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Thousands Mark Venezuela Coup Attempt Anniversary


Thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets Sunday to mark the 15th anniversary of a failed 1992 coup led by Hugo Chavez, who was then an army colonel.

Mr. Chavez, now Venezuela's president, told the crowd the coup was the beginning of the leftist revolution in Venezuela.

Some of the celebrants wore red, the color of Mr. Chavez's ruling leftist party. Others waved inflatable likenesses of the president, who spent two years in prison for the failed coup against President Carlos Andres Perez.

Mr. Chavez, who won re-election by a large margin last year, was briefly ousted in a 2002 coup, before loyal troops returned him to power.

He is centralizing political power. Last week Mr. Chavez won powers to govern by decree.

Critics accuse the populist leader of trying to model Venezuela after communist-led Cuba, but Mr. Chavez says he is working to improve the lives of the country's impoverished majority.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.