Category Archives: Venezuela

“I Will Not Surrender to an Invading Army”


Twitter @CNNEE

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.


Twitter @Gral_Vivas_P

At some point, counter-intelligence troops arrived.

Twitter @valsosadasilva

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.


Twitter @barbaradeccs

Soon thereafter, scores of National Guard troops arrived on the scene:


Twitter @DespiertaVene

So did, however, hundreds of neighbors and supporters who rallied to the scene after word of the standoff spread on social networks.


Twitter @carlosramirezl3

Outnumbered, the National Guard shut off the power to the house, retreated, and left only the (possibly Cuban) counter-intelligence officers at the door.

More information is available (in Spanish) at El Universal or follow General Vivas on Twitter.

Interview with Colombian TV NTN24February 24.


#SOSVenezuela: Sources of Information

A small group of fascists, according to official sources.

The Venezuelan government controls the electronic media, so there’s no sense looking for information from broadcast sources.  When I checked the front page of TV network Venevision, it appears that the most pressing news story facing Venezuelans is the fact that Christina Aguilera is expecting a child.

The print media still has some freedom, although the government has managed to deal with that problem largely by restricting the import of newsprint.  Many newspapers have suspended their print edition, and even the largest ones have severely reduced the size of their editions.  But still, there is some information coming out through traditional journalism.  El Universal has a regularly updated section in English.

The internet has been shut down in some areas, but the best source of information  appears to be blogs.  The following English-language blogs will let you know what’s going on in Venezuela:


As a lawyer, one of my obligations is to do what I can to fight injustice, and I don’t believe that obligation ends at the borders of my country. People everywhere are entitled to live in a free country and in peace. Venezuela used to be such a country, with a free press, an independent judiciary, and the rule of law. It used to be a relatively prosperous country with a strong middle class. It hasn’t been that way for quite some time, and the people are finally taking to the streets to reclaim their country. The pictures below are from Twitter, and were all taken by ordinary Venezuelans in the last few days (I write this on February 20).

The government has responded to these protests by sending in National Guard troops , augmented by irregulars–red-shirted armed thugs–supported by the government. They have killed civilians, set fire to apartments, and detained many of the protesters.

For whatever reason, the U.S. media are largely silent. Perhaps it’s partly because their cameras were seized, as happened to this CNN crew.

The El Universal Newspaper, is still reporting, and you can read their English edition online. The Caracas Chronicles blog is also providing good information. And despite the service being shut down in many parts of the country, Twitter is the best source for up-to-date information. You’ll get an idea by searching for #SOSVenezuela or by following @ReportaVE. Most of those tweets will be in Spanish, but the many photos speak for themselves.

Please educate yourself as to what is going on in Venezuela. Since the U.S. media has not deemed this to be a priority, it is up to the rest of us to come to the aid of the people of Venezuela.