CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
In the small hours of February 4 and November 27 gunshots and bombs marked the beginning of two military coups d'état that were defeated by the Armed Forces under President Carlos Andrés Pérez. Lieutenant colonel Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías took up responsibility for both the first revolt against the Constitution and the political movement that schemed in the military barracks for years
A high number of military officers mounted in February and November two foiled coup attempts. The leading characters said they intended to make the country a decent place and take it towards development File Photo: Laura Sánchez / Greg English
Two military coup attempts in the same year against the government
of President Carlos Andrés Pérez, amidst political
and social crisis, tried the democratic vocation of the Venezuelan
In the small hours of February 4th, the news about the incursion of a war tank and a group of soldiers into the Palacio Blanco, in front of the government head offices, startled both Caracas residents and Defense Minister Fernando Ochoa Antich, who waited at Maiquetía airport for President Pérez on his trip back from a meeting at Davos. A group of lower-rank officers, most of them from the army and coming from military bases in the province, stormed in the army head offices in Caracas and western Zulia state.
However, they clashed with troops loyal to the democratic government. Pérez led the operation. The rebels were detained and Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Chávez Frías, born in western Barinas state, took up responsibility for the military revolt. In a short TV message, he said: "Unfortunately, for the time being, the goals set by us were not attained." The country was shocked.
On November 27th, another group of the air force embarked on a second venture. They occupied the La Carlota air base and state-run TV channel 8. However, they were put under control during clashes which resulted in deaths and injured people. Virgilio Fernández, a journalist with El Universal was shot to death while reporting near the presidential residence. Journalist Carmen Carrillo was also wounded. Pot-banging, rockets and shots broke the night silence.
An orimulsion plant started operations. The fuel developed by Venezuelan scientists at Intevep, the research arm of state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa), helped to meet the demand of crude oil in the international market. The one-thousand bolivar note, with proven security features to prevent forgery, was introduced to Venezuelans.
The highly innovative Criminal Environmental Law was enacted, including tough penalties for crimes against environmental preservation and improvement. A fire in the West Tower of Parque Central, downtown Caracas, left the country in a state of shock.
In April, researchers confirmed the Big Bang theory as they found swings in the space temperature.
In the United States, Bill Clinton, a young politician for the Democratic Party, tightly won over his Republican challenger George Bush in the presidential election, following a successful strategy focused on recovery of the US economy and moderation in the face of militarism.
At the Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, Venezuelans Arlindo Gouveia and Adriana Carmona won a gold and bronze medal, respectively, in taekwondo.
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