Bandera Roja, La Masacre de Cantaura and last Sunday’s Elections in Venezuela

October 3, 2010

Explaining what has happened in Venezuela in the last decade can sometimes be quite a task. People talk about the “opposition” as if it were a homogeneous group with a common ideology. Besides the social-democrats, social christians and socialists, people always stare at me when I describe Bandera Roja, a Marxist/socialist organization that is part of Venezuela’s opposition and a member of the Mesa de Unidad (MUD) which fielded unified candidates in Sunday’s election.

Bandera Roja began as a Maoist guerrilla group. They were in fact, the last guerrilla group to abandon the armed fight and become a political party in 1992, to become the extreme far left in Venezuela. Despite this, Bandera Roja never backed Hugo Chavez, arguing he was no socialist or marxist, but an opportunist whose only project is his own self-promotion.

In 1982, what was then the Alejandro Silva front of Bandera Roja (picture above), held a meeting in a farm in Cantaura, inviting students that were simpathetic to the movement, many of whom were unarmed. The military somehow found out about it and started a military operation which began by bombing from airplanes in order to disperse those on the ground. As they dispersed, they were met by military ground forces which proceeded to capture many of those present. Reportedly, most were originally captured alive, but were later found dead.

The case was revived during the last few years, as Venezuela’s General Prosecutor’s office exhumed the bodies and began an investigation of the massacre in which a total of 23 people died.

In early September, Human Rights organization Provea, denounced the fact that one of those being investigated, was retired General Roger Cordero Lara, one of the leaders of the massacre, who piloted one of the Broncos that led the attack. Provea asked Chavez’ party PSUV to withdraw the candidacy in order to stop the impunity on these cases.

Last Sunday, Roger Cordero Lara was elected as a Deputy for Circuit 2 of Guarico State under the PSUV party and now has immunity from Prosecution, unless the National Assembly and the Venezuelan Supreme Court removes it. This led Proeva to send this letter to Hugo Chavez and his party, noting the incoherence of backing Cordero Lara, as well as the precedent of impunity that this constitutes. Chavista groups have also raised their voices to protest, to no avail.

In the case of the Cantaura massacre, much like in other similar cases, military courts exonerated those involved, including General Cordero Lara in the Cantaura case, but the General Prosecutor has reopened the cases with the Cantaura case, being opened at the request of Hugo Chavez, but has yet to rule on any of them, which Provea suggests is due to the fact that many of those exonerated are pro-Chavez retired high ranking military like Cordero Lara. So much for the caring revolution!

But given that Chavez and PSUV did nothing when they could remove him as a candidate, it is highly unlikely that they would go through the complicated process of removing Cordero Lara’s immunity and impunity on the case will continue to prevail.

So much for the revolution…

20 Responses to “Bandera Roja, La Masacre de Cantaura and last Sunday’s Elections in Venezuela”

  1. […] Bandera Roja, La Masacre de Cantaura and last Sunday’s Elections in Venezuela […]

  2. Kepler Says:

    “The volume that flows through Venezuela and reaches the US is at a minimum 10% of US total (Hispaniola). You cannot do this WITHOUT A PLAN.”

    100-10 = 90.

    OK. Where’s the other 90%? Right.

    I am not saying the demand is driven by the wealthy, but that offer is driven by demand, Hilton is just a very notorious case and even when things like that come to light no one there seems to care.

    She as any John Smith or Klaus Schmidt buying cocaine has a big responsibility for the murders of cocaine traffic.

    I am sure Smith and Ricardo were not the first ones to come to this conclusion, Sumerians probably wrote about the relationship of offer and demand. This goes for almost anything, including cocaine.

  3. GWEH Says:

    Kepler, the top 3 frentes guerilleros at the time where Bandera Roja, Grupo Venceremos and Tercer Camino. Other smaller groups where Organizacion Revolucionaria Armada, Movimiento Paramillo, Partido Revolucionario Obrero Campesino, Movimiento 27 de Febrero, Frente Covergencia Regional, Convergencia Revolucionaria, Movimiento 28, Movimiento Revolucionario Jorge Rodriguez, M.P.R.A. y D.I.R.E.

    Even smaller subversive groups where Grupo Catire, Gruppo Klebber, Grupo Magolla, Grupo DVP/PG/Falcon, Grupo Renan

  4. GWEH Says:

    Kepler, I’m going to take you to task for this paragraph:

    “I seriously doubt there is some general plan from Chavismo to infiltrate the US with drugs. They are just petty crooks wanting power, but not planning this all. A lot of US officials and Venezuelan and Mexican and Colombian officials are involved…and US and Canadian and European hijos de papa are giving the dollars that kill our people (latest star doing so: Paris Hilton, who got to pay 2000 dollars as punishment for paying drug dealers, who are nothing but murderers)”

    For starters, the leadership of the GN, DIM and CEO (CUFAN) are operating in what can be described as a joint venture with the FARC. The volume that flows through Venezuela and reaches the US is at a minimum 10% of US total (Hispaniola). You cannot do this WITHOUT A PLAN.

    If you mean that a lot of corrupt US officials are involved in the Colombia-Venezuela cocaine business then I have to disagree.

    Regarding your last sentence, cocaine demand is not driven by the wealthy!!!

    C’mon Kepler, you can do better than this… you know I am sensitive when it comes to the US.

  5. GWEH Says:

    the author is General Division Ivan Dario Jimenez Sanchez

  6. GWEH Says:

    Kepler, get this book “Los golpes de estado desde castro hasta caldera”

    It’s a military book… the best there is .

  7. GWEH Says:

    Kepler, a good friend is retired Disip sheriff who played key role and he tells me it was instigated by the leftist groups of the day. When I asked him for names he only mentioned Bandera Roja… he cannot remember it was 20 years ago!

  8. loroferoz Says:

    To me the only point of comparison of National Socialists and Hitler and Chavez and XXIth century Socialism is that both are overrated. Hitler managed to lose a war catastrophically in spite of having world-class, fanatical soldiers and military officers, engineers and scientists. Chavez has managed to drive Venezuela on the way to hell in spite of having a world-class oil industry and untold resources at his disposal.

    In my humble opinion, we need look towards similar examples of caudillismo in Latin America, and their lasting consequences. Hence I draw comparisons to the most prominent of caudillos, with that most prominent of irrationalist, gut-originated ideologies based on adoration of populist messiahs. Namely, Peron and peronismo, which unfortunately continue to do damage to Argentina and might have done damage directly to Venezuela in the form of the ideas of Norberto Ceresole.

  9. megaescualidus Says:


    Well, it just took me a long while to get to that conclusion (that Chavez himself will be his own undoing), and, of course, I didn’t invent it. My older brother (who lives in Caracas) and one of my wife’s uncles (who lives in Pto Ordaz) have been saying exactly that for a long while. I (and my brother and wife’s uncle) could be wrong.

    In any case, in spite many (and I mean really many many) differences, I cannot help it but think about some parallels between Chavez’s regime and, yes, Nazi Germany’s. I think Chavez is so full of himself that he won’t have the wit of changing course to truly perpetuate himself in power. I think Venezuelan’s will get so sick and tired of him that he will be sacked, most probably democratically (by the sheer power of the vote in large numbers). Any other way (those who still think he can be overpowered, a-la Carmona-Estanga way, are dreaming). I don’t know when this inflection point will happen (it may very well not happen in time for 2012), but something in my gut tells me that when it happens it may happen quickly, faster than the Goverment can react to it. And again, it will be a democratic change. There’s no other way.

  10. loroferoz Says:

    Megaescualidus: I have reached the same sad conclusion. I have to agree with your comment, word for word.

    Unfortunately, we might be in this for the long haul. Again being a pessimist in spite of myself, I conclude that if Chavez does not crash and burn spectacularly, if he is not let crash and burn, singing Venezuelans’ faces in the process, we will follow the sad fate of Argentina. Paying eternal lip service to a long dead authoritarian and to his brand of fascism is no joy.

    On the other hand, Venezuela could very possibly be Hugo’s (and XXIth. Century Socialism) funeral pyre and then Venezuelans get to know what National Failure, a situation so unfortunately general on the other side of the Atlantic (South!, the side WE FACE), means.

  11. megaescualidus Says:


    Let Chavez press right ahead, in overdrive, if possible. This way there’s a better chance the oppo candidate (whoever he ends up being) will get more votes. Unfortunately more destruction will take place in Venezuela before the country is trully “ripe” for a change and finally dumps Chavez.

    To me, after last Sunday, it became clear that Chavez’s plan is running in “positive feedback” mode: spinning out of control. Chavez won’t rectify, he won’t turn around and start working for the country. He will, instead, press ahead, faster now is possible, with the destruction of Venezuela. This will, at the end, be his ondoing (and Venezuela’s too, unfortunately). So, I tell my wife from time to time: “how bad things really need to get in Venezuela for people to dump Chavez?”. We shall see if people rise up to the occasion and seize the re-election opportunity in 2012 to vote massively against Chavez. Otherwise, braze yourself for the long haul.

  12. loroferoz Says:

    A consistent record on human rights that chavismo shows. I am not surprised. At all.

    Mind you, the “negative” ones. The real deal ones. Not the State concessions and privileges that the moderate Socialists love to cite when taxing and regulating unto suffocation, and as an excuse for making people poorer by the year with State debt and inflation. And that the extreme Socialists love to invoke when denying the real deal to persons, up to and including the right to life.

    Rights, opinions or everything else regarding persons are accessory and just useful to a Revolution. They are discarded so far as they are not useful for the purpose of keeping on to power.

    Bandera Roja was never useful. So the rights of Bandera Roja members can and will be dumped. Political expediency and allies (the military) first.

    Not that other, less “revolutionary” governments will not act with just as much hypocrisy. Only that there will be some instance and a public opinion and Courts where you can go and raise a ruckus at such outrages.

  13. Alek Boyd Says:

    “You ask me, he is being given immunity by Chavismo. Period.”

    How about Rodriguez Chacin?

  14. moctavio Says:

    Not if he participated in the design of the military operation which was a trap from the beginning. But that is not the point, the point is that Chavez ordered the investigation, they always cry about human rights abuses, but then they include this guy as a candidate.

    You ask me, he is being given immunity by Chavismo. Period.

  15. jeffry house Says:

    I am skeptical that a pilot leading an attack on a guerrilla concentration could be legally culpable for what occurred. Even if “some” of the people meeting were unarmed.

    It may well be that people who were arrested were mistreated or killed; it’s hard to concieve of how a pilot would be responsible for this on-the-ground activity.

    The most likely scenario–to me–is that there are overly-inclusive investigations being reopened for political purposes, not that this particular person is likely to have committed crimes.

  16. Kepler Says:

    Miguel, thanks for reporting about this.

    We need to tell the whole story. I never felt any sympathy for Bandera Roja, but I find it is very telling and very necessary to tell the role of Chavistas before they became Chavistas and who did what exactly.

    Freddy Bernal was a member of an extreme right party before switching to Chavismo, his dad was member of the terror organized by Perez Jimenez.

    Chacin would have been involved in the Masacre del Amparo (only in planning as he had an accident while on the way to the murder scene)
    and he was involved in the Masacre de Amparitos.

    The most disgusting thing is that Chavistas tell people who know nothing that it was us “all oppos” (even people who were children at the time or were not born) the ones doing this kind of crime before Hugo came to power.

    Gweh, do you have any piece of information about the Bandera Roja connection? Not that I doubt it, I just want to find out more. I do know certain groups from the extreme left were planning the riots and exacerbated what was supposed to be a spontaneous stuff, but I am not sure who they were. The PCV got people trained by the KGB in such things and some of them may have gone to one or the other organization later on…they may have got also some training from Cubans as well.

    I seriously doubt there is some general plan from Chavismo to infiltrate the US with drugs. They are just petty crooks wanting power, but not planning this all. A lot of US officials and Venezuelan and Mexican and Colombian officials are involved…and US and Canadian and European hijos de papa are giving the dollars that kill our people (latest star doing so: Paris Hilton, who got to pay 2000 dollars as punishment for paying drug dealers, who are nothing but murderers)

  17. GWEH Says:

    this stupid POS is a frontman for Venezuelan governmnent and military officials. He is coming to the US where he will sing like a bird implicating EVERYONE.

    the cocaine was going direct to US hidden inside shipping containers. Many containers where protected by a corrupt US DHS ICE official stationed (for seven years) in Ccs named Gerardo “Gerry” Chavez. Gerry was easily recruited by General Hugo Carvajal of DIM. The whole thing read like a novel. It was a coup by the Bolivarians. The americans have gone to lengths to sweep this one under the rug.

  18. GWEH Says:

    I think Bandera Roja played a role in the Caracazo too – they instigated that day taking advantage of the situation

  19. moctavio Says:

    Good, and he is going to Russia a Belarus to escape reality. That’s good for the opposition, bad for the country.

  20. jau Says:

    Off topic, but today Chavez seized Agroisleña and La compañia inglesa. These will only end in more shortages of food for Venezuelans.

    Some people hoped that Chavez would change strategies after last sunday’s elections, well he has, he is more radical now.

    The revolution goes full speed ahead, like the titanic…

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