El Porteñazo

El Porteñazo (2 June 1962 – 6 June 1962) was a short-lived military rebellion against the government of Rómulo Betancourt in Venezuela, in which rebels attempted to take over the city of Puerto Cabello (60 miles (97 km) from the capital). The rebellion was on a substantially larger scale than that of El Carupanazo a month earlier.

On 2 June 1962, units led by navy Captains Manuel Ponte Rodríguez, Pedro Medina Silva and Víctor Hugo Morales went into rebellion.[1] The 55th National Guard Detachment declined to participate. The rebellion was crushed by the 3rd of June, leaving more than 400 dead and 700 injured, and by the 6th of June the rebels' stronghold of Solano Castle had fallen.[1]

A photograph of chaplain Luis María Padilla holding a wounded soldier during the rebellion won the 1963 Pulitzer Prize for Photography and 1962 World Press Photo of the Year for Héctor Rondón of La República.[2][3]

El Porteñazo
Fortin 3 fotos

Bombardment of the Solano Castle during the Porteñazo.
Date2–6 June 1962
Result Government victory
Venezuela Venezuelan government Venezuela Military rebels
Commanders and leaders
Venezuela Rómulo Betancourt Venezuela Manuel Ponte Rodríguez
Venezuela Pedro Medina Silva
Venezuela Víctor Hugo Morales
Military support
Armed Forces of Venezuela Rebel forces
Casualties and losses
+400 dead and 700 injured[1]


Héctor Rondón Lovera (1962)
Héctor Rondón Lovera with his photograph of the rebellion won the 1963 Pulitzer Prize.

Different stories retelling the event mourned Venezuela, taking the rebellion as an unjust and unnecessary act of war. Many reconciled what had happened according to their personal and political affiliations.

Alí Brett[4] wrote, according to his investigation:

After 6am on Sunday the masonry of Solano Castle began receiving the impact of bombs. When the bombing began, we were in the neighbourhood "Las Tejerías" a few metres from the old fortress, which, for the first time in several centuries was a victim of an attack of this nature.

The fort was an enigma of the uprising and much was speculated about its power. All of the stories told of the advantages and strategic position of the "Black Burro" (a popular name for the antique cannon). People knowledgeable of this weapon know that if it was fired, even only once, Puerto Cabello would disappear.

Barely keeping up during the insurgency, the marines raised the Naval Base to guard the fort, whose inhabitants, by this day, Monday the 4th of June, were already dead. The presence of the executive officials and some military leaders clarified the mystery that had almost become the truth during the course of events, due to ill-founded stories.

He concludes his investigation by saying:

That the fort could be used as a point of operations for the rebels signifies one of the many known military errors of the event; after the appearance of the airplane as an element of war, these strengths were of no strategic effect.

See also


  1. ^ a b c (in Spanish) venezuelatuya.com, El Carupanazo y El Porteñazo
  2. ^ (in Spanish) Ultimas Noticias, 5 June 2012, Del archivo de la Cadena Capriles: El Porteñazo, accessed 12 June 2012
  3. ^ The photo can be seen here: poyi.org, Aid From the Padre
  4. ^ Alí Brett Martínez, writer and social communicator who investigated the events in Puerto Cabello. He witnessed what happened.

Further reading

  • (in Spanish) Alí Brett Martínez (1973), El Porteñazo: historia de una rebelión, Ediciones Adaro
  • (in Spanish) Últimas Noticias, 5 June 2012, Del archivo de la Cadena Capriles: El Porteñazo - gallery of 24 photographs, including Últimas Noticias' front page of 4 June 1962, with the award-winning photo by Hector Rondón.
1963 Pulitzer Prize

The following are the Pulitzer Prizes for 1963.

ASEAN Declaration

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Asian Relations Conference

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El Carupanazo

El Carupanazo was a short-lived military rebellion against the government of Rómulo Betancourt, in which rebel military officers commanding the Third Marine Infantry Battalion and the 77th National Guard Detachment took over the city of Carúpano in May 1962. The rebellion was followed a month later by another in Puerto Cabello, El Porteñazo.

At around midnight on 4 May 1962, military officers in rebellion against the government of Rómulo Betancourt took over the city of Carúpano. The insurgents, under control of Captain Jesús Teodoro Molina Villegas, Major Pedro New Vegas, and Lieutenant Héctor Fleming Mendoza, occupied the city's streets and buildings, the airport, and the radio station, Radio Carúpano, which they used to broadcast their message, calling themselves the Movimiento de Recuperación Democrática (Movement of Democratic Recuperation).President Betancourt demanded that the rebels surrender, but at the same he ordered the air force to attack the city and the navy began blocking the seaport in an operation called Operacion Tenaza. The following day, the government was able to take over Carúpano and its surroundings, arresting more than 400 military personnel and civilians that were involved in the rebellion.Those involved were Congressman Eloy Torres of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV), as well as other members of that party and the Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR). As a result, Betancourt suspended constitutional guarantees, accused the PCV and MIR of being involved, and decreed both parties as illegal.

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Fabricio Ojeda

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As a student Ojeda became a member of the Democratic Republican Union (URD). In 1955 he began studying journalism at the Central University of Venezuela. In 1956 he became a reporter for El Nacional, based in the Miraflores Palace, and used this position to help organise the end of Jiménez' rule. On 11 June 1957 Ojeda invited two other URD members and a Communist, Guillermo García Ponce, to his home, and they agreed that the time was ripe to form a multi-partisan organisation aiming to overthrow Jiménez. The Patriotic Junta was soon joined by Democratic Action and COPEI, and used the only clandestine press left in Venezuela, that of the Communist Party of Venezuela, to publish a manifesto. The Junta ultimately played a leading role in coordinating the 1958 Venezuelan coup d'état the following January, including organising a general strike on 21 January. As the head of the Patriotic Junta, Ojeda emerged from the Jiménez dictatorship as the most important URD member after its leader, Jóvito Villalba.Ojeda was elected to the Venezuelan Chamber of Deputies for the URD in the 1958 general election, but despite the Pact of Punto Fijo power-sharing agreement the URD was edged out of power, and it left the government in 1960. Shortly after the failed military rebellions of El Carupanazo (May) and El Porteñazo (June), Ojeda resigned as Representative on 30 June 1962, announcing that he was joining the armed guerrilla movement. He was captured in October 1962, and was later involved in the launch of the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) and its political wing, the National Liberation Front (FLN), in February 1963. Ojeda escaped from prison on 15 September 1963 (with the support of the FALN and supporters in the regular army), and became Commander of the Frente Guerrillero 'José Antonio Páez', one of the FALN's cells. On 21 June 1966 Ojeda was captured in Caracas, and was found in his cell four days later, dead from apparent suicide.

Fortín Solano

Fortín Solano is an eighteenth-century colonial fortification overlooking Puerto Cabello, Venezuela. With the Castillo San Felipe, an earlier fort built at sea level, it formed part of a complex of fortifications designed to protect Puerto Cabello and its important harbour from naval attacks. It was constructed c. 1766 by order of Don José Solano y Bote on behalf of the King of Spain.

It has been described as the last military construction built in Venezuela during the colonial era.

The fort has been the center of several notable events in Venezuelan history. Spanish commander Antonio Zuazola was hanged after a surprise attack by the forces of Rafael Urdaneta overthrew the royalists, giving control of the fort to the patriots. Pedro Carujo was imprisoned in the fort after attempting to kill Simón Bolívar in 1828. In 1962, the fort was the stronghold of an uprising led by several commanders in the city.

It was declared a National monument in 1965 and is located inside the San Esteban National Park, which was designed in 1987.


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Pulitzer Prize for Photography

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