Plan Ávila is a military contingency plan by the Venezuelan Army to maintain public order in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. It was used in 1989 by the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez, in response to riots, in an event which became known as the Caracazo; hundreds were killed by military and armed police. On 27 August 2002, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found that the 1989 implementation of Plan Ávila had resulted in massive human rights violations, and ordered the Venezuelan government to review its military contingency planning to conform to international human rights standards.
The activation of a revised form of Plan Ávila was ordered by current president Hugo Chávez at midday on 11 April 2002, in response to public order events leading up to the 2002 Venezuelan coup d'état attempt. High-ranking members of the Armed Forces refused to carry out the Plan. When the General responsible was nowhere to be found, another general, Jorge García Carneiro, the head of the largest military unit in Caracas, offered to step in. However, this was thwarted by soldiers blocking a highway and diverting civilian traffic into the military base at Fuerte Tiuna, preventing its troops from leaving. On contacting the base, the general was also told that a group of generals had plans to arrest the President.
Supporters of Chávez have said that the objective of the revised Plan Ávila is not to repress the population or to prevent public protest but to maintain public order and that the plan had already been applied during the visit of Pope John Paul II to Venezuela without shooting against the population.
- Caso del Caracazo vs. Venezuela web archive link
- Gott, Richard (2005), Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution, Verso Books, p225
- Larry Rohter, "Venezuela's 2 Fateful Days: Leader Is Out, and In Again" The New York Times (20 April 2002)
- "Venezuela en blanco y negro". BBC. 11 October 2002. Retrieved 10 February 2009.(Spanish)
- Jones, Bart (2008), Hugo! The Hugo Chávez Story: From Mud Hut to Perpetual Revolution, London: The Bodley Head. pp321-2
- "Lucas Rincón afirmó que activación del Plan Ávila el 11-A no fue "para maltratar y reprimir a la población"". RCTV. 24 April 2002. Retrieved 10 February 2009.(Spanish)
- "A cinco años del golpe de estado". Diario El Tiempo. 11 April 2007. Retrieved 3 April 2009. (Spanish)