April 11 as day of reckoning|
Sweet Revenge Mission
Following his return to office on April 14, 2002, and opposition self-unveiling, President Hugo Chávez identified conspiracy cores and recovered the armed forces after mounting a purge, recreated state oil company Pdvsa and cracked down on other fronts. Thus, little by little, as power concentration increases, his former foes have fallen down one by one. Now, the media, the Church, and the empire are left undone
No doubt. Most Venezuelans rested assured the midnight of
April 11, 2002 when they learned that Hugo Chávez was
going to be ousted soon.
The dreadful evening was the synthesis of a government, the
violent origin of which was in agreement with an end marked
by upheavals around Miraflores presidential palace.
Millions witnessed the president's attempts at removing from
the TV what was going on by means of a speech full of invocations
to God and reference to tolerance and freedom of speech under
his government. In the meantime and nearby, the massacre continued.
Afterwards, three TV stations were taken off the air.
The end of hatred
If the events were truly part of a provocation to generate
violence, masterminds hit the target. Rather than refraining
from using force against unarmed demonstrators, the President
resorted to the Bolivarian circles, curbed the demonstration
with the help of the National Guard and civilian snipers and
ultimately ordered implementation of Ávila Plan. It was
a calculation error that caused disobedience of General Manuel
Rosendo, the chairman of the National Armed Force Unified
Command, and the action of chief military officers against
Chávez' stay in office.
In any case, if the opposition was plotting, according to
General Rosendo, lawmakers and army officers next to the President,
including Attorney General Isaías Rodrígez, were
Hence was the relief of those who, at 4:00 a.m., saw a humble,
repentant Chávez entering military base Fuerte Tiuna,
southwest Caracas, to surrender to rebel officers. The country
was supposed to reach a new stage. Despite all problems and
polarization, the new government was expected to help recover
social peace and remove striking contrast between two incompatible
Unwinding the knit
Over the next few hours, the extension and depth of conspiracy
was disclosed. Everybody was exposed to view. Firstly, it
was the turn of military chiefs. Except for Raúl Baduel,
Jorge Luis García Carneiro and the general who announced
the president's resignation (the then Defense Minister Lucas
Rincón), the other military chiefs and top officers were
exposed. In other words, Chávez did not control the army.
And there the heroes in uniform were to corroborate it. Some
just confirmed the president's distrust. Others astounded
him, because he regarded them as his loyal servants.
The reverse of the plot
Later, businessmen' plot was revealed. It was much less surprising.
Not in vain, Pedro Carmona Estanga headed the opposition movement
following the strike of December 1, 2001.
This was the case for the Catholic Church. Cardinal Velasco
was the first to sign the Carmona decree. And this was not
the first hint. Priests were convinced that violence and authoritarianism
not only affected Catholics as individuals, but the whole
State oil company Pdvsa was also in uproar. On April 7, Chávez
expelled the managerial elite that had counteracted the attempts
at turning the firm into a political frame at the government
Then, there were trade union leaders, political leaders and
Chávez ex supporters. Actions escalated after April 11,
when a group of congressmen were eager to acknowledge Carmona's
interim government. It cannot be denied that the media involvement
was crucial. One week before April 11, TV stations owners
risked everything in the face of a government ready to close
them once and for all. They split the screen to prevent the
government from imposing its message by means of increasing
There were also diplomats. While the government pointed to
the involvement of two US military attaches in the events
of Fuerte Tiuna the evening of April 11 and noted that the
US and Spanish ambassadors paid a visit to Carmona, there
is no evidence of what is still a strong suspicion.
The heterogeneous and incongruous background was better summarized
in the list of the signatories of Carmona's decree. From the
most radical opponents -who got ready to annul public branches-
to a majority of uninformed citizens, who signed and were
not truly aware of what was going on.
It was not only a question of resentful groupings because
their interests had been threatened. About 70 percent of the
population was behind the move.
Beyond groupings, conspiracy cores, and some personal appetite,
there were people led by a strong national feeling. They had
waged a vibrant fight, risked their lives and, last but not
least, were kidnapped and manipulated to such an extent that
rebel military officers had to clear the way for Chávez'
Such an astounding end took by surprise even some individual,
who was already anticipating an exile, drinking mojitos in
Varadero. It was a sweeping political victory that has taken
shape over the last three years.
While Chávez returned lessened, all the conspiracy items
were on the table. As a result, in April 15, the slow, yet
sweet revenge was set in motion. Revenge Mission.
Properly identified, including certified signatures, recorded
words and images hard to delete, Chávez's foes have fallen
down in a row. The victory booty contains two invaluable treasuries
-the army and Pdvsa. The latter was looted in two times -April
11, 2002 and nationwide strike.
Alleged wrongdoings were corrected and presumed venal judges
are at home or next to face prosecution. Some military officers
are behind bars. Others will surely join them, unless they
flee, if they have not done it yet. This is the case for Carmona
-who went into exile- and Ortega -who is imprisoned.
Thus, following his triumphal return to office, and opposition
self-unveiling, Chávez built up power around him. Thanks
to oil prices, he managed to enlarge the basis of political
support, regained lost ground and won significant elections
despite fair complaints.
A few accounts are still to be settled -the media, the Church
and the empire. Revenge keeps going.
Translated by Conchita