It was 20 years ago today…

…that this happened:

Lt. Col. Hugo Chávez, ex-army officer, was freed from Yare prison. He was one of the last political prisoners in Venezuela; that practice ended when he came to power five years after this video was taken. With him came the reopening of history, the uncovering of secret prisons and torture chambers, the end of Venezuela’s association with the School of the Assassins, and the death of the feared and hated political police, the DISIP.

Yes, there are currently politicians and soldiers in prison in Venezuela…but they are not political prisoners. They are criminals and thugs, and none of them has the broad popular current of history behind them, the way Chavecito did. When he rose up, it was against a president who was himself an assassin. Carlos Andrés Pérez set the army against the people in 1989, and left over a thousand dead during the Caracazo. That he deserved to die for that is beyond question; ask any Venezuelan who lost someone to that week of violence. And yet, he got off unpunished. This is why Chavecito, despite leading a military uprising, was hailed as a hero when he came out of jail. He was willing to take some action against a corrupt, murderous, false president, even if it failed…and the people never forgot that he stood up for them, and took a fall for them too. They gave him 15 unbroken years in office.

One only wishes it could have been more!

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