Pedro Carmona

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Pedro Carmona
President of Venezuela
In office
12 April 2002 – 13 April 2002
Preceded byHugo Chávez
Succeeded byDiosdado Cabello (Acting)
Personal details
Born (1941-07-06) 6 July 1941 (age 78)
Barquisimeto, Lara, Venezuela
Alma materUniversidad Católica Andrés Bello

Pedro Francisco Carmona Estanga (born 6 July 1941), is a former Venezuelan business leader who was briefly installed as President of Venezuela in place of Hugo Chávez, following the attempted military coup in April 2002.[1][2]


Carmona was born on July 6, 1941, in Barquisimeto, 155 miles (249 km) southwest of Caracas.

An economist educated at Andrés Bello Catholic University in Caracas and in Belgium, he headed a large petrochemical company, Venoco, that processes automotive oils. A major stockholder in the company, Carmona resigned as its president to run Fedecámaras.[year needed]

April 2002[edit]

Carmona taking the oath as president.

The early part of 2002 saw mass protests and a general strike by opponents of Hugo Chávez. On April 11, 2002, following clashes between both supporters and opponents of Chávez, Lucas Rincón, commander-in-chief of the Venezuelan Armed Forces, announced in a nationwide broadcast that Chávez had tendered his resignation from the presidency.[3] While Chávez was brought to a military base and held there, military leaders appointed Carmona as the transitional President of Venezuela.[4]

In the face of crowds of Chávez supporters taking to the streets and under pressure from some quarters of the military,[5] Chávez was restored to office.

During Carmona's 36-hour government, military officers held Chávez and attempted to force his exile. Additionally, security forces conducted raids without warrants and took some Chávez supporters into custody illegally, including National Assembly deputy Tarek William Saab, a member of the Chávez-aligned MVR, who was taken into protective custody by security forces after a large crowd had gathered around his home, threatening him and his family. He was held incommunicado for several hours.[6]

After the coup, Carmona was placed under house arrest, but he was able to gain asylum in the Colombian embassy after an anti-Chávez protest drew away his security detail.[7]


According to some sources,[according to whom?] Colin Powell held at least one meeting with the exiled Carmona in Bogotá in December 2002 during the Venezuelan general strike of 2002–03.[8][9] The meeting was to discuss the future of Venezuela. There were strong opposition within the United States Department of State that using Carmona was not in the interest of US policy. Big opponents were the Latin American desk that oversaw Venezuela, which included Stephen Richardson, head of delegate, Frank Lapel, Economic Geologist and Alexander Salvi, Economic Analyst. This department sought that using Carmona was a mistake and that it would lead to sympathy for Hugo Chavez.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Venezuelan coup leader given asylum - BBC News, 27 May 2002
  2. ^ En imágenes: el "día negro" de Chávez BBC Mundo, 12 April 2002
  3. ^ "Nuevo gobierno en Venezuela" (in Spanish). BBC. April 12, 2002. Retrieved 2008-02-23. Tras los incidentes entre opositores y partidarios de Chávez, en medio de disparos de francotiradores y de una "cadena" nacional de radio y televisión en la que Chávez aseguraba que el país estaba en paz, Molina Tamayo exigió públicamente a la FAN actuar y derrocar al gobierno.
  4. ^ URL last accessed October 29, 2006.
  5. ^ Analysis: After the would-be coup. URL last accessed October 29, 2006.
  6. ^ United States Department. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2002; released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Dated: March 31, 2003. URL last accessed August 13, 2006.
  7. ^ Kozloff (2007:30)
  8. ^ CounterPunch, 27 November 2004, Danilo Anderson and Condoleezza Rice Archived 2010-07-10 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Eva Golinger, "The Adaptable U.S. Intervention Machine in Venezuela," in Olivia Burlingame Goumbri, The Venezuela Reader, Washington D.C., U.S.A., 2005. p 134.

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