The Reemergence of the Venezuelan Armed Forces as a Political Actor
Trinkunas, Harold A.
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On the evening of 11 April 2002, the third day of a general strike, the Venezuelan armed forces rebelled against their president, Hugo Chávez Frías. Reacting to the bloody outcome of clashes between pro- and antigovernment demonstrators near the presidential palace, the commander of the Army, General Efraím Vásquez Velasco, announced in a nationally televised address that he would no longer obey presidential orders. General Vásquez accused Hugo Chávez of preparing widespread repression of antigovernment strikers and demonstrators and he ordered military units under his command to disregard further government orders and remain confined to base. High-ranking generals and admirals soon followed Vásquez onto the airwaves, expressing their solidarity with his position and their refusal to support President Chávez. In the early hours of 12 April 2002, the senior military officer in the Venezuelan armed forces, General Lucas Rincón Romero, announced the resignation of President Chávez and the formation of a transitional government under the leadership of Pedro Carmona Estanga, president of the National Federation of Chambers of Commerce (FEDECAMARAS).
The April Events in Venezuela: A Forum
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