Venezuelan officer reaches El Salvador in asylum bid
Posted: Friday, June 7, 2002
By DIEGO MENDEZ, Associated Press
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (June 7, 2002 8:20 p.m. EDT) - A senior officer accused of taking part in a brief coup in Venezuela arrived to asylum in El Salvador on Friday as three other officers announced they were seeking shelter in the United States.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was deposed April 12 by military generals after 17 people died and hundreds were wounded when an opposition march collided with government supporters.
Loyal troops - backed by thousands of civilian protesters - swept Chavez back to power two days later, ousting his brief successor, Pedro Carmona, a businessman. Carmona took refuge in Colombia last week.
Rear Adm. Carlos Molina Tamayo, who had been named head of the presidential guard by Carmona, arrived from the Venezuelan capital of Caracas aboard a commercial jet amid tight security.
Tamayo sought refuge inside El Salvador's Embassy in Caracas on May 25, saying he feared for his life. The Venezuelan government granted Tamayo permission to leave the country on Thursday.
In Coral Gables, Fla., three lower-ranking Venezuelan officers said Friday they were seeking political asylum in the United States.
Former Air Force Cols. Pedro Soto and Silvino Bustillos and former National Guard Capt. Luis Garcia Morales said Friday that threats against them and their families led them to seek asylum. MORE