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Following are select pictures from the photo gallery.


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At approximately 10:00 P.M. on April 13th, 2002.


In Fort Tiuna, Diosdado Cabello’s ascendancy to the presidency meant that the chavistas were officially back in control.  Just as opposition forces had gone after the chavistas suspected of improprieties after April 11th, now it was the chavistas who were out for retribution.  General Jorge Carniero—the man who had ordered out the tanks at Chávez’s behest on April 11th—set out to arrest everyone who had been too cozy with the interim government, and especially Pedro Carmona.  The general knew that Carmona was still on the base because he had seen him resign on TV from army headquarters at 10:00 pm.

Tipped off that he was being hunted, Carmona took shelter in the now-empty living quarters of Inspector General Lucas Rincón. Hiding with him was Robert Carmona-Borjas, an attorney who specialized in military law (and was not related to Carmona).  While he was being civil to Carmona’s face, Borjas had no kind words for the defunct Interim President—stupid, ignorant, imbecile, Borjas thought.  Not only had he destroyed their best chance of getting rid of Chávez, but he had hijacked one of the most amazing and pluralistic mass movements in history.

The two men had been hiding for no more than ten minutes when a squad of heavily armed soldiers burst through the door.  They were markedly rough with Carmona.  To him, it felt more like a kidnapping than an arrest.  Carmona was sure they had orders to kill him. He asked the ranking officer, Colonel Montilla, what was the reason for his arrest and remembers Montilla answering vaguely that he was acting under orders of the Minister of Defense (now José Vicente Rangel) and the he had violated the Bolivarian Constitution.
Not wanting to leave out a door that would take them by a group of generals, Colonel Montilla took the two men out a different exit.  Carmona continued to protest as the soldiers shuffled him out into the hallway.  Borjas—who had spent his entire career working with military men—could tell these soldiers meant business. And if they killed Carmona, they would probably kill him too. 

Up ahead he recognized a back door to the conference room where the generals were meeting.  The soldiers were focusing on Carmona—had him surrounded—but they weren’t paying much attention to him. He took a few quick steps ahead of them and broke into the room (thank God the door wasn’t locked), announcing loudly that they were kidnapping Carmona.  General Rosendo and a couple other generals came to the door and demanded to know what the soldiers were doing.  Montilla repeated that he was following orders of the Minister of Defense.  But Rosendo was suspicious and ordered them to leave Carmona with him until he could be turned over to the proper authorities.  Colonel Montilla protested, but Rosendo insisted, and Montilla, realizing he was no match for the hulking Rosendo, gave in. 
Carmona was sure that Rosendo had just saved his life.

Yet Carmona’s problems were far from over.  Unable to leave, Carmona had to remain in the office of the Inspector General, which was now full of officers coordinating the search for Chávez and the destruction of Carmona’s short-lived administration.  Finance Minister General Usón came up to Carmona and waved a piece of paper in his face.  It was the note Chávez had written from Turiamo which was by now pouring out of fax machines all over the country.

Chávez has not resigned, Usón said.

In Carmona’s eyes, Usón was being a hypocrite. The Finance Minister was aprovechando; trying to get in good with the chavistas again.  How else did one explain why Usón had come to him two nights ago and offered to help him pay the external debt, yet was now treating him like a criminal?

But Usón’s snub was insignificant compared to how Carmona was berated by José Vicente Rangel when he arrived.  With wide-eyed rage, the Defense Minister cursed Carmona and asked him how he and the oligarchs could have imagined that they could take power?


Anecdote about being arrested by Colonel Montilla is a composite of my email correspondence with Pedro Carmona (op cit); his book, Mi testimonio... (op cit); and author’s interview, Robert Carmona-Borjas. Washington, DC. 5 June 2008.

It is curious that in Carmona’s book he says how preposterous it is that Chávez would suspect that he would be killed while in custody, yet the moment he himself was arrested it was the first thing he feared.

According to Pedro Carmona, Colonel Montillo later acknowledged that his orders were to eliminate Carmona and he thanked General Rosendo for stopping him from making a mistake.  See Carmona Estanga, Pedro, <confidential email address> “11 de Abril” 28 March 2008, personal email. (28 March 2008).

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