My Captain: Accurate in his Duty, Strict in Discipline

My Captain: Accurate in his Duty, Strict in Discipline

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Fotos: Agustín Borrego Torres..
Fotos: Agustín Borrego Torres..

General Eldan Domi­nguez Fortty met Hugo Chavez while he was a cadet studying in the military institution where Chavez was a professor, and never imagined he will later become the President of Venezuela. He is 46 years old, has four children and is married to Yojana Milagros, his girlfriend since he was a teenager.

Domi­nguez Fortty is probably the intimately closest man linked to the Eternally Commander Hugo Chavez since he was called by him to be part of his escort and entrusted his life to the courage and intelligence to whom had won his absolute trust.

And this was a wise selection because since 1984, between Domi­nguez Fortty and, by that time, Captain Hugo Chavez Frias emerged mutual sympathy. For young man Domi­nguez Fortty that professor, “a bit older than he” was an example to follow, and for Chavez, the he was the raw recruit that seemed to bring the memories of his determinations in the youth in Barinas his birthplace.

“While you are studying in a military institution, you look for a model of imitation. Since I was a kid, my parents at home in Caracas talked about good things, of kindness, and my Captain was that: accurate in his duty, strict in discipline.

“I heard about Maisanta and general Zamora for the first time and could see the unfair of the Fourth Republic’s policies. If the platoon of students went out to jog on the streets, other officers used to inculcate the students were our enemies and we were not allowed to get in contact with them in the universities and popular branches.

“But when we jogged with our Captain, it was quite the opposite. We were feeding our philosophical thoughts with him. I am a fruit of that. We sang anthems that talked about Ezequiel Zamora, the People’s General, and songs that called the Federation opposites to oligarchy. When we were cadets, we used to sing them together with Chavez, and unaware, I started gaining trust of all that. I later realized that by then the Bolivarian Movement (MBR 200) was developing. Listen, one day they forbidden those anthems and those who were caught singing them were expelled from school. That is why they fired my Captain from the Academy and was sent to the frontier with Colombia,” he reminds.


The Caracazo and February 4, 1992

The Captain was sent far away, “but not so far because, he was everywhere and started to sow his seed of patriotism. We felt like always having him side by side.

I kept in touch with Chavez during my studies at the Military Academy until I graduated in 1988 as second lieutenant.

“Lucky me! I was assigned to the parachutes battalion Jose Leonardo Chirino; this is the name of a black slave who leaded a rebellion for freedom. I was very happy because that corps has played the leading role even during the coup in 2002 to rescue our President from Miraflores Palace.”

In 1989 the Caracazo, the great charge against the anarchy of that time surprises Domi­nguez Fortty together with his soldiers. “Then came February 4, in 1992 where he was involved. My Captain counted on me and my brigade started the actions in La Carlota, a unit where we were still in combat, when we saw him on television, the day with the famous phrase: “So far”. We could see his popularity for the nobility of that man and his intentions. We were the last to surrender.”

The very young officer was sentenced to 28 years of imprisonment for his participation in the rebellion, but he just served one year. “I got out from prison and they permitted me to continue in the Army; I was a military although they could not see me talking to my chief. We met and kept aspirations and projects alive, the same ones few years later will come true.”

The honor to be his escort

You can see his nobility when he speaks about his starting as escort of his Commander. “I was surprised, and it was also “an honor” when he called me to be part of his escort.

I had never been abroad before and I had to travel all over the world. “There are so many anecdotes!”

“It is impossible to forget that day of April 2002, when the Coup which was a treason. In the Army there is always special respect for the oldest officer, of highest graduation and some contemptuously saw my Commander, because he was just a lieutenant colonel and there were many generals.

“During the Coup we left Miraflores under the orders of Chavez because he did not want bloodshed. As they were his mates, he wanted to go to the General Command Headquarters “in Tiuna Fortress” to talk about those who were plotting and convince them, but when he arrived in there, they took him into an elevator and the escort we taken to another hall. Some generals talked to us and they said not to worry, because Chavez was escorted. It was an ambush. They arrested him there.

“Pedro Carmona had ordered to kill those they called Chavez’ faithful dogs. However, that afternoon they freed us and we immediately went to hide our families.

“The opposition did not lose time and Carmona immediately swore in the Palace immediately. However, few hours later, we could bring the real President back.

“I clearly remember that April 13, 2002 when I arrived at Miraflores Palace. There, he expressed his great feelings, when he took out his crucifix from the pocket, and in front of all the people, he forgave those who performed the coup in a humane and kind demonstration.”

In the last 14 years Domi­nguez Fortty spent more time together with his President than with his family. “One December 31, I do not remember the year; we were going to Barinas his birthplace during the morning, where he will receive the New Year. I was driving the presidential car and by coincidence he realized that we were going to be separated from our families, he ordered me to bring them and all together celebrated the date.

“Another day “later” , a group of generals rose up in arms against Chavez. They went to Altamira Square. I went to see my Commander and asked him to give the order to bring him all the officers arrested and handcuffed. He told me I was crazy. “If you do it, you will turn them into martyrs. As time passes by, no one will remember them.” And it was just like that, no one remembers them.

“My Commander used to sleep a little and work a lot. He spread tons of energy and our relationship was like brothers, although I considered him my professor, my university. The three times Fidel Castro was in Caracas, the President chose me to be his assistant on the side of Venezuela. I have also been Raul Castro’s assistant too. I feel proud for this.”

There is an event that has a close relation between them both. “My President was who promoted me to major, to lieutenant colonel. I am general since last July 5,” he says and I can see a strange mix of proud and sadness. His Commander had died on March 5, 2013.


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