News and opinions on the situation in Venezuela

US President George W. Bush personally connected to terrorist organizations? commentarist Elio Cequea writes: For your information I am not a scholar … I am not an expert … not even a journalist. I am just a Venezuelan citizen concerned about the malicious propaganda and manipulation of information about my country.

There are powerful and influential people trying to pull the balance of the public opinion their way regardless of the truth and the facts.

They can do so thanks to privileged access to the mainstream media. I will not question their motivation, just the fact that truth and factual information is not necessarily what we read in the news … it is much less so with regards to opinion columns.

In these times when the right is flat wrong and the left seems to be right, the least that we can do is look at the facts. Iraq did not have WMD. Even though, more than one thousand American soldiers, together with at least ten times that many Iraqi civilians have lost their lives. All of that because somebody in the White House “thought” they had WMD.

Meanwhile, the poor in Venezuela now have access to “privileges” such as preventive health care thanks to the “populist” and the “left” leaning measures of the government.

Let us point out the facts with regards to Venezuela.

Why give that prerogative to those who a couple of years ago “proved” to us that Saddam Hussein had WMD … they are the same people now accusing the President of Venezuela of harboring terrorists.

Before people start dying, let’s look at the facts.

Venezuela is a Democracy.

Hugo Chavez was elected President for the first time in December 1998. He and his movement have since then won eight elections, including two that have ratified him as President. Ladies and gentlemen … he has been elected President three times in less than six years!

The only possible conclusion after nine consecutive electoral victories is that Hugo Chavez has the support of the majority in Venezuela.

That is also an indication that most people in Venezuela agree with his policies and his plans to take our country off that long and never ending IMF/World Bank “developing” road.

We are taking a short cut!

How can that be considered “destructive”?

One more thing in Chavez’ favor is the fact that the same people who dominated Venezuela politically and economically for forty “down-the-hill” years still control the leadership of the opposition. That is their problem.

After nine consecutive defeats it should be clear that the majority of the Venezuelans have no desire to go back to what Venezuela was before 1998.

Isn’t that what democracy is all about?

The people have chosen!

Nine times in five years!

There is a media campaign that is trying to portray the President of Venezuela as a sponsor of terrorism. This misleading information has to be clarified before somebody in the US State Department gets too exited. No one should die because of news reporters using their positions to push a friend’s political agenda.

It is true that Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is considered to be a good ally to George W. Bush … that is in spite of the support of the Colombian government to paramilitary groups that have murdered thousands of innocent civilians.

The point is that they do so in the name of democracy and that automatically takes them out of the US definition of terrorism.

Read this carefully: Fighting for democracy in Latin America means nothing but fighting for the preservation of the colonial socio-economic status quo.

Why is that so hard to see for the experts in Washington?

It is not a surprise that the FARC fighters … who for more than forty years have been fighting to eradicate the same status quo … are the only ones who are considered terrorists.

So I ask you … is the problem terrorism or the preservation of certain status quo?

Let’s not kid ourselves!

Even Moammar Khadaffi has been taken off the terrorist list just for deciding to play ball the “right” way and … he is still a dictator!

The media is calling for Mr. Bush to give stronger support to the Colombian leader “towards containing the Venezuelan tyrant” … to some reporters Chavez is a tyrant because some people have mentioned the existence of evidence (without showing it!) that indicates that he is harboring Colombian terrorists.

The case to prove the existence of WMD in Iraq was a little stronger than this one: they had pictures of the WMD!

Exaggeration and intentional reckless conclusions are being used to prove the case against the “tyrant” we have as President.

I read that there are “alarming reports that suggest Chavez may be bent on arming his revolutionary cadres all over South America.” How can a report cause “alarm” when it is only “suggesting” that something “may be” happening?

Nice choice of words but no thanks!

In the on going crisis between Colombia and Venezuela, there are significant details that are being left out intentionally.

1. Bounty hunters did not capture Rodrigo Granda. Corrupt members of the Venezuelan Armed Forces kidnapped him. The participation of Colombian citizens and CIA agents in the kidnapping is still being investigated.

2. The Colombian government first denied that Granda was kidnapped in Venezuela and insisted for about a month that he was captured in the city of Cucuta, Colombia.

3. For Interpol, Rodrigo Granda was not a wanted man at the time of his “capture.” He became wanted about a month after that. How could have been possible for the Interpol to advise Venezuela a year before his capture that Granda was a wanted man? That came from a “reliable” source according to an “op-news” editor.

4. Rodrigo Granda entered Venezuela for the first time in the 90s … after years of legal residency he became a naturalized citizen. He was also a resident of Ecuador … but, only Venezuela is conveniently being accused of harboring terrorists.

If Chavez’ denials that he knew about Granda are implausible and enough reasons to consider him a destructive influence in the Western hemisphere, what can be made up of Bush’s declaration that he “thought” Iraq had WMD? Never mind.

The goal is to prove the connection of Chavez with terrorist organizations … to prove that connection, some have argued that Venezuelan Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez Araque is on the editorial board of the hard-left Argentine-based magazine “America Libre.” So is the FARC’s Comandante Manuel Marulanda … the fact is that also a member of the magazine’s editorial board is James Petras … an American college professor.

Does that make the USA a harbor for terrorists?

Is Bush personally connected to terrorist organizations?

Why is Petras moving freely in the US and has an American passport?

Enough of that! The facts are simple.

Most people in Venezuela belong to the lower socio-economic levels. Chavez has made social benefits available to them that were until recently considered privileges: preventive health and education.

Populist or not, he is taking care of the people.

They see it, and they keep voting for him … nine times in a row and counting.

Viva democracy! No?

No, someone said … it might not matter anyway … Condoleezza Rice has just been confirmed as new US Secretary of State. She stated in her confirmation hearings: “I think it’s extremely unfortunate that the Chavez government has not been constructive.”

Like Uribe’s she meant. And unlike Saddam’s…

Elio Cequea

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