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CARACAS, July 22 (Itar-Tass) - Venezuelan Defense Minister Carmen Melendez has ruled out the possibility of a repetition of a state coup attempt.
A replication of the scenario that was played out by rightwing forces in April 2002 and involved a brief dislodgment of the then President, Comandante Hugo Chavez, is impossible today, Melendez told the Televen channel.
“I’m confident that April 11 will not come back because our Armed Forces have gained much more strength and the supreme commanders display fidelity to the homeland,” she said. “We are defending our countries together with the people.
Melendez, Venezuela’s first-ever woman to take the Defense Minister’s position, dismissed as totally false the rumors that Cuban leader Raul Castro had stood behind the recent promotion of a group of senior officers in one way or another. These speculations are peddled by the people seeking to destabilize the situation in the country, she said.
According to Melendez, President Nicolas Maduro scrutinized personally the lists of officers recommended for promotion and “the whole process was completed without a hitch.”
Carmen Melendez was appointed Defense Minister at the beginning of this month. Her prior position was that of the chief of Presidential Administration staff.
Last year, she became the first-ever Venezuelan woman to get to the rank of the Admiral.
“We’ve gotten the first woman Admiral now and owing to this fact all the women of Venezuela deserve applause,” Hugo Chavez said as he handed the Admiral’s epaulettes to Melendez.