BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Monday, 4 February, 2002, 15:11 GMT
Chavez marks his failed coup
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his supporters travel through Cojedes 250km(170 miles) from Caracas
Dressed in national colours, Chavez celebrates
Four days of festivities are set to culminate in a mass rally in Caracas on Monday, as Venezuela's populist President Hugo Chavez celebrates the 10th anniversary of his failed coup attempt.

Calling 4 February "a day of hope, a day of joy," Mr Chavez and a caravan of his supporters have been retracing the route he and other rebel soldiers took in 1992 when they tried to overthrow the democratically-elected but widely despised government.

Opposition marcher
Opponents accuse Mr Chavez of being authoritarian
Opponents of the president, who has seen his popularity plummet from 80% to around 35%, have called for a day of national mourning.

President Chavez says opposition to him and his social reforms stems from the news media, who he accuses of being against his efforts to redistribute wealth among the poor.

Monday's celebrations were to include the launch of an ambitious land reform law.

Rebellion quashed

On the night of 3 February 1992, Hugo Chavez - then a paratrooper - led hundreds of soldiers as they tried to overthrow President Carlos Andres Perez, whose administration faced widespread corruption charges.

But troops loyal to the government quashed the rebellion the next day and Mr Chavez spent two years in prison.

However, his actions made him a hero among millions of Venezuelans tired of political corruption and growing hardship.

He went on to be elected president in a landslide victory in 1998, promising to alleviate the country's widespread poverty.

Autocrat accusations

During his four-day procession across the country, Mr Chavez said the coup attempt marked the resurrection of Venezuela.

"A day of national celebration, 4 February 2002 - 10 years since that day which opened the pathway to redemption for the heroic people of Venezuela," he said.

But opposition to Mr Chavez has been mounting from political parties, business leaders and the Roman Catholic Church, and he is increasingly accused of behaving like an autocrat.

Opposition parties have called on Venezuelans to wear black and drape black flags from their houses to mourn what they say is the loss of Venezuela's democracy and stability.

See also:

24 Jan 02 | Americas
Rival marches in Venezuelan capital
25 Jan 02 | Americas
Chavez reshuffle defies protesters
16 Dec 01 | Americas
Chavez warns Venezuela banks
30 Jul 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Venezuela
31 Jul 01 | Americas
Timeline: Venezuela
31 Jul 00 | Americas
Chavez: Visionary or demagogue?
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories