16 October 2021 ~ 0 Comentarios

The death of Venezuelan general Raúl Baduel

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

The delirium was escalating for decades. One cold morning in December 1982, four illuminated people gathered under the generous shade of a “Samán de Güere”, a very leafy tree. They were young officers graduated in the mid-1970s – Hugo Chávez, Jesús Urdaneta, Felipe Antonio Acosta Carlés and Raúl Isaías Baduel. Obviously, they were all low-ranking officers, in line with their age.

The four officers copied the example of Simón Bolívar on Rome’s Monte Sacro, dusting off an old oath very popular at the time and very compatible with the romanticism of the Liberator: “I swear in front of you, I swear by the God of my parents, I swear by my honor and I swear for my country, that I will not give rest to my arm, nor rest to my soul, until I have broken the chains by the will of Spanish power.

As that vow would made no sense today, the four manifested themselves against “the powerful” and “the oligarchy”, without realizing that Bolívar belonged to one of the richest oligarch families in Venezuela.

In any case, two people – 50% of the founding group – were not present in any of the two coup attempts by Hugo Chávez against Carlos Andrés Pérez in 1992: Felipe Antonio Acosta Carlés had died suspiciously in 1989, during the uprising known as “the caracazo,” defending the republic that he supposedly abhorred under the orders of General Italo del Valle Alliegro. He was one of the few casualties of the Armed Forces in that inexplicable insurrection.

The other one who was not present was Baduel. He was neither in the coup that Chávez tried to deliver in February 1992, nor in the aftermath that was planned in September of that same year “against Carlos Andrés Pérez and his neoliberalism.” So, 10 years later, Hugo Chávez was in power, but he had suffered a coup and Baduel saw the possibility of vindicating himself before his friend, boss and also godfather of Baduel’s son. How? By giving him the power back. Restoring his presence in Caracas presidential house.

That would be his death sentence. Why? Because Fidel Castro had taken control over Hugo Chávez, making him believe that he, Castro, was the only one responsible for keeping him alive “and now this guy, Baduel, a nationalist with ridiculous esoteric beliefs, came to joderme el punto (screw up my plan),” as the Cuban commander used to say speaking of Baduel.

Against Fidel Castro’s criteria, Hugo Chávez named General Baduel the Chief of the Armed Forces. At that moment, relations between the two dictators had cooled slightly. Fidel Castro, who was very racist (privately he complained about the “overfamiliar black guy” who considered himself on an equal par with the Commander), and looking for a trivial pretext, had given Carlos Lage, first VP of the government, and the young engineer Felipe Pérez Roque, Cuba’s Foreign Minister, the task of answering Chávez’s constant phone calls.

In 2006, when Fidel hastily handed over power to Raúl, because he felt he was dying, Hugo Chávez took the opportunity to name Baduel, his son’s godfather, Minister of Defense. Baduel had not visited Havana to kiss Fidel Castro’s ring. It was a lesson that Vladimir Padrino López, the Minister of Defense since 2014, learned very well. Padrino López is a true expert in the art of survival at the price of exceeding himself being obsequious. He is terrified of the Cuban Interior Ministry’s “technique.”

He’s doing the right thing, especially if he wants to keep the job. Raúl Isaías Baduel was a victim of “the technique” implemented by Cuban intelligence. He barely lasted a year as Minister. During Fidel Castro’s convalescence, in one of Hugo Chávez’s many trips to Cuba, a huge dossier of the atrocities that Baduel then said about “the Cubans” and Fidel Castro was waiting for him. There were recordings, photos and even movies. Baduel believed that the personal relationship he had with Hugo Chávez saved him from any crisis. Fidel won the game. He had totally abducted Chávez.

Despite having been in exile for many years, Venezuelan journalist Alexis Ortiz has a lot of information about what is happening in his native country. He said publicly in Radio Caracol that Baduel was a prisoner of Fidel Castro, so his death must be attributed to “the Cubans.” It’s very difficult to believe that it was due to COVID-19.

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