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In Venezuela, a Patriot Fighting Against Patriotismo

Vivas in Caracas—armed and wearing a flak jacket—in February
Vivas in Caracas—armed and wearing a flak jacket—in FebruaryPhotograph by Juan Manuel Hernandez/AP Photo

News of the showdown arrived in a ready-for-Hollywood tweet: “Cuban and Venezuelan thugs, along with criminal groups, are arriving at my house.”

That’s what retired Army General Ángel Vivas posted at 8:53 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23, from his home in the Caracas suburb of Prados del Este. During a live broadcast on national television the previous day, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro had called for Vivas’s arrest, blaming him for the death of a motorcyclist in Caracas. The biker had collided with a steel cable stretched across a street during a protest. “I have ordered the detention of the general who called for the collection of the cables and who trained these fascists, Ángel Vivas. Get him and bring him in,” Maduro said. “Murderer!”