Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Puppeteers 

Think the call for Chavez’s assassination by Pat Robinson were just the ramblings of one crazy man? Think again. Serious organizations tied to the U.S. government and military establishment have made “regime change” in Venezuela – by what ever means – a top priority.

Witness the report entitled “What to do about Venezuela” issued by the Center for Security Policy this past May. The entire report may be read here under an article entitled “Center calls for Regime Change in Venezuela”.

The report is full of half truths, inaccuracies, and outright lies. But it is completely unambiguous in saying that Chavez must be forced out. Lets look at some excerpts:

It starts out complaining about supposed U.S. neglect of the problem:

Nowhere is the lack of a U.S. strategic approach to the Western Hemisphere more evident than in the unchecked rise of a self-absorbed, unstable strongman in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, who has made common cause with terrorists and regimes that support them, and has developed a revolutionary ideology that has begun to plunge the Americas again into violence and chaos. It is necessary for the democratic nations of the hemisphere to come together and stop this rising threat to peace before it is too late.

So right off that bat they make it clear that they want Chavez “stopped” and that they will be willing to resort to all sorts of lies (ie,“common cause with terrorists") to make their case.

Then in giving a background to Venezuela that is replete with distortions and false hoods they do tip their cards and make an enlightening comment :

The United State ignored two years of cries for help from Venezuela. For two year, Venezuelan citizens, businessmen, political leaders, military officers, clergymen, and others implored the Bush administration for help and acknowledgment – but received none. The 24 – hour coup on April 11, 2002 against the would-be dictator was a purely Venezuelan action lacking even tacit support, let alone encouragement. Among the public signs of U.S. non-involvement was the complete absence of the sort of highly public diplomatic offensives the U.S. generally takes to set the international political climate for regime change.

That was a revealing paragraph. First, we again see the blatant falsehoods that characterize this paper. The notion that the coup didn’t even receive acknowledgment is absurd. The U.S. immediately blamed Chavez for his own overthrow, recognized the government, and pushed for the O.A.S. to recognize it! Unfortunately for the U.S. other Latin Americans actually care about democracy and refused to go along.

But more importantly, the author outlines what he considers a necessary prelude to regime change – a “highly public diplomatic offensive”. And indeed, this is true. Propaganda always proceeds the bombs. Knowing this what are we to make of Donald Rumsfeld’s recent travels throughout Latin America and his underlings referring to Venezuela as “a real strategic menace”? I’m sure the astute reader can draw his or her own conclusions.

Next we get to the key part of the report which is aptly titled “A Strategy for Regime Change”. Here are a couple of the bullet points:

Help the dictator hasten his own political demise. The Venezuelan dictator is mentally unstable and has been under psychiatric supervision for years. He overreacts to criticism, weeps in front of others, and dreams messianic fantasies that make him especially vulnerable as well as dangerous. A psychological profile report in the New York Times showed remarkable similarities to that of Saddam Hussein. With lessons learned from the Iraq war, the U.S. can improve its psychological strategy and help the Venezuelan leader to hasten his political self-destruction.

Now, I’ve never heard that Chavez is crazy. I have heard he makes some other people crazy. But apparently the U.S. thinks it can use armchair psychology and lessons from Iraq against Chavez. Considering how singularly unsuccessful the U.S. has been in Iraq I don’t know that this is such a good plan on their part.

But they aren’t done with their lessons from Iraq:

Prevent the dictator from destroying Venezuela’s infrastructure. At the same time, however, the U.S. must be prepared to act immediately to prevent the Venezuelan dictator from destroying his country as part of a desperate bid to perpetuate his regime. Of particular concern is the fact that, in time of crisis, the Venezuelan dictator might be tempted to destroy his country’s economic infrastructure – especially where such destruction (e.g., of oil facilities), would injure the United State, other countries and the Venezuelans who oppose him.

Somehow when they started talking about not allowing “infrastructure” to be destroyed I knew they weren’t talking about the corner arepa stand. And sure enough, just as in Iraq, they’re really interested in the big prize – oil. Hence the admonition, even in their haste to get the “dictator” out, to take extreme care to protect oil facilities. Heaven forbid an important pipeline get hurt in all the commotion.

But it is the last paragraph, entitled “The Bottom Line”, that gets to the heart of the matter:

Time is running out. Venezuela’s increased pace of repression, militarization, weapons imports, and destabilization of neighboring countries shows that time is running out for the Venezuelan people and for the relative peace that most of the hemisphere has enjoyed. The Bolivarian regime in Caracas presents a clear and present danger to peace and democracy in the hemisphere. It must change. It can change on its own, or it can invite hemispheric forces with the help of Venezuela’s broad democratic opposition, to impose the changes.

So there you have it, Venezuela is such a “clear and present danger” that “it must change”. And if it doesn’t change on its own then the U.S. will “impose” the changes. I guess like they “imposed” change in Iraq. So while this report doesn’t call for the assassination of Chavez it does call for the destruction of his government. The right to self determination, the number of open elections won by Chavez, and the unfettered freedoms enjoyed by Venezuelans are all for naught. Chavez’s policies don’t meet with the approval of the empire to the north and so the empire will use its power to “impose” changes. They are nothing if not blunt.

And who are these people making all these not so thinly veiled threats? Are they some sort of lunatic fringe – like we are now told Pat Robinson is? To help answer this lets look at their advisory council. Heard any of these names before? :

William Bennett, former Secretary of Education.

Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

John Lehman, former Secretary of the Navy.

Richard Perle, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy.

James Webb, former Secretary of the Navy.

James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence

And if that list of hawks that has a history of supporting U.S. aggression from Nicaragua to Iraq isn’t enough take a look at the politicians:

Tim Hutchinson, Member of the U.S. Senate.

Kay Bailey Hutchison, Member of the U.S. Senate.

Henry Hyde, Chairman of the International Relations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jon Kyl, Member of the U.S. Senate.

James M. Inhofe, Member of the U.S. Senate.

Bob Smith, Member of the U.S. Senate.

From the above it is clear this is an organization which means business and is heard at the highest levels of U.S. government. Pat Roberts may have been the puppet mouthing the words the other day but it should be easy to see who the puppeteers are and what their goal is. All those who would support Venezuela in its struggle for freedom, equality and progress need to be very clear on this.


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