Whenever people talk about whether there was or not a coup on April
2002, they tend to simplify the events of those April days. To me, what
is important is that April 11th. was a day for decency. Hugo Chavez did
not leave the Presidency because this group or that one decided to
stage a coup. He left, because for days he had been preparing to stop a
peaceful march using violent means and there was part of the
Venezuelan military that was not willing to allow this, in what was
then still a civilized country. Chavez left the Presidency, out of the
sense of outrage by many Generals, some of which had been with him
until hours earlier, over the killing of Venezuelans who peacefully
went that day to the Presidential Palace to protest.
General Manuel Rosendo, up to then a symbol of loyalty to Chavez was
present at a meeting a few days earlier when Chavez talked about using
violence agaisnt his fellow citizens. Not only that, but on the 11th.
Chavez activated the Plan Avila a military plan to repress the
Venezuelan population. It was out of a sense of decency that all of
these Generals decided to ask Chavez to leave. It was also out of a
sense of decency that nothing happened to Chavez that day. He asked to
be taken to Cuba, which some of these same Generals refused to, because
they thought there should be justice for those that had died that day.
Not one person threatened Chavez those days, despite the fantasies that
he has now told so many times that he appears to belive them himself..
The rest, as they say, is history. After that, there may have been
three or four coups and counter coups, as ambition and greed made
friends of enemies and enemies of friends. The same Generals that
thought that Chavez should leave, felt that the solution was worse than
the problem. Mediocre Pedro Carmona somehow took over and showed that
he was as much of an autocrat as Chavez is. Some important current
figures of the Chavez administration, barely protested at the time. The
President of the Venezuelan Supreme Court Ivan Rincon even offered his
name as a possible temporary President. Jose Vicente Rangel, today the
VP, went home and said that he would go back to being a newspaper
reporter. Infamous “three sun” General Rincon tried to arrange for
Chavez’ flight to Cuba from the La Carlota airport in Caracas after
which he also went home quietly. The word coup was not used for a
couple of months after the fateful events of April 2002. The formation
of a truth commission to investigate the events was called by all
sides, but blocked by the current Government. It would have revealed
the lack of scruples of Chavez and his cohorts. The same lack of
scruples that they use daily to express their love for the poor while
they buy weapons, get rich and throw away the country’s money.
But, yes, that day, April 11th. 2002 a group of Venezuelans, who were
then considered to be both pro and against Chavez prevailed out of
their sense of decency for their fellow countrymen and out of outrage
for an immoral President. Unfortunately, since then, decency is
defeated daily in Venezuela. And the President has not changed. .