Tag Archives: 2002 Venezuela Coup plot

Legitimizing Terrorists, BBC Style

This morning, I sat dumbfounded as a I listened to Nick Robinson interview Otto Reich.  For those who are unfamiliar with his name, Reich is an anti-Castro Cuban and former US ambassador to Venezuela, but more about that later.  At no point during the interview did Robinson mention his role in destabilizing governments or harbouring and funding  state-sponsored terrorists like Orlando Bosch or Luis Posada Carilles.  Instead, listeners were left with the impression that Reich was just another anti-Castro Cuban railing against the ‘tyrannical rule’ of Fidel Castro.

“I’m very proud of what the United States has done in Latin America”, Reich told Robinson without a shred of shame.  From the funding of the Nicaraguan Contras to the 1976 shooting down  of Cubana de Aviación Flight 455, Reich was behind the scenes pulling the strings in his role in the Orwellian-sounding Office of Public Diplomacy. When George W Bush became US President in 2000, he rewarded Reich by appointing him as Under Secretary of State. He had previously worked for Bush’s father during his presidency.

This article written by Duncan Campbell, appeared in The Guardian in 2002 and is worth reading. For not only did Reich pull strings, his dirty fingerprints are all over some of the most violent acts in Latin America, including the 2009 Honduran coup d’etat that overthrew the democratically elected government.

According to Counterpunch, he “dedicated himself to the release of Orlando Bosch”, the man who is thought to be responsible for shooting down Flight 455.  Reich’s role in the Venezuelan coup in 2002 was to generate and disseminate anti-Chavez propaganda and disinformation.

Jean-Guy Allard of Counterpunch reported:

On February 7, Colonel Pedro Soto, former aide to Carlos Andres Perez (president at the time of the 1992 coup led by Chavez), affirming that he represented “75% of the armed forces,” publicly attacked the Chavez government. (Invited by an international institute, a CIA client, Soto then visited Washington and Miami, where he was to be found on April 11, loudly celebrating the “return to democracy,” along with Cuban-American terrorist leaders).

Thus a rapidly and steadily more brazen deception campaign was mounted, rapidly joined by the Venezuelan private press, which ended up running a grossly hostile campaign against the government. El Universal daily and Radio Caracas Television, Globovision and Venevision TV networks were already actively preparing the media-military coup, channeling information and systematically harassing the constitutional government and the head of state.

During the coup, the same disinformation gang cut off the broadcast the president’s speech to the people and repeated lie after lie, unleashing violent incidents that would subsequently serve to justify the subversive operation. Meanwhile, the representatives of the new “order” were destroying state television program material.

Then the communications junta shamelessly spread the false information that Chavez had resigned, silenced all public pronouncements by members of the government, and the played up declarations in favor of the criminal coup. One of these was made by Ambassador Shapiro, who affirmed that April 11 was an extraordinary day in the history of Venezuela.

In the morning of Saturday, April 13, speaking before more than 30,000 people at rally in the municipality of Guira de Melena, Habana province, in the presence of President Fidel Castro, Bruno Rodriguez, Cuban ambassador to the United Nations, clearly denounced the media disinformation campaign in Venezuela. “The truth is that a coup d’etat has taken place in Venezuela and that a sellout and . junta is usurping, by means of force, the power invested in President Chavez by the Venezuelan people, with hopes of erasing decades of injustice and corruption by applying Bolivar’s ideals.”

Other lies followed the one alleging Chavez’s resignation, including the assertion that Chavez had sought asylum in Cuba, which was rapidly refuted by Havana.

Indeed, the media complicity with the coup organizers was so strong that when the latter attempted to take the imprisoned president out of the country to the United States, it was planned to transport him aboard a private plane registered in the United States in the name of Gustavo Cisneros, the owner of the Venevision TV network.

Meanwhile, CNN en Espanol linked up with Globovision to finally announce the taking of Miraflores Palace by the people and the presidential guard of honor… five hours after it happened.

Lies, deception, violence, terror: everything smacks of Otto Reich in this failed coup. Even that hysterical rabble of Cuban-Venezuelan emigres that surrounded the Cuban embassy in Caracas for a number of hours, destroying cars and threatening to enter by force – before fleeing when the Bolivarian leader’s return was announced.

Since the death of Fidel Castro, the British mass media has been circling around Cuba like vultures and offering highly-slanted reportage on the 9 days of mourning. The not so hidden discourse of the media expresses the hope that the US will  force the Cuban people to accept American-style freedom. Let’s hope that never happens.

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Hugo Chavez versus neoliberalism

Hugo Chavez

The BBC reported Hugo Chavez’s death in customary style. Their correspondent, Caroline Hawley, referred to him as a “divisive figure” adding “he alienated the middle classes and business”. That last sentence is perhaps the most revealing of all, for it opens a window on the mindset of neoliberals, oligarchs and security operatives. Chavez, who was elected four times as Venezuela’s president, worked to improve the lives of the poor and if you work to build schools, clinics and improve the literacy rates in your country, you are seen as a tyrant and a dictator by moneyed interests. You are painted as a demon by the Western media, who  can’t quite fathom why anyone would reject the so-called free market. Why on earth would someone want to enfranchise the poor? Surely it’s better to exploit them… which is how the neoliberals and self-styled classical liberals see things. Trickle-down only works in the imagination of the oppressor. But tell them that and they’ll call you a “commie”.

I remember well the failed coup of 2002, when Venezuela’s oligarchs and their friends in the Western media, who claimed that Chavez supporters had fired on ‘innocent’ opposition demonstrators. But the oligarchs and their friends got the shock of their lives when footage shot by an Irish film crew revealed that news footage  shown on Venezuela’s oligarch-controlled television, that had been sold to media companies around the world, had been doctored.

You can watch the video of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised here.

I remember cheering when the coup collapsed and Chavez was reinstalled as president. The coup plotters fled to Miami, thus proving that the coup had the support of the United States. After all, this is where you will find Castro’s would-be assassins and an assortment of failed saboteurs.

Hugo Chavez is dead. He died from cancer. But little is known about what kind of cancer he had. However it is a weird coincidence that Fidel Castro has stomach cancer, Evo Morales is also suffering from cancer and Yasser Arafat died from cancer, possibly caused by polonium poisoning. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a conspiracist, but the CIA must be rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of a Venezuela without Chavez at the helm.

Now that Chavez is dead, fresh presidential elections will be called. I suspect that the CIA will try and rig the election to ensure an oligarch wins. They did it in Italy in 1945 and they’ve done it throughout Latin America and the Caribbean for the best part of 60 years. Remember Nicaragua’s 1990 General Election? The popular Sandinista government was ousted in an election in which their opponents were supported with CIA cash. A compliant Violetta Chamorra won that election.

Chavez’s detractors will always complain about “human rights violations” that took place under his rule. Yet the same people who complain about such alleged violations, turned a blind eye to the West’s courting of brutal dictators like Pinochet and Suharto. Where were they when thousands of people were being rounded up, tortured and killed under Franco? Where were they when Uzbekistan’s President Karimov boiled his opponents alive? They were nowhere to be seen. They were strangely silent.

So,  RIP Hugo Chavez. You stood up to neoliberalism and US aggression. Without you, Venezuela would still be run for the rich, while the poor would still be illiterate.The oligarchs want to undo all of that and return Venezuela to a state run by the rich for the benefit of the rich.

The eyes of the world are watching Venezuela.

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