Venezuelan President Says OAS General Secretary Distorts Army Head’s Words on 2012 Elections

Comments by Major General Henry Rangel, head of strategic operations of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB), on possible reactions by the people and the army following the 2012 presidential elections have been “distorted” by the international and national media as well as by Organisation of American States (OAS) General Secretary Jose Insulza, president Hugo Chavez said on Thursday.

By TAMARA PEARSON - VENEZUELANALYSIS.COM

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Henry Rangel (Minci)
Henry Rangel (Minci)
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Merida, November 12th, 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Comments by Major General Henry Rangel, head of strategic operations of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB), on possible reactions by the people and the army following the 2012 presidential elections have been “distorted” by the international and national media as well as by Organisation of American States (OAS) General Secretary Jose Insulza, president Hugo Chavez said on Thursday.

Rangel gave an interview to the national private newspaper Ultimas Noticias, which was published on 7 November. He said, “The National Armed Forces doesn’t have half loyalties, but complete ones towards the people... we’re married to the project of this country”.

Ultimas Noticias, paraphrasing Rangel’s words, said that he felt that under a hypothetical government of the opposition in 2012 that tried to, “dismantle the military sector, there would be a reaction by the army and the people, who would feel that something had been taken from them”.

“For many [sectors of the opposition], there are some military leaders that aren’t convenient for them and [they say] that they have to be gotten rid of,” Rangel said in the interview.

“The idea [of an opposition government] is difficult, it would mean selling the country, and the people, the Armed Forces, aren’t going to accept that,” Rangel said, affirming that the opposition is supported by outside countries and that this affects the nation’s pride.

Insulza gave an interview to the Miami Herald Tribune yesterday where he said the OAS would not remain silent while an armed corps threatened “insubordination against a hypothetical future civilian authority.''

“The fact that an army commander threatens with an a priori insubordination is unacceptable. Venezuela's ruling civilian authority should correct that,” Insulza said.

The Miami Herald wrote, “Asked what he is going to do about the Venezuelan military’s threat, Insulza said that for the OAS to move on the issue, it would have to be raised by a member country. “I hope that a member country will bring it up at the Permanent Council,'' he said.”

Yesterday, the Venezuelan government formally expressed its rejection of the statements made by Insulza.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Rangel’s comments were de-contextualised by Ultimas Noticias, that Rangel had only expressed his commitment to the values of the Bolivarian Revolution and he congratulated Rangel for his “clarity, for his ethics”.

Chavez called Insulza’s comments “irresponsible”, and argued Insulza shouldn’t have paid attention to the media which had “distorted” Rangel’s words.

“A person in [his] position shouldn’t be so hasty and irresponsible and allow themselves to be manipulated,” Chavez said. He also criticised the position held by Insulza in the OAS, stating that, “It's a position that in my opinion doesn’t make any decisions, it’s a position that is unable to confront any type of problems”.

Further, Chavez argued that Rangel’s statements were “in the spirit” of the constitution and that Rangel had been commenting on the attacks by the “bourgeoisie” aimed at damaging the morale of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces.

“Every day from various angles the bourgeoisie attack the Armed Forces... but we’ll go on despite these attacks,” he said.

Hector Herrera, member of the Bolivarian Civic Military Front, told RNV and other government press that the “counterrevolution” seeks a confrontation between the people and the armed forces because it was that union that managed to restore Chavez to the presidency following the coup d’état in April 2002.

“They want to weaken the FANB... to discredit it,” Herrera said.

Chavez also criticised the national opposition’s “distortions” of Rangel’s words, saying, “the Venezuelan opposition is not only obsessive... it has a type of derangement, it’s a strange sickness.”

National private daily El Universal headlined with “Coup d’état announced?”, while Zulian website Laverdad.com and Spanish news agency EFE headlined with “Military chief says the FANB won’t accept an opposition president”, while other opposition organisations have called for Rangel to be investigated or for him to resign.

Yesterday Chavez also announced that Rangel would be promoted to commander-in-chief.

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