Venezuela: Baduel Sentenced to Eight Years

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Hugo Chavez's former best buddy, Raul Baduel, has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

In case you don't recall, Baduel was:

one of the officers who rose up against the short-lived Carmona government during the April 2002 coup d'etat, when he was chief of the 42nd Airborne Brigade of paratroopers.
Baduel is the general that organized Chavez's rescue from prison in the island of La Orchila following the 2002 coup which reinstated Chavez to power.

However, prior to the 2007 referendum, Baduel encouraged the Venezuelan people to vote - instead of staying home and abstaining - against the constitutional amendment that would allow Chavez to run for office indefinitely, and asked the military to allow the "NO" vote to stand. The people voted "NO." (The referendum was repeated last year and passed.)

Baduel was accused of "stealing funds of the armed forces, abuse of authority and crimes against military honor," he was jailed in April 2009, when Baduel issued a plea for democracy from his prison cell (video in Spanish), and has said that he was persecuted for joining the opposition:

He has now been found guilty of the charges. In addition to his prison sentence, Baduel is barred from running for office.

As the Wall Street Journal reminds us, "Mr. Chavez's government forbids citizens from making any incendiary comments that it deems threatening to peace and stability," even those who brought Chavez back to power.

Fausta Wertz blogs at Fausta's blog.

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