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Palast: Now you had help, from a young officer, who helped you put a message into a garbage can, that you had not resigned. Could you tell me about that, how you were able to be helped, to get the message out that you hadn't resigned?
Chávez: I had the assistance of several soldiers and officials during my captivity. One of them gave me a stone to rub, which is part of his religious beliefs. He told me to rub it and nothing bad would happen to me, that was here in Fort Tiuna. Another person gave me a mobile phone, on the first day, and I was able to make two phone calls, to my wife and my daughter Maria. I said to them, I don't know what's going to happen, but tell the world that I am a President held prisoner, that I haven't resigned and I will not resign.
Then, in Turiamo, some more soldiers helped me, mainly giving me moral support. I remember one officer, a nurse, who was sent to check on my heartbeat and vital signs, who was very young. She told me she had a five year-old child who loves me very much. And when she saw me, she said the same thing as someone else, "My President, for many years I've wanted to meet you, to see you close-up and to touch you. And now that I'm here staring at you, I would give anything for it to be under different circumstances." That gave me enourmous strength, spiritually.
Afterwards, someone else arrived, this time a young officer who entered my cell very firmly and directly, but he came up to me and whispered in a very low voice, "My commandante, for us you are still the President." And he said, "The paratroopers are uprising." I asked him, in what way are they uprising? "They are rising up for you," he replied, "I am in touch with them, and we are going to liberate you." He also told me about the people demonstrating on the streets, that was on Saturday morning.
Later, a young professional from the National Guard - he appears for an instant in the video that was released yesterday on television, I don't know if you've seen it - he was talking to me all alone. I was having lunch at a table, barefoot with shorts and a white T-shirt, and he was talking to me. We'd already agreed that I was going to give him a sheet of paper. I was finishing writing it and he was waiting. Suddenly a commission appears with an admiral, announcing that I was to be taken to La Orchila. He immediately says to finish the letter later and leave it in the rubbish, down there, he'd come back afterwards to pick it up. Then he just vanishes. I don't know if you've seen the video but he leaves the room pretty quickly as soon as the commission appears.
Afterwards, he did just as he promised - he's a young man from the same lands as me, from the plains. After we left for La Orchila he went back to my cell, picked up the paper from the rubbish bin and off he went, I don't know how he did it, to the nearest town where he started sending fax after fax after fax. And he got his wife to photocopy it, he went to pick her up and asked her to help him distribute it, to tell the world that his commander hadn't resigned and was still the President! These are the anonymous heroes.