8) FEBRUARY 4, 1992 - A WARNING OF A NEW PUNTOFIJISMO CONSENSUS
By Nino Pagliccia
Can an event of the past give us a warning about current events today? The answer is affirmative if we believe that history is a teacher. When we look at an important historical event we tend to remember the actual facts that took place at the time. As we are fond of marking anniversaries, that is essential. But we must also be challenged to re-examine the event for new meaning and insight.
In history books, facts are usually accurate; official documents will testify to them. However, the analysis of those facts will depend on the correct interpretation of the actions as they were intended to be when they were carried out. The accuracy of the evidence, including a balanced reporting of the analysis, must be preserved.
this time we remember the anniversary of the attempted coup by Hugo Chavez in
Chávez believed that the “Bolivarian
project”, as he called it, had not been completed, since
“democratic clothing” was a reference to the appearance of a
multi-party system when in reality the two dominant parties had signed a pact
to form a centre-right monopoly of power controlled by the interests of the
Venezuelan oligarchy, to the exclusion of the people, which did not allow a
challenge to the policy consensus. Chavez referred to this monopoly as “Puntofijismo”
after the location where the Pact of Punto Fijo was signed in
The failure of the 1992 coup turned into an unexpected success since it gave Chavez the opportunity to attain exposure and to instigate a population that was ready for a wake up call to the contradiction of a rich country with 80% of the people living in poverty. A large majority of Venezuelans supported the rebellion.
The political reason he gave, and his personal determination, brought him to run
for president and win the election
in 1999, on a platform that promised to
break the long stretch of Puntojismo that lasted from 1958 to 1999, and
bring about a profound transformation of Venezuelan society. Chavez saw the
social problems in
Chavez’s life was cut short by his premature death in 2013 but his legacy is captured in a single word, Chavismo. The intention that moved him to the action of February 4, 1992 is still alive and necessary today. The majority of Venezuelans have called on President Nicolas Maduro to bring forward the Bolivarian Revolution. The presidential elections to take place before April 30 of this year will again express the popular will of Venezuelans - freely, democratically and sovereign.
However, there has been a concerted effort to stop the Bolivarian project since its inception. Those who inherited the political drive of Puntofijismo attempted a coup against Chavez in 2002, against the majority of the people who in fact restored him to power.
we write, a dialogue is taking place in the
powerful governments have tacitly signed another pact - akin to an
whose headquarters are clearly located in
tools of this pact have included the promotion of violence and terrorist
actions, the string of relentless threats to
useful reminder from Chavez’s 1992 coup is that the Venezuelan monopoly
of power has not ceased to exist, it just moved to
 Bart Jones. The Hugo Chavez Story – from Mud Hut to Perpetual Revolution. Random House 2008, p. 136.
 The Pact of Punto Fijo was named after the home of the COPEI founder Rafael Caldera. The two original signatory parties were Acción Democrática (AD, Democratic Action) and Comité de Organización Política Electoral Independiente (COPEI, Political Electoral Independent Organization Committee). Other signatories were the Roman Catholic Church, the military, business and trade union reps.