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Rogelio Pardo-Maurer, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Western Hemisphere affairs, meets with chief of Venezuela’s military high command, General Lucas Romero Rincon. Pardo-Maurer, who served for three years as the chief of staff to the representative of the Nicaraguan contras, later tells the New York Times that he told Rincon during this meeting that the US would not support a coup against Chavez. “Nada de golpes,” he claims to have told him. (Marquis 4/23/2002) Rincon will participate in the April 2002 coup attempt to unseat Chavez (see April 11, 2002).
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is overthrown in a military coup. However, the coup collapses after two days, and Chavez returns to power. (Gibb 4/14/2002) Otto J. Reich, the US’s assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, is in contact with Chavez’s successor on the very day he takes over. The Bush administration claims Reich was pleading with him not to dissolve the National Assembly. (Marquis 4/17/2002)
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