'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Who Killed Danilo Anderson? 

A little more than a week ago Venezuelan public prosecutor Danilo Anderson was murdered by a car bomb. Danilo Anderson headed several politically charged investigations: a case against the leader of a mob that attacked the Cuban Embassy in Caracas during the attempted coup d'etat of 2002 and cases against members of the Venezuelan press also implicated in the failed coup, for example. All in all, Anderson was investigating about 400 suspects linked to the coup. Given this fact it's a reasonable assumption that his murder was a political assassination perpetrated by the opposition. The question is whether or not outside actors were involved.

Immediately after the attack Chavez himself accused Florida-based Venezuelan exile groups, working in conjunction with Cuban-exile terrorist organizations, of being the assassins: (from here)

Chavez initially pointed the finger at Commandos F-4, an openly anti-Castro group based in South Florida. Commandos F-4 leader Rodolfo Frometa, a former political prisoner, is one of Castro's most vocal opponents. He supports proactive resistance to the Cuban dictator.

On the Commandos F-4 Web site, there is a section devoted to denouncements of Chavez and pictures purporting to be of Venezuelans taking part in paramilitary training with members of Commandos F-4.

There is no indication of where the pictures were taken or when.

Chavez also cited an interview on Miami television in October in which Orlando Urdaneta, an entertainer and opposition loyalist, openly called for the assassination of Chavez: (from here)

The tone was light, but the dapper comedian's words were sobering as he outlined his vision for regime change in leftist Venezuela.

"It has to start with the physical disappearance of the top dog, at a minimum," Orlando Urdaneta opined in reference to Venezuela's populist President Hugo Chávez. Asked who would do the disappearing, he replied: "Men with rifles and telescopic sights who do not miss."

Chávez's government is airing Urdaneta's comments, made in an October interview on a Miami television station, to underscore its claim that Venezuelan exiles in Miami may have played a role in the car-bombing assassination Thursday night of a prosecutor probing 400 suspects in the coup that briefly unseated Chávez in 2002.

This crime and the fallout from it play out in front of a backdrop of rising anti-American and anti-Bush sentiments throughout Latin American, and recently there have been indications that the White House intends to intervene in the South in some way. Such covert involvement was, of course, quite common in the twentieth century, and it continues to this day: it is now well-known that the US aided the opposition during the 2002 coup d'etat, although it is unclear to what extent. Frank Gaffney, an influencial neoconservative, recently called for "appropriate strategies" for dealing with " the emergence of a number of aggressively anti-American regimes in Latin America,'' and one wonders if someone somewhere considered the assassination of Danilo Anderson appropriately strategic.

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