In December 1963, presidential elections were held in Venezuela in a setting of considerable tension. The local Communists announced that they would disrupt the election with violence and warned the electorate to stay home. The turnout was overwhelming, and for the first time since the overthrow of the dictator Marcos Pérez Jimenez and the subsequent election of Rómulo Betancourt as president in 1959, power was passed peacefully by the democratic process.