Ángel Omar Vivas Perdomo is a retired general of the Venezuelan Army. He is educated as a civil engineer and has an MBA and a doctorate in finance from Texan American Univeristy. In 1997, he served as the commander of an OAS multinational mission to conduct mine clearing in Central America. He’s received decorations from Venezuela, the United States, and other countries.
In 2006, under the Chavez government, he was appointed the National Director of Engineering of the Defense Ministry, but decided to resign from the army due to its “grave violations of the Venezuelan Constitution.” He has been an outspoken critic of the politicization of the army and Cuba’s growing influence within the Venezuelan military.
In 2007, he petitioned the Supreme Court requesting that the army cease use of the motto “Patria, socialismo o muerte. Venceremos!” (“Fatherland, socialism or death. We shall overcome!”). The author of this motto was none other than Fidel Castro. The hearing before the Supreme Court took place in 2008, and the petition was denied. While leaving the court, Vivas was arrested and later charged with insubordination. In 2012, he was sentenced to a term of 4 months and 15 days.
Yesterday (Sunday, 23 February 2014), he became one of the focal points of the resistance movement when president Nicolas Maduro ordered his arrest for encouraging the massive protests that are taking place throughout the country.
Sunday morning, General Vivas posted this picture of telephone workers disconnecting his internet connection.
At some point, counter-intelligence troops arrived.
While wearing Venezuelan uniforms, a number of Twitter users pointed out that the soldiers’ boots were of the type issued by the Cuban army, and the speculation is that these are actually Cuban soldiers.
Vivas presented himself armed and bearing the Venezuelan flag. He announced that he would not surrender to an invading army. He and his lawyers announced that the order for his detention was illegal, was not signed by a judge, and that he would not be abiding by it.
Soon thereafter, scores of National Guard troops arrived on the scene:
So did, however, hundreds of neighbors and supporters who rallied to the scene after word of the standoff spread on social networks.
Outnumbered, the National Guard shut off the power to the house, retreated, and left only the (possibly Cuban) counter-intelligence officers at the door.
Interview with Colombian TV NTN24, February 24.