Skip to comments.Chavez fires friend from his Cabinet as 80,000 hit the streets (installs another '92 coup ally)
Posted on 01/25/2002 1:44:22 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
CARACAS, Venezuela -- A day after a huge anti-government protest in Caracas, President Hugo Chavez on Thursday dropped a leading moderate from his Cabinet and vowed to intensify his leftist "revolution" despite concerns from foreign diplomats.
More than 80,000 opponents of the nationalist Chavez streamed through the streets of downtown Caracas on Wednesday, marking the 44th anniversary of Venezuela's modern democracy to protest the president's authoritarian style, his attacks on the media and his use of the military in politics.
It was the largest street protest to date against Chavez's 3-year-old government. Although the opposition still lacks a leader, political analysts said the march showed the former paratrooper would face mounting civil unrest unless he moderated his leftist agenda and fiery rhetoric.
Protesters carry a banner that reads "Get Out Chavez Now" during a protest in Caracas January 23, 2002. A day after a huge anti-government protest of more than 80,000 people in Caracas, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dropped a leading moderate from his cabinet January 24 and vowed to intensify his leftist "revolution" despite concerns from foreign diplomats./Kimberly White
Chavez, whose popularity has halved to around 40 percent since taking office in 1999, was unbowed. He made clear he would stick to his electoral mandate to increase equality for the impoverished majority among the 24 million Venezuelans.
"We are trying to deepen a process of change, which is essential for the peace of Venezuela," Chavez said in an annual address to the diplomatic corps at the presidential palace.
He spoke after the Vatican's diplomatic representative warned of international concerns over the perceived radicalization of the president's leftist agenda.
Saying that bishops had never alleviated the plight of Venezuela's poor, Chavez told Monsignor Andre Dupuy that the Roman Catholic Church had been a "tumor" in Venezuela.
"This is not a radicalization. It is all about fulfilling a popular mandate," Chavez told foreign diplomats.
Leaving the meeting, Chavez told journalists he was replacing veteran politician Luis Miquilena as his interior minister.
Miquilena, the organizer of Chavez's ruling Fifth Republic Movement -- or MVR -- and formerly one of his closest political allies, was long rumored to be unhappy with the increasingly militaristic and leftist nature of Chavez's revolution.
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - [Full Text] Venezuela's Interior Minister Luis Miquilena, reportedly at odds with President Hugo Chavez in recent months, resigned from his post on Thursday.
Luis Miquilena was replaced by Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, a retired naval officer, Chavez told reporters. He added that Miquilena resigned on his own volition.
Miquilena, 83, resigned after weeks of speculation that he and Chavez had feuded over several issues, especially Chavez's confrontational rhetoric toward the news media and business, labor and opposition groups.
Miquilena couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
Chavez's popularity has plummeted in recent months over a perceived failure to combat crime and create jobs. On Wednesday, more than 100,000 citizens participated in an anti-Chavez demonstration in Caracas, the capital. A general strike virtually paralyzed the nation Dec. 10.
Miquilena stepped down two weeks after his close friend, Ignacio Arcaya, resigned as Venezuela's ambassador to Washington.
Chavez's Fifth Republic Movement party has split among those who, like the president, show little willingness to work with the opposition, and those seeking to diffuse the tense political climate. Many of the latter are tied to Miquilena.
Rodriguez Chacin is the fifth interior minister under Chavez, who has made more than 40 Cabinet changes since becoming president in 1999.
Now that he' usurped so much power, he's starting the procedure of placing former coup members beside him (as well as his brother ala Castro and Raul) .
Is this the final stage before total takeover and a Chavez dictatorship?
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, left, swears in his brother Adan Chavez as head of National Institute of Land and Agricultural Development at the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan 9, 2002. (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Solorzano, Miraflores)
Chavez fires VP gives job to general who participated in his failed 1992 coup-- Since taking office three years ago, Chavez has alarmed many analysts by naming a number of active and retired military officials to senior government posts, including the current foreign minister and the head of state oil company PDVSA. He has also reportedly irked many in the armed forces by raising his fellow conspirators in the botched 1992 uprising to influential positions in the military.
80,000 Chavez Foes Show Strength in Opposition March organized by a broad coalition of political parties, unionists and business leaders.
Hey el Presidente Loco Chavez look out the window and see your popular mandate!
Wall Street Journal-- [Excerpt] It's hard to recall reading today's headlines, but 10 years ago Latin America's future looked bright. Democracy was on the rise, economies were growing and the era of military coups seemed to be over. The countries did this mostly on their own, but U.S. leadership was crucial. The U.S. nurtured free-market economic ideas and helped against Marxist rebels. That trend stopped during the 1990s, as the Clinton Administration mostly ignored the region for more glamorous priorities. The result today is a region threatened by repression, violence and economic decline.-[End Excerpt]
No magic formula for Latin America--The present state of Latin America is hardly as bright, nor does its future look as promising. The fire this time is not in the small countries of the Caribbean basin; it is centered in the large, resource-rich nations of South America, including Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru.
By the way, do I understand correctly that there was justification for sending American troops to Panama to arrest Pineapplehead on American criminal charges but we are not justified in doing Chavez? Chavez claims to be a "nationalist" as did Ho Chi Minh before he became more honest in his self-ID.
I guess I am just one of those ugly Americans who wants to jump the gun and nail Chavez before he starts rounding up freedom-loving Venezuelans for re-education camps. Just the kind of boy I am!