Another article in the continuing
media campaign in Britain against Venezuela's President
Chavez again posits civil war as a possible sequel
to the current recall referendum process in Venezuela.
In a self-contradictory account published by the Guardian
on May 25th, Miami Herald writer Sybilla Brodzinsky
writes that the recall referendum may also be
the last chance to avoid a civil war, experts say.
She offers no source for the assertion, although she
might easily have cited President Chavez himself who
has openly referred to the possibility of civil war
-- as a result of foreign intervention.
insistence with which the specter of a spontaneous
civil war has been invoked lately in the less reactionary
British media by writers like Rupert Cornwell in the
Independent and now by Sybilla Brodzinsky in the Guardian
is noteworthy. It is as though all mainstream media
reporting on Venezuela have been briefed to spread
anxiety about a civil war. Thus, such fears become
the very prophecy the White House war-crime machine
is already primed to make come true.
way the free press works can be seen from
a report by Martha Sanchez in the Washington Post
on May 20th. She writes State Department officials
say they are talking with U.S. editorial writers,
hoping to send a clear message to Chavez through the
press: let the recall referendum happen or face the
consequences. Pass-the-parcel threats, accompanying
misrepresentation and downright falsehood, are routine
in mainstream reporting on Venezuela just as they
were on Nicaragua through the 1980s. Other similarities
Brodzinsky Meets the Red Queen
Guardian piece by Sybilla Brodzinsky is very reminiscent
of the endless hatchet jobs on the Sandinista government
in the 1980s. She states in the first few paragraphs
In its last chance to remove the president constitutionally,
the opposition this week hopes to be able to validate
more than a million signatures on a petition to trigger
a recall vote against Mr. Chavez.
paragraphs later she quotes an opposition leader saying
that if they lose the chance for a referendum when
the validation result is made public this week the
opposition will focus on the elections in 2006. The
Red Queen might say, a poor kind of a last chance....
Such lapses are a constant peril for anyone writing
on current affairs, but Brodzinsky also fails to mention
the local elections scheduled for August this year.
lapse is understandable. Two or three look like bespoke
tailoring. The Guardian should be ashamed for allowing
Brodzinsky to refer to the months-long lockout by
the private business dominated Venezuelan opposition
in 2002 as a general strike. But that
misrepresentation is all of a piece with the article's
Sauce - Bad News for Colonial Ganders
kind of free press has been one of the
main tools used by all US governments in their war
crimes, from the extermination of native Indians and
the Spanish-American War to the present day. Cooking
up fake-respectable democracy is a White House specialty.
George W. Bush is stretching the process even further
than his predecessors -- rigged elections, Camp X-Ray,
Patriot Act and all.
Venezuela, the United States government and its representatives
have encouraged an unprecedented campaign of incitement
to violence and insurrection by the opposition controlled
media against the elected government. Venezuela's
representative to the Organization of American States
(OAS) recently denounced US Assistant Secretary of
State Roger Noriega for inciting trouble. Noriega
has declared that the US government will not accept
a result in the recall referendum that does not lead
to a recall vote.
kind of hubris seems incredible to anyone uncontaminated
by US official and media narcissism. It becomes laughable
when Assistant Secretary of State Lorne Cramer tries
to explain the clamp-down on independent media outlet
Al Jazeera in Iraq. He said, We are extremely
tolerant, but inciting violence is something else.
has been a more democratic country than the United
States since the majority rejected the bogus US-style
democracy imposed for decades by the local oligarchy
and elected Hugo Chavez to be their President. That
attempt by the Venezuelan people at some real self-determination
represents the same yearning of the poor majority
for a genuine say and a better life that the US stifled
in Nicaragua. US efforts to destroy that process in
Venezuela continue apace.
experience of the long drawn out war against Nicaragua
is being brought to bear on Venezuela by the same
people who led the United States to its conviction
for terrorism against Nicaragua by the International
Court of Justice in 1986. Powell, Cheney, Armitage,
Abrams, Noriega, Rice, Maisto, all these people familiar
from Ronald Reagan's outlaw terrorist government have
leading jobs in the current Bush regime. Colin Powell's
big-mailed-stick and little-withered-carrot approach
was perfected in Nicaragua. What should we expect
from such people as regards Venezuela?
behind the scenes perception management of mainstream
international media comes high on the list along with
persistent, aggressive bullying and downright lies
in public statements. Intervening openly in Venezuela's
politics, the US government has provided hundreds
of thousands of dollars to political opponents of
the Chavez government just as they did in Nicaragua.
It is hard to see how the opposition could mobilize
so consistently without that direct US intervention
and regular support from the US embassy in Caracas.
The constant message they put out is Chavez
is a dictator endangering democracy.
US ignored Nicaragua's 1984 election which the Sandinistas
won with over 60% of the vote in the first free and
fair election in Nicaraguan history. Now they are
ignoring President Chavez's consistently proven electoral
support and his government's introduction of the most
democratic constitution in the Americas. Who would
fancy the chances of George W. Bush in a recall referendum
right now? It was the Chavez government who made the
recall process possible in Venezuela in the first
Through the Contra How to....
regime concern at alleged human rights abuses deliberately
provoked by opposition violence contrasts sharply
with its complacency about terrorism and violence
against supporters of the Chavez regime and its toleration
of anti-Chavez terrorists in the US. Not that those
Florida-based terrorists are necessary. Like Nicaragua,
Venezuela has a long virtually indefensible land border
through terrain perfect for infiltrating Contra-style
task forces. Colombia is playing the same role Honduras
and Costa Rica played against Nicaragua.
provided secure bases for Contra terrorist attacks
against schools, clinics and farm cooperatives at
the same time as they double-talked their way through
the motions of a peace process. Now Venezuela is faced
with aggression from Colombian paramilitaries indirectly
or directly funded and trained by the US military
and by US, British and other mercenaries working with
the Colombian army.
in the terror war against Nicaragua, allies have been
lined up through NATO and the Organization of American
States. Holland has provided the US military with
Forward Operating Locations in its Caribbean colonies
Aruba and Curacao. Little can be expected from the
craven European Union (EU) in defense of democracy
in Venezuela. The absence of meaningful measures against
Israel following its serial massacres from Jenin to
Rafah shows the kind of political support the EU offers
victims of ruthless aggression.
its terrorist attacks on Nicaragua the US was able
to use the Ilopango air base in El Salvador, Palmerola
in Honduras and Howard in Panama. Along with the bases
in the Dutch Antilles, Ecuador has made available
an air base near Manta, a small port within easy flying
time of Colombia and Venezuela. Like Nicaragua, Venezuela
is now ringed by US air bases.
Man Gaviria and the OAS Traveling Troupe
current OAS president is the Colombian Cesar Gaviria.
Gaviria masterminded the CONVIVIR rural paramilitaries
providing a nascent structure and training ground
for the forerunners of the AUC death squads. During
his presidency over 1000 representatives, officials
and members of the left wing Union Patriotica were
murdered by paramilitaries, convincing opposition
guerrillas to abandon any ideas of adopting constitutional
politics. The OAS is now helping Colombian President
Uribe to legalize the paramilitaries in Colombia under
cover of a peace negotiation, something
they seem curiously unable to arrange with the left-wing
allied to multinational corporations, the World Bank
and the IMF, Gaviria shamelessly offers himself as
an honest broker in Venezuela just as Oscar Arias
did in Nicaragua. The US stage management of their
exercises in destabilization has become so consummate
they hardly need to lift up the phone to appeal for
performers. Starry-eyed hopefuls longing for General
Secretaryship at the UN or a Nobel Peace Prize line
up for casting.
Extras Standing By For Their Cue
at the ready, the paramilitary killers too relish
their chance to move into lucrative new killing fields.
The or else of the White House is very
clearly the kind of terror rampant for decades in
Colombia and recently unleashed by US protégés
in Haiti. That is the most likely explanation of the
arrest and detention of over 80 Colombian paramilitaries
and army reservists early in May near Caracas. They
had been training for terrorist operations on a farm
belonging to Roberto Alonso one of the more extremist
of the Venezuelan opposition leaders.
for pro-Chavez trades union and rural workers organizers
murdered in Venezuela vary. Most estimates put the
number at over 120 since 1999. Much of the violence
occurs in frontier areas where the Colombian army
and paramilitaries are active. As well as combating
Colombian guerrillas and running drugs, these paramilitaries
are also involved in very profitable fuel smuggling.
A typical attack on Venezuelan civilians by the Colombian
army was reported on May 24th this year when a Colombian
army helicopter of the 1st Mobile Brigade attacked
a settlement in Ovejas in the Sucre department killing
and wounding villagers.
did you last see your father? -- AUC Chainsaw
in Colombia's updated version of the National Security
State so popular among repressive regimes supported
by the US through the 1970s and 1980s, President Uribe
repeats all the characteristic excesses of that model.
Contempt for basic human rights is the norm. Uribe
and his officials are notorious for their attacks
on human rights defenders and their complacency at
the murderous repression of labor unions and rural
now they are negotiating with paramilitary leaders
who have worked in close support of the Colombian
army for many years murdering and terrorizing people
and communities perceived to be opposed to the government
or the interests of big landowners and foreign multinationals
like BP, Repsol, Drummond, Occidental Petroleum and
others. Paramilitary activity in the resource rich
Arauca department intensified in May this year. In
April, an attack in Bahia de Portete offered one more
horrific example of paramilitary collusion with the
Colombian Army whose 2nd Brigade has harassed the
indigenous Wayuu people in the area for many years.
April 18th a large group of heavily armed paramilitaries
took over the town. Two children who couldn't tell
their parents' whereabouts were burned alive. Other
villagers were dismembered alive by chainsaw. Three
hundred of the Wayuu escaped on foot to seek refuge
in Venezuela vowing to return and fight for their
land and homes. It was a text book operation lifted
straight from the practice of the Nicaraguan Contras.
the conditions are well advanced for the kind of skillful
destructive destabilization campaign developed in
every underhand way possible at which the Bush team
are so good. They will mix the usual ingredients of
covert terror, overt threats, economic and diplomatic
arm-twisting and every imaginable hypocrisy backed
up by their country's incomparable military might.
Nicaragua lived the horror of US government low
intensity terrorism for nearly a decade through
the 1980s. Now the same individuals in this Bush regime
are ready to do the same to Venezuela.
Solo is an activist based in Central America.
Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews +
Letters + Archives