The night of December 2nd – UPDATED


Just finished reading a great article that came out today in the Spanish newspaper, “El Mundo.” It is a detailed account of what happened on the night of December 2nd when the Venezuelan people gave chavez his first electoral defeat.
In the thick of the action is a very important protagonist; the G2 Cuban intelligence service.
You can read the whole thing HERE.
The article is in Spanish, but any of you out there are welcomed to translate it and I’ll post it.
H/T Fantomas
UPDATE: Special thanks to Babalu reader, Mariana, for her translation of the article. The English translation is below the fold.

Sunday, December 16, 2007, Number: 653 Crónica
THE FIRST ring of Chávez’ security armor consists solely of Castro’s agents, directed by the super-powerful “Alfredo.” It was the Cuban dictator who counseled Chávez to accept his defeat at the ballot box, the morning after the referendum.
By Julio Rivas Pita
Germán Sánchez Otero, the Cuban ambassador in Caracas, known as “The Viceroy,” did not like Alfredo, the code name of the principal agent of the G2 (Cuban intelligence service) in Venezuela, charged personally by Fidel Castro with the personal security of Hugo Chávez.
Alfredo has direct access to the Cuban leader no matter what time of day or night, and, on security matters, absolute discretion. What he decides cannot be questioned. His powers, in this sense, go far beyond those of the Viceroy, a nickname that the Cuban ambassador has acquired over the last nine years, given the enormous ascendancy of the Cuban government over the regime of Chávez, who now calls Venezuela and Cuba “a single nation.”
Although no published photos of him exist, Alfredo is a person known to various intelligence services in the Venezuelan capital, among them the Spanish CNI, the North American CIA, the Israeli Mossad and the Chinese information services. “He is the best Fidel has, and that’s why they put him here. For Fidel, Chávez is a unique, irreplaceable treasure, to be taken care of like a young girl,” a high Venezuelan official told the Crónica.
The official specified that it was precisely the Cuban G2 whose recommendations probably prevented Venezuela from having a bloody civil war, which would have happened if Chávez had insisted, as he first wanted, on not recognizing the opposition’s victory on the referendum for “constitutional reform” on Sunday, December 2.
“It was Fidel himself who convinced him, at dawn on Monday morning, sending him the G2 reports, which coincided point by point: There now were movements of key military units, especially the Armored Brigade Division 41 of Maracay, a large combat unit, and at the El Libertador airbase, the main one in the country. If Chávez were to insist on a fraud, the soldiers would act,” he said.
For several years, and by agreement between both governments, Cuban officials had occupied training and supervision positions in the principal Venezuelan military units, many times to the great disgust of the Venezuelan soldiers, who saw them as part of a foreign invasion, although a good part of the corrupt Chavista generals turned a blind eye in exchange for juicy economic benefits.
Besides supervising on a daily basis the movements in the military world by means of its presence in the barracks, the G2 controls telephone communications and the Internet from the central location of the nationalized National Telephone Company of Venezuela (CANTV), and its agents are found also in key positions at the Ministry of the Interior, the political police (DISIP) and the Military Intelligence Directorate (DIM).
The G2 poll indicated in the days before the referendum that the reforms of Chávez – in reality it was a matter of approving a new Constitution, Cuban style, which would give him virtually absolute power over life and land – had a chance to win only if the opposition abstained en masse. But a vigorous student movement led by the grandson of Basques (Jon Goicoechea) and a determined ex-Defense minister, the prestigious General Raúl Baduel (the most influential man in the Venezuelan Armed Forces), spent more than two weeks urging their compatriots to defend themselves by going to the polls, as the last chance to save what remained of democracy in this petroleum country of 26 million inhabitants, and the effect was beginning to make itself felt.
“The students and Baduel managed to remove apathy from a people profoundly deceived by a political class that always had used and cheated them, be it the Chavistas or the opposition,” said Rodolfo Schmidt, a journalist and the ex-editor of El Diario de Caracas, who knocked both sides equally in his blog.
The Cuban embassy and the coastal people in Chuao found themselves on maximum alert. Ambassador Sánchez Otero had an underground bunker full of everything necessary, from medical equipment and bottled water to a generator for electricity. The same thing happened in April of 2002; the direct orders of Castro were to defend the embassy by force and to the last man, if necessary.
In a security operation without precedent, coordinated by Alfredo, snipers, motorized groups and commandos in plain clothes, as well as armored cars without identification, had the task, if the worst scenario happened, of transporting Chávez immediately to the embassy, some four kilometers from the presidential palace of Miraflores. Not trusting the Venezuelans, whom the Cubans looked down on for their lack of professionalism and their ideological convictions, Alfredo specifically prohibited them from intervening in the operation.
Scarcely two days before, and after a confidential report from Alfredo, Chávez himself, in his visit to Sarkozy in Paris and at the OPEP summit in Saudi Arabia, suddenly stopped using his luxurious Airbus, made to order, and traveled in two Ilushyn 96 planes from Cubana Aviation, something without precedent, and which reveals the profound distrust the Venezuelan has for his countrymen.
Before the polls closed at four in the afternoon, the G2 chiefs knew about the misfortune: the NO vote has won by at least 6 percent, over the YES of the Chavistas, according to all the exit polls, and also in the totals computed by the CNE. Alfredo knew that it was going to be a very long day, and the reports from his agents in the Armored Brigade 41 of Maracay and the Libertador air base of Palo Negro did not take much longer to arrive.
General Baduel, who tightly monitored a commando of the DISIP with instructions to be ready to capture it immediately, counted on loyal young officials – specifically ordered – ready to take immediate action if one of two things occurred: an attempt at fraud on the part of Chávez, or his (Baduel’s) detention.
Al first, none of his advisors wants to be the first to throw cold water on Chávez’ party, since he is known for his hysterical rages. Finally, the task falls to the Vice President, Jorge Rodriguez, who happens to be a psychiatrist. Fearfully, Rodriguez tells his boss that it is not turning out well. According to witnesses, Chávez gets angry and loses his temper: “Get out of here! I don’t want to see you”! The Maximum Leader cannot believe what they are telling him. After a multimillion dollar campaign into which he threw everything, the Venezuelans cannot give him support.
“They have betrayed me”! he says, referring to his advisors, among them the Governor of Miranda State (Caracas), Diosdado Cabello, converted into a multimillionaire by the Revolution and responsible for organizing the victory of the YES vote through the United Socialist Party of Venezuela.
At seven in the evening, a large mobilization begins in the central seat of the Petroleum of Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) in La Compiña, in East Caracas. The well-guarded ninth floor of the state petroleum company, which can be entered only with a special pass, is an enormous bunker which houses kept arms and munitions of different calibers (including submachine guns and assault rifles), endowed with sophisticated electronic transmission equipment, all organized on the advice of the Cuban G2. More than 300 gunmen on motorbikes and a flotilla of taxis with radiotelephones are ready, at the orders of Freddy Bernal, the ultra-radical mayor of the Libertador municipality, who tells Chávez that his men are ready to “enter into action” in any part of Caracas.
Bernal, a horrifying fellow who was chief of a special group of police in charge of violent actions, has frequently used his gunmen to intimidate the opposition and the media, among them Radio Caracas TV (that now transmits only by cable) and Globovisión, the only channel that is openly anti-Chávez. Three of these gunmen assassinated Martiza Ron, the wife of the Spaniard José Torregrosa, when she participated in a peaceful opposition demonstration, in broad daylight.
At 10 in the night, Chávez turns up at Fuerte Tiuna, the main military base of the country, the seat of the Minister of Defense, southeast of Caracas, joins with the High Military Command, and tries to convince them that the YES vote has won. At his side, unconditionally, is General Gustavo Rangel Briceño, known as “Bruiser Gorilla” (a cartoon character) and “the Preacher,” ex-chief of the Bolivarian Militia, who has been named the Minister of Defense, passing over the heads of more qualified officials. The great feat of Rangel, who is a fundamentalist evangelical Christian, is to have ordered a new slogan for the Armed Forces, “Socialism, Country or Death! We shall win!” (The same slogan of Fidel: “Socialism, Patria o Muerte! Venceremos!”) He cannot understand Baduel, who he calls a “general without an army,” because while they make fun of him, they also respect him.
But the soldiers have in their power the real facts of the recount and some of them have also been in communication with Baduel. One of them gets up, shows his respect for Chávez but warns him that if the figures are manipulated or if he remains silent about the results, Venezuela can “burn on all four sides” from rioting in the streets.
“The Armed Forces cannot guarantee that it will be able to control the situation,” he says, in subtle diplomatic language which means “We are not going to go out and massacre the students and the people.” A sepulchral silence follows. Everyone avoids looking at Chávez, who turns pale and leaves for his office at Fuerte Tiuna, around midnight, asking that he not be disturbed for any reason. In Havana, Castro picks up the telephone. He already knows how things are going. He has just received Alfredo’s last report. On Venezuelan television, Baduel, more energetic, makes a phone call to the CNE, to know the latest figures on the vote. “CNE has the figures, and it is their obligation to let the Venezuelan people know what they are,” he orders. Castro knows that there is no other remedy but to accept the defeat.
After one in the morning Chávez finally appears on television accepting the defeat of the YES vote. Alfredo can now breathe with relief, and he mixes a Coca Cola with rum for himself. Tomorrow is another day.


The tightly-guarded ninth floor of the central offices of Petróleos de Venezuela , S.A. (PDVSA) in La Campiña, in East Caracas , where you can get in only with a special pass, seems anything but an annex of a large transnational company. From the tough-looking, visibly-armed vigilantes to the posters with the faces of Ché Guevara, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez, and the familiar slogan of “¡Patria, Socialismo o Muerte! ¡Venceremos!”, the ninth floor is, in reality, a center of operations for at least 300 gunmen in the service of the Revolution, and it functions like a bunker in that it houses weapons, munitions, and communication and electronic-surveillance equipment, all organized with the advice of the Cuban G2, some of whose officials permanently train the Chavista thugs, who are used on many occasions to intimidate and attack the opposition, journalists and communications media.
Chávez has bought from Russia 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles and 5,000 Dragunov rifles with telescopic, night-vision sights, and intelligence specialists maintain that at least one part of these weapons is kept under guard on the ninth floor, where you frequently see young men and women in the combat uniform of the Territorial Reserve (popular militias that are not under the control of the regular military command).
To shield his control of the PDVSA, Chávez issued a decree requiring each employee of the petroleum company to be an obligatory member of the Reserve, and to receive military training. Many of the instructors are G2 agents. There is no lack of money. On the ninth floor they don’t use checks or issue receipts. Everything is paid in cash, which is taken directly from large cartons filled with wads of bills. On one of the walls, three cartoon characters on a government publicity poster say, “Now Venezuela belongs to everyone.”

9 thoughts on “The night of December 2nd – UPDATED”

  1. Ok. Lemme see if I get this straight…Chavez was going to ignore the results of the referendum and fidel, the great democrat and humanitarian that he is, convinced him to abide by the will of the people in order to avoid a civil war and bloodshed…that’s a good one. So fidel and the G2 are the good guys and the peacemakers…Please..,fidel has spent 50 years trying to spread murder, revolution and chaos all over Latin America, no, the Hemisphere, no the World…If Cuba advised Chavez to accept defeat it was because they didn’t want anything to interfere with the 100,000 bbls of oil they get from Hugo daily. What’s weird is why the Cubans-this article has castroist propaganda all over it -seem to be throwing Chavez under the bus.

  2. It’s funny, Gusano, because the take I got on the article was how the Cuban government is basically running Venezuela. The impression I got was not that castro ordered chavez to accept the defeat in order to preserve democracy, but to accept it to avoid a civil war and chavez’s likely ouster. If chavez is removed from power, the effects on Cuba’s dictatorship would be devastating.

  3. What Fidel is now the great humanitarian ?
    I heard he got a big case of Cagalera and they have order 15,000 pampers from china.

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