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Venezuela, April 13, 2002: The historic feat of the Revolutionary People

Alvaro Enrique Saldivia Lopez

Oct 1, 2023

21 years ago the Bolivarian People took to the streets in defense of President Hugo Chávez, in a popular gesture that would forever mark the historical future of the Bolivarian Revolution. With the slogans "Chávez, friend, the people are with you" and "Chávez did not resign, they have kidnapped him," the Revolutionary People took over the streets adjacent to the presidential palace.

The Outset of the Coup and Public Response

After the coup d'état that began in Venezuela on April 11, 2002 with the Puente Llaguno Massacre, and the subsequent presidential self-swearing in of the head of Fedecámaras (the business union), Pedro Carmona Estanga, the Bolivarian People carried out a popular feat for the return to the power of Hugo Chávez that would forever mark the historical future of the Bolivarian Revolution and the political future of the country.

On Saturday, April 13, 2002, from the early hours of the morning, the followers of President Chávez began protests throughout the country demanding the return of the constitutional leader, who remained kidnapped by coup factors in the military base on the island of La Orchila.

In Caracas, protesters blocked the main highways that link the capital city with eastern and western Venezuela, while a crowd of citizens spontaneously descended from the popular neighborhoods on the hills in the direction of the Miraflores Palace (seat of Government).

With the slogans "Chávez, friend, the people are with you" and "Chávez did not resign, they have kidnapped him," the revolutionary people filled the streets adjacent to the presidential palace under an intentional media silence from the main television channels that limited themselves to broadcasting cartoon movies and series.

Restoration of Chávez: Military and Civilian Unity

Around one and a half million people throughout the country demanded respect for the National Constitution and the return of Chávez, who had not officially resigned from the Presidency despite a statement from the coup group that had falsely reported this on the national network.

Meanwhile, the emblematic 42nd Parachute Infantry Brigade of the Venezuelan Army based in the city of Maracay in the state of Aragua, declares its adherence to the constitutional order and activates the National Dignity Rescue Operation, to which the Presidential Honor Guard in civil-military union with the People gathered in Miraflores adhere.

Upon noticing the movement of the troops and the crowd of citizens around the Government headquarters, the coup plotters who remained crouched inside the building began to flee hastily.

Once the facilities of the Miraflores Palace have been recovered, the then Constitutional Vice President, Diosdado Cabello, is sworn in as Provisional President of Venezuela in accordance with the provisions of Article 234 of the Magna Carta.

Hours later, in the early hours of April 14, a commando group made up of loyal soldiers rescued Chávez on Orchila Island in the Venezuelan Caribbean, and took the president to Miraflores where he was received by a crowd chanting "he came back, came back, came back, came back, came back, came back!"

Only 48 hours were enough for the people and the armed forces in perfect civil-military union to rescue the Leader of the Bolivarian Revolution and install him back in power, defeating the brief Oligarch Dictatorship forged by elements of the Venezuelan right, the business sector, the Catholic Church and American Imperialism.

Reflections and Ramifications: Two Decades Later

After more than two decades after that coup, with enough time to settle, history accumulates copious material to put together the story of the so-called April coup, which some add the adjective “media.” Among the conclusions of some analysts, it is supported that for the first time the three factual powers that usually revolved around coups d'état in Latin America were defeated: the economic, the military, the religious, all managed and supported from outside by force by the imperialism of the United States. Added to them is the power of the media, responsible for unleashing a dirty war, and preparing the emotional conditions for the blow. It is also stated that for the first time there is a civil-military union, a reaction that the coup plotters did not foresee, and that was not clearly present in the rebellion of young soldiers, commanded by Hugo Chávez, on February 4, 1992.

The images of the events that marked those days, before, during and after, are still clear and alive in the memory of those who, in the streets as protagonists or from their homes, experienced live and direct the plot of the Venezuelan Oligarchy against a Government and a democratically elected Leader, but who did not agree with the interests of the powerful groups.

Since then, the civil-military union has been the determining factor to prevent time and again the conspiratorial pretensions of Imperialism and the stateless right that now loom over the Government of President Nicolás Maduro in the form of a continued coup d'état.

They will not return!!!

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