The day that Hugo Chávez carried out a failed coup that changed the destiny of Venezuela

Venezuela changed forever on February 4, 1992. An Army battalion attempted a coup against the acting president, Carlos Andres Perezled by 37-year-old lieutenant colonel Hugo Chavezwho shook the country with a short speech: “Unfortunately, for now, the objectives that we set ourselves were not achieved”. It was a military failure that became a political triumph for Chávez, unknown at the time, but who would later go to jail along with members of the Bolivarian Revolutionary Movement 200 (MBR-200).

February 4: Hugo Chávez came to power and changed everything

That day, the noise of the submachine guns woke up the Venezuelans that the memory of the political crisis that had erupted in 1989, known as El Caracazo, was still fresh, followed by protests and general malaise that ended up wearing down one of the most successful democracies in Latin America.

Although it began on the night of February 3, the insurgency was resolved at dawn, when the entire country was able to see the face of the person responsible: Hugo Chavez Friaswho called for the surrender of his comrades with a short speech, in which he assumed responsibility for the “Bolivarian military movement” and announced that “for now” —almost as a promise— the conquest of power would not be possible.

the sociologist Tulio Hernandez remember having a conversation with Ramon Velasquez —former interim president of Venezuela in 1993— in which he asked him what had happened in Venezuela. “I asked him: Doctor Velásquez, what does this blow mean? And he, who was already 80 years old, told me: Someone raised the lid of hell, where four generations of Venezuelans, at the cost of sacrifices, murders, exiles and torture, had imprisoned. And he kept looking at us, and he said to us with pity: How many decades will it take you to lock up those demons again?

He Chavez coup It was justified by the Venezuelan society at the beginning of the last century, which was going through a period of economic stagnation and corruption in the political class, which generated the idea of ​​illegitimacy of the authorities.

“Chávez’s failed coup returned the country to a situation that we believed was overcome, the coup, a habit that has returned to the national political imagination, always as a hypothesis, and not only in Chavismo,” said the historian. Thomas Straka to The Country.

Hugo Chavez he was taken to the Yare jail together with the commanders who rebelled. Two years later he would be pardoned for Rafael Calderaenemy of Carlos Andres Perez, who had resigned in 1993 due to an investigation into mismanagement of public funds. Already in the streets chavez He began a political campaign touring low-income neighborhoods and quoting Simón Bolívar, demanding the end of the oligarchies, the end of representative democracy and its elites.

hernandez He affirms that the former president “felt heir to Simón Bolívar”, he also had a great capacity for mimicry: “If he was in Moscow, he was a Leninist; if she was in La Paz, she was an indigenous Quechua; if she was at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Paris, he was an art critic; if she was in Cusco, she played charango ”.

In the 1998 elections, chavez he became president. “Each caudillaje claims to be the bearer of authentic and true liberation,” historian Agustín Blanco Muñoz told AFP.

Every year, in Venezuelathis date divides the population, because while for some it was the triumph of a revolution, for others it was the beginning of a catastrophe that ended democracy, according to Hernández.