13 of April 2002: A Historic Victory for the Venezuelan People

Orlando Maita, a member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), gives his view on the importance of the defeat of the April 2002 coup against the Chavez government for the current development of the Bolivarian process.


The people’s victory on the 13th of April 2002 against the coup d’état orchestrated by fascists, the business elite and the media, which removed President Chavez from power for a brief amount of time, marks a “before and after” in the development of the Bolivarian revolutionary project in Venezuela. This event without a doubt was hugely different to others which have taken place in the world, where the people remained on the periphery when faced with a coup d’état of this nature; something which didn’t happen in Venezuela. In this sense, it is important to recognise the high level of revolutionary consciousness reached by the masses, who made themselves visible in a spontaneous mobilisation towards the Miraflores [Presidential] Palace and military bases, demanding that Chavez be re-instated as Venezuela’s constitutional president.

This milestone also represents a distancing from the cowardly, treacherous and cosy attitudes adopted by political leaders and some regional and local governors, who Chavez had even publically lauded as being great revolutionaries.

This last point is a positive factor. These events meant that many of Chavez’s collaborators and followers took off their masks, some of them even going over to the opposition, praising the multiple violations of Venezuelans’ human, constitutional and democratic rights that took place during those few days of uncertainty, despite having been witness to the Bolivarian process’ immense popular support. However, patriotic values and love were increased threefold when faced with the desire of an anti-social minority and oligarchy who wanted to subject the country to a blood bath and a level of persecution which had never been seen before, not even in an era as difficult as the 1960s and 1970s during Venezuela’s guerrilla struggle.

The main error of the reactionaries, both now and then, is to assume that the Venezuelan people continue to be the same as before, and that what they think and what they want is purely transcendental, something which relates them to the Nazis, who used to kill ten people for every setback that they experienced.

Of course this doesn’t mean that we won’t have to fight battles in the future, given that we are faced with an aggressive U.S. government and a fragmented and intransient opposition which try to repeat that experience from ten years ago. This could even get worse given the inevitable triumph of President Chavez on the 7th of October later this year, which is why it is so necessary to remain alert and constantly mobilised in order to avoid a repeat of the 11th of April 2002.

It is possible that both of these elements will unite once again to try and put an end to the revolutionary process, incorporating the knowledge gained from the failed experience of April 11th thanks to the countless operations carried out by the CIA in our country.

As such, revolutionaries are obliged to prevent similar events from happening. That is why the popular sectors should be involved in socialist and revolutionary training, including military training, because we cannot leave everything in the hands of public institutions, which have been penetrated by reformists and members of the opposition who will never accompany us in the deepening of the Bolivarian process.

It is crucial to reinforce the protagonistic and participatory role that the people have been progressively assuming, in such a way that power and the taking of decisions are transferred over to them, expanding even further upon the constitutional precept of sovereignty and, of course, defining and establishing what socialism of the 21st century will be. With this in mind, the Venezuelan opposition and its foreign allies should remember that before any April 11th, there will be an April 13th with greater strength.

Translated by Rachael Boothroyd for Venezuelanalysis.com