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martes, abril 12, 2005

Three years after the coup...

This week marks the three-year anniversary of the coup against Chavez and his return to power in the wake of massive popular protests against the coup (April 11-14, 2002). Some of what's happening during these days:

Yesterday both Chavista and anti-Chavista groups held events commemorating April 11th. Chavistas gathered on the Llaguno Bridge, where on that day in 2002 snipers believed to be anti-Chavez police officers shot into the crowd, killing 19 protestors from both sides. They paid homage to the dead and affirmed their commitment to defending the government and the Constitution.

The opposition also arranged a march for what they called the "Day of the Martyrs," referring to those killed on April 11th and also to the opposition figures allegedly dogged by political persecution in the wake of the coup's failure. Both events included speeches by various luminaries.

On April 13th there will be another commemoration, a march arriving at Miraflores (Venezuela's version of the White House) to hear a speech by the President. I don't know what the opposition has planned.

From April 13th to 16th will be held the Third Annual World Conference in Solidarity with Venezuela, an opportunity for both Venezuelans and internationals to learn in more depth about the political and social changes taking place in Venezuela, and to combine their experience and perspectives. In between the opening and closing events, the conference will consist of eight different workshops, each held in a different state, on themes ranging from the women's movement to agrarian reform. I'll be attending the workshop on worker co-management and self-management; I'm sure I'll have lots to write about when I get back! (Btw, that also means no new blog posts until next week.)

Here and here are two English-language articles on the anniversary.

Also, in a proceeding not related to the coup anniversary, today Carlos Ortega, putative president of the CTV, appears in court, where he will be formally charged with civil rebellion and related crimes for his leadership of the December 2002 oil stoppage. The judge will decide if the charges have sufficient merit to proceed to a trial. Ortega fled the country after the strike, had his asylum in Costa Rica revoked after saying he would work from there to depose Chavez, and was arrested last month in a casino in upscale Caracas. Alfredo Ramos, executive secretary of the CTV, denounced proceedings against Ortega, calling it part of a "repressive policy" against the opposition.

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