Mexico and Chile prevented in April 2002 that initiatives sponsored by United States, Spain, Colombia and El Salvador favouring a coup against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez were successful, revealed this week the former Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jorge Castañeda.
In an interview with the renowned newspaper "Reforma" from Mexico City Mr. Castañeda said that "not only did we say no (to provisional Venezuelan president Pedro Carmona), but also particularly with the Chileans, we managed finally in the Rio Group a declaration of support to the rule of the Constitution".
As to the administrations which supported the coup initiative (which ousted elected President Hugo Chavez for 48 hours in April 2002), Mr. Castañeda specifically mentioned Washington, Madrid, Bogotá and El Salvador, although pointing out that those "initiatives were not supported by other American or European countries".
"In effect there was a proposal from the US and Spain to release a declaration of recognition of the government of Pedro Carmona, including the support of Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and France", added Mr. Castañeda who apparently played a key role in aborting the initiative together with Chilean Foreign Secretary Soledad Alvear.
According to Mr. Castañeda just a few hours after the coup and jailing of President Chavez, "we faced another attempt in the Rio Group summit, this time under the initiative of presidents Francisco Flores from El Salvador and Andrés Pastrana from Colombia to avoid Mr. Chavez returning to office".
"In the Rio Group summit, the US and Spain were not present, but El Salvador and to a lesser extent Colombia tried to get things moving in favour of Mr. Carmona".
"I didn't even consult the issue with President Vicente Fox because my instructions were crystal clear in favour of constitutional rule and against coups, and Chilean president Ricardo Lagos and his Foreign Secretary had a similar position", added Mr. Castañeda.
Former Salvador president Francisco Flores is currently trying to garner support for his candidacy as the next Organization of American States Secretary General. Mr. Pastrana lives in Madrid, Spain.
Both former leaders at some time admitted their close links with Washington and with former Spanish president Jose Aznar who has been publicly accused by the Spanish administration of President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of supporting the 2002 coup.
In spite of Mr. Castañeda's revelations there are some obscure details in Chile's position because the Lagos administration during the 48 hours rule of Mr. Carmona at some point recognized the new government.
This led to a distancing of Presidents Lagos and Chavez, and is believed to be the reason why the Venezuelan president was so adamant in supporting landlocked Bolivia's claims to sea access, actually Chilean territory.
The Venezuelan initiative irritated the Lagos administration and both countries temporarily withdrew their ambassadors.