April 2002: The Untold History

A reader requested some details of the self-coup instigated by President Hugo Chavez in 2001-2002, which we mentioned in a recent post.

The official Bolivarian history of April 11, 2002 says that Pedro Carmona, Carlos Ortega and others in the civilian and military opposition to President Chavez plotted a coup which triggered the lethal violence of 11 April, 2002.

Practically everyone outside Venezuela, and many inside Venezuela, accepts this official history as gospel truth.

But the official history is riddled with lies, from A to Z.

Yes, several groups did conspire to oust Chavez.

For example, there was a conspiracy of “bates quebrados” – broken bats – consisting of military officers which had no direct command over any infantry combat units, armored groups and fighter/bomber aircraft, hence the nickname “bates quebrados.”

This conspiracy was born inside the navy and air force, and its most visible head was Vice Admiral Hector Ramirez Perez.

This is the group which opportunistically (but stupidly) videotaped a “pronouncement” against Chavez on 11 April, 2002 in an apartment in Chacao owned by Reinaldo Cervini, who was a longtime friend of Grima Wormtongue (aka JVR).

The pronouncement was taped twice in the apartment because the first taping was deemed unsatisfactory by Ramirez Perez. Then it was uplinked by satellite thanks to CNN’s correspondent in Venezuela at the time, who was present in the apartment.

However, what this group did not know is that then-Vice President Diosdado Cabello was tipped off to the pronouncement by CNN’s correspondent in Venezuela before it was broadcast.

There was also a second conspiracy born within the army, which was led by a group of colonels, lt. colonels and majors.

But this group never did more than talk amongst themselves because when they sought the support of certain generals, these generals replied, basically: “You do it, and when it’s over we’ll take command.” (Recall the dark joke about generals being like Christmas trees, “pero sin bolitas.”)

The colonels declined and the group dissolved long before 11 April, 2002.

There was a third group, in which Carmona was involved directly. Among the principals in this group were former President Rafael Caldera’s Opus Dei son and Caldera’s son-in-law the general.

When Carmona double-crossed everyone on 11-12 April, 2002, he was acting at the instructions of this group.

Carmona can deny it until he meets his Maker, but these are the people he refers to in his book where he writes about falling on his own sword.

Finally, there was a fourth group composed of cowboys with shared Rambo-like fantasies.

Some of the players in this group included Isaac Perez Recao, Army General Ovidio Poggioli and Vice-Admiral Carlos Molina Tamayo, among others.

This fourth group of conspirators were mostly witless players in the self-coup instigated by Chavez to create a crisis in which the great Bolivarian warlord would be justified in decreeing martial law, deploying tanks to slaughter thousands of innocents, and either jailing or killing all of his real and imagined enemies.

How was this self-coup instigated?

By mid-2001 it was clear to everyone in Venezuela that a violent clash between Chavez and his political opponents was inevitable.

International news agencies like AP and Reuters routinely filed stories datelined Caracas which quoted leading chavistas and opposition figures saying that violence was inevitable and blood would be spilled.

Chavez, a self-styled Bolivarian warrior who viewed himself as the rightful heir to Simon Bolivar’s greatness but who, in truth, owned a coward’s heart, was thirsting for blood.

Chavez needed an excuse to shed innocent blood. But the political opposition wasn’t cooperating.

Opposition leaders were still calling for “rectification” and were seeking democratic solutions. Civil society – i.e. people power – was the course which the opposition’s leaders were determined to pursue.

This did not fit Chavez’s designs, so he decided to create a conspiracy against himself by deploying double agents to instigate plots which he could infiltrate/control from afar.

Two key double agents in this process were the brothers Vinicio and Parsifal De Sola.

For the record: Vinicio and Parsifal are not related in any way to the respected De Sola family of lawyers and Supreme Court justices.

Vinicio, who likes to call himself “El Principe,” was a longtime secret business associate of Grima Wormtongue (aka JVR) in a partnership which sold military equipment to the armed forces during the 1980s.

Their “business model” was based on extortion and media terrorism. This is how it worked:

Prince Vinicio would approach military procurement officers to offer his products. If Vinicio was rejected, Grima Wormtongue would use his newspaper column in El Universal and his weekly television show to accuse uncooperative officers of being corrupt. Even if the charges were subsequently disproved by the Defense Ministry, corruption allegations against an officer were more than sufficient to kill careers.

There’s a saying in the FAN about The Prince and Grima Wormtongue: Whenever an officer has a sculpture made by Grima’s wife in his office or home, it’s a safe bet that the officer in question was extorted, turned and corrupted.

Parsifal was a longtime real estate development partner of Miguel Henrique Otero (aka Bobolongo).

Parsifal’s mission was to keep tabs on what the country’s business elites were discussing amongst themselves through his business associate Bobolongo.

Was Bobolongo aware that his longtime partner was a chavista mole? We think not.

Vinicio’s mission was to create a coup conspiracy and entrap everyone he could in the plot.

He succeeded beyond Chavez’s wildest hopes because he entrapped two very big fish: Pedro Carmona and Carlos Ortega.

Readers may recall that then-CTV President Carlos Ortega planned to lead a massive protest march against Chavez on 27 February 2002, the anniversary of the day the “Caracazo” exploded in February 1989 after then-President Carlos Andres Perez unwisely increased gasoline prices.

However, on 22 February 2002 a meeting took place in an office in eastern Caracas owned by Perez Recao.

Some of the individuals present at this meeting included Prince Vinicio, Perez Recao, Poggioli, Molina Tamayo, and others including Carmona and Ortega.

Poggioli brought to the meeting an army officer who shall remain nameless because he was never involved in any conspiracies.

But it was absolutely essential for Chavez’s grand scheme that this officer be entrapped in the self-coup which Chavez was manipulating through Prince Vinicio and Grima Wormtongue, because his involvement would have given Chavez conspiratorial “links” between Venezuela’s army and the US government.

Prince Vinicio hosted the meeting, making a detailed presentation of how the coup would be executed.

The officer listened disbelievingly, and when Prince Vinicio finished this officer told the group, basically, that they were 1) insane, 2) that the army would never support this harebrained scheme, 3) that all sectors of Venezuela’s democratic society (and the US government) also would condemn it, and 4) that it was very clear – given Prince Vinicio’s involvement – that the conspiracy was a Chavez-instigated self-coup in which all the persons present in the room would be implicated and jailed.

When he finished telling the group they were nuts, the officer stormed out of the meeting with Poggioli running to catch up.

As a result, the self-coup was called off.

However, events on 11 April 2002 resuscitated the self-coup.

Prince Vinicio had disappeared from the scene before 11 April happened.

But witless players like Molina Tamayo, Poggioli and Carmona forged ahead, making self-interested alliances that united key actors in this group, the broken bats group and Carmona’s Caldera-backed plotters into what became Pedro El Breve’s short-lived regime.

Did Rafael Caldera know of the plot gestated inside his inner circle?

Probably not, but Venezuelans should be aware that it was Rafael Caldera who legitimized Chavez’s failed coup attempt on 4 February 1992, thus positioning Caldera for re-election as president of Venezuela in 1993.

It was Caldera who pardoned Chavez in 1994 without banning him from electoral politics for life, thus positioning Chavez to be elected president of Venezuela at the end of 1998.

And it was Caldera’s inner circle which double-crossed Venezuelan democracy and civil society overnight on 11-12 April, 2002, thus setting in motion Chavez’s return to power despite the mass murder perpetrated in downtown Caracas by his armed Bolivarian thugs.

10 thoughts on “April 2002: The Untold History

  1. Is it possible that Pérez-Recao was also one of the inside instigators of the coup-that-never-was? Carmona and Molina Tamayo (who signed my porte de armas in 2000, btw, lol!) are in exile. But as far as I know, nothing ever happened to Pérez-Recao, and just last month I heard he was making money hand over fist in association with a prominent and very powerful Boli-bourgeois gangster-businessman. So, it makes you wonder if he wasn’t part of the sting operation to begin with.

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  2. Your title made me really curious as to what your take is on what really happened in April…
    I was surprised though cause you don’t talk about April at all; your post talks about the early months in 2002. Are you planning a sequel?
    Thanks!

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  3. That is incredibly involved, and must have taken many hours just to work into a linear sequence. Nicely done, CG.

    Grima Wormtongue sounds like a chamo for the ages . . .

    Juanito

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  4. Mr. Vinicio died sept of 200 very conveniently for you ignorant version of events. I knew him and I know your version to be a lie.

    Caracas Gringo replies: Thank you for your comment. But the events I describe – particularly the meeting of 22 February 2002 – have been confirmed separately and independently by four of the individuals involved directly with the group. So, you knew him, but obviously not as well as you think.

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  5. is there a simon bolivar painting and genealogical tree linking perez recao to simon bolivar in that office? Hmmmm I cant recalll!!!

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  6. The perez-recao connection seems very plausible, and probably even more transcendental than vinicio, if it is true that he is still alive, kicking, and prospering, within the boliburguesia. Remember, this guy, perez-recao, supposedly was the financier and puppet master behind the scenes of the “Carmona the brief” regime, and provided armed bodyguards and weapons to protect Carmona. Some details are missing on Gringo’s account, as on the Caracas chronicles website account linked above. The “events” which ended happening on April 11th had originally been planned for April 19th, an important independence date for Venezuelans, and a time where the “planners” thought they could gather a sufficiently massive amount of people to redirect towards Miraflores. NOBODY could foresee the amazing amount of people that actually presented themselves on the morning of the 11th, which was considered to be only a “warm-up” rally towards the 19th date. Yet on the previous day’s rally, ON THE SAME PLACE of the 11th rally (pdvsa Chuao), Domingo Alberto Rangel (quite the far left winger, by the way, though not chavista by that time) on his speech to the crowd that evening of the 10th voiced out that if enough people were to show up “tomorrow” it would be a “great opportunity” to “march towards Miraflores”, and the crowd CHEERED MADLY at this assertion… SOOO, to say that “aporrea” had “infiltrated” the “opposition meeting” (as the Caracas chronicles site purports) is to give those nitwits too much credit, they probably just had someone at the place of the rally that previous evening, and they simply confirmed other sources (infiltrators, phone/mobile bugs, etc.). That also proves that THERE WAS A PLAN to create the situation. In fact BOTH SIDES WERE ON TO IT, as facts have proven, AND BOTH SIDES had plans and strategies of sorts in place to face it. On the side of those who intended to use the crisis to oust mico mandante, they were forced to step up their plan earlier when they saw the turnout of the 11th rally, which could account for some of the shoddiness and confusion of that day. BUT, on the other side mico mandante intended to USE THAT SAME RALLY to provoke a bloodbath and then manipulate the events to justify a Cuba like hardening of repression and persecution, incarceration, or even physical disappearance of dissidents/opponents, as facts have ALSO proven. Mico mandante did not count with the reversal of two of his highest military commanders (Rosendo and Vasquez Velazco) when asked to implement the “Plan Avila” (which, by the way, puts mico on the same level, if not worse, of contempt of human rights as CAP when he ordered the same thing on the 89 “Caracazo” riots, which chavistas use so fervently against the “40 years”), this and the airing of violence erupting against the rally on half of the screen at the same time of his “cadena nacional”, together with the showing of the take of chavistas shooting towards the rally, wrecked his original plans and led to his temporal ouster, which EVIDENTLY was never part of mico’s plan, so that can hardly can be called a “self-coup”, as he never imagined it would backfire so badly. He just was seeking some justification through bloodshed to use force to get some people out of the way and to further his control on power. Another detail missing on the Caracas Chronicles (that mostly gets it right) site is the fact (I was there, I saw it) that people ran up Baralt Av. towards Puente Llaguno RIGHT BEHIND the Policia Metropolitana’s ballenas and motorcycle squads RIGHT BEFORE THE SHOOTOUT BEGAN, so there ACTUALLY WERE people of the rally close to Puente Llaguno during the shootout. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY there were masked shooters on the La Nacional Building on Av. Baralt (headquarters of Libertador Municipality under chavista freddy bernal’s control, and HE has plenty of experience with violence, being an ex rogue cop with, among other highlights, some bank robberies in his resume) who came out and covered behind newspaper booths on the street (this is not speculation, I have independent confirmations of witnesses seeing these masked and armed people at that building on the morning of the 11th, AND THERE ARE VIDEOS WHERE THEY ARE VISIBLE FIRING THEIR GUNS, specifically ones where photographer Tortoza’s last seconds are filmed, and also takes where Malvina, the lady who got shot in the face but lived, gets shot at) shot at the crowd provoking several deaths and injuries. Lastly, BOTH ACCOUNTS are missing the piece where Ortega was earmarked to form a triumvirate with Carmona and another civil figure coming from the politicians (don’t presently remember who) on the original plan of the “coupsters” to form a more valid transitional government, and also Vasquez Velazco WAS PART OF THE ORIGINAL PLAN (the Caracas Chronicles site has this wrong), and he had been offered the minister of defence post by the planners, which MORE CLEARLY explains why they BOTH backed off when things didn’t pan out for them as planned. I have always seen perez-recao as the principal “black hand” behind most of the shady events of those days, and now with this version of him CURRENTLY being “alive and kicking” among the “bolibourgeoisie” it all adds up. This plutocrat probably was playing it BOTH WAYS, he DEEPLY financed (who knows if even with government provided funds) the coupster group, supported them and planned together with them, AND ALSO served as double agent to the chavista regime (“los tengo infiltrados hasta los tuetanos” from the mouth of mico mandante comes to mind…), he was probably leading the events of the 11th and 12th to the max (it was his decision to finally have only Carmona –the easiest to manipulate- as transition president, and also probably pointed out the guidelines of the infamous decree) by attempting to manipulate the events to his greatest advantage, BUT IN CASE that the ouster backfired (as it did), he could always fall back to his “faithful double agent” act and say that he had “actively sabotaged” the coup attempt (which apparently is the case). Wouldn’t that explain A LOT OF THINGS?

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    • thank you erich for adding your version, we have all the facts, all the players. I really dont care what happens now, but we acted honorably that day. Isaac perez-recao is married to a cines unidos heiress and doing very well. Vinicio died of cancer penniless.

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