I love the spasmodic democracy of the Chavez administration. After finally reaching an agreement in the negotition table, Vice-President Rangel said today tha before they can sign it they have to consult with the forces that bach Chavez’ Government. Well, for one, there are no “forces’ that back Chavez they have become mostly weaknesses like the fact that the only parties left backing Chavez from the once mighty Polo Patriotico are PPT, which got all of less than 2% in the last election and the Communist party with less than 1%. Apparently the agreement includes November 19th. as the last possible date for holding the recall referendum, which we understand Chavez opposes as he wants no deadline on a date. This appears to be the origin of this new “democratic spirit” in the part of the Government. Not a single member of Chavez’ MVR has ever been elected to a party position by the base, they have all been appointed by the boss himself. So much for democary.
Archive for April 15th, 2003
In a country where justice is dispensed at a snail’s pace, the murderer of Altamira Joao de Gouveia was sentenced to 29 years in prison only four months and nine days after killing 3 people in that Square. Why do I complain? Easy, consider the following:
- The killer used a Glock and killed three people and injured 27. De Gouveia was a sometime waiter, turned cabdriver through the generoristy of the Chavez Government. He received large money transfers in US dollars in the year prior to the murder, but this was never investigated fully. Where did he learn to shoot like that?
-There is a TV clip made two days earlier and shown then repeatedly in which the Mayor of Libertador, a close Chavez supporter, district helps unload weapons at PDVSA headquarters right before it was surrounded by Chavez’ Bolivarian circles. A man resembling the assasin of Altamira is shown to be there very close to the Mayor. This was never investigated or me,ntioned again.
-Chavez himself defended him two days after the murders. Imagine, the man who insults everyine, called the assasin “This, gentleman” and despite the man’s confession Chavez said he had to be found guilty first. Chavez also showed that day DE gouveia’s passport saying the man had arrived from Portugal only two days earlier and thus could not ahve been in the country earlier in the week.
- Bullets different than those by the assasin were used in the shootings and recovered from the bodies of the injured. (All of those killed had bullets from the Glock). The bullets were said to be rifle bullets by both the Mayor of Chacao Municipality and the Head of the investigative police. Nobody ever said much about this second (or third?) shooter.
Thus, it seems to convenient to bring the man to trial so unusually fast. Now he will be sent to jail. Will he escape? Be killed? Just dissapear without a trace? We shall see….
I view this blog as part documentary on this bizarre time my country is going through, hoping that when it ends, it will add some value to the analysis of what has happened. While the Chavez administration and his supporters have managed to turn around the criminal acts of April 11th. 2002 into some sort of devious coup by the opposition, the truth is that people have forgotten the massacre that took place that day and who was responsible for the deaths. Yes, Pedro Carmona violated the law and tried to disband Congress, but I see little difference between that and what Chavez does almost daily. But if there was someone close to Chavez in the days leading to April 11th. 2002 it was General Manuel Rosendo, the Head of Cufan who was in charge of internal security. In Sunday’s El Universal Rosendo tells his story and some parts of it should be paid closed attention to. Rosendo was loyal to Chávez until the very end, from being hated by the opposition he became a folk hero for standing up to Chavez in the most damning testimony in the National Assembly against the President. Here are the highlights of his Sunday interview on the events of last April, which shed some light on Chavez’ role in the massacre:
-On April 7th. the President told him to stay to meet with some Deputies and Governors. A Deputy (Ismael Garcia) proposed what Rosendo considered to be a macabre plan: To use the Bolivarian circles against the upcoming march by the opposition. They talked about firing all oil workers (it happened months later), about a state of exception and of buying out oil workers by giving them a bonus not to strike. His worst charge: the Attorney General was present at the meeting.
-On April 10th. Rosendo met with the Head of the National Guard to “fraudulently” take over oil installations at the starting point of the planned march so that the square would be taken over in the morning. He met with the President that day And Chavez aborted the PDVSA plan. Rosendo says Chavez told him: “My uniform and my rifle are ready to shoot at anyone that tries to thwart this revolution that has cost me so much”
On April 11th in the morning when he hears that the march is going towards the Presidential palace Rosendo suggested they remove the Bolivarian circles and allow the march to go by the palace. The Minister of Defense Rangel (today the Vice-President) tells Rosendo that he is no “asshole” and that “I will die preserving this revolution’. Later Rosendo’s subordinate calls him and tells him that Rangel and the Mayor of Libertador District spoke on the phone about having the circles come face the peaceful march and that the opposition is shitting in their pants” (Note: Rangel denied this conversation ever took place but the Mayor was actually caught on TV live taking the call from Rangel).
Opposition leader Ortega (now in exile) calls Rosendo and tells him 17 people are dead. Rangel tells him there is only one death and it is “ours” Rosendo gets mad and tells him he is quitting, but Rangel says the President wants to talk to him. Rosendo says:” Do you think I am dumb, the President is on nationwide TV addressing the nation. (This led everyone to believe Chavez’ address had been prerecorded)
In front of Chavez Rangel denies giving the order to have the Bolivarian Circles face the march. Chavez ratifies this but another General says he heard it too.
Chavez accepts that he has to leave his position and he says he wants to go to Cuba. Rosendo says Chavez told him” I don’t want to wake up in Venezuela. I want to go to Cuba. Make all the arrangements.” Chavez refused to sign his resignation when some Generals said he had to stay and face a trial
Rosendo closes by saying: Where did Lucas Rincon get his information that the President resigned? (Lucas Rincon went on TV saying that) I was with Chávez all the time and nobody asked him to. There has to be a well kept secret that Lucas has to explain to the country
My take: Yes, Carmona staged a Constitutional coup afterwards, but Chavez and his partisans certainly planned the tragic end to the peaceful march by the opposition. Chavez did resign; he just never put it in writing