Chvez loyalists hold firm amid chaos in Venezuela: ‘We are doing things right’
In 1992, Ruben vila helped lead the Venezuelan revolutionarys coup attempt. In a rare interview he defends Nicols Maduro and the course Chvez set
Ruben vila an idealist raised on Marxist theory and stern military discipline proudly followed the call of army paratrooper Hugo Chvez when he launched a coup detat in 1992 to try to oust a president they considered illegitimate.
It was vila who led the assault on the presidential palace, boldly driving a small tank up the steps, in an incident which provided an iconic image of the ultimately failed coup attempt against president Carlos Andrs Prez.
We were seeing the decomposition of the country, says vila, now a retired major, explaining the decision to try to overthrow the government. Our movement was born to fight against a corrupt unpopular government that was killing the Venezuelan people of hunger, he said.
They were certainly trying times. Government overspending and falling oil revenue caused massive levels of debt. Poverty, inflation and unemployment rose, while real incomes dropped. Corruption was widespread and blatant, and street crime made Venezuelans feel increasingly unsafe.
That description could well be applied to Venezuela today. Its inflation rate is the worlds highest and many people are going hungry because basic foods are scarce. What food is available is too expensive to buy on an ever dwindling salary. Caracas, the capital, has the highest murder rate in the world.