Brigadier General Ángel Vivas
October 10, 1956 |
San Cristobal, Venezuela
Ángel Omar Vivas Perdomo is a Venezuelan Brigadier General. He has made himself known as an outspoken opponent of the changes introduced to Venezuela armed forces, by going to the supreme court to challenge the introduction of a war cry originally created by Fidel Castro, as the motto for the military in Venezuela. He was arrested, prosecuted, and on March 1, 2012, sentenced to 4 months and 15 days in jail for having challenged the motto in court. On 7 April, 2017, he was arrested again during a SEBIN operation that tricked him into helping a young man that hit his car into the front door of his house, three years after a detention order was published during the 2014 Venezuelan protests.
General Vivas was born in San Cristóbal on October 10, 1956. In 1978 he graduated from the military academy, and in 1988 he graduated as civil engineer. He went on to study "Planning and Transport Organization" in London, UK. In 1997 the OAS appointed him commander of the multinational mission MARMINCA in Central America, an operation for mine clearing in the former war-ravaged countries. In 2002 he obtained an MBA in UNET, and in 2006 a doctorate in Business Administration in Finance at the Texan American University. In Venezuela he has held positions such as Finance Director of the Army, and Director of Engineering at the Defense Ministry. He has 35 military decorations from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemela, and USA. General Vivas is married to Estrella de Vivas; they have 3 daughters.
Objection to political use of military
On August 16, 2006, General Vivas was appointed National Director of Engineering at the Defense Ministry, but already on January 24 the following year he decided to hand in his resignation from the post due to "grave violations of the Venezuelan Constitution", according to his own declaration. On May 15, 2007, Vivas petitioned the Supreme Court requesting that it eliminate from use in the Venezuela armed forces the motto created by Fidel Castro, “Patria, socialismo o muerte. Venceremos!” ("Fatherland, socialism or death. We will triumph!"). He suggested the military could instead use a phrase uttered by Venezuela's liberation hero Francisco Miranda, "Muera la tiranía! Viva la libertad!" ("Death to tyranny! Long live liberty!"). The hearings took place July 1, 2008. The petition has been denied.
When leaving the court he was arrested by the military intelligence and interrogated for 9 hours. He was later charged with insubordination and some things that are not even specified, plus he was forbidden to speak publicly about the case according to his lawyer, who considers it a clear case of political persecution. In his defense on April 28, 2010, he accused all of his accusers of treason to their oaths of office. The court martial has been postponed repeatedly; the next scheduled date as of writing this is May 3, 2011, 9 AM in Fuerte Tiuna, Caracas. He has been ordered to report every 2 weeks to the authorities, but he has not been forbidden from leaving the country.
The International Crisis Group made reference to General Vivas's court motion and detention while observing that the introduction of the motto in question is a flagrant violation of the apolitical character of the armed forces. General Vivas has received online support from other militaries in Venezuela and Honduras, although for obvious reasons this support is routinely expressed anonymously.
The Ministry of Communication and Information is confirming the sequence of events. According to the blog Aporrea (an alternative news and opinion website identified with the Bolivarian Revolution) the motto has been challenged in the Supreme Court before, in 2007.
On March 1, 2012, General Vivas was sentenced to 4 months and 15 days of prison by the military court in Caracas, Venezuela.
On April 7, 2017, General Vivas was arrested again during a SEBIN operation that tricked him into helping a young man that hit his car into the front door of his house, three years after a detention order was published during the 2014 Venezuelan protests.
- (in Spanish) Blogger profile  Retrieved 2011-04-05
- (in Spanish) General Vivas's blog  Retrieved 2011-04-05
- "Anti-Chavez Venezuelan general is released". USA Today. 2008-07-01. Retrieved 2011-04-05.
- "General del Ejército Ángel Vivas solicitó al Presidente y al Alto Mando eliminar el lema "Patria, Socialismo o Muerte, Venceremos"" (in Spanish). Globovision. Retrieved 2011-04-05.
- "Fue detenido el general del Ejército Ángel Vivas en la urbanización Manzanares" (in Spanish). Globovision. Retrieved 2011-04-05.
- "Lawyer Gonzalo Himiob Speaks About General Angel Vivas Case" (in Spanish). Primera Página. Retrieved 2011-04-07.
- "El Yo Acuso del general Ángel Vivas Perdomo, juzgado por oponerse al lema "Patria, Socialismo o Muerte, Venceremos"" (in Spanish). Enfoques365.net. 2010-05-08. Retrieved 2011-04-07.
- (in Spanish) International Crisis Group, "VENEZUELA: ¿REFORMA POLÍTICA O COLAPSO DEL RÉGIMEN?", Informe sobre América Latina N°27, p. 3, "Chávez les dijo a los oficiales que no quisieran suscribir el lema “¡Patria, socialismo o muerte!” que abandonaran la institución, en un acto de violación flagrante de su carácter apolítico constitucional18." 
- "Todavía hay hommbres con HONOR en el NO tan ilustre Ejército Venezolano" (in Spanish). Noticiero Digital. 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2011-04-07.
- "Oficial activo se pronuncia públicamente contra lema socialista" (in Spanish). Gobierno Bolivariano de Venezuela. 2008-07-02. Retrieved 2011-04-07.
- "Sobre Aporrea.org" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2011-04-07.
- "TSJ declaró no idónea acción contra el lema "Patria, Socialismo o Muerte" utilizado por la FANB" (in Spanish). Noticiero Digital. 2010-07-07. Retrieved 2011-04-07.
- Salazar, Abraham (7 April 2017). "Detenido el General Ángel Vivas mediante “operación sorpresa”". Efecto Cocuyo. Retrieved 11 April 2017.