Viva Chavez! Opeds
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Editor, The Konformist
Hugo Chavez: A Servant Not Knowing his Place
How do we know that the CIA was behind the coup that overthrew Hugo
Chavez? Same way we know that the sun will rise tomorrow morning.
That's what it's always done and there's no reason to think that
tomorrow morning will be any different.
Consider Chavez's crimes:
Branding the US attacks on Afghanistan as "fighting terrorism with
terrorism", he demanded an end to "the slaughter of innocents";
holding up photographs of children killed in the American bombing
attacks, he said their deaths had "no justification, just as the
attacks in New York did not, either." In response, the Bush
administration temporarily withdrew its ambassador.
Being very friendly with Fidel Castro and selling oil to Cuba at
His defense minister asking the permanent US military mission in
Venezuela to vacate its offices in the military headquarters in
Caracas, saying its presence was an anachronism from the cold war.
Not cooperating to Washington's satisfaction with the US war against
the Colombian guerrillas.
Denying Venezuelan airspace to US counter-drug flights.
Refusing to provide US intelligence agencies with information on
Venezuela's large Arab community.
Questioning the sanctity of globalization.
Promoting a regional free-trade bloc and united Latin American
petroleum operations as a way to break free from US economic
Visiting Sadaam Hussein in Iraq and Moammar Gaddafy in Libya. And
more in the same vein which the Washington aristocracy is
unaccustomed to encountering from the servant class.
The United States has endeavored to topple numerous governments for a
whole lot less.
The Washington Post reported from Venezuela on April 13: "Members of
the country's diverse opposition had been visiting the U.S. Embassy
here in recent weeks, hoping to enlist U.S. help in toppling Chavez.
The visitors included active and retired members of the military,
media leaders and opposition politicians. "The opposition has been
coming in with an assortment of 'what ifs'," said a U.S. official
familiar with the effort. "What if this happened? What if that
happened? What if you held it up and looked at it sideways? To every
scenario we say no. We know what a coup looks like, and we won't
Right. They won't support a coup. So what happens when a coup occurs
which they want to support? Simple. They don't call it a coup. They
call it a "change of government" and say that Chavez was ousted "as a
result of the message of the Venezuelan people." Veritable grass-
roots democracy it was. Opposition legislators were also brought to
Washington in recent months, including at least one delegation
sponsored by the International Republican Institute, an integral part
of the National Endowment for Democracy, long used by the CIA for
covert operations abroad.
Overthrowing a man such as Hugo Chavez, guilty of such
transgressions, was a duty so "natural" for the CIA that the only
reason it might not have been intimately involved in the operation
would be that the Agency had been secretly disbanded.
April 12, 2002
DAY II:Democracy Held Hostagein Bolívar's Venezuela
Narco News '02
Q&A on "RemoteControl Coup"
Journalist Jules Siegel interviews Narco News Publisher Al Giordano
Friday Morning, April 12, 2001
Jules Siegel: Why did Chávez try to force the changes in Petróleos de
Al Giordano: Corruption by both the management and the union was out
of control. The boss of the petrol workers union refused to abide by
new Venezuelan laws requiring free elections of union leaders, and
the old board refused to act on it. Thus, you saw this strange
alliance of the big business magnates who looted the country for 40
years suddenly singing "Solidarity Forever" and "Strike! Strike!
Strike!" in a disingenuous, made-in-DC, simulation of a grassroots
movement. Call it "astro-turf."
The march yesterday of, according to press reports, between 50,000
and 150,000 people, was really not by any normal standards
Despite the unified backing of:
1. The corrupt and bureaucratic petrol workers union,
2. The national chamber of commerce and industry (whose chief is now
the military junta-installed illegitimate "president" of the country),
3. The Catholic Church hierarchy (upset that the Chávez government
had enacted a Separation of Church and State in education funds that
used to be given to Church schools who left a 90% illiteracy rate in
4. The old guard of the military, upset with the sweeping reforms
made by Chávez in favor of the rank and file (read: poor) soldiers
and ending longtime abuses by the brass, and,
5. The nation's media moguls, in particular five TV chains, who under
previous regimes paid no taxes at all and used media as a mere
business, training a generation of "journalists" skilled mostly in
shaking down bribes and blackmail, who could not stand the fact that
they now paid taxes like any other business...
All these institutional forces could only muster, at maximum, 150,000
people into the streets of Caracas (with live TV exortations on a
24/7 basis: one TV station, while showing the march, had a chyron
text across the screen "NOT
ONE STEP BACK"). This, in a city of more than 2 million people and in
a country of 24 million, makes a lie of all the US media claims that
this was somehow a "popular" revolt.
Then some snipers fired from rooftops into the crowd, and
particularly toward the ambulances! Former President Perez was on
hand to blame the Chávez government for the shootings. He should
know. In 1989, when Perez was president, and the poor marched in the
streets, he massacred more than 1,000 unarmed citizens in what is now
called the Caracalazo).
There was no military nor political motive for the Chávez government
to order sniper fire. To the contrary, the only side that had motive
to do that was that of the ones who have now seized illigitimate
power. But the US correspondents say, without offering a shred of
testimony or proof, that it was government troops who fired into the
The response from Washington (Bush crying crocodile tears over the
estimated 10 to 30 deaths) contrasts greatly, say, with Washington's
position when someone like Sharon or the King of Saudi Arabia
routinely shoots into crowds, and there is real evidence that their
troops did the shooting.
This was a "remote control coup d'etat," engineered from Washington,
with a strong media element by the TV moguls and military hardliners
who all danced a carefully choreographed script.
JS: How did these actions affect American strategic or commercial
AG: The Dow Jones wire today (big grain of salt: last night they
published a story NINE times with the headline "REPEAT: Venezuela
President Chávez Seen Leaving Country-Report" (obviously, in
retrospect, total fiction because Chávez is locked today in a
military fortress and kept incomunicado as his enemies make claims
that he has "resigned") is filled with gushing remarks by the
international oil industry (ecstatic predictions that Venezuela will
now, once again, sabotage OPEC's price-setting cuotas and limits on
production) and Wall Street analysts urging everyone to invest now in
But the 800-pound gorilla in this story has to do with Plan Colombia.
Washington never forgave Chávez for leading the charge against this
US military intervention. That's the factor that caused Clinton to
sign the clandestine destabilization order, Bush to execute it, and
it will take Jeremy Bigwood or the National Security Archives ten
years of FOIA requests
to get the documents.
JS: Is the situation in any way similar to the destabilization of
Chile under Allende? Is there any reason to believe the general
strike instigated or supported by the CIA or other American
AG: Oh, Jules! How could you possibly think that a State Department
dominated by corrupt Iran-Contra narcos like Otto Reich and John
Negroponte, and thugs like Peter Romero and former Jesse Helms
svengali Roger Noriega would do such a thing again? It's only a
coincidence that the State Department has one of the 1973 Chile coup-
plotters, former political officer of the Embassy in Santiago (1971-
1974), Jeffrey Davidow, as Ambassador to Mexico today! Pay no
attention to that Bush behind the curtain.
The bottom line: a twice democratically elected government has been
deposed by a military junta that has installed an illigitimate
What happens next is not going to be pretty. Already, this morning,
the raids of homes of Chávez supporters by police and military forces
has begun, with the pretext of searching for arms.
But the sorriest group of all has been the US news correspondents in
Venezuela. Not a single one of them has asked the right questions,
much less answered them.
Jules Siegel is a writer and graphic designer who has been living and
working in Mexico since 1981, in Cancun since 1983. His work has
appeared in Playboy, Rolling Stone, Best American Short Stories and
many other publications.
Al Giordano, journalist, reports on the drug war from Latin América.
Viva President Hugo Chavez: Venezuela's Democracy Prevails
By Robert Miranda
The aggressive anti-democratic coup, which ousted the legitimately
elected Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, was defeated. The United
States, at the start, rather than condemn the rebellion of the
military as illegitimate, only stated that what had occurred was
brought on by President Chavez and his administration's policies.
Now that Hugo Chavez is back in power, the Administration of George
W. Bush comes across as being uninformed and unprepared.
Clearly, the turn of events in Venezuela have caused embarrassment to
the Bush administration and, in turn, raises question about U.S.
ability to analyze foreign policy based on the principles of
democracy, and not on the needs and opportunities that give rise and
power to free market forces.
The Bush administration, which continues to show no regret or
disapproval of the Venezuelan military's effort to oust the country's
elected president last week, appealed Sunday for the restoration
of "the essential elements" of democracy, after Hugo Chavez reclaimed
his office. However, when the military took control, no such appeal
was offered by the Bush administration.
The people of Venezuela voted in 1998 and elected President Chavez to
be their leader. Military and corporate leaders of Venezuela thought
that they could undermine the people's will by removing Chavez from
power. The United States government did not react accordingly against
this coup, which had obvious undertones of being a coup led by a
small band of profiteers and ambitious profit hungry senior military
The military commanders, and the majority of corporate executives of
oil-rich Venezuela who forced Chavez out of power, forced this coup
in an effort to end state control of the oil reserves of this
nation. Without question this coup was spearheaded by corporate
executives seeking control of Venezuela's oil, the most precious
natural resource that nation has to trade on the world market.
The military Generals who appointed Chavez's successor, Pedro
Carmona, have committed treason against their country and have
betrayed the people of Venezuela, in the name of profit and free
market rule. By going against the will of the people they have shown
that their loyalty rests in the hands of those who are trying to
steal Venezuela's oil and place its control in the hands of global
corporate cartels, rather than keep the people of Venezuela as the
Indeed, the plutocratic government of Carmona, had not Chavez been
restored to power, was about to play a significant role in the oil
markets of the world, and Bush knew that it was in the United States'
best economic interest to not condemn this corporate-led rebellion.
Being the number 3 supplier of oil to the United States, Venezuela,
without question, would have initiated efforts to increase oil
production to help offset any future oil embargos or oil price
increases caused by the turmoil in the Middle East. Such actions
could adversely affect the U.S. economy, and Bush, who is losing our
domestic economic policy battle, would have to fight two major
political fronts, the fight against terrorism and the fight to keep
the economy strong, a task that is as daunting as it is difficult,
which is why the U.S. did not react harshly against Venezuelan
corporate and military leaders engaged in this anti-democracy
The United States, rather than be consistent in promoting the
fundamental ideals of freedom, justice and liberty, opted to support
profiteers and privateers, and global corporations who, without
question, are seeking to privatize Venezuela's oil.
The people of Venezuela, by the tens of thousands, came forward and
demanded the release of their elected representative. Junior military
leaders opposing the treasonous efforts of senior military leaders
joined the people in a counter rebellion, which ultimately brought
Chavez from military confinement, restoring him to power, and in the
end, preserving their democracy.
In the final analysis, the Bush administration's policy on the coup
failed democracy. Bush did not support democracy, and he went against
the legitimate government of Hugo Chavez. Bush went against the will
of the Venezuelan people, opting instead to go with the will of the
global corporate oil cartels who have been frustrated and thwarted by
Chavez's ability to prevent them from taking control of his country's
For the people of Venezuela, maintaining control of their natural
resources ensures freedom and shared wealth. In a land surrounded by
natural abundance, President Hugo Chavez is making certain that his
nation's resources will benefit his people, and not the investment
bankers and investors of the global market cartel.
One to watch
Geov Parrish - WorkingForChange
04.15.02 - The past four days' coup and counter-coup in Venezuela
leave Hugo Chavez in power, but the country on the brink of civil
war; the cleavage between Venezuela's poor masses and its oligarchs --
in particular, the rich, the generals, and the oil companies -- is
not going away any time soon.
That being said, once again, the version of events being fed the
American public is suspiciously at odds with what the rest of the
world knows. On the one hand, you have, even in the brief hours when
Hugo Chavez was held prisoner in a basement and businessman Pedro
Carmona assumed the presidency and suspended constitutional
government, several Latin American countries -- led by Mexico and
Argentina -- saying that they would not recognize the new,
illegitimate Venezuelan government. And then you had the White House,
smugly asserting that Mr. Chavez had what was coming to him after the
heinous crime of firing on unarmed demonstrators, and welcoming
Venezuela's "return to democracy."
While Chavez had proven himself no friend of the multi-party state,
to call a military coup against a fairly elected president and the
dissolution of a constitution a "return to democracy" is more than a
bit Orwellian. And if firing on an unarmed crowd is grounds for
overthrowing a government, how do you explain U.S. support of Israel,
which of late has been firing into Palestinian crowds more or less
But beyond that, things were not as they seemed in Caracas. To be
sure, in the original anti-Chavez rally on Thursday, Chavez
supporters were firing guns; but an eyewitness account by Gregory
Wilpert, posted on ZNet, claims that there were three parties doing
the shooting: Chavez supporters, the city police, and snipers on
nearby rooftops who belonged to an extreme right group called Bandera
Roja (Red Flag). Wilpert writes that the fatal shots came from the
snipers, and that most of the dead on Thursday were actually Chavez
That would suggest the whole incident was staged so as to justify a
coup. It's impossible, at this point, to verify. But regardless, it
was pretty obvious that this was no spontaneous coup by Venezuelan
military that just up and decided a president that fired on a crowd
was too unacceptable. For months, Chavez had been earning the
increasing enmity of the oligarchs who have traditionally ruled
Venezuela -- and their patrons in Washington.
Among Chavez' worst "sins" of late were instituting land reform and
messing with the management of Venezuela's state-run oil company,
PDVSA. He had already pissed off Washington not just by his cozying
up to various people on the U.S. shit list (Castro, Qaddafi, Saddam,
Colombia's FARC rebels), or by opposing free trade, but by managing
to get all of OPEC to agree to uniform pricing for the first time in
years, and then getting almost all of OPEC's members (save dependable
U.S. ally Saudi Arabia) to hold to it. In the words of Sunday's UK
Independent, "Rather than a spontaneous popular uprising to get rid
of a despot, this was a carefully orchestrated effort, co-ordinating
military dissidents with oil strikers and the leading business and
labour organisations." And while the plotters may or may not have had
help from the United States, they certainly knew Washington would not
frown on any effort to depose the "problematic" Chavez.
Now Chavez is, for the time being, still in power. He has the
opportunity to embrace either a free, democratic political system, or
to plunge Venezuela into a populist authoritarian regime with every
bit as much capacity for atrocities as the oligarchs have. Whatever
happens, the significance of the crowds that refused to accept a
business-backed military coup cannot be overstated.
What was potentially in store for Venezuela was the sort of U.S.-
backed terror that plagued the continent through the Cold War; huge
crowds of people would have none of it. They also explicitly rejected
imperialism in its 21st Century guise, a form that exercises control
as often through corporations as through generals, by returning to
power a man who is (outside of the isolated Castro) the hemisphere's
fiercest critic of FTAA and neoliberal trade policies.
In the last two years, there have now been three enormous popular
uprisings with the IMF, World Bank, privatization, and "free trade"
very much on their minds: the restoration of Chavez in Venezuela, the
toppling of two successive governments last December in Venezuela,
and the water wars that drove Bechtel out of Bolivia in 2000. It is
these crowds, and their brethren in Africa and Asia -- not the
privileged protesters in Seattle or Quebec or Genoa -- who are
leading the global charge against corporate globalization, and who
are explicitly linking their issues to democracy and self-
determination. As goes Venezuela, so goes much of the world.
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