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Venezuelan gov't exposes U.S. threats on Chavez's life

Published Mar 2, 2005 3:27 PM

Sorting through recent emails and news briefs from Latin America, a shocking theme stands out: threats to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's life.

On Feb. 13, Reuters even quoted Cuban President Fidel Castro saying, "I say to world public opinion: if they assassinate Chávez, the responsibility will fall squarely on the president of the United States, George W. Bush."

President Castro reminded everyone about the multiple attempts against his own life. He added that his assassination at this time would not significantly alter or reverse the Cuban Revolution, for it is firmly rooted in the masses, but that the Bolivarian Revolution is at a decisive stage.

On Feb. 20, in his 213th Aló Presidente radio and TV program, Venezuelan Pre sident Hugo Chávez said: "If something happens to me, I hold responsible the president of the United States. I want the Venezuelan people to know, I am not going to lock myself up in Miraflores. I will be with you on the streets. I am entrusted to God but I know I am convicted to death."

These statements follow several recent declarations from Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and a vilifying media campaign against Chávez both in the United States and in Venezuela's oligarchy's media. There is great concern in the Venezuelan government, which sees these developments as a mounting campaign to sway public opinion against the Bolivarian Revolution in order to justify an open intervention against it.

Rice's statement during her confirmation hearing that "Chávez is a negative force in the region" is infamous.

Communications Minister Andrés Izarra called on the Venezuelan people to be on the alert because of the "political and media offensive" carried out by the Bush administration against the Bolivarian Revo lution in their quest to delegitimize and isolate it.

Stating that the national government is following up the denunciation made by President Chávez, Izarra provided several documents that illustrate the systematic campaign of "twisted information and groundless accusations" aimed at manipulating public opinion.

He identified three basic arguments used against Venezuela: "that President Chávez is accomplice of international terrorism; that Chávez is an imminent threat to the Western Hemisphere's democracy; and that Chávez's government is rapidly moving toward autocracy, an authoritarian democracy or an elected dictatorship."

Izarra declared that these terms have been used by spokespeople from the U.S. State Department and intelligence agencies, and have been echoed in several U.S. media outlets; he mentioned the Washington Times and Post, Fox News, Wall Street Journal and Miami Herald.

On Feb. 23, in an effort to let these threats be known to the international community, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Alí Rodríguez addressed the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., in an extraordinary session requested by the Venezuelan government. Speaking to representatives of the 34 member countries, Rodríguez said, "We are obliged to alert the world public opinion."

The imperialist threats will only grow stronger as the Bolivarian Revolution steers toward the path of anti-imperialism, away from capitalist exploitation of its people and natural resources.

PDVESA, the national oil company, is showing not only to the Venezuelan masses but to the peoples of the world at large what it means to use profits for the benefit of the masses, not for the treasures of a few.

Many changes are coming in rapid succession in Venezuela--not only social gains but economic as well, nationally and also internationally with new trade agreements.

One of the internal changes is the inauguration of INVEPAL, the new Endo ge nous Venezuelan Industry of Paper. It is a model of co-management between the gov ernment and the workers. Chávez des cribed it by saying, "In the traditional capitalist model, the owner makes all the decisions; here it is in the hands of the workers, in this model of co-management."

The Venezuelans' concerns would be senseless were it not for the tragic historic evidence in Latin America and the Carib bean, where the United States has deposed democratically elected heads of state through bloody coups.

Venezuela itself has been the recipient of genocidal U.S.-inspired actions like the 2002 April coup, the PDVESA boss lockout and sabotage, the close to 100 Colombian paramilitaries caught in Caracas last year training to kill Chávez, and the recent assassination of prosecutor Danilo Anderson, who was investigating the CIA's role in the 2002 coup.

These acts of murder are reminiscent of the ever-present case of Salvador Allende in Chile. But there are also the murders of Jorge Eliecer Gaitán in Colombia, Torrijos in Panamá, and all the criminal invasions, interventions and massacres--in Guate mala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Hon duras, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Grenada and beyond.

There is no place in the region where the United States has not intervened in one way or another to prevent the establishment and development of governments responsive to the needs of their peoples.

However, this time the conditions are quite different in the region. Venezuela is seen by the overwhelming majority of Latin America as their revolution, their leader, their inspiration. And the Venezuelan people themselves are committed to its defense and its development.

Chávez himself alluded to the possibility of a U.S. intervention. He said: "Do not be mistaken, Mr. Bush. If this happens, a blaze will not only set up in Venezuela. It will extend to the peoples of Latin America, of South America. Do not dare, because I think you will regret it."

He had mentioned earlier that Vene zuela is continuing to increase its defense capability and will continue forming the Peoples' Defense Basic Units. He said, "Venezuela is not going to intervene anywhere, but I repeat, nobody should interfere with Venezuela, here we are prepared to defend this Homeland, at any cost."

Next: INVEPAL, interview with Elio Colmenárez, assistant to the Venezuelan minister of labor.