News and opinions on the situation in Venezuela
Continued Sabotage and US State Terrorism
University of Texas (Austin) chemistry student Zack Krasuk writes: Large political and socio economic changes in a third world country do not happen when things are complacent and well for the masses. Neither was this the case with Venezuela. In December 6, 1998, Hugo Chavez of the MVR Party (Movimiento de la Quinta Republica-Fifth Republic Movement) won the presidential election by a whopping 56.2% … one of the largest majority of votes attained in the history of Venezuela and breaking the pattern of a two party political system that offered little practical variation at all for the previous 40 years.
Indeed, the election of 1998 marked a new and brighter beginning for Venezuela and its citizens.
Chavez had long fought for the rights of his people … to fully understand the political situation of this South American country we must look back a little over a decade.
A lieutenant colonel, Chavez rose up in a failed coup attempt on February 4, 1992, against then President Carlos Andres Perez (CAP) who had implemented years of failed laissez-faire capitalist austerity programs dictated by the IMF. This IMF austerity program was appropriately called “The Washington Consensus”, since CAP had close ties with the neo cons and businessmen of the Bush Senior administration. The trade-off for the IMF’s austerity plan imposed on Venezuela would be a loan for US$4.5 billion.
The austerity programs included cuts in social programs, thus leaving hospitals without sufficient medicines and with time jails overcrowded to the extent that they no longer were suitable for humans, with rats and other animals and insects living alongside the prisoners.
I remember clearly while living in Venezuela then, that women in public hospitals such as Perez de Leon would give birth on metal desks covered with a sheet. A line would form and women would have to wait their turn. Such was the state of decay of the public services in 1992. CAP tried to stem off the growing inflation by cutting on spending, one of the facets of laissez faire capitalism that was proven flawed and ineffective throughout history by Keynesian economics.
The Reagan administration did it and it led to an economic crash in the late 80s, the Hoover administration did it and was one of the factors that led to the Great Depression. Indeed laissez faire or supply economics produced disasters during the Hoover, Reagan, Nixon, and Bush administrations.
Due to deficient investments on the government’s behalf on the economy, no jobs were created that could produce and give back to the economy and cash flow began to decrease dramatically. Massive protests against CAP occurred due to his lack of concern for the poor majority; the police response was brutal and 16 people were initially said to have been killed and hundreds injured in the protests which became known as The Caracazo.
Years later, it was known that CAP’s government had taken measures to purposely hide the number of dead reported, so the exact number will never be known. A current official estimate places the number at 277 people killed by the police.
CAP’s government survived Chavez’s coup but not for long, soon after he was tried and found guilty of corruption charges and impeached from office.
With the help of the American government and corrupt businessmen inside Venezuela, CAP was able to flee to Miami before he could be jailed; an interim President was chosen in Congress. In the meantime, Chavez remained imprisoned for several years before he was pardoned by then-President Rafael Caldera in 1994. Under Caldera, the extreme capitalist system instituted by CAP was lessened, but the aging president did little to alter the course of the economy, which was crippled and inflation continued to be at 70%, thus continuing to leave more and more Venezuelans in poverty. As a result, the once-peaceful country began to have a gigantic surge in crime. The poor began to resort to illegal means in order to sustain many of their families, since inflation literally ate up anything you could possibly earn. 1, 5, 24
The Rise of the Social Democracy
Since his release from jail, Chavez began his political career and from the onset he declared that his goal would be to give the bulk of the Venezuelan population, namely the poor, a fair chance at life and giving them the tools necessary to maintain a dignified standard of living. Just like Venezuela’s founding father, Simon Bolivar, Chavez’ main concern was to improve the life of the masses. Chavez named his political movement La Revolucion Bolivariana (the Bolivarian Revolution). Indeed, unlike most other so-called leftist democratic leaders of South America, Chavez actually did keep his word; he did not use the leftist platform to just get to power.
The two party system that Venezuela had before the MVR came to power, claimed to be both “Social Democratic” parties, yet they did absolutely nothing in accordance to what the term in political science signifies.
In political science, Social Democracy means a form of government where people not only have freedom to chose their candidates as they will but also the government is there to ensure a basic standard of living for the masses. It is often the case in South America that presidents come and go and nothing at all changes, other than the fact that people are left poorer than before. Decades of unrestrained laissez-faire capitalism in conjunction with a predominantly rightist Catholic view that glorified the white race took its toll on entire peoples in the region.
The poor would be left out and voting in Venezuela before Chavez was done by giving them handouts of sugar, cornmeal and other basic necessities so that they would vote for the party of whoever gave them the handout.
Behind the curtains and the facade the filthy rich and the American government carefully constructed things in such a way so that the poor would remain ignorant and little more than pack mules, with no aspirations and no understanding of the world around them; they would live to work 12 hours a day only to go home, eat, and sleep all in decrepit conditions at best.
This, according to the Conservative US agenda suited them well enough, since the poor would have no aspirations and by having no aspirations, no fear would exist in the continent of a come-back of Socialism or even more progressive political beliefs. Instituting conformity in the minds of the masses was the key to suppressing them and maintaining the endless cycle of master-slave relationship created between foreign corporations and the local poor.
After winning the elections in 1998, Chavez immediately set to work to diversify Venezuela’s trade routes where better benefits could be made for the Venezuelan people.
This of course upset businessmen in Washington because their regular milking cow was now refusing to accept deals that were questionable in terms of equal share. Venezuela would now only accept trade deals that were according to the market’s terms and not those done under subterfuge or blackmail from foreign corporations.
Oil was a factor as well since the US depends heavily on Venezuela’s exports and Chavez began to make trade with other countries that were not kosher with US foreign policies such as Cuba and Iran.
Heavy internal investments occurred as well to further make Venezuela more self-sufficient in basic manufactured goods. Taxes began to be strictly enforced for the first time since the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez came to an end in 1958.
Corruption, especially at the level of large businesses began to decrease due to the enforcement of the law, which was costing Venezuela millions in losses.
Duties on foreign imports began to be enforced, once again, enraging foreign investors who had gotten used to the idea of dealing with a Banana Republic that had no duties, nor real taxes.
Minimum worker safety conditions began to be enforced as well and laws were passed giving Indians and other minorities more autonomy over their lands, especially the Guajiro Indians who had for decades been humiliated as “indios brutos” (”idiot Indians”) by the pseudo democracies that were in power before Chavez.
This humiliation of the natives was fully condoned by the Catholic Church, foreign evangelical churches (like American Baptists) and other institutions of the right wing. In fact, much of the friction between the current government and right-wing Christians as a whole revolves around the fact that these “missionaries” abuse their welcome and usually try at all costs to force their beliefs upon those of the natives.
Indeed, it’s the first time ever in Venezuela’s history that the rich cultural heritage of that land is appreciated and fomented monetarily by the government. The government’s plan to expand cultural awareness of native culture and give equal opportunity to minorities, including Venezuelans of African descent is unprecedented since historically, in Venezuela, lighter skinned individuals held the power in most spheres of life, especially in the economy, the military, and the seats of government.
The government’s new stance in favor of women’s rights has also sparked friction with the Vatican and Christian conservatives. In a culture where men are supposed to be the ones talking for the family as part of the standard set by machismo, giving women more power is a very real danger to the right wing and the Church which still to this day proclaims that sexual intercourse is for the strict purpose of procreation, hence condoms are bad and that native beliefs are against Jesus Christ.
Chavez’ government has created day care centers in the major cities so that working single moms can have someone to look after their children while they bring the bread home. After school programs have been created so that kids obtain help for schoolwork and participate in sports. New technical schools are being created so that the poor can have better training and earn a more decent wage. Chavez’ emergence has created a major boost to the once-crippled Venezuelan economy.
Those of you who simply want to “look at the numbers,” by all means, let us do so.
In 2004, Venezuela’s Gross National Product increased by an unprecedented 16-18% … sources varying but all in the aforementioned range. According to the UN’s Economic Commission for the Caribbean and South America, Venezuela was the country that experienced the largest economic growth of the entire region in 2004. Inflation continues to be a problem at 17% but since 1998 there has been a whopping 50% decrease in the inflation rate, thus the value of the Venezuelan currency is strengthening.
Overall average income rose by 20% since Chavez entered office.
Growth of public services went up by 30% in 2004 alone.
The private sector and investment also experienced an extensive growth of 8%. The government has also used its money to pay off the long-standing foreign debt, thus strengthening the Venezuelan economy. These are simple and pure facts that cannot be argued over. There are several reasons for this new economic growth, amongst them is the fact that much needed funds are being poured into the economy to stimulate cash flow and putting the wheels into motion once again.
In the Y = G + tT + C + I + EX – IMP, curve, increasing government spending (G) into things that increase the overall standard of living, increases Y (overall economic income). Increasing G, leads to an increase in consumption (C) since consumers have more means to do so, and in turn by more money being in the hands of the people, more investors have enough confidence to put their money (I) in banks and other financial institutions. Since the tax function (tT) is being enforced by the government, more income (Y) is produced as well; additionally, waste and corruption are decreased thus leading to more money as well. Exports (EX) accounted for $25.8 billion, whereas imports (IM) accounted for only $10.7 billion, meaning that Venezuela had for the year 2004 a positive trade balance surplus of $15.1 billion; by government spending (G) having created more national industries, more manufactured goods were made and fewer foreign goods were bought, hence making Venezuela less dependent on foreign consumer goods.
This has mostly hurt large American companies, since before Chavez, Venezuela ran red numbers (meaning negative numbers) in the trade surplus in manufactured goods; indeed depended on the US in things as basic as tires and shoes, whereas now, these are all nationally produced.
This is the basics of Keynesian economics, namely mixed market economics (both government and private) which throughout history has proven itself to be more effective in countering the effects of recessions than free market policies.
Even news-sources such as AFP and Reuters and their economists admit that Venezuela’s current economic growth is unprecedented and is bound to continue, facts that cartoons such as The Wall Street Journal and other right-wing mouthpieces try to discredit or belittle.
The New York Times and the Washington Post, although decidedly anti-Chavez, have been forced to swallow their pride and admit that Chavez’ policies have prompted economic growth in Venezuela. Additionally, the government has set itself a series of environmental goals such as fomenting tourism and opening up water treatment plants to establish a minimum standard for industrial pollution controls. Amongst the largest water treatment plants funded and opened by the government was the one at El Maguey in 2003.
Probably one of the aspects of Chavez’ government that has angered the ultra rich was his land-reforms.
The uppermost 1.5% of Venezuela’s rich owned 90% of the land before Chavez came to power.
Among these private properties were lands that were idle and were arable, meaning they could be converted to farmlands and give people jobs and increase internal food production. Chavez proposed a law in the National Assembly (Congress) to put all idle lands to use and the law passed by the approval of the majority of seats in the Assembly. He gave the rich the following proposal: put your idle lands to use by hiring people to work on them or sell them to us within a year. Note that a year is quite a lot of time to start hiring people to work on those lands. By hiring people to work on the lands, the landlords would get a share of what the peasants produced and at the same time the peasants would have a job, instead of making their living through crime.
The rich landlords however, thinking that Chavez would not dare enforce the newly enacted law, didn’t do anything.
The government’s response was to take those lands.
The government then proceeded to get people out of the slums, teach them how to tend crops, and gave them the lands that they had expropriated from the rich. In essence, the landlords had it coming, because Chavez had been more than fair in his proposal to them; in their anger because their social influence and political power was beginning to be inconsequential, they began to use all their financial power to try to bring down Chavez. In the end the ones benefiting from the land reform law are the poor and the jobless; with the enactment of this law, crime has been reduced since fewer people have to resort to theft to feed their families.
US Intervention and violation of a country’s Sovereignty
One can only ask who would be dissatisfied with the current path that Venezuela has taken with the new Social Democracy created by Chavez?
The corrupt, the thieves, those who profited from the previous corruption, those who are against expanding social rights, those with close allegiance to Bush and the Washington neo cons, and finally, last but not least, the current conservative government of Colombia and its sympathizers.
Among the opposition is Chavez’ old enemy, CAP.
CAP is currently utilizing the money, which he stole from Venezuela’s oil revenues during his years in the presidency to foment protests and acts of sabotage against Chavez’ government with full approval of the Bush Junior administration.
It is interesting to note that under international laws, the US is technically forced to extradite CAP … but due to that man’s good ties with the conservative businessmen of the US (which span over a decade), he has evaded justice and currently lives a comfortable life in New York. When the United States committed war crimes in Afghanistan, Venezolana de Television, the state owned news network, showed crystal clear pictures of children that had been killed by B-52 cluster bombings.
The US government vehemently denied it had killed children with the indiscriminate bombings of villages throughout Afghanistan, even in the face of crystal clear evidence. From that day on, Venezuela became an enemy to the eyes of the neo cons in the US. By stating the truth and not silently agreeing with what the Bush administration did, Chavez became to be labeled as a “Communist” — the key word to condemning someone as a black sheep.
It is highly amusing to see someone being labeled a Communist, while allowing complete freedom of expression.
Like friends and acquaintances of both the right and left who live in Venezuela tell me, you open a newspaper in Caracas and chances are you may find an editorial poking fun at Chavez. Likewise on TV and the Radio. If that is not democracy then what is?
So you’re automatically a Communist if you show the world the truth about what is going on because you deny those very facts?
According to the American neo cons and the Venezuelan opposition, that seems to be the case.
Also, Chavez expressed his fraternal support for the Palestinian people and publicly stated that Israel committed terrorist acts against Palestinian children. Once again, this was another reason to anger the right wing politicians both within Venezuela, the US and Israel.
Add these “transgressions” to Chavez’ social plans and the fact that he wants poor people to read and write, and that is it, Washington came a second away from proclaiming Venezuela to be part of the “Axis of Evil.” It did not however, out of fear that Chavez would cut the oil flux to the US and instead redirect all of its supply to China or Europe.
The Bush administration and its friends had something more dishonorable in mind: a coup against Chavez to overthrow the democratically elected president and to institute a right wing dictatorial government that was in favor of US commercial and foreign policies.
In international law it is a criminal act for any given country to interfere in the domestic affairs of any other country. This particular criminal act occurred on April 12, 2002, about a year before the US invasion of Iraq. Around 3:00 am that day a sector of the military took over all means of communication in the country and announced that Chavez had resigned and that businessman Pedro Carmona Estanga, head of the right wing economic group FEDECAMARAS was now “President.”
In fact, Chavez had been kidnapped by armed masked men and taken to a secret location … a fact that CNN and FOX News regarded as “preposterous” but was later proven correct by eyewitnesses and Chavez himself. Just like with Venezuela’s first democratically-elected president, Romulo Gallegos, the US plan was to overthrow a left leaning elected president and institute a dictatorship as it happened in Venezuela in 1948 (a deed that was approved by Truman himself).
Immediately following this announcement by the military on that morning massive protests began to occur across Venezuela.
The historically conservative Metropolitan Police, under the orders of the military commanders who took over the country were told to “shoot to kill” any protestor. The police’s response to the protests was brutal but it didn’t stop more and more working class people from joining the protests with sheer defiance in the face of utmost brutality. Likewise in most Latin American nations, people protested the brutality of the fledgling Carmona regime.
The United States on the other hand, approved of the coup and was the first country in the world to recognize the Carmona government. Mouthpieces of the Bush administration quickly blamed the violence in Venezuela on “a few radical pro-Chavez supporters,” whereas in fact it was the military and the police, controlled by Carmona, who were the ones killing people who protested the overthrow of the democracy.
While briefly in power, Carmona decided to fully implement the pro-Washington dictatorial agenda: he dissolved the National Assembly, declared the current constitution void, repealed 49 laws that had been made by Chavez to put funds into the economy and give benefits to the poor, fired all Supreme Court judges as well as those in the National Electoral Courts, and declared martial law.
Now, facing the reality of life, even some of the rich who had supported the US-sanctioned coup, began to feel fear since Carmona was now in full capacity to expropriate anything he wanted-from anyone.
48 hours later, on April 15 … the working poor who had staged massive protests had a new ally: sectors of the military who wanted the democracy to return. These lower ranking officers rolled their tanks and infantry into Caracas and re-took the seat of government. Chavez’ vice president, Diosdado Cabello then took office since no one still knew were Chavez was. Dictator Carmona packed his bags as quickly as he could … but not quickly enough: he was placed under house arrest. In the coming weeks, he remained under house arrest until a trial was to be scheduled.
As time passed throughout the day of April 15 it was known that Chavez’ captors fled the country and that he was en-route from the Orchila Island to Caracas. Amid cheering crowds and the officers that rose up against Carmona, Chavez was once again was President of Venezuela.
The US State Department and Colin Powell quickly condemned the coup just 24 hours after having given praise to Carmona for overthrowing Chavez.
The hypocrisy on behalf of the US government was so great that articles in the New York Times, Washington Post and other mainstream American news sources quoted the contradictions of US State Department officials.
As days passed and Carmona remained under house arrest, one day he went out of the house with very possible complicity on behalf of some corrupt sectors of the Venezuelan police and fled to the Colombian embassy in Caracas, which gave him safe passage to Colombia; once there, Carmona received a warm welcome from the right-wing government of Alvaro Uribe who welcomed him as a friend and gave him political asylum.
It is to be noted that Chavez himself didn’t go to great lengths to keep Carmona as a prisoner since it would elevate Carmona to the height of a martyr for his fanatical right wing followers and would feed more fire to the Bush regime’s accusations against Chavez.
This, once and for all, dispels the farce that there may be “political prisoners” in Venezuela.
Bush quickly talked about “lessons to be learned by Chavez.” Indeed, the ones learning the lessons of history would be the United States and Bush himself, since an overwhelming amount of concrete and factual evidence has surfaced on the US complicity in the coup against Chavez and made a fool out of not only Bush but also the Venezuelan opposition.
The New York Times reported that US assistant secretary for the Western hemisphere, Otto Reich, was in contact with Carmona just hours after Carmona took over on April 12. Pentagon officials later admitted that Rogelio Pardo-Maurer, the US Defense Department official responsible for Latin America, had discussed possibilities for a coup attempt with high ranking members of Venezuela’s military and the elite in Washington DC just weeks before the coup occurred. The IRI (the International Republican Institute) also gave financial assistance and bribes to high-ranking military officers to help overthrow Chavez.
The Israeli Mossad is also said to have taken part in the plot against the Social Democracy … but they were able to cover their tracks better than their American counterparts; evidence still exists however, of a Mossad spy on Venezuelan soil during the coup, who quickly fled once Chavez returned to power.
The government of ex-Spanish conservative President Aznar is also said to have taken part in the coup against Chavez, and in 2004, the current President of Spain, Zapatero, publicly apologized to Chavez on behalf of all Spain for the despicable involvement of Aznar in the coup. Zapatero was so outraged by the evidence he received from Spain’s own intelligence records of the previous government and its involvement in the coup, that he went on a firing spree, firing everyone in his own government who had collaborated in the coup against Chavez. One has to remember also that Aznar was one of the most ardent supporters of Bush’s invasion of Iraq as well.
Hated by 92% of Spaniards, Aznar tries to stay as far away from Spain as he can by being in the US most of his time.
White House advisor Elliott Abrams, who was one of the intellectual architects of the overthrow of Allende in Chile in 1973, was another key player in planning the coup against Chavez in 2002. The Washington Post reported in April of 2002 that the US embassy in Venezuela had violated its diplomatic function and instead had become a tool in the overthrow of Chavez by giving advice and monetary support to anyone willing to topple Chavez’ government … whether it be people in the Venezuelan media, the military, businessmen, or politicians. Indeed an anonymous Defense Department official bluntly put it “we were sending signals that we don’t like this guy (Chavez).”
Prior to the coup … since February 2002 … protests by PDVSA, the government controlled oil company had sparked a lot of problems for Chavez. The protests began because the DISIP and the Venezuelan police found that the head of PDVSA was involved in fraud and corruption along with a whole array of other people inside the company. Chavez decided to fire them all and put them on trial for theft of public funds; he proceeded to put into the chairmanship of the company people with a background suited for the job. The result was that friends and family members of these corrupt ex-CEO’s decided to go on a smear campaign against Chavez. The US embassy provided these individuals with funds to propagate their case against Chavez in private TV channels like Venevision (who is owned by a right-wing businessman).
The Venezuelan economy suffered greatly due to the strike that followed which was financed by the US government and the wealthy class. Some poor workers were persuaded to join the protests by giving them money, but most of the poor remained strongly in favor of Chavez.
As usual, Chavez allowed the opposition to protest and respected their right to peacefully assemble. So before the coup of April, the hopes of the opposition and the US government had been to destabilize Venezuela enough through protests and sabotage so that the coup would be done more successfully. Neither the protests in PDVSA nor the coup was able to topple the Social Democracy and as of now, 2005, 68% of the Venezuelan population is happy with Chavez’s presidency.
Continued Sabotage and Terrorism
Since the MVR Party under Chavez rose to power, the rich oligarchy has sought different routes of getting rid of him. First they proposed a vote to revoke the President from his office in 2000. They argued that Chavez was a dictator and the people should vote on whether he should be allowed to continue to govern or not. The National Assembly approved the proposal and so did Chavez. By an overwhelming majority, the vote was marked in favor of Chavez and once again, the poor marched on the streets in solidarity with the government. Then of course, came the US intervention in the coup of 2002 and the oligarchy and US funded PDVSA strikes aimed at paralyzing the economy (as stated earlier, neither of these worked).
In 2003, the US and the rich Venezuelan oligarchy alongside the private media (owned by the oligarchy as well) made a gigantic campaign of tarnishing Chavez’ images in any ways possible. The oligarchy went to the slums of Caracas and gave poor people handouts so that they would go out and protest against Chavez. Attacking the President’s marriage and divorce and completely irrelevant aspects of his personal life such as the fact that he “he came from a poor background” and hence he had to be “ignorant like all poor people”; none of these irrelevant personal attacks were able to persuade public opinion against Chavez and the masses of poor people stood firmly behind the President.
However, much productivity began to fall due to economic sabotage.
Money was now beginning to be channeled by the oligarchy in bribing transport companies in Venezuela so that truckers would not deliver their goods. Chavez’ response was simple: foreign workers would be hired to fulfill the country’s transportation needs until the sabotage ceased. Few months later, the opposition realized that once again, their futile attempts to destabilize the government had resulted in only one thing: their own pockets getting thinner and their energy being wasted; Venezuela’s economy itself was hurt from these acts of sabotage by the opposition. Soon after however, the situation was normalized again and the economy went right back on track.
In 2004, the opposition went back to what it had done 2000: another revocatory referendum aimed at ousting the President. Through huge amounts of US dollars, they bribed people to protest and say they wanted another vote on whether to revoke the President from power or not.
Chavez as usual, said he accepted their proposal. The opposition once again went to the slums of Caracas, Maracaibo, and other major cities, but this time their tactic was different: they gave the poor handouts of sugar and other basic goods so that they would simply not vote! The poor took the handouts and did what they wanted to do. This was seen in the result of the referendum: once again the poor of Venezuela massively voted in favor of Chavez and the President stayed in power. For this vote, former US President Jimmy Carter and other foreign observers along with European agencies were in Venezuela to make sure the voting was done without any problems and no types of fraud occurred.
After the vote declared Chavez the winner once again, the opposition complained that there had been discrepancies in the voting process. The European agencies that monitored the voting as well as Jimmy Carter said that the voting process had gone smoothly and that all the votes had been hand-counted (as opposed to the US were lately LOTS of discrepancies do occur in national elections). In essence, after it was known to the world that democracy was alive and well in Venezuela and that the claims of the opposition that the government was run by “Communists” was proven to be a lie, the oligarchs became the laughing stock of most of South America.
Indeed, due to its exposed lies, the opposition resorts now to more dirty and criminal tactics.
Chavez and the National Assembly passed a law in 2004, which stated that news sources should present evidence to anything they presented in the news. This was to insure that the debauchery, the blackmail, and the lies of the oligarchy-owned media stopped.
Chavez said that disagreeing was perfectly fine but lying in the media to the Venezuelan people was not.
Immediately the US State Department called Chavez a “force that threatens democracy.”
Last time I checked, wanting the media to be objective and fact-based as opposed to spreading rumors and lies, was something that most rational people want and is completely in line with core democratic values.
Ironically, President Vicente Fox of Mexico passed a similar law that very same year, but since Mexico bases almost all of its trade with the US, the Bush administration never even mentioned a word about Fox’s proposed law. In fact, Mexico’s law not only targets false information in the media but also goes a step further than what Venezuela’s law does: it also censures programs in prime time. As said before not a single word in protest was uttered by the US government against Fox’s government.
Attempts to kill Chavez continue to this day.
In September of 2003 Chavez did not attend the United Nations to give a speech because the Venezuelan police had intercepted phone calls in which a plot to kill Chavez in US soil was the topic of conversation. The DISIP and other Venezuelan police forces considered the threat real and a report was written on it, accusing the CIA of having hired for large sums of money, assassins in organized crime to do the dirty deed. Lieutenant Colonel Miguel Angel Morales was recently detained for his complicity with the AUC (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia) and other right-wing Colombian paramilitaries in a plan to assassinate Chavez.
The plan was developed in a house at the Caracas Country Club (an exclusive place in Caracas were the rich and the right wing elite of Venezuela meet) on April 23, 2004, to discuss with a CIA operative and members of the AUC possible plans to assassinate the President. Little did Morales know that an agent of the Venezuelan police was also present at the meeting as an undercover agent and was able to tape entire conversations that Morales had with his partners-in-crime. Now Morales awaits his well-deserved trial.
Another terrorist that is being tried is Enrique Mendoza, who was an ex-governor in Venezuela; he stands accused in the face of evidence and eyewitness accounts of an intricate and imaginative plan to assassinate Chavez and was personally responsible for carrying out orders given by Dictator Carmona during the coup of April 11, 2002; evidence also links Mendoza to a wide array of corruption charges.
It is to be noted also, that Mendoza met with Republican Congressmen in Washington prior to the coup.
As an aside, in 2004 during the US ousting of Haitian President Bertrand Aristide, Venezuelan intelligence obtained hours of phone conversations of CIA operatives discussing the dissolution of the Aristide government. So state-sponsored terrorism has been undertaken by the Bush regime not only in Venezuela but also in Haiti as well. Since the coup of 2002, over 400 members of the right-wing Metropolitan Police of Venezuela have been tried and convicted for their ties to internal criminal activities, including kidnappings, drug trafficking and extortions in order to obtain funding for terrorist and sabotage activities against Chavez.
On November 18, 2004, Venezuelan State prosecutor Danilo Anderson, who was investigating more than 200 people (many of them local CIA agents) implicated in crimes against the state and the Venezuelan people was murdered with a car bomb. Evidence states that the terrorists planned their crime from Miami. Amongst the assassins was Jose Guevara, ex-police officer, an explosives expert, and a good old friend of Enrique Mendoza (who is being tried as mentioned earlier).
Evidence now links Hector Pesquera, the head of the FBI office in Miami, Florida, as the intellectual author of the crime.
After Anderson’s murder, Jose Guevara fled to the US and received full government protection and obtained a “political asylum” visa from his partner in crime, Pesquera, the head of the FBI office in Miami. Likewise, the other murderer involved was Johan Pena, who was the criminal responsible for obtaining and placing the C4 plastic explosives from Colombian right wing paramilitaries, under Anderson’s car. He then proceeded to detonate the vehicle with a remote controlled device. As is the case with Guevara, Pena also received political asylum in the US through the FBI’s Miami office. Note that, Pesquera, is no longer head of the FBI in Miami and was “retired” by the Bush regime when mounting evidence pointed at him for the murder of Anderson.
Both of these murderers however, still are free, on US soil.
Other political assassinations done in recent years against Venezuelan government officials had been planned by Pesquera and his FBI staff; amongst a large and compelling list of political assassins that received Pesquera’s help are Jose Basulto and Horacio Garcia, who committed several assassinations in Venezuelan soil and received asylum in the US. The result from these strings of terrorist acts was that Chavez proposed an anti-terrorism bill to put place more government funds for the Venezuelan intelligence agencies to prevent future assassinations financed by the United States and other foreign governments.
The law would also give rewards to people who inform the government of active terrorist cells in Venezuela.
The bill passed almost unanimously in the National Assembly, showing that almost all Venezuelans are sick and tired of the US government’s meddling hands in their internal affairs and everyday life.
Since then, the string of assassinations has stopped and dozens of CIA-sponsored terrorist cells have been disarmed and brought to justice. Colombian terrorists, who are given moral support by Alvaro Uribe, Colombia’s conservative president have also been targeted and put on trial for acts of sabotage. The bill also proposed to South American countries to work closely together to thwart US interventionism and terrorism.
The result was quicker than expected: on May 12, 2004, a member of the opposition, Emelcar Delgado … an army lieutenant who had been working with CIA officials in stealing explosives from military bases and giving them to terrorist cells … sought political asylum at Uruguay’s embassy in Caracas after a court ordered a warrant for his arrest; Uruguay’s government however, handed him back to Venezuelan authorities, who promptly incarcerated him.
Eva Golinger, a Venezuelan-American lawyer obtained through the Freedom of Information Act a vast array of documents which completely and utterly prove the US involvement between Republican American Congressmen and the military officers who did the coup against Chavez in 2002. She has revealed how the US administration to this continues to interfere in the affairs of Venezuela and how the taxpayers of average Americans are used in dirty deeds against Venezuela’s government.
Also, her documentation reveals that the NED (National Endowment for Democracy) as well as the USAID (US International Agency for Development) are other sponsors of terrorism against the Venezuelan people.
It’s worth mentioning that these two organizations were key in the overthrow of Allende in Chile in 1973, so they have a long history of crimes against South America. It is highly recommended for the reader to him or herself take a look at source number 21 in this work. In January 2005, Venezuelan Vice President, Jose Vicente Rangel stated that he received yet another stack of evidence from intercepted phone calls and emails as well as from spies that the US has a long term plan to support illegal activities and terrorism against Venezuela until its interests in the region are re-established as it was during CAP’s presidency. We can therefore expect more terrorism on behalf of the current President of the United States and other enemies of freedom.
A Legacy to Defend
Chavez’ Bolivarian Revolution has created a window to the future for the working poor of Venezuela. It is only by caring about your citizens and giving them a basic standard of living that you can begin to push a country forward towards modernization and scientific progress.
For once, Venezuela has a leader that has allowed the masses to aspire to more than just being mules or pack animals.
For once, Venezuela has someone that has increased the GDP of the country by 17 % yet not left the people forgotten in poverty and illiteracy.
Health care and the Barrio Adentro plan have provided millions with basic medical aid, at no cost whatsoever to the poor. It truly is no wonder that the United States can no longer, distribute a few dollars around and expect the Venezuelan government to crumble.
Because the poor, the majority, are happy with the changes that are happening; no longer shall they be deceived with handouts of sugar and corn meal since they can now aspire to a better education, to free health care, a basic minimum wage, and safety standards in the workplace that are enforced by law. Even if Chavez was to be killed by an assassin sent by the CIA or the Gusanos (maggots-term used for those Venezuelans who were in favor of the US intervention in April 2002) a legacy would live on in the future: people’s expectations wouldn’t be as low as before and they would strive for more and expect more. Conformity for deficiency is no longer existent in Venezuela.
In 2004, Venezuela signed 17 cooperation accords with China in science and energy technology; China’s exporting technologies to Venezuela in return for oil will guarantee Venezuela’s road towards becoming a 1st world country and not depending on the technology of foreign companies. Indeed, like Brazil, Venezuela has purchased satellite technology from China and is in the process of designing its own communications satellite.
Venezuela also purchased China’s railroad technology and designs to begin a project for connecting all of Venezuela with a railroad system, which would save millions of dollars in transportation.
France has multiplied by a factor of 12 its investments in Venezuela and trade with Germany has dramatically increased as well.
Venezuela has drastically reduced trade with the Bush administration due to its constant interference in Venezuela’s sovereignty and also because the types of industries that American companies set up in Venezuela are sweat shop types-namely, ones that really help little the people yet give huge profits to the corporation.
China on the other hand invests technology in Venezuela, thus giving and receiving in return.
Russia has also built industries in Venezuela, training local workers and entrepreneurs so that they themselves have the technological know-how, as opposed to simply making a profit and having a bunch of drones who do a single task and don’t understand the sum of the parts of the process of manufacturing and producing.
Venezuela has also begun to manufacture its own weapons and has purchased high-tech weaponry from China and Russia in the face of the dangers posed by the Colombian and the US governments to Venezuela’s national sovereignty. In response, the Bush regime stated that it was “concerned” about Venezuela’s arms purchases.
When one translates what they mean into common language it means that they are concerned because Venezuela no longer purchases its weapons from the US companies that helped Bush finance his political campaign. Republican hypocrisy seems to be endless these days, since the US has literally given Colombia brand new combat helicopters as well as a vast array of modern personnel carriers.
Then again, Bush doesn’t complain about arming Venezuela’s opponents.
Recently, Chavez and President Lula of Brazil and President Kirchner of Argentina, all have signed a treaty of integration for the three countries. Chavez was a pioneer in the idea that South America should stand united before the world in order to be able to negotiate things more favorably for their own people and to stand up to foreign interventionism.
On January 27, 2005, Venezuela’s acting ambassador to Paraguay, Elmer Nino, publicly stated that Venezuela’s government has physical proof that the Bush regime has plans for a possible invasion of Venezuela.
Reasons for such an invasion are of course, financial … just like the Iraq War was. Venezuela’s case would be all the more apparent however: the US is having less trade with Venezuela and juicy deals are now impossible to achieve since the days of foreign exploitation of the local populace are long gone.
The US has its eyes set on the vast oil, gas, and gold reserves of Venezuela.
Should the Bush regime try to commit an act such as that, which violates international law, just like the invasion of Iraq, it is to be noted that the Venezuelan people are united in their struggle to ending foreign dominance and exploitation and shall be willing to fight to the bitter end.
In Venezuela’s vast jungles, an endless resistance to the occupation would cripple the neo con dream of having a subservient oil-milking cow near the US. It is important to take into account that while Bill Clinton was still in power in the US in ‘98 when Chavez won the elections … not a single time did the US interfere in Venezuela’s sovereignty and the Presidents of both countries had normal dialogue.
Indeed all the detailed aggressions against Venezuela on behalf of the US have occurred ever since the Bush Junior regime came into existence.
February 20, 2005, Chavez gave the order to his government that if he was to be assassinated by US funded assassins, all oil shipments to the US are to be cut and the country to be defended from the aggressors.
Cuban intelligence had forewarned Chavez that the US government had recruited assassins in neighboring Colombia to commit the crime. Venezuelan intelligence later confirmed the reports to be valid with substantial evidence to back up their claim.
An invasion of Venezuela may or may not occur in the coming months … but we are sure to encounter more dirty deeds against our elected government from our northern “brothers” as long as the Republicans control the Supreme Court, have a majority in Congress and have the presidency in the US.
Until Americans themselves start protesting the international terrorism that the Bush regime conducts abroad, few things will change, other than the fact that the US will have a lot of people who will detest them for very concrete reasons.
Indeed, “regime change” in America today is not only necessary for the well being of the American people, but for the sake of global peace as well.
Zack Krasuk is currently a student of chemistry at the University of Texas in Austin. He is a martial arts instructor and member of the Houston area Circulo Bolivariano.
(3) Case, Fair, Principles of Macroeconomics, 5th edition, New Jersey, 1999
(4) Gott, Richard, A Silent Majority Finds Its Voice, New Statesman, June 29, 2002
(12) Center for Cooperative Research, www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline.jsp?timeline=venezuela
(14) Film: The Revolution Will not Be Televised, Irish amateur filmmakers who happened to be in Venezuela during the coup, Radio Telifis Eireann