This past Monday, March 12, marked yet another historic event in Venezuela: a brand-new flag for Flag Day (traditionally celebrated on that date since the early 1800s.) Here are some of the highlights:
President Hugo Chavez reverently carries in the new flag. You can’t see it, but it’s been noted that the coat of arms on his sash is still the old one; he hadn’t had time to get a new one made. (This stands in stark contrast to the “dictator for a day” who briefly deposed Chavez in 2002; Pedro Carmona had his own fake presidential sash custom-tailored in advance of the coup, on a visit to Spain.)
President Chavez hoists the flag.
A giant version of the new flag flies between two monuments to the Wars of Independence at Fuerte Tiuna, Caracas.
On a not-so-festive note, there was also an incident at a celebration of the new flag. The opposition, never reluctant to abuse Chavez no matter how minor or ridiculous the grounds, held up desecrated versions of the new flag (with the coat of arms and new eighth star torn out), and yanked a copy of the new flag out of the hands of a Chavista. As Luigino Bracci points out on his blog (in Spanish; scroll down about two-thirds for the relevant posts), “these cowards only dare to confront women”. (And even so, it avails them naught–Chavista women can hold their own against anyone; Luigino also notes in passing that the oppos desecrated the OLD flag just as much, to spite Chavez, just two years ago. How soon they forget.)
A grand occasion indeed–and in spite of the best efforts of the villains to disrupt it.
Feliz Chavidad, amigos y amigas.