Revolution and Venezuela's audacityLast night I finally saw the movie I've needed to see for months, the one that shows just how the attempted coup against Hugo Chávez was foiled by a combination of spontaneous popular mobilization and courageously decisive action by military men loyal to the constitution. The opposition, almost all white and backed by the richest sectors, controlled all the private TV stations and took over the single state channel, Canal 8, to present a totally distorted view of the government and then of their own coup. But even without TV to tell them what was going on, the masses moved from the barrios to the presidential palace to confront and surround the usurpers, and the palace guard then decided on their own to retake the place and put the coup-makers under arrest. But it was a very tense 48 hours, and without (1) the decision of Chávez to avoid the threatened bombing of the palace by accepting arrest by the military and (2) the decisive action of a few young soldiers, it could have ended as bloodily and disastrously as the coup in Chile 30 years ago. Powerful film. Makes very clear the strength and directness of the connection between Chávez and the masses.
For a note on my brief, intense conversation with Hugo Chávez in March, 2002, the month before the coup: Chatting with Chávez
For images and background of the movie: The Revolution will not be Televised