Contragolpe de Baduel / Teodoro Petkoff

Countercoup by Baduel

Coherence is one of Raúl Baduel’s virtues. His speech yesterday is absolutely coherent within the context of his institutional career. The citizen Raúl Baduel who yesterday assumed the defense of the Constitution, rejecting Chávez’s reform, is the same general Raúl Baduel who in April 2002, also in defense of the Constitution, was the decisive factor in the defeat of the coup and the return of the president to Miraflores Palace. And he is the same general Raúl Baduel, commander of the Army and later Minister of Defense, who always maintained his institutional role, expressing his disagreements through regular channels, without ever breaking away from the discipline and obedience that bound him to his hierarchical superior. It is the same general Raúl Baduel who, when he handed over his ministry last summer, gave a historic speech where he already announced his differences with the Chavista project, which were reaffirmed in his words yesterday. Baduel is a democratic officer, not a coup plotter and his conduct cannot be judged with the reigning view among certain sectors who intend to make impatience a policy, and who have scolded him for not speaking out earlier. He spoke when he needed to, free from the disciplinary constriction imposed on him by his condition as a soldier. Precisely because he is a professional – which is what a member of the Armed Forces should be – and not a politician, he didn’t use the military tribune for political plans, which in his case would have been a coup plotting plan.

Faithful to himself and to his civil and democratic convictions, committed, as we can see he continues to be, to a project of social change, yes, but unavoidably democratic, he drove home his declaration by calling on Venezuelans to use the path of the vote to defeat Hugo Chávez’s self-perpetuating and neo-totalitarian aspirations. He called on people to vote NO in the referendum. He spoke for the National Armed Forces, of course, but as a part of the country, not as a guide for them, so they might reflect alongside millions of Venezuelans who hold in their hands the power to prevent Hugo Chávez’s reactionary and proto-totalitarian project from consolidating itself, by defeating it in the referendum.

The impact of his speech is measured by Chávez’s reaction. First he placed his usual worshipers, the deputies of his power, to try and refute Baduel, and later on he dusted off two of his former Ministers of Defense so they could babble a few trivialities against Baduel. It will be useless. The rejection of the Constitutional reform is a stream of gunpowder.

{ Teodoro Petkoff, Tal Cual, 6 November 2007 }

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