On February 5th, 1992, Caldera sided with Chávez and Fidel Castro sided with Carlos Andrés Pérez.
I’ve always been struck by what a grubby, squalid little Myth of Origin the putsch of February 4th makes. Next the glories of the Sierra Maestra, next to the romance of Granma, next to the whole majestic sweep of the Bay of Pigs and the thrill of hemispheric revolution (hell, next to this guy), the Bolivarian Revolution’s roots in a 5-hour Keystone-Kops-style insurrection foiled by a basic organizational blunder makes for a sad, threadbare little tale.
Chavista propaganda has done what it can to to try to place this sordid affair in some sort of a meaningful narrative arc, but you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
Because, let’s not forget: as Mirtha Rivero details in her gripping retelling of the story, 4F failed because, even though they’d had over a decade to plan it and even though on the night of their assault on Miraflores the rebels outnumbered the loyal forces by perhaps 20-to-1, Hugo Chávez failed to make sure every exit was covered, which allowed president Pérez to quite simply hop in a car and drive out of there as bullets rained into the palace. El resto es paja.
Forget about the coup itself – Chávez’s mismanagement of the coup should’ve been enough to disqualify him from further political ambition. The guy had one job…
Ugh. I’m going back to bed.
(That bolero is after the jump, btw…)
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