Monday, January 24, 2005
Yesterday during a huge rally Chavez asserted something that, I think, has been on the mind of a many people who are following current events in South America: that the US is behind the current flap between Venezuela and Columbia. The claim was offered without evidence but is plausible. Here's the AP:
Supporters of President Hugo Chávez marched through Caracas on Sunday, demanding respect for Venezuela's sovereignty after U.S. criticism and Colombia's acknowledgment that it paid a bounty to capture a rebel on Venezuelan soil. [ ...]
"Venezuela must be respected!" Chávez told a massive crowd outside Miraflores presidential palace.
"Nobody can deny that what Colombia has done is a violation of international law ... the only government that has defended this vulgar error is the imperialist government of the United States."
The crowd chanted, "Chávez makes them crazy!"
Chávez blamed the United States for the crisis with Colombia. "This provocation came from Washington. It is the latest attempt by the imperialists ... to ruin our relations with Colombia," he said.
Chanting pro-Chávez slogans and carrying banners reading "Bush: Venezuela Is Not Iraq!" and "Colombia, Stay Out of Venezuela," tens of thousands of loyalists danced to traditional folk music booming from loudspeakers on trucks.
Chomsky, who recently signed an open letter to Chavez calling for the establishment of "a special independent investigation for clarifying who is responsible for the kidnapping of Granda and, hopefully, of that of other Colombian social leaders in Venezuelan territory," commented on the idea of US provocation in this matter as follows:
Colombia has conceded the kidnapping, and relations between the two countries are currently tense. I presume Colombia's purpose was just what is on the surface: to harm FARC, even at the cost of harming relations with Venezuela if it was exposed. I don't know of any evidence of US pressure in this case, but it's not out of the question. [ ... ]
A more pertinent question for us is whether the US is cooperating in extraditing Venezuelans who were implicated in terrorist crimes in Venezuela, after having participated in the US-backed coup. They fled here for asylum. It's hard to find out what happened since.
The above is from the Znet sustainer forum, ChomskyChat. [Photos from here]