April 11, 2009, will be mark 7 years since the coup d’état made against President Hugo Chávez in 2002. During 48 hours, Venezuela’s democratic system was violated by an unpatriotic sector composed of media owners, some business groups, and factions of the National Armed Force and Caracas Metropolitan Police. Unfortunately, this coup against Venezuelan democracy also had foreign support.
On April 11th and 12th, 2002, the Venezuelan people experienced how far these unpatriotic sectors were willing to go. Metropolitan Police forces, acting under orders from coup organizers, fired at close range against the people on the streets of Caracas, leaving around 19 people dead and dozens injured.
Furthermore, it is important to remember the irresponsibility of many Venezuelan media outlets that decided not to inform the public about the people taking to the streets to urge for the return of President Chávez. These media outlets did broadcast the illegitimate takeover of power by a small sector of the population that unconstitutionally proclaimed itself the new government of the country.
Highlighting the role of the people during the events of April 13th in their actions to reapply the Constitution is fundamental. Their determination to urge respect for the Constitution motivated the majority of the Venezuelan to request for the immediate return of President Chávez to office.
Following the reapplication of the Constitution, investigations into the events were opened. Last Friday, April 3rd, some of these crimes were finally punished by the Venezuelan judicial system. Former police captains Lázaro Forero, Henry Vivas and Iván Simonovis of the Metropolitan Police were sentenced to 30 years in prison for complicity in first degree homicide, attempted homicide, and causing injuries during the coup d’état of April 11th, 2002.
Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / April 8, 2009