The Ambassador in Venezuela ( Corrigan ) to the Secretary of State
[Received 10:28 p.m.]
944. Insurgents in complete command of capital which has quieted with surprising rapidity. Radio announcement that Junta and leaders of AD5 are conferring on new Cabinet. President Medina understood to be held at military academy. Some 300 political prisoners held but most expected to be released shortly. This afternoon armed mobs looted and burned in country club Campo Alegre el Paraiso and other better class residential districts. Activities were largely directed against high officials of Medina Government and most others were unmolested. Houses of Foreign Minister,6 Chief of Staff,7 ex-Foreign Minister Parra-Perez, etc., as well as Club Paraiso and leading night spot Trocadero completely gutted. General [Page 1403] tire factory looted, extensive sacking at new housing project El Silencio because of its association with Medina. Insurgent regime made belated efforts to stop looting by sending out groups of police under army officers now broadcasting (all stations are in its hands) appeal to civic sense of its supporters to stop sacking, return to their homes and turn in arms and requesting liquor dealers to close bars. With considerable evident success soldiers sent out in trucks to collect arms. Civilians were armed by insurgents in early stages when success was uncertain, arms also distributed by police and more fell into civilian hands in confusion when San Carlos barracks surrendered under air force bombardment. Army forces are scattered throughout center of city and civilians off streets but suburbs not yet under similar control. Many refugees in foreign missions including Mrs. Medina, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Education. Censorship lifted as soon as insurgents got control downtown and press agencies can now transmit freely. Embassy again hit many times by rifle and machinegun fire in renewed fighting after my 943, October 19, 3 p.m. but nobody hurt here and loyal National Guard group, reduced to only 20 or 30, surrendered or fled after their redoubt was practically destroyed. No reports from far western or eastern Venezuela except telegram from Consul Maracaibo this morning to effect everything quiet but local troops mobilized last night. Still occasional shots but appear to be of exuberant civilians firing in air and things are far calmer than for 29 hours.