BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Spanish Portuguese Caribbean
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Americas  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Thursday, 24 October, 2002, 02:55 GMT 03:55 UK
Venezuela opposition backs army rebels
Venezuelan general greets supporters
The military rebels want the president to resign

Opposition labour and business groups in Venezuela have backed a call by 14 high-ranking armed forces officers for military and civil disobedience against the government of President Hugo Chavez.

Around 1,000 people crowded a square in the east of the capital, Caracas, for a second day in a show of support for the military rebels.

The officers, some of whom were allegedly involved in a failed coup against Mr Chavez in April, say they do not recognise the government and are calling on the Venezuelan leader to resign immediately.

The spokesman for the rebels, General Enrique Medina, said they were not trying to provoke another military coup, but were exercising their constitutional right to protest peacefully.

'Class hatred'

More than a thousand Venezuelans waved flags and banged pots and pans in the Altamira square, which has been declared liberated territory by the rebel officers.

Hugo Chavez
Chavez: No referendum before August

Their call for popular resistance against Mr Chavez's government won the backing of the country's main trade union and business groups, and several opposition leaders also arrived at the square to show their support.

General Medina accused Mr Chavez of promoting class hatred with his fiery left-wing rhetoric, politicising the military and trying to introduce Cuban-style communism into the world's fifth largest oil exporter.

Although several junior officers joined the protest, the call to rebel has not been heeded by the country's barracks.

The government has criticised the rebels, saying they do not command any troops and were involved in April's coup which toppled Mr Chavez for 48 hours before he was reinstated by loyal soldiers.

Chavez defiant

Venezuela's top army commander said the military would remain firm in their democratic principles.

Although the government has not moved to arrest the officers, it said they will face charges of insurrection in a military court.

Opposition leaders say the only solution to the political crisis is for Mr Chavez to resign or call early elections.

So far, the Venezuelan leader has refused to do either.

He insists his foes will have to wait until August next year, when a referendum which could remove him from office can be held.


Key stories

Background

TALKING POINT
See also:

20 Oct 02 | Americas
09 Jun 02 | Americas
14 Oct 02 | Americas
10 Jun 02 | Business
23 Aug 02 | Business
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

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes