6 years on: Venezuelans celebrate defeat of April 2002 coup

ABN/Prensa Miraflores

Photo: ABN/Prensa Miraflores. View video footage here

President Chávez meets with his people at Miraflores

By Heison Moreno for ABN/YVKE Mundial

Translated by Tim Bowron for The Spark

The head of state celebrated this April 13 together with hundreds of Venezuelans who were out on the streets of Caracas since the early morning. The President told Venezuelans in the opening phrases of his speech that “Venezuela will never be anyone’s colony” and announced the launch of the “Misión 13 de Abril”.

Caracas, Sunday afternoon

The citizens are gathering on Urdaneta Avenue in Caracas to commemorate the civil-military struggle that enabled President Hugo Chávez to return to power six years ago, as a kind of celebration of the recovery of national dignity.

Points such as the corner of Santa Capillas and the environs of the office of the Vice-president of the Republic are again marked by the presence of the people, the same people who in 2002 went out into the streets in order to demand the return of the head of state and the constitution.

Urdaneta Avenue was packed in the early morning with Venezuelan men and women who gathered just like on that previous April 13, to take back their country’s freedom and to sweep away tyranny. The guardians of freedom, members of the misiónes and the general populace gather today to the accompaniment of music by Ali Primera which can be heard even as far away as the Laguno bridge.

The Caracas metro is providing free underground transport so that everyone can mobilise.

At the same time, as part of the national program of the Week of the Brave People the diplomatic representatives of Venezuela posted in different parts of the continent are coming to participate in a series of activities including forums, talks and exhibitions to raise awareness about the events of 11, 12 and 13 April 2002 in which the rights of the Venezuelan people and the legitimacy of a democratically elected government were violated by sections of the Venezuelan far-right.

“Misión 13 de Abril” is launched

They await, as the final finale, the launch of a new misión by the cabinet, which will be named after April 13 and will be aimed at the strengthening of popular power.

The initiative, announced in the middle of March by Chávez, is concerned with supporting the creation and strengthening of the socialist communes, as part of a project in which the ministries of Planning and Social Participation have been working on for several months.

An essential element in this policy is the fact that the communities will have a greater presence in the administration of government, with direct influence over the solution of the problems of each region.

To be precise, the strengthening of popular power highlights the major importance of the constitutional reform project which was the subject of the referendum last December and defeated by a narrow margin.

“Our destiny is to be always victorious”

“It is necessary to strengthen our institutions, sharpen our politics (…) because our destiny is to be always victorious”, declared Chávez. From outside the Miraflores Palace, in Caracas, during the commemoration of the day on which national dignity was restored, the head of state maintained that the battle of April 11 2002 still has not finished.

“They are desperate to come back, but we are here everyday to tell them that they may never return”, the national command said of the opposition groups and oligarchs who carried out the coup d’état of April 11 2002.

“I will never betray the fatherland of Simon Bolívar”

Chávez emphasised that he would never be a traitor, and that he would live the rest of his days “at the service of the heroic people of Bolívar and at the service of the Venezuelan fatherland.”

“All that keeps me breathing, every breath, every sigh, will be dedicated – each minute and each second – to the battle in defence of the Bolivarian socialist revolution. I exhort the Venezuelan people to dedicate themselves more everyday to this cause, to engage with the popular and progressive movements of Latin America and the Caribbean”, he stressed.

The head of state commented that if the 4th of February [an allusion to Chávez´s first unsuccessful attempt to take power in 1992] had not occurred, the historical process would not have been triggered “that brought us here, to the point where we can see there is a direct line between that day and December 1998 [the date of Chávez´s election as president]”.

“During these six years, the majority of Venezuelans decided that this soldier of the people would take the Presidency of the Republic. And despite the international interests subordinated to Washington, who have deployed a media operation to try to turn me into an ally of imperialism, of the oligarchy, they have never succeeded and never will”, said Chávez.

“It is for this reason that we are here and acknowledge ourselves to be children of Bolívar, a truly human people, beautiful, combative and revolutionary, on the road towards the construction of socialism. In relation to the events of April 11, 12 and 13 2002, the national commander emphasised that those who took over the streets of Caracas and the Palace of Miraflores for 47 hours, “forming that tyrannical, murdering, bourgeois, lackey, despotic government subordinated to the Whitehouse, represent the same historic and traitorous current, of the same stock as those who in 1828 expelled Simon Bolívar from Caracas and condemned to death Marshal Antonio José Sucre”.

Replenish your conscience in order to carry the revolution to victory

Chávez also called on all men and women of the country to replenish and strengthen their consciences, stressing that it was a necessary act in order to take up the challenge of carrying the revolution to final victory, and in time, the consolidation of the progressive currents in Latin America.

The letter from Castro read by the President stated that: “the fall of Venezuela would drag down the hope of the people of Latin America. I daresay that if Venezuela is lost, the USA would take over the Latin American hemisphere. Instead your triumph instead altered the course of history”.

Chávez exhorted all Venezuelans, during a speech given on Sunday before a multitude gathered in the area around the Miraflores Palace, to be conscientious of what the triumph of the process of changes underway in this country would mean for the rest of Latin America.

“This is a gigantic challenge. It is important that in the light of observations such as this one (that of Castro) we strengthen our consciences. It is necessary for us to replenish our conscience, our will, the quality of our administration, that we struggle each day without rest for these small everyday victories, of every minute which pave the way for victory, because this is our only road: victory”, he said.

He called also for everyone to assimilate the importance of what took place on April 13 2002: “We have still not yet weighed in its full magnitude the significance of that which occurred here on a day just like today 6 years ago and, above all, the consequences, the impact of what happened here”.

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