Chavismo in the Streets

By Marco Teruggi on April 30, 2109, from Caracas

At four in the morning on April 30, a group of about one hundred members of the Bolivarian National Armed Force (FANB) wearing blue flags started the beginning of a coup d’etat. The movement had two main elements: the appearance of Leopoldo Lopez, leader of Voluntad Popular political party who was under house arrest, together with National Assembly chairperson Juan Guaido, outside the La Carlota military air base in the Caracas district of Altamira, (this has been the main gathering point for right-wing demonstrations) as well as the movement of FANB members with blue ribbons towards that area.

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez, FANB Commander Vladimir Padrino Lopez, and National Constituent Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, among others, confirmed early in the morning that La Carlota air base had not been taken by opponents and that the military barracks in the country continued backing President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido stated that this was the final phase of what he called “Operation Freedom.” The military coup attempt was publicly backed abroad by the U.S. Administration through Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Colombia’s President Ivan Duque; Argentina through Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie; OAS General Secretary Luis Almagro; European Parliament President Antonio Tajani; among others.

The Government of Spain, however, condemned the violent attempt: “It shall be clear that Spain will not back any military coup.”

The new attempt demonstrated a media strength that did not correspond to the military capacity on the ground. There has not been, so far, an answer of support on behalf of the opposition population to these soldiers in the streets.

The situation in Caracas, except for the two epicenters and the social media, appears to be in a resilient calm. Chavismo, meanwhile, started to move towards Miraflores Presidential Palace to back President Nicolas Maduro, democracy, and to reject any new momentum of the coup attempt.


Source: Pagina 12, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau