not achieve some of his goals - such as an increase in the minimum wage. But he did push through laws to reduce classroom size in the early grades and to crack down on methamphetamine addiction and also got increases in teacher pay and greatly increased the number of children in the children's health insurance program. In 2002 he became the first Democratic governor of Iowa to be reelected since 1966. He defeated Doug Gross, who had been a staffer for Gov. Robert Ray and chief of staff to Gov. Terry Branstad, 53%-45%. But Republicans again retained control of both houses of the legislature. He said during the campaign, as he had in 1998, that he would seek only two terms. In November 2006 he launched a bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, but abandoned it already in February 2007. In 2009 he became agriculture secretary in Pres. Barack Obama's cabinet.
Viñas Román, Víctor Elby (b. 1925? - d. Sept. 4, 2004, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), chairman of the Provisional Junta of the Dominican Republic (1963). He was secretary of the armed forces in 1962-65.
Vincent, Sténio (Joseph) (b. Feb. 22, 1874, Port-au-Prince, Haiti - d. Sept. 3, 1959, Port-au-Prince), president of Haiti (1930-41).
Vincetic, Ivo (b. Feb. 16, 1962, Donja Mahala [now in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina]), governor (1996) and premier (2001-07) of Bosnian Posavina.
Vinnichenko, Nikolay (Aleksandrovich) (b. April 10, 1965, Oktyabrsky village, Vostochno-Kazakhstan oblast, Kazakh S.S.R.), Russian politician; plenipotentiary of the president in Uralsky (2008-11) and Severo-Zapadny (2011-13) federal districts.
Vinnikov, Aleksandr (Aronovich) (b. Oct. 6, 1955, Krasny Yar, Khabarovsk kray, Russian S.F.S.R.), governor of Yevreyskaya autonomous oblast (2010- ). In 1999-2010 he was mayor of Birobidzhan.
Vinogradov, Nikolay (Vladimirovich) (b. April 22, 1947), head of the administration of Vladimir oblast (1996-2013).
Vinogradov, Vladimir (Mikhailovich) (b. Aug. 2, 1921, Vinnitsa, Russian S.F.S.R. - d. June 21, 1997, Moscow, Russia), foreign minister of the Russian S.F.S.R. (1982-90). He was also Soviet ambassador to Japan (1962-67), Egypt (1970-74), and Iran (1977-82).
Vinroot, Richard (Allen) (b. April 14, 1941, Charlotte, N.C.), mayor of Charlotte (1991-95).
Viola (Prevedini), Roberto Eduardo (b. Oct. 13, 1924, Buenos Aires, Argentina - d. Sept. 30, 1994, Buenos Aires), president of Argentina (1981). He was the second of four military presidents who ruled after the 1976 coup that overthrew Pres. Isabel Perón. In 1985, two years after democracy was restored, he received a 16-year prison sentence on torture, kidnapping, and robbery charges. He was freed when Pres. Carlos Menem pardoned key figures from the dictatorship in December 1990.
Viollette, Maurice (Gabriel) (b. Sept. 3, 1870, Janville, Eure-et-Loir, France - d. Sept. 9, 1960, Dreux, Eure-et-Loir), governor-general of Algeria (1925-27). He was also mayor of Dreux (1908-40, 1944-59) and French minister of general supply and maritime transports (1917).
Virata (y Aguinaldo), Cesar (Enrique) (b. Dec. 12, 1930, Manila, Philippines), prime minister of the Philippines (1981-86); great-grandnephew of Emilio Aguinaldo. In 1965 newly elected Pres. Ferdinand Marcos invited Virata to join his transition team and to help solve problems of the rice industry. Virata performed this task and returned to the academic world, only to be summoned by Marcos once more in March 1967. Three years later he became minister of finance, a post he continued to hold in 1981 when he became prime minister of the fourth Philippine republic, which began formally in Manila on July 28, 1981. Modeled after the French parliamentary system, the fourth republic represented a return to political normality after more than eight years of martial law rule.
Virolainen, Johannes (b. Jan. 31, 1914, Viipuri, Finland [now Vyborg, Russia] - d. Dec. 11, 2000, Lohja, Finland), prime minister of Finland (1964-66). A leading member of the Centre Party - formerly the Agrarian League - he also held government portfolios longer than any other minister: education (1953, 1954, 1956-57, 1968-70), foreign affairs (1954-56, 1957, 1958), agriculture (1961-63, 1976-79), finance (1972-75), and deputy prime minister (1957, 1957, 1958, 1962-63, 1968-70, 1977-79). He was a legislator for 42 years, between 1945 and 1991, longer than anyone else since Finland gained independence from Russia in 1917. He was speaker of parliament in 1966-68 and 1979-83. Virolainen was born in Karelia, which belonged to the 11% of Finnish territory ceded to the Soviet Union as part of the peace terms following two Finnish-Soviet wars from 1939 to 1944. During the Cold War the Karelia question was taboo in neutral Finland, which had good ties with the Soviet Union, but Virolainen said the land should be returned. However, as a leading politician, he could not take an official stand in the matter.
Virtanen, Viljo (Artturi) (b. Jan. 28, 1912, Pyhäjärvi Ul, Finland - d. July 2, 1989), governor of Mikkeli (1970-78).
Visco, Vincenzo (b. March 18, 1942, Foggia, Italy), finance minister of Italy (1993, 1996-2000). He served as finance minister for a few days under Carlo Azeglio Ciampi in 1993 before resigning in protest at parliament's decision to block a major corruption inquiry into former Socialist premier Bettino Craxi. Under Romano Prodi, he devoted himself to reforming Italy's tax system, introducing a new regional tax and changing income tax. He also had the thankless job in 1997 of introducing the euro-tax - a one-off levy imposed on citizens to help Italy qualify for Europe's single currency. He pledged to start paying back around 60% of the tax from the beginning of 1999.
Visoianu, Constantin (b. Feb. 4, 1897, Urlati municipality, Prahova county, Romania - d. Jan. 3, 1994, Chevy Chase, Md.), foreign minister of Romania (1944-45). He was also minister to the Netherlands (1933-35) and Poland (1935-36).
Viswanathan, Kambanthodath Kunhan (b. Nov. 4, 1914, Mattancherry, Kerala, India - d. Aug. 17, 1992), governor of Gujarat (1973-78).
Vital, Albert Camille (b. July 18, 1952, Toliara, Madagascar), prime minister of Madagascar (2009-11).
Vithayathil, Varkey Cardinal (b. May 29, 1927, North Paravur, Ernakulam district, Cochin [now in Kerala], India - d. April 1, 2011, Ernakulam, Kerala), Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly, head of the Syro-Malabar Church (1999-2011). After finishing his intermediate studies at the University College, Thiruvananthapuram, he graduated from St. Joseph's College, Tiruchchirappalli, in what was then Madras province. Even though he wanted to become a priest, he did not take any concrete steps toward that goal till he heard a lecture by a group of Redemptist priests from Ireland. After hearing them, he decided to join the Redemptist church. He took the holy vow to become a priest on Aug. 2, 1947. He was ordained as a priest on Jan. 12, 1954. After his ordination, Vithayathil got his doctorate from the Saint Aquinas University in Rome and then returned to India, where for the next 25 years he taught at various church seminaries. In between he also secured a master's degree in philosophy from Karnataka University. Returning to his home state in 1996, Vithayathil found himself elevated to senior posts in quick succession. Within two months of his return to Kerala, he was appointed Apostolic Advisor of the Syro-Malabar Church and in December 1999 he was elevated as the Major Archbishop. Asked what he held responsible for the spate of attacks against Christians and their institutions in some parts of the country, Vithayathil said: "I wouldn't blame any particular group for this. It is some religious fundamentalist groups which are behind this. They probably are under the misconception and are having a fear that the entire India is going to be converted to Christianity." He was appointed a cardinal by Pope John Paul II on Jan. 20, 2001, becoming only the third cardinal from Kerala and the sixth from India.
Vitrenko, Nataliya (Mykhaylivna) (b. Dec. 28, 1951, Kiev, Ukrainian S.S.R.), Ukrainian presidential candidate (1999).
Vittorio Emanuele II, in full Vittorio Emanuele Maria Alberto Eugenio Ferdinando Tommaso (b. March 14, 1820, Turin, Piedmont, Kingdom of Sardinia [now in Italy] - d. Jan. 9, 1878, Rome, Italy), king of Sardinia (1849-61) and of Italy (1861-78). The elder son of Carlo Alberto, who became king of Sardinia in 1831, he was brought up in the bigoted and chilling atmosphere of the Piedmontese court at Turin. In 1842 he married his first cousin Maria Adelaide, daughter of the Austrian archduke Rainer. When war broke out with Austria in 1848, he was given command of a division and showed himself to be a brave soldier but a poor commander. He became king when his father abdicated after the defeat at Novara. He arranged an armistice with the Austrian field marshal Joseph Radetzky and signed a treaty with Austria over the parliament's opposition. His premier from 1852, Count Cavour, skillfully managed to make parliament and not the king the chief force in the constitution. In 1859, after the French-Sardinian victories over Austria in the battles of Magenta and Solferino and the following armistice of Villafranca, Cavour wanted to go on fighting without France, but the king used the opportunity to get rid of Cavour, though he had to reappoint him in 1860. In that year he first secretly encouraged Giuseppe Garibaldi in the conquest of Sicily, but then accepted Cavour's policy and led his army in person through the papal states to take over the whole of southern Italy. As a result he was excommunicated by Pope Pius IX but in March 1861 was proclaimed the first king of a united Italy. Cavour's death in June 1861 allowed him to reintroduce greater monarchical authority. Venetia was acquired with Prussian help in 1866, and Rome, the remaining papal possession, was taken in 1870 after the withdrawal of the French garrison. He and the pope then dwelt side by side in Rome without ever meeting.
Vittorio Emanuele III, in full Vittorio Emanuele Ferdinando Maria Gennaro (b. Nov. 11, 1869, Naples, Italy - d. Dec. 28, 1947, Alexandria, Egypt), king of Italy (1900-46) and of Albania (1939-43) and emperor of Ethiopia (1936-41). Son of Umberto I and Margherita of Savoy-Genoa, he had a mainly military education, then entered the army and soon was appointed to command an army corps. In 1896 he married Princess Elena Petrovic-Njegos, daughter of Nikola I of Montenegro; she bore him four daughters and a son. Acceding to the throne on the assassination of his father, he at once proved a far more constitutional monarch than Umberto and his acceptance of the Liberals restored confidence in the monarchy. His military instincts helped to push Italy into war against Turkey in 1911 and, in World War I, against Austria in 1915. On the night preceding the Fascist "march on Rome" (Oct. 28, 1922), the cabinet decided to proclaim martial law, but he did not sign the decree, opening the road to Benito Mussolini's dictatorship. He was then reduced to a figurehead and by the time of World War II was taking a very small part in the Italian affairs of state. Only in 1943, after the Allied invasion of Sicily, did he arrest Mussolini, but he installed Marshal Pietro Badoglio in his place to form a nonpolitical government still allied to Germany. This antagonized both Italians and the Allies. On June 5, 1944, the day after the Allies entered Rome, he relinquished his power, though not his title as king, by naming his son, Crown Prince Umberto, lieutenant general of the realm. On May 9, 1946, he belatedly abdicated in favour of Umberto, hoping to influence a plebiscite which was to decide between monarchy and republic. He immediately left for exile in Egypt. On June 2, the people voted for the republic, and Umberto also had to leave.
Vivas Lara, Juan Jesús (b. 1953, Ceuta, Spain), president of Ceuta (2001- ).
Vives (y Planes), Francisco Dionisio, (from 1833) conde de Cuba (b. 1755, Oran, Algeria - d. April 15, 1840, Madrid, Spain), governor of Cuba (1823-32).
Vives Sicília, Joan Enric (b. July 24, 1949, Barcelona, Spain), coprince of Andorra (2003- ).
Vivian, (Mititaiagomene) Young (b. Nov. 12, 1935), premier of Niue (1992-93, 2002-08). He began his political career as the elected representative of Hakupu village in 1969 and has held the seat ever since. He took on a wider regional role in 1979-82 when he served as secretary-general of the South Pacific Commission. On returning to Niue, he served as a minister in the Robert Rex administration, holding, amongst other responsibilities, the finance portfolio. He first became premier in 1992 following the death in office of long-serving leader Rex. Vivian had also been the acting premier during Rex's long illness. Following the February 1993 elections he was replaced by Frank Lui. In becoming premier again in 2002, he replaced his fellow Niue People's Party (NPP) member Sani Lakatani under whom he had served as deputy prime minister since 1999. Initially he headed a coalition government of the NPP and independent MPs, but the NPP, Niue's only political party, was dissolved in 2003. He was reelected premier in 2005, but after the 2008 elections he was challenged and defeated by Toke Talagi.
Vizarrón y Eguiarreta, Juan Antonio de (b. Sept. 2, 1682, El Puerto de Santa María, Spain - d. Jan. 25, 1747, Mexico City, New Spain [now in Mexico]), viceroy of New Spain (1734-40).
Vizol (b. Nov. 16, 1914, Viswema village, Kohima district, Assam [now in Nagaland], India - d. March 3, 2008, Kohima, Nagaland, India), chief minister of Nagaland (1974-75, 1977-80). He served the Royal Indian Air Force during 1941-46 and took part in World War II. In the 1950s he joined overground Naga politics at the height of Naga militancy. He was imprisoned twice for political reasons in 1956 and 1957 and became vice-president (1957-60) of the Naga National Convention which had signed the 16-point agreement with the Union government leading to the foundation of Nagaland. In 1964 he was elected to the Nagaland Legislative Assembly and became leader of the opposition. He was reelected to the Assembly in 1974 and served as chief minister for the first time; he was again chosen uncontested to the Nagaland Assembly in 1977 and became chief minister again. In 1992-97 he was a member of the Rajya Sabha. He was the co-founder of the Democratic Party of Nagaland which later became the Nagaland People's Council and in 2002 the Nagaland People's Front, of which he was chairman until 2005. He was known for his austerity and his personal efforts to bring Naga undergrounds, particularly the legendary A.Z. Phizo, to the negotiating table.
Vladimirov, Vladimir (Vladimirovich) (b. Oct. 14, 1975, Georgiyevsk, Stavropol kray, Russian S.F.S.R.), acting governor of Stavropol kray (2013- ).
Vlahovic, Miodrag (b. Nov. 15, 1961, Djakovica, Kosovo, Serbia), foreign minister of Montenegro (2004-06). He was also ambassador to the United States (2006-10) and Canada (2007-10).
Vlajkovic, Radovan (b. 1922 - d. Nov. 12, 2001), president of the People's Assembly (1963-67) and president of the Presidency (1974-81) of Vojvodina and president of the Presidency of Yugoslavia (1985-86).
Vlaskalic, Tihomir (b. 1923 - d. Dec. 27, 1993), chairman of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia (1972-82).
Vlasov, Aleksandr (Vladimirovich) (b. Jan. 20, 1932, Babushkin, Buryat-Mongol A.S.S.R., Russian S.F.S.R. [now Buryatia, Russia] - d. June 9, 2002, Moscow, Russia), interior minister of the Soviet Union (1986-88) and chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Russian S.F.S.R. (1988-90).
Vlasov, Valentin (Stepanovich) (b. Aug. 20, 1946), acting head of the administration of Arkhangelsk oblast (1996) and acting head of the republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia (1999).
Vlasov, Yury (Vasilyevich) (b. June 22, 1961), head of the administration of Vladimir oblast (1991-96).
Vleeschauwer (van Braekel), (Jozef) Albert ([from 1954:] baron) de (b. Jan. 1, 1897, Nederbrakel, Belgium - d. Feb. 24, 1971, Kortenberg, Belgium), justice minister (1940-42) and interior minister (1949-50) of Belgium. He was also minister of colonies (1938-39, 1939-45), education (1942-44), and agriculture (1958-60).
Vo Chi Cong, also known as Vo Toan (b. Aug. 7, 1913, Tam Xuan commune, Quang Nam-Da Nang province, southern Vietnam - d. Sept. 8, 2011, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), Vietnamese politician. He was an active participant since 1930 in the Cochinchinese revolutionary movement under Phan Boi Chau and Phan Chu Trinh. During World War II he participated in the underground resistance against Japan and the French. Arrested by the latter in 1942, he was, according to one report, kept under surveillance but acted as an "adviser" to revolutionary groups; another report stated that he was sentenced to life imprisonment and actually jailed, but released in 1945. When the initial victories of the Viet Minh in the South proved of brief duration, he resumed his clandestine revolutionary activities. He emerged as one of the founders of the National Liberation Front (1960) and the People's Revolutionary Party (1962) in South Vietnam. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, he was confirmed to have been directly linked to North Vietnam. After the reunification of Vietnam in 1976, he became a deputy prime minister (1976-82, 1986-87) and minister of fisheries (1976-77) and of agriculture (1977-79) in the national government. He was regarded as a supporter rather than an innovator of popular reforms which offered material incentives to peasants and workers to stimulate production. He was also a full member of the Politburo of the Vietnamese Communist Party from 1976 to 1991 and chairman of the State Council (president) from 1987 to 1992.
Vo Van Kiet (b. Nov. 23, 1922, Vinh Long province, Vietnam - d. June 11, 2008, Singapore), prime minister of Vietnam (1991-97). He fought the French and Americans for almost four decades, joining the nationalist movement against French colonial rule at the age of 16. He became a member of the Indochinese Communist Party in 1939. After the French were defeated in 1954, the party turned its efforts to reuniting the country under Communist rule. He became the underground party secretary in the area of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam's U.S.-backed government, and a political leader of the Viet Cong guerrilla movement. After Communist forces captured Saigon in April 1975, he held a series of top posts in the city, which was renamed Ho Chi Minh City. His mission was to introduce socialist reforms in the capitalist bastion, but he advocated gradualism and allowed the private sector to flourish. By 1978, he and other liberal officials in the south came under intense criticism and a hardliner, Vice Premier Do Muoi, was brought in to shut down the south's private sector and build up state shops and industry. Kiet was transferred to Hanoi in 1982 to become chairman of the State Planning Commission. He was among a group of reformers who moved to the fore in the late 1980s. Spurred by the near-collapse of Vietnam's economy, they began the difficult transition from a highly centralized, Soviet-style system to one allowing private enterprise and market-set prices. As prime minister, he helped craft policies that attracted billions of dollars in foreign investment, vastly expanded trade, and enabled the economy to grow at an annual rate of better than 8%. He also was a firm supporter of normalizing relations with the United States, finally achieved in 1995. He stepped down in 1997 at age 74, saying the country badly needed a transfer of power to younger leaders.
Vo Van Kiet
Vogel, Bernhard (b. Dec. 19, 1932, Göttingen, Prussia [now in Niedersachsen], Germany), minister-president of Rheinland-Pfalz (1976-88) and Thüringen (1992-2003); brother of Hans-Jochen Vogel.
Vogel, Hans-Jochen (b. Feb. 3, 1926, Göttingen, Prussia [now in Niedersachsen], Germany), German politician. He joined the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in 1950. Ten years later, after an impressive performance in municipal and regional politics, he was elected lord mayor of Munich. He supervised many major developments, which helped bring the Olympic Games to Munich in 1972. A few months before the Games took place, Vogel, weary of battles with the left, withdrew from office. This interlude was short. He accepted Chancellor Willy Brandt's invitation to become federal minister of housing and town planning in August 1972, and four years later, under Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, he was appointed minister of justice. In 1981 Vogel was sent to West Berlin as mayor, replacing Dietrich Stobbe, who had resigned in the wake of a series of scandals in the city's SPD. Vogel coped well, but the malaise in the party had gone too deep, and in June 1981, after the SPD's poor showing in a city election, he resigned to make way for a Christian Democrat mayor. After the breakup of the coalition of Social Democrats and Free Democrats in September 1982, Vogel was chosen as the Social Democrats' chancellor candidate in the federal election of March 6, 1983. The decision of the former chancellor, Schmidt, not to stand again caused many centrist voters to withdraw their support from the SPD. This was one of the main reasons why the SPD suffered a heavy defeat. Vogel was an able and intelligent politician, but his efforts to attract the left cost his party many votes. This strategy, recommended by the SPD's chairman, Brandt, ill befitted Vogel, traditionally a firm centrist. After the election, Vogel was opposition leader in the Bundestag until 1991 and chairman of the SPD in 1987-91. He remained in the Bundestag until 1994.
Voges, Wilfred Russell (b. Oct. 11, 1943, Sint Maarten), administrator of Sint Maarten (1992-94).
Vohor (Rialuth), Serge (b. April 24, 1955, Port Olry, Espiritu Santo island, New Hebrides [now Vanuatu]), foreign minister (1991-93, 1999-2001, 2002-03) and prime minister (1995-96, 1999-2001, 2004, 2011) of Vanuatu. On Sept. 26, 2004, the Appeal Court dismissed a charge of contempt filed against him after he made disparaging comments in parliament about the chief justice. He could have been jailed for up to a year and faced a hefty fine if convicted, but the court ruled that his remarks were personal abuse and did not necessarily constitute contempt of court. In November he caused a political storm when he made an unannounced mission to Taipei and signed a communiqué recognizing Taiwan. His Council of Ministers renounced the deal. He was also accused of physically assaulting China's ambassador, Bao Shusheng, by punching him on the shoulder after Bao complained that the flag of Taiwan was still flying in a hotel where Taiwan had temporarily established an embassy. He was ousted in a no-confidence vote in December.
Vohra, Narinder Nath (b. May 5, 1936), governor of Jammu and Kashmir (2008- ).
Voinovich, George V(ictor) (b. July 15, 1936, Collinwood, Ohio), governor of Ohio (1991-98). He was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives (1967-71), Cuyahoga county auditor (1971-76), Cuyahoga county commissioner (1977-78), and lieutenant governor of Ohio (1979). The Republican was an unassuming man who over and again won the votes of Democrats, a career politician who cast himself successfully as a reformer while mayor of Cleveland (1979-89). He seemed to enjoy public policymaking and had great success balancing competing values. He slowed state budget growth from 8% annually to 6%, but backed one tax increase in 1992. He put a six month limit on General Assistance, but did not zero it out, as did Michigan's John Engler. He boasted that his JOBS program had enrolled more welfare recipients than any other state's, and that he cut welfare rolls. He cut higher education spending but raised it for Head Start and primary and secondary schools, and bragged of higher test scores. He sponsored a managed healthcare plan, OhioCare, for Medicaid and the uninsured, and continued Democratic Gov. Richard Celeste's program for state investment in businesses. He was opposed to abortion but recognized Roe v. Wade as the law and said, "Let's deal in the real world." He was a strong advocate of allowing state governments more leeway, and his own record was evidence that states could cut costs and improve services better on their own than under federal dictation. But in 1994, he raised $7 million and, when it became clear he had only nuisance opposition, gave $2.7 million to other Republicans, to help produce their statewide sweep. He was able to boast of 150,000 new private-sector jobs: "The Rust is off the Belt," he liked to say. In 1998 he was elected to the U.S. Senate; he did not run again in 2010.
Voirol, Théophile, baron (b. Sept. 6, 1781, Tavannes, Bern, Switzerland - d. 1853), military commander of Algeria (1833-34).
Voisin, Charles (Henri Joseph) (b. Oct. 29, 1887, Flobecq, Hainaut province, Belgium - d. Nov. 20, 1942, Tournai [Doornik], Belgium), governor of Ruanda-Urundi (1930-32).
Voizard, Pierre (Jean Paul) (b. Aug. 22, 1896, Toul, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France - d. Dec. 21, 1982), minister of state of Monaco (1950-53) and resident-general of Tunisia (1953-54). He was also prefect of the French départements of Aude (1936-39) and Seine-et-Marne (1939-41).
Volcker, Paul A(dolph) (b. Sept. 5, 1927, Cape May, N.J.), chairman of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System (1979-87). He was an economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (1953-57) and for the Chase Manhattan Bank (1957-61), a deputy undersecretary in the Department of the Treasury (1963-65), and a vice-president of Chase Manhattan Bank (1965-68). As Pres. Richard Nixon's undersecretary for monetary affairs in the Treasury Department (1969-74), he coordinated Nixon's suspension of the gold standard in 1971 and the devaluations of the dollar in 1971 and 1973. He served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 1975-79 before Pres. Jimmy Carter appointed him to head the Federal Reserve System at a time when inflation had reached almost 13%. He pursued a monetarist strategy by targeting the growth of the money supply rather than interest rates. As a result, interest rates rose over 20%, plunging the economy into the worst recession (1981-82) since the Great Depression, but inflation was brought under control, remaining low when monetary targeting was abandoned in 1982; interest rates then dropped sharply, which helped restimulate economic growth. Appointed by Pres. Ronald Reagan to a second four-year term in 1983, his performance was widely praised. He declined a third term in 1987. In 2000 he became chairman of trustees of the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation. In the wake of the Enron bankruptcy, he headed an independent oversight board at Arthur Andersen, the accounting firm that was responsible for auditing Enron. He also led an international committee to investigate the Swiss bank accounts of victims of the Nazi holocaust and in 2004 was asked by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to chair the Independent Inquiry Committee investigating allegations of corruption in the UN Oil-for-Food Program.
Volio Jiménez, Fernando (b. Oct. 29, 1924, Cartago, Costa Rica - d. May 21, 1996, San José, Costa Rica), foreign minister of Costa Rica (1982-83). He was also permanent representative to the United Nations (1962-65) and minister of education (1974-77) and the presidency (1977-78).
Volkov, Aleksandr (Aleksandrovich) (b. Dec. 25, 1951, Bryansk, Russian S.F.S.R.), prime minister (1993-95), chairman of the State Council (1995-2000), and president (2000-14) of Udmurtia. He was also mayor of Glazov (1987-89).
Volkov, Nikolay (Mikhailovich) (b. Dec. 19, 1951), head of the administration of Yevreyskaya autonomous oblast (1991-2010).
Volkov, Vladilen (Vladimirovich) (b. July 7, 1939), chairman of the State Council (1997) and head of the republic (1997-98) of Altay.
Volkov, Vladimir (Dmitriyevich) (b. Sept. 7, 1954, Novoye Arakcheyevo, Mordovian A.S.S.R., Russian S.F.S.R.), prime minister (1995-2012) and head of the republic (2012- ) of Mordovia.
Vollebæk, Knut (b. Feb. 11, 1946, Søndre Land, Oppland county, Norway), foreign minister of Norway (1997-2000). A career diplomat, he served as deputy in the Foreign Ministry between 1989 and 1990 under the then minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, and later became foreign minister under Prime Minister Bondevik. He was ambassador to Costa Rica (1991-93) and the United States (2001-07).
Vollenhoven, Joost van (b. July 21, 1877, Kralingen [now part of Rotterdam], Netherlands - d. [killed in war] July 20, 1918, near Parcy-Tigny, Aisne, France), acting governor of French Guinea (1907) and Senegal (1907), acting governor-general of French Indochina (1913-15), and governor-general of French West Africa (1917-18).
Volpinari, Antonio Lazzaro (b. Oct. 2, 1943, Domagnano, San Marino), captain-regent of San Marino (1973-74, 1977, 2002).
Vondra, Alexandr (b. Aug. 17, 1961, Prague, Czechoslovakia [now in Czech Republic]), foreign minister (2006-07), a deputy prime minister (2007-09), and defense minister (2010-12) of the Czech Republic. In 1997-2001 he was ambassador to the United States.
Vonhoff, Henk, byname of Hendrik Johan Lubert Vonhoff (b. June 22, 1931, Amsterdam, Netherlands - d. July 24, 2010, Hilversum, Netherlands), queen's commissioner of Groningen (1980-96).
Voorst tot Voorst, Alexander Eppo baron van (b. Aug. 30, 1880, Zwolle, Netherlands - d. May 27, 1965, Rotterdam, Netherlands), queen's commissioner of Overijssel (1925-41, 1945-46).
Voorst tot Voorst, Arthur Eduard Joseph van (b. Dec. 13, 1858, Elden, Gelderland, Netherlands - d. July 27, 1928, 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands), queen's commissioner of Noord-Brabant (1894-1928).
Voorst tot Voorst, Berend-Jan (Marie) baron van (b. Feb. 7, 1944, Beek, Gelderland, Netherlands), queen's commissioner of Limburg (1993-2005).
Vorachith, Boungnang, Boungnang also spelled Bounnhang (b. Aug. 15, 1937, Na village, Tha Pang Thong district, Savannakhet province, Laos), prime minister (2001-06) and vice president (2006- ) of Laos.
Vorobyov, Aleksey (Olegovich) (b. July 6, 1964, Ulyanovsk, Russian S.F.S.R.), prime minister of Ingushetia (2009-11).
Vorobyov, Andrey (Yuryevich) (b. April 14, 1970, Krasnoyarsk, Russian S.F.S.R.), governor of Moscow oblast (2012- ).
Vorokov, Skhatby (Salikhovich) (b. May 30, 1946, Blechepsin, Koshekhablsky rayon, Adygey autonomous oblast, Russian S.F.S.R.), acting prime minister of Adygeya (2004).
Voronin, Vladimir (Nicolae) (b. May 25, 1941, Corjova village, Chisinau county, Moldavian S.S.R.), president of Moldova (2001-09). In 1989-90 he was interior minister of the Moldavian S.S.R. In 2009 he was chairman of parliament.
Vorontsov, Yuly (Mikhailovich) (b. Oct. 7, 1929, Leningrad, Russian S.F.S.R. [now St. Petersburg, Russia] - d. Dec. 12, 2007, Moscow, Russia), Russian diplomat. A Soviet diplomat from 1952, he served as ambassador to India (1977-83), France (1983-86), and Afghanistan (1988-89). He was sent as Soviet envoy to the United Nations in 1990 and, after the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, continued representing Russia until 1994. He was then made Russian ambassador to Washington, where he stayed until 1999. In 2000 UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed him special UN envoy dealing with repatriation of Kuwaiti nationals or their remains, and recovery of Kuwaiti property, from Iraq, which had occupied Kuwait in 1990-91.
Voroshilov, Kliment (Yefremovich) (b. Feb. 4 [Jan. 23, Old Style], 1881, Verkhneye, Russia [now in Ukraine] - d. Dec. 2, 1969, Moscow, Russian S.F.S.R.), Soviet politician. He joined the Bolsheviks in 1903, organized the workers of Lugansk in the revolution of 1905, and suffered frequent arrest and deportation from then till 1917. After the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, he helped organize the Soviet secret police, and during the 1918-20 civil war he was a Red Army commander and police chief in southern Russia and the Ukraine. While defending Tsaritsyn (now Volgograd) in 1919, he became closely associated with Iosif Stalin, who was then the political commissar in that region. In 1925 Stalin made him people's commissar for defense. He entered the Politburo of the Communist Party in 1926 and was named a marshal of the Soviet Union in 1935. In 1940 he was removed as defense commissar and made a vice premier. After the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, he was in July made commander of the northwest armies charged with the defense of Leningrad, but, suffering many defeats, was stripped of his command in September. He continued to hold various responsible positions throughout the war. In 1945-46, he headed the Soviet Control Commission in Hungary. After Stalin's death in 1953, he became chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (head of state). In 1960 he retired from this post and from the party Presidium (as the Politburo was then called). In October 1961 he was expelled from the Central Committee and denounced as a member of the "anti-party group" which in 1957 attempted to remove Nikita Khrushchev from power. Following Khrushchev's ouster in 1964, he was reelected to the Central Committee in 1966.
Vorotnikov, Vitaly (Ivanovich) (b. Jan. 20, 1926, Voronezh, Russian S.F.S.R. - d. Feb. 19, 2012, Moscow, Russia), chairman of the Council of Ministers (1983-88) and chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (1988-90) of the Russian S.F.S.R. He was Soviet ambassador to Cuba in 1979-82.
Vorster, B(althazar) J(ohannes), also called John Vorster (b. Dec. 13, 1915, Jamestown, Cape province [now in Eastern Cape], South Africa - d. Sept. 10, 1983, Cape Town, South Africa), prime minister (1966-78) and state president (1978-79) of South Africa. After the outbreak of World War II he helped to form the militantly anti-British Ossewa Brandwag (Oxwagon Sentinel), becoming "general" of its extremist Stormjaers wing. Detained for undermining the Allied war effort (1942-44), he was at first rejected by the National Party when he tried to enter politics after the war. In 1948 he was narrowly defeated, but in 1953, by then an established party member, he was elected to parliament and made a junior minister. In the 1950s he was allegedly admitted to the influential Broederbond secret society, supporting Hendrik F. Verwoerd's successful candidature for the premiership in 1958. Vorster was then appointed deputy minister of education, arts and science, and social welfare, enforcing the rigidly segregationalist Bantu Education Act. In 1961 he was made minister of justice, police, and prisons, and indiscriminately harried all opponents of the apartheid policy. After Verwoerd's assassination (1966), he was chosen to become the new prime minister. Although he eased some of the petty aspects of apartheid, South Africa experienced burgeoning black unrest (as in Soweto in 1976) and had to adjust to the fall of Portugal's African empire and the rise of Marxist governments on its borders. In 1978 he resigned, pleading ill health, and in October took the largely ceremonial post of president. In November the Information Department scandal, involving a multimillion-dollar slush fund to finance a worldwide propaganda offensive, caught up with him. In June 1979 he resigned in disgrace, after an investigating commission reported he "knew everything" about the fund.
Vos van Steenwijk, (from 1820, Jonkheer; from 1821, Baron) Carel de, heer van Dikninge en de Hogenhof (b. 1759 - d. 1830), president of the National Assembly of the Batavian Republic (1797).
Vos van Steenwijk, Jacob Evert baron de (b. April 30, 1889, Zwolle, Netherlands - d. July 16, 1978, Hoofddorp, Noord-Holland, Netherlands), queen's commissioner of Noord-Holland (1945-54).
Vos van Steenwijk (van den Havixhorst), Jan Arend Godert baron de (b. 1799 - d. 1872), governor (1846-50) and king's commissioner (1850-66) of Drenthe.
Vos van Steenwijk, Jan Arend Godert baron de (b. Sept. 25, 1818, De Wijk, Drenthe, Netherlands - d. Oct. 17, 1905, Brummen, Gelderland, Netherlands), king's commissioner of Utrecht (1880-82).
Vos van Steenwijk, Joan Arend de, heer van Nijerwal, Oldenhof, Welland en Serooskerke (b. 1746 - d. 1813), president of the National Assembly of the Batavian Republic (1796).
Vos van Steenwijk, Reint Hendrik baron de (b. Nov. 8, 1885, Zwolle, Netherlands - d. June 13, 1964, Zwolle), queen's commissioner of Drenthe (1931-43, 1945-51).
Voscherau, Henning (b. Aug. 13, 1941, Hamburg, Germany), first mayor of Hamburg (1988-97).
Voutilainen, Uuno (Henrikki) (b. May 30, 1922 - d. March 6, 2002), governor of Mikkeli (1979-89).
Vrandecic, Ivo (b. May 11, 1927, Pucisce, near Split, Yugoslavia [now in Croatia]), president of the Federal Assembly of Yugoslavia (1986-87).
Vrangel, Baron Pyotr Nikolayevich (b. Aug. 27 [Aug. 15, O.S.], 1878, Novo-Aleksandrovsk, Russia [now Zarasai, Lithuania] - d. April 25, 1928, Brussels, Belgium), "White" governor of South Russia (1920). Scion of an old Swedish noble family (Wrangel af Ludenhof), he served in the Russian imperial army and continued after the revolution of March 1917, but resigned in August. After the Bolshevik revolution of November, he joined the White forces of Gen. Anton Denikin and succeeded him as commander in April 1920. But his cause was lost, and in November he was evacuated from the Crimea. He thereafter lived in exile in western Europe.
Vranitzky, Franz (b. Oct. 4, 1937, Vienna, Austria), chancellor of Austria (1986-97). After a period in industry he joined the Austrian National Bank. He was deputy head of Creditanstalt from 1976 to 1981 and chief of the country's then second biggest bank, Länderbank, from 1981 to 1984. His banking career led one editor to dub him the "pin-striped socialist." He took over the Austrian government in 1986 and his career was shadowed by that of far-right leader Jörg Haider, who was elected to head the Freedom Party the same year. The urbane, soft-spoken Vranitzky was given credit for Austria's economic upswing during his first four years in office. One of Vranitzky's most triumphant moments came in June 1994 when more than two-thirds of the Austrian electorate voted in a referendum to join the European Union. But the economic picture began to turn sour as the government grappled with an enormous budget deficit in 1995. The coalition argued and then collapsed, forcing a snap election in December. The Social Democrats did better than expected after raising the spectre of Haider coming to power. But the euphoria was short-lived. The writing appeared to be on the wall for Vranitzky after his party's disastrous results in the October 1996 European elections. Pollsters said half of the traditional Social Democrat working class vote had gone to the far right. In January 1997 he resigned as chancellor after months of speculation over his future. He was Austria's most popular politician for most of his 10½ years in power and did much to restore the country's image after the tarnished presidency of Kurt Waldheim, who came under attack for his wartime record in Hitler's Wehrmacht. Vranitzky made his mark as a statesman by acknowledging that Austria shared responsibility for the Nazi Holocaust.
Vrankic, Dragan (b. Jan. 23, 1955, Trebizat, Herzegovina), governor of Herzegovina-Neretva (2002).
Vredenburch, H(endrik) F(rederik) L(odewijk) K(arel) van, original name (until Oct. 5, 1928) Heinrich Friedrich Ludwig Carl Rosarius Caspar Melchior Baltasar van Vredenburch (b. Oct. 31, 1905, Vienna, Austria - d. Nov. 17, 1981, Chéserex, Switzerland), administrator of Tangier (1948-51).
Vreven, Alfred (Marie Daniël Ghislain Joseph), byname Freddy Vreven (b. March 24, 1937, Sint-Truiden, Belgium - d. June 15, 2000, Jette, Belgium), defense minister of Belgium (1981-85).
Vrhovec, Josip (b. Feb. 9, 1926, Zagreb, Yugoslavia [now in Croatia] - d. Feb. 15, 2006, Zagreb, Croatia), foreign minister of Yugoslavia (1978-82) and secretary of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Croatia (1983-84). In 1984-89 he was a member of the Presidency of Yugoslavia.
Vries, Henri Lucien de (b. Dec. 12, 1909, Paramaribo, Dutch Guiana [now Suriname] - d. April 6, 1987, Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands), governor of Suriname (1965-68). He was also chairman of the Staten (parliament) in 1947-49.
Vrolijk, Maarten (b. May 14, 1919, Scheveningen, Netherlands - d. Feb. 7, 1994, The Hague, Netherlands), queen's commissioner of Zuid-Holland (1972-84).
Vu Van Mau (b. July 25, 1914 - d. Aug. 20, 1998, Paris, France), prime minister of South Vietnam (1975). He served as foreign minister (1955-63) under Pres. Ngo Dinh Diem and as ambassador to Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Austria in the mid-1960s. He was president of South Vietnam's pacifist Forces for National Reconciliation party before the country's collapse. He was the last prime minister of South Vietnam; North Vietnam's Communist forces overran Saigon two days after he was appointed on April 28, 1975. He remained in Vietnam until 1988, when he settled in France.
Vucic, Borka (b. April 4, 1926, Komiric, near Valjevo, Yugoslavia [now in Serbia] - d. [car accident] Aug. 1, 2009, Belgrade-Nis highway, near Lapovo, Serbia), acting president of the National Assembly of Serbia (2007). She was Yugoslav minister for cooperation with the international financial organizations in 1999-2000.
Vucinic, Milutin (b. 1874 - d. 1922), prime minister and finance minister of Montenegro in exile (1921-22).
Vuillaume, Paul (b. 1896 - d. June 9, 1975), governor of Gabon (1943-44).
Vujanovic, Filip (b. Sept. 1, 1954, Belgrade, Serbia), prime minister (1998-2003), parliament speaker and acting president (2002-03), and president (2003- ) of Montenegro.
Vukic, Zdenko (b. June 14, 1959, Novi Travnik [now in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina]), premier of Central Bosnia (1999-2001).
Vulkov, Viktor (Georgiev) (b. April 3, 1936, Sofia, Bulgaria), foreign minister of Bulgaria (1990-91).
Vunibobo, Berenado (b. Sept. 24, 1932, Nukutubu village, Fiji), foreign minister of Fiji (1997-99). He was also permanent representative to the United Nations (1976-80 [also ambassador to the U.S. and Canada], 2008-10) and minister of trade and commerce (1988-92), home affairs and immigration (1994), and finance and economic development (1994-97).
Vuong Van Bac (b. May 6, 1927, Bac Ninh, Vietnam - d. June 20, 2011, Paris, France), foreign minister of South Vietnam (1973-75).
Vynnychenko, Volodymyr Kyrylovych (Ukrainian), Russian Vladimir Kirillovich Vinnichenko (b. July 28, 1880, Veliky Kut village, Yelizavetgrad district, Kherson province, Russia [now Velyky Kut, Ukraine] - d. 1951, Mougins, near Cannes, France), chairman of the Directory of the non-communist Ukraine (1918-19).
Vyshinsky, Andrey (Yanuaryevich), Vyshinsky also spelled Vishinsky (b. Dec. 10 [Nov. 28, Old Style], 1883, Odessa, Russia [now in Ukraine] - d. Nov. 22, 1954, New York City), Soviet statesman. Joining the Menshevik branch of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party in 1903, he was active in the revolution of 1905 and imprisoned briefly thereafter. He joined the Bolsheviks in 1920. He was a prosecutor at the Supreme Court of the U.S.S.R. (1923-25) and prosecutor of the Russian S.F.S.R. (1931-33) and was involved in several famous trials of alleged saboteurs and counterrevolutionaries. He became deputy prosecutor (1933-35) and prosecutor (1935-39) of the Soviet Union and attracted international attention during the Metro-Vickers trial (1933), in which several British engineers were accused of trying to wreck Soviet hydroelectric construction, and during the Great Purge trials (1936-38), in which he relentlessly prosecuted many prominent former Soviet leaders for treason and the defendants outdid each other in the magnitude of their "confessions." Becoming deputy commissar of foreign affairs (Sept. 7, 1940), as well as a member of the party's Central Committee, he supervised the absorption of Latvia by the Soviet Union (1940) and helped to bring Romania under Communist control (1945). In 1949 he became foreign minister. Representing the Soviet Union at the United Nations, he was known, particularly after the outbreak of the Korean War, for vituperative attacks on the West and especially the United States as the leading "warmonger." Immediately after Iosif Stalin's death in 1953, Vyshinsky was demoted to first deputy foreign minister but remained at the United Nations as the permanent Soviet representative, now adopting an unusually conciliatory attitude.
Vystrcil, Milos (b. Aug. 10, 1960, Dacice, Czechoslovakia [now in Czech Republic]), governor of Vysocina kraj (2004-08).
Vyvere, Aloys (Joannes Maria Jozef/Jean Marie Joseph), burggraaf/vicomte van de (b. June 8, 1871, Tielt, Belgium - d. Oct. 22, 1961, Paris, France), finance minister (1914-18, 1925), justice minister (1921), and prime minister (1925) of Belgium. He was also minister of agriculture (1911-12, 1925-26), public works (1911-12), railways (1912-14), and economic affairs (1920-24). He became burggraaf in 1929.