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Chávez to Rice: Mess with Venezuela, Forget Oil
SS Condi Rice has threatened Venezuela for whacking the subversive NED “NGO” Súmate and in response Hugo Chávez has warned the United States it will cut off oil shipments. “President Hugo Chavez warned Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday ‘not to mess’ with him and said her diplomatic efforts to turn Latin American nations against Venezuela would fail,” reports the Associated Press. “We are breaking the imperialist chains that bound us,” Chavez said during his weekly television and radio program.
“The US government must know that if it crosses the line it won’t be getting Venezuelan oil,” Pakistan’s Daily Times reports Chávez as warning. “Chavez, who did not clarify how Washington might incur such a sanction, apparently was reacting to Thursday’s call by US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice for an international ‘united front’ against Venezuela.” Although it was left unmentioned in most corporate news articles, Rice and the Bushites are upset about Venezuela going after Súmate.
Last July, Súmate’s two directors, María Corina Machado and Alejandro Plaz, were on trial for treason, another two leaders, Luis Enrique Palacios and Ricardo Estévez, were on trial for complicity in the crime. State prosecutors “have argued that Sumate illegally diverted NED [National Endowment for Democracy] funds from legitimate voter workshops, for which the funds were intended, towards the recall referendum against President Chavez in August 2004. By using funds from a foreign government for a political campaign and for supplanting a branch of government Sumate committed treason, according to prosecutors,” reports Venezuelanalysis.com.
As noted by Jonah Gindin, “Súmate has received a series of grants from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the United States Agency for International Development (AID).” Considering the background of NED and USAID, it is surprising Venezuela has not brought more serious charges against Machado and Plaz. In essence, USAID was created during the Reagan administration as an alternative to direct CIA intervention in foreign countries and clandestine financing of political and cultural organizations. “NED supported the creation of a series of neoconservative-controlled front groups that sought bipartisan and U.S. public support for an interventionist policy in Central America, which was part of the larger rollback, containment policy advocated by groups such as the Committee on the Present Danger and the Coalition for Peace through Strength,” explains a Right Web profile of the National Endowment for Democracy.
“One of the most prominent of these NED-financed front groups was the Project for Democracy in Central America (PRODEMCA), which merged the hard (military) and soft (political aid and public diplomacy) sides of the neoconservative agenda in Central America. On the one hand, it received clandestine support from the unofficial ‘Project Democracy’ of the National Security Council, operated by Oliver North and supervised by Elliott Abrams. On the other hand, it received AID and USAID funding through NED for public diplomacy efforts.” It should be noted here that Oliver North wanted to pay Panamanian ruler-thug Manuel Noriega a million dollars from “Project Democracy” funds raised from the sale of U.S. arms to Iran to destroy Nicaraguan economic installations (see the National Security Archive file on Oliver North), a fact likely not lost on the Venezuelans.
Allen Weinstein, who was a member of the USAID-working group known as the “Democracy Group,” told the Washington Post in 1991 that “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” In fact, according to Right Web, Reagan created NED “to support political groups in target countries that would contest left-of-center organizations and political parties,” in other words meddle in the internal affairs of sovereign nations. “Under NED’s elaborate structure designed to veil U.S. government funding, USIA and USAID funding did not flow directly to foreign political parties, unions, business associations, and civic groups but was routed through the AFL-CIO, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the newly organized international institutes of the Democratic and Republican parties. NED’s origins go back to a bipartisan commission called the American Political Foundation established by the State Department that began to address the problem of having U.S.-funded ’soft-side’ operations overseas perceived as CIA fronts.”
Bush and crew used this “elaborate structure designed to veil U.S. government funding” to deny it had a hand in the 2002 coup against Chávez, even though there were well-established connections between the U.S. government and the anti-Chávez movement, apparently including the so-called NGO Súmate. In fact, the International Republican Institute (IRI), funded by NED and USAID, had “flown groups of Chávez opponents to Washington to meet with U.S. officials. In March 2002, a month before Chávez’s brief ouster, one such group of politicians, union leaders, and activists traveled to DC to meet with U.S. officials, including members of Congress and State Department staff. The trip came at the time that several military officers were calling for Chávez’ resignation and talk of a possible coup was widespread,” according to Mike Ceaser, writing for the Americas Program at the Interhemispheric Resource Center. “Between 2000 and 2001, as the political and social crisis” in Venezuela “worsened, the NED more than tripled its Venezuela funding, from $257,831 to $877,435. The lion’s share went to Chávez opponents.”
In addition, Eva Golinger writes, USAID “set up an Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) in the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, allegedly for the purposing of helping Venezuela to resolve its political crisis. The OTI in Caracas has counted on more than fifteen million dollars in funding from Congress since June 2002 and has recently requested five million more for 2005, despite the fact that it was only supposed to be a two-year endeavor. All evidence obtained to date shows that the OTI has primarily funded opposition groups and projects in Venezuela, particularly those that were focused on the August 15, 2004 recall referendum against President Chávez.”
Thus when SS Condi Rice mentions “democracy” in Venezuela, we have a pretty good idea of what she is talking about—undermining and eventually overthrowing the democratically elected government of Hugo Chávez. For the neoliberals and neocons, Chávez stands in the way of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (or “free trade,” as in freedom for globalist transnational corporations and international bankers and loan sharks to loot and pillage the natural resources, including Venezuela’s oil, of the Americas). In an effort to demonize Chávez, SS Rice “said that Venezuela and Cuba are ’sidekicks’ of Iran and dangers to Latin American democracies,” in other words, for the Straussian neocons, Venezuela is a junior partner of the axis of evil and will be attacked in similar fashion. “Rice also made reference to suspicions that Venezuela was linked to a recent political crisis in Nicaragua,” the Post Chronicle reports. Nicaragua, of course, was brutally attacked by Reagan neocons through their Contra proxy, resulting in the murder of 30,000-50,000 innocent Nicaraguans in the 1980s (while U.S. supported death squads in neighboring El Salvador and Guatemala claimed the lives of 70,000 and 100,000 respectively).
Hugo Chávez understands all of this very well and that is why he has expelled a US naval attaché on espionage charges and threatened to stop selling oil to the United States, a threat the Bushites will likely not take lightly, considering Venezuela is the fourth-largest supplier of crude oil to the United States, selling it about 1.5 million barrels per day.
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