Summary Trial Promised For Venezuelan Rebels

By

VENEZUELAN officials suspended civil liberties and detained about 1,300 members of the armed forces, including a rear admiral and a vice admiral, following a failed coup attempt Friday. The uprising, which was put down by forces loyal to President Carlos Andres Perez, left about 170 people dead, mostly civilians.

The capital, Caracas, was calm but tense over the weekend as government troops snuffed out the last pockets of rebel resistance. Most shops stayed closed, fearing a repeat of looting that broke out Friday.

Defense Minister Ivan Dario Jimenez told reporters that the majority of the country's armed forces had respected the Constitution and were making strenuous efforts to identify all coup participants. He said the captured rebels face a summary trial.

Recommended: Leap Year: this day in the history of Feb. 29

The coup attempt - the second this year - began before dawn Friday as rebels captured a key air base and a television station and attempted to bomb the presidential palace. They said they staged the coup attempt to protest corruption and economic austerity policies which hurt the poor.

President Perez, who was unharmed in the attack, spent most of Saturday under heavy guard inside the presidential palace.

Opposition politicians called on voters to voice their anger at Perez's government through the ballot box in local elections Dec. 6.

Foreign Minister Fernando Ochoa Antich said the government is seeking the extradition of Air Force Gen. Francisco Efrian Vizconti. General Vizconti was among nearly 100 soldiers who escaped by plane to the Peruvian jungle city of Iquitos and sought political asylum there.

Peru's Foreign Ministry says it is studying the rebels' asylum request. Brazil economic plan awaits Collor verdict

Acting President Itamar Franco will delay announcing his economic plans until suspended President Fernando Collor de Mello is formally removed from office, newspapers reported yesterday.

Mr. Franco was to announce his short-term economic plan Saturday. Planning Minister Paulo Haddad and Economy Minister Gustavo Krause had hoped to have it made public before leaving Dec. 6 for Washington, where they are to meet with officials from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank. They are to discuss new loans needed to clinch a landmark pact on payment of Brazil's $44 billion commercial debt.

Franco has recently clashed with Haddad and Krause over economic policies, and said Saturday that any minister that disagreed with him was free to resign.

Brazil's economy, the world's ninth biggest, is deep in recession and struggling with inflation of 25 percent a month. The Senate, which is trying Mr. Collor on charges of corruption, is scheduled to vote Dec. 18. Haitian government faces increasing pressure

The current political arrangement in Haiti appears increasingly shaky as Prime Minister Marc Bazin is coming under growing criticism from leaders of Haiti's parliament, Army, and various political parties.

Bazin, who has been in office since June, had promised to build a government of consensus and bring an end to the economic embargo imposed by the Organization of American States after a bloody September 1991 Army coup ousted elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

In an interview last week, Bazin said that if negotiations fail to resolve Haiti's political crisis, he foresaw the following bleak scenario: "The Army takes over, calls for national elections, and turns its back on the international community." Bazin said he was preparing a new proposal.

Efforts to reach a negotiated solution to Haiti's crisis have gotten a boost in recent weeks from both the UN General Assembly vote requesting the involvement of the UN secretary-general and the promise of a new United States approach to Haiti by President-elect Clinton.

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...