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Clash of Visions Pushed Venezuela Toward Coup; Admiral and President Were Old Rivals
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Political power; Military officers; Coups d etat
Author: Wilson, Scott
Date: Apr 21, 2002
Start Page: A.01
Section: A SECTION

If not exactly from what [Hugo Chavez]'s has criticized as the "rancid oligarchy," [Carlos Molina] comes from a privileged Venezuela. Light-skinned and education in Catholic schools, Molina grew up here in the capital as the son of an army engineer who encouraged him to join the navy. His career took him to the United States and Europe, democracies that he said helped him develop different notions about how to solve Venezuela's problems than the populist prescriptions of Chavez.

Molina said he was alarmed by what he saw in his national security role. Without offering evidence, Molina said he discovered Chavez's "ties with and sympathies for" Colombia's Marxist guerrillas fighting a U.S.-backed government next door. He said Chavez brought in Cuban advisers to control dissent at home. Chavez has denied both charges.

Molina said he last saw Chavez on April 12, at the height of the coup, at the Fort Tiuna military base here where Chavez was taken after being ousted. In a passing remark, Molina said, Chavez told him that he had resigned and hoped to leave the country for Cuba with his family. Chavez has since said he never resigned; in any event, he did not go into exile.

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