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by n0705590
17 April 2002 09:44 UTC
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Dear friends and collegues,

I hope you pay attention to the Guardian article below, which appeared today 
(April 17th 2002).  There is also a much older article that appeared on the 
Examiner.  As a Venezuelian citizen I can only regret the tragic events that 
took place just days ago, which caused the death of several innocent 
civilians.  These deaths were the cause of a total disruption of the 
constitutional order, a total disregard for the rule of law, which plunged the 
country in a state of anarchy.  This regretable incident seems to have been 
caused, among other things, by US intervention, which we can define as 
terroristic.  Since Venezuela has now been a victim of international 
terrorism, I incite the country and its allies (Lybia, Irak, Cuba among these) 
to initiate a 'War on Terror', to maintain and preserve democracy and Human 
Rights.  Operation 'Enduring Constitutional Order' shall strike fear in the 
hearts of these foreign comabattants in terroristic organisation, it shall 
smoke these guys out of their bunkers, and shall not rest until we find these 
folks and bring them to justice.  It shall be a Crusade, and with the help of 
God we shall be victorious, because right is on our side (not might 
though...don't worry, we are working on it).  Not only these terrorists are 
ready to endanger the lives of innocent civilians to pursue their fanatical 
beliefs (= cheap oil), but we have also gathered evidence that they have 
aquired weapons of mass destruction.  Yes, my dear friends, these rogue 
states, which harbour and protect international terrorists, posses nuclear, 
chemical and bacteriological capabilities.  After the tragic events of April 
the 13th, the world is faced with difficult choices.  In this war, there can 
be no neutrals.  You are either with us or against us, (sorry folks).  The 
axis of evil (Cheney - Bush - Powell - Pardo Maurer - Reich - Condolezza Rice 
- Tony 'The Loyal Dog' Blair - and many others) have to be defeated, in the 
interests of humanity.  The civilised world has to act - this is not time for 

God Bless Venezuela

P.S= Little joke.  Why has there never been a coup d'etat in the Unites 
States?  Because there is no American embassy there, stupid?

And on this happy note, we can proceed to examine the evidence:

US 'gave the nod' to Venezuelan coup

Julian Borger in Washington and Alex Bellos, South America correspondent
Wednesday April 17, 2002
The Guardian

The Bush administration was under intense scrutiny yesterday for its role in 
last weekend's abortive coup in Venezuela, after admitting that US officials 
had held a series of meetings in recent months with Venezuelan military 
officers and opposition activists. 
The White House yesterday confirmed that a few weeks before the coup attempt, 
administration officials met Pedro Carmona, the business leader who took over 
the interim government after President Hugo Chavez was arrested on Friday. But 
the White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer, denied that the US had offered 
any support for a putsch. 
The US defence department also confirmed that the Venezuelan army's chief of 
staff, General Lucas Romero Rincon, visited the Pentagon in December and met 
the assistant secretary of defence for western hemispheric affairs, Roger 
The Pentagon said: "We made it very, very clear that the United States' intent 
was to support democracy and human rights, and that we would in no way support 
any coups or unconstitutional activity." 
However, it was not made clear why the talks broached the subject of a coup, 
four months before the event. Mr Fleischer said the subject had been brought 
up at meetings with Venezuelan opposition leaders because US diplomats in 
Caracas had "for the past several months" been picking up coup rumours. "In 
the conversations they had they explicitly told opposition leaders the United 
States would not support a coup," he added. 
However, a defence department official quoted by the New York Times yesterday 
said: "We were not discouraging people." 
"We were sending informal, subtle signals that we don't like this guy. We 
didn't say, 'No, don't you dare' and we weren't advocates saying, 'Here's some 
arms; we'll help you overthrow this guy.'" 
Mr Chavez yesterday hinted at the possibility of US involvement in the coup 
attempt, noting that only days before he was ousted, dozens of Venezuelan 
military personnel working in the country's Washington, Bogota and Brasilia 
embassies returned to Caracas with no explanation. The implication was that 
these were military staff sympathetic to the opposition whom he had sent 
abroad when he became president in 1999. 
Mr Chavez had earlier said he would investigate the presence of what he said 
was an American plane on the island prison where he was detained by the 
Venezuelan military. Mr Fleischer said yesterday he did not know whether 
Washington had provided a plane to fly the Venezuelan president into exile. He 
thought that "the transportation was arranged after his resignation through 
the Venezuelan military". 
A Latin American diplomat in Washington said that when Mr Carmona and other 
opposition leaders came to the US they met Otto Reich, the assistant secretary 
of state for western hemisphere affairs. 
As the crisis deepened, Mr Reich set the tone of US policy. According to one 
diplomat, Mr Reich told ambassadors on Friday that although the US did not 
support a coup, President Chavez had been the first to "disrupt Venezuela's 
constitutional order". 
The same message was echoed on Saturday by the US ambassador to the 
Organisation of American States (OAS), Roger Noriega, at an emergency meeting 
in Washington. 
One OAS diplomat said: "We were in that room for 14 hours, and for most of 
that 14 hours, Noriega was pushing the line that it was Chavez that had 
created the problem." 
The OAS denounced the coup attempt, as did all Venezuela's neighbours. 
Washington, however, acknowledged the new government. "A transitional civilian 
government has been installed," Mr Fleischer said on Saturday. "This 
government has promised early elections." 
Some of the key participants in US meetings with Venezuelan figures in the 
run-up to the coup were veterans of Reagan-era "dirty tricks" operations. Mr 
Pardo-Maurer served as the chief of staff to the Nicaraguan contras' 
representative in Washington between 1986 and 1989. 
Mr Reich was the head of the office of public diplomacy in the state 
department, which was later found to have been involved in covert pro-contra 

U.S. cooking up a coup in Venezeula?
>By Conn Hallinan
>Special To The Examiner
> THERE is the smell of a coup in the air these days. It was
>like this in Iran just before the 1953 U.S.-backed coup overthrew
>the Mossedeah government and installed the Shah. It has the feel
>of 1963 in South Vietnam, before the military takeover switched
>on the light at the end of the long and terrible Southeast Asian
>tunnel. It is hauntingly similar to early September 1973, before
>the coup in Chile ushered in 20 years of blood and darkness.
> Early last month, the National Security Agency, the Pentagon
>and the U.S. State Department held a two-day meeting on U.S.
>policy toward Venezuela. Similar such meetings took place in
>1953, 1963, and 1973, as well as before coups in Guatemala,
>Brazil and Argentina. It should send a deep chill down the backs
>of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the populist coalition
>that took power in 1998.
> The catalyst for the Nov. 5-7 interagency get-together was a
>comment by Chavez in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist assault
>on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. While Chavez sharply
>condemned the attack, he questioned the value of bombing
>Afghanistan, calling it "fighting terrorism with terrorism." In
>response, the Bush administration temporarily withdrew its
>ambassador and convened the meeting.
> The outcome was a requirement that Venezuela "unequivocally"
>condemn terrorism, including repudiating anything and anyone the
>Bush administration defines as "terrorist." Since this includes
>both Cuba (with which Venezuela has extensive trade relations)
>and rebel groups in neighboring Colombia (to whom Chavez is
>sympathetic), the demand was the equivalent of throwing down the
> The spark for the statement might have been Sept. 11, but the
>dark clouds gathering over Venezuela have much more to do with
>enduring matters -- like oil, land and power.
> The Chavez government is presently trying to change the
>60-year-old agreement with foreign oil companies that charges
>them as little as 1 percent in royalties and hands out huge tax
>breaks. There is a lot at stake here. Venezuela has 77 billion
>barrels of proven reserves and is the United States'
>third-biggest source of oil. It is also a major cash cow for the
>likes of Phillips Petroleum and ExxonMobil. If the new law goes
>through, U.S. and French oil companies will have to pony up a
>bigger slice of their take.
> A larger slice is desperately needed in Venezuela. Although
>oil generates some $30 billion each year, 80 percent of
>Venezuelans are, according to government figures, "poor," and
>half of those are malnourished. Most rural Venezuelans have no
>access to land except to work it for someone else, because 2
>percent of the population controls 60 percent of the land.
> The staggering gap between a tiny slice of "haves" and the
>sea of "have nots" is little talked about in the American media,
>which tend to focus on President Chavez's long-winded speeches
>and unrest among the urban wealthy and middle class. U.S.
>newspapers covered the Dec. 10 "strike" by business leaders and a
>section of the union movement protesting a series of economic
>laws and land reform proposals, but not the fact that the Chavez
>government has reduced inflation from 40 percent to 12 percent,
>generated economic growth of 4 percent, and
>increased primary school enrollment by 1 million students.
> Rumblings from Washington, strikes by business leaders, and
>pot-banging demonstrations by middle-class housewives are the
>fare most Americans get about Venezuela these days. For any
>balance one has to go to local journalists John Marshall and
>Christian Parenti. In a Dec. 10 article in the Chicago bi-weekly
>In These Times, the two reporters give "the other side" that the
>U.S. media always go on about but rarely present: The attempts by
>the Venezuelan government to diversify its economy, turn over
>idle land to landless peasants, encourage the growth of co-ops
>based on the highly successful Hungarian model, increase health
>spending fourfold, and provide drugs for 30 to 40 percent below
> But the alleviation of poverty is not on Washington's radar
>screen these days. Instead, U.S. development loans have been
>frozen, and the State Department's specialist on Latin America,
>Peter Romero, has accused the Chavez government of supporting
>terrorism in Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador. These days that is
>almost a declaration of war and certainly a green light to any
>anti-Chavez forces considering a military coup.
> U.S. hostility to Venezuela's efforts to overcome its lack of
>development has helped add that country to the South American
>"arc of instability" that runs from Caracas in the north to
>Buenos Aires in the south, and includes Colombia, Ecuador,
>Bolivia and Peru. Failed neoliberal economic policies, coupled
>with corruption and
>authoritarianism, have made the region a powder keg, as recent
>events in Argentina demonstrate. And the Bush administration's
>antidote? Matches, incendiary statements, and dark armies moving
>in the night.

Damian Popolo
PhD candidate
Newcastle University
Department of Politics
Room 301

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