[News] 5 Venezuela Opposition Leaders Who Took Part in 2002 Coup

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Apr 11 12:12:32 EDT 2017


  5 Venezuela Opposition Leaders Who Took Part in 2002 Coup

11 April 2017

During Venezuela's April 11, 2002, right-wing coup attempt against 
popular President Hugo Chavez, main figures who now lead the opposition 
were not mere bystanders as the coup-leaders led an attack on the 
presidential palace leading to the deaths of dozens, squashed rights, 
attacked ministers and annulled all legislation.

teleSUR looks at five current key opposition leaders who participated in 
the failed coup.

*1. Henrique Capriles Radonski*

Co-founder of right-wing Primero Justicia — a party set up with funding 
from the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy and the International 
Republican Institute — Capriles was mayor of the upper-class district of 
Baruta in Caracas during the April 2002 failed coup against Chavez.

When a violent group of protestors tried to forcefully enter the Cuban 
embassy, located within the municipality, as they believed that 
Bolivarian leaders were hiding inside, Capriles joined them and jumped 
over the fence — violating diplomatic territory.

After a confrontation with Cuban diplomatic staff, Capriles told the 
crowd he could not find out whether Bolivarian state officials were 
hiding, sparking further violence against the embassy. The embassy’s 
electricity and water supply were cut off, windows smashed and 
diplomatic cars attacked.

*2. Leopoldo Lopez*

In April 2002, Lopez, then mayor of the wealthy Caracas district of 
Chacao, was among those who led an opposition march which was re-routed 
toward the Miraflores Palace, where thousands of Chavez supporters were 
also demonstrating. Dozens of people were killed in the ensuing clashes, 
which have been shown to be a premeditated, orchestrated massacre to 
justify the coup and kidnapping of President Chavez.

In the days that followed, Lopez participated in a witch hunt for 
officials from the Chavez government, including the illegal detention of 
Minister of Interior and Justice Ramon Rodriguez Chacin. It is 
astonishing to recall that Lopez did this while still occupying the 
office of mayor.

Lopez also led the 2014 violent guarimbas, for which he is serving a 
sentence of almost 14 years, after being convicted of crimes of public 
instigation, property damage, and arson.

*3. Henry Ramos Allup*

The former president of the national assembly is closely associated with 
the old guard of politicians, hailing from the Democratic Action party, 
one of two parties that would alternate power for 40 years between 
1958-1998 after having signed a formal agreement, the “Punto Fijo” pact.

Henry Ramos Allup was one of the leaders of the 2002 coup. Videos show 
him running from the Miraflores presidential palace before Chavez’s 
return. In 2011, he revealed in an interview with Ciudad CCS that the 
executive order that set up the “de facto” government was prepared one 
week before the coup against Chavez and that the owners of the 
mainstream media were also directly involved in covering the event.

Shortly after being elected to office on Dec. 6, 2015, Ramos Allup 
criticized the 1999 constitution, calling it a “disaster,” and signaling 
his desire to have it reformed. He praised the 1961 constitution that 
allowed only two parties to govern as “civilized.”

Ramos Allup has stated that the main priority of the opposition national 
assembly is “a change of government,” referring to the stated goal of 
right-wing legislators to remove President Nicolas Maduro from power.

*4. Maria Corina Machado*

Machado, just like Capriles Radonski and Lopez comes from Venezuela’s 
business elite and was vice president of right-wing party Sumate and an 
opposition lawmaker when the coup against Chavez occurred.

Machado signed the decree evoked by Ramos Allup, which broke the 
constitutional order and dissolved state institutions for two days.

Machado is still allegedly devising plans to undermine the Venezuelan 
government, according to Venezuelan investigative journalist Eva 
Golinger, in 2013 she met USAID official Mark Feierstein, along with 
other leading figures of the Venezuelan opposition.

She was also among the most prominent promoters of the 2014 opposition 
violence that claimed the lives of 43 people.

*5. Julio Borges*

A lawmaker since 2000, Borges founded the right-wing Justice First party 
and currently leads the opposition MUD coalition. He was chosen as the 
new president of the national assembly for the 2017 session, even though 
his tenure is not recognized by the Supreme Court.

After the 2002 coup attempt against Chavez, Borges demanded the entire 
government resign and played a major role in the subsequent campaign for 
a recall referendum — which Chavez won.

Borges was again elected to the national assembly in 2015, where he 
continued to play a major role in attempts to overthrow Maduro’s 
government. In February 2015, Air Force General Osvaldo Hernandez, who 
was accused of participating in a plot to launch a coup against Maduro, 
said Borges was involved in the plot as well.

In October 2016, Borges led the failed — and constitutionally illegal — 
initiative to put Maduro on trial, arguing that the 
democratically-elected president had staged a “coup,” consistently 
appealing to the Washington-based Organization of American States to 
intervene in Venezuela.

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