Efrain Vasquez Velazco, a key General in the events of April 11, 2002 is interviewed in today’s Tal Cual. Given that he played such a key role in what are still obscure aspects of that day, it is interesting to hear what he has to say:
On Lucas Rincon announcing that Chavez had resigned:
“..he is a serious and introverted officer. In the time I knew him, he did not characterize himself for being a person that kidded around. On the contrary…He said the truth. When Lucas announced that the Chiefs of Staff had asked Chavez for his resignation and that he had accepted it, he revealed a great truth. What I don’t understand is how he remains in Government”
-How do you explain that?
Chavez is a manipulator and knows each person’s price. He knows that he has to have very close to him the person that asked for his resignation so that he does not reconsider and confesses the truth. Similarly, General Rincon, despite the fact that deep in me I ma convinced that he is a person of good faith and principles, he as allowed himself to be manipulated by the President.
-What was your great error during the events of Aril 2002?
When I analyze the events of April 11th. I conclude that the Army did not make any mistakes. …I acted like a military officer and not like a politician. Many people wanted a coup to materialize, nevertheless, if we did something right was not to have a coup and stick to the Constitution. April 11th. was a historical deed for the Army, a President orders the Army to attack the people and we said no preserving democracy and human rights.
Carmona tried to step over the Constitution that the military had tried to preserve and we stopped him. People ask why there was no state of siege; the answer is that it was not a coup. We can not use our weapons against the people.
-Would history be different if Carmona had named you Minister of Defense?
No, because history is different because of the decree. That nomination did not have an influence in me, because the General Commander of the Army is the most important position there is. The Minister of Defense is just an administrative position.
My comments: I am surprised he speaks well of Lucas Rincon despite his behavior since. I am not sure what he means by “we stopped him” when he refers to Carmona. He is quite emphatic about Chavez ordering the Army to attack the people…