Today marks the 24th anniversary of the 1992 failed coup d’etat against the government of President Carlos Andres Perez launched by Hugo Chavez and his MBR-200 movement. The coup, which ended with Chavez surrendering to authorities in Caracas after failing to capture objectives in the city, catapulted the army leader to the national spotlight and paved the way for his election in 1998. Since taking office in 1999, the chavista movement has celebrated February 4 as the ideological start of the Bolivarian revolution.
Earlier today, Maduro spoke at an event outside the Miraflores Palace in Caracas commemorating the event. Maduro said that “no event has ever been greater” than the 1992 coup.
He also used the opportunity to go on the offensive against some of his critics. Maduro first took aim at Lorenzo Mendoza, the head of Polar, over recent comments he has made to the media, and said:
Lorenzo Mendoza, you are truly a thief. I call on the people to take to the streets and unmask him (…) if you can’t handle your companies, then give them to the people! (…) I’m waiting for you here, you traitor. Show your face, you oligarch, you bandit, you thief!
Mendoza has often been a target of vitriolic attacks by the PSUV leadership. As the country’s most highly-visible representative of private business, Mendoza has been critical of PSUV economic policy, and has often taken his comments to the media.
Turning his attention to National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup, Maduro said:
Ramos Allup thinks he’s going to be President of the Republic. He’s dreaming that he’s going to come in an govern Venezuela once again (…) we’re waiting for you here, Ramos Allup (…) you’re going to be left with all your bad intentions.
Maduro also said that “nothing and nobody” would be able to remove him from office, acknowledging the possibility that the National Assembly would seek to remove him via a recall referendum or some other constitutional mean.
Will the people allow the oligarchy – which won the National Assembly because some of our people were confused – to grab a hold of political power in Miraflores [the presidency]? (…) That’s what we’re preparing for, to not allow that to happen in any way.
Maduro “In Rebellion”
Maduro also called on his supporters to reject the National Assembly’s imminent approval of a reform to the Mision Vivienda subsidized housing law that would grant tenants the deeds to the units they inhabit. Maduro said:
[I] as the head of state declare myself in rebellion against this law which violate the constitution. I will not allow for them to put an end to the Gran Mision Vivienda(…) it is the people’s turn to take to the streets and reject this law which puts an end to the Gran Mision Vivienda.
He took the issue a step further by suggesting that were the reform law to pass, he would not be able to build any more subsidized homes for the country’s poor.
Shopping Malls Must Generate Own Electricity by Next Wednesday
Minister of Electrical Energy Luis Motta Dominguez announced today that all shopping malls across Venezuela would have to generate the electrical energy required to operate them within certain hours by next Wednesday, February 10. Motta Dominguez said that the requirement would be in force from Monday to Friday from 1:00 to 3:00 PM, and from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.
Years of infrastructural neglect have left Venezuela’s electrical grid on the brink of collapse. Recent droughts in the region have also negatively impacted the country’s hydroelectric capabilities. Motta Rodriguez explained that the measure is meant to take some pressure off the system:
The point is to try to not overload the national electrical system (…) it’s not just a whim. We’re living through an energy crisis period due to El Niño. The reservoirs that feed into the central hydroelectric plants are at their lowest levels in a long time.
Motta Dominguez said that the measure would be temporary.
NA Approves Amnesty Law Proposal
The National Assembly approved a proposal for an amnesty law that would see the country’s political prisoners released. The piece of legislation was subsequently sent to the Permanent Commission for Internal Politics, where its content will be debated and possible revised.
Venezuelans today long for justice, peace and national reconciliation for our politically persecuted prisoners and exiles, but also for the innumerable amount of public employees from all sectors of public administration who feel victims of persecution and workplace harassment. They are included in the amnesty law, as they are a fundamental part of the national reconciliation that Venezuela demands today.
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