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

Monday, August 22, 2005

A Whole Lot Cheaper Than Starting a War 

Pat Robertson calls for the assassination of Hugo Chavez:

ROBERTSON: There was a popular coup that overthrew him [Chavez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in. He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.

I like the bit at the beginning about the "popular coup" that overthrew Chavez that America did "nothing about". You know, given the sort of coverage that recent Venezuelan history has received from our so-called liberal media, it's not surprising that even someone as high-profile as Robertson can lie so blatantly on a rightwing operation like the 700 Club but it is nonetheless reprehensible.

A few facts are not controversial and speak volumes. Chavez won two elections, one in '98 and another in '02 by the largest margins in recent memory. He was overthrown by a coup orchestrated by the Venezuelan elite, demonstrably with American aid although the extent of which isn't clear, in 2002 leading to a popular uprising. The Venezuelan military refused to support the coup and Chavez was fairly quickly reinstated. At that point, the cabal of corporate interests arrayed against him attempted to free themselves of Chavez through legal means engineering a recall vote that Chavez beat by landslide almost exactly a year ago. Chavez is now polling around 80% and guys like Robertson are left longing for happier times, the good old '80's when Ronald Reagan knew how to handle brown-skinned leftists.

For what it's worth, here's Al Giordano of Narco News on what is known of the US involvement in the coup:

A report would appear two days later in the daily Panamá América newspaper that shed light on how oil union boss Carlos Ortega, the number-two coup organizer (among the Venezuelans involved) second only to oilman-turned-dictator-for-a-day Pedro Carmona, became head of the oil union and consequently of Venezuela's equivalent of the AFL-CIO.

Translated by The Narco News Bulletin:

"Months ago, we warned that the U.S. government had put a plan in march to topple Venezuela's president Hugo Chávez. Working with agents of the CIA and with members of the military group that the Pentagon maintains in Caracas to supervise U.S. arms sales in the region, the strategies from the Potomac joined forces with the opponents of the president. Bankers, businessmen and politicians donated funds createeat the marches and protest that detonated the crisis. Money from the opposition served to influence union elections and the control of the petroleum workers union, the most important in Venezuela…"

Narco News has learned that the CIA headquarters for organizing, distributing said cash, and engineering the attempted coup d'etat, was the office known as the MIL GROUP. That's the name by which the US Military Liason staff in Embassies - "usually a repository for fixers and grafters pitching Department of Defense sponsored weapons sales to third world satrapies," as one source colorfully explained to Narco News - had, according to another well-placed source, greatly increased its staff size in the weeks prior to the attempted coup.

We presume the increase in personnel - or individuals posing as personnel at the MIL GROUP - was not due to a sudden desire by Washington to sell more arms to the Chavez government.

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