April 14, 2002 |
The CIA and the Venezuela Coup
Hugo Chavez: A Servant Not Knowing his Place
by William Blum
How do we know that the CIA was behind the coup that overthrew Hugo Chavez?
Same way we know that the sun will rise tomorrow morning. That's what it's always done and there's no reason to think that tomorrow morning will be any different.
Consider Chavez's crimes:
The United States has endeavored to topple numerous governments for a whole lot less.
- Branding the US attacks on Afghanistan as "fighting terrorism with terrorism", he demanded an end to "the slaughter of innocents"; holding up photographs of children killed in the American bombing attacks, he said their deaths had "no justification, just as the attacks in New York did not, either." In response, the Bush administration temporarily withdrew its ambassador.
- Being very friendly with Fidel Castro and selling oil to Cuba at discount rates.
- His defense minister asking the permanent US military mission in Venezuela to vacate its offices in the [Venezuelan] military headquarters in Caracas, saying its presence was an anachronism from the cold war.
- Not cooperating to Washington's satisfaction with the US war against the Colombian guerrillas.
- Denying Venezuelan airspace to US counter-drug flights.
- Refusing to provide US intelligence agencies with information on Venezuela's large Arab community.
- Questioning the sanctity of globalization.
- Promoting a regional free-trade bloc and united Latin American petroleum operations as a way to break free from US economic dominance.
- Visiting Sadaam Hussein in Iraq and Moammar Gaddafy in Libya.
- And more in the same vein which the Washington aristocracy is unaccustomed to encountering from the servant class.
The Washington Post reported from Venezuela on April 13: "Members of the country's diverse opposition had been visiting the U.S. Embassy here in recent weeks, hoping to enlist U.S. help in toppling Chavez. The visitors included active and retired members of the military, media leaders and opposition politicians.
"The opposition has been coming in with an assortment of 'what ifs'," said a U.S. official familiar with the effort. "What if this happened? What if that happened? What if you held it up and looked at it sideways? To every scenario we say no. We know what a coup looks like, and we won't support it."
Right. They won't support a coup. So what happens when a coup occurs which they want to support? Simple. They don't call it a coup. They call it a "change of government" and say that Chavez was ousted "as a result of the message of the Venezuelan people." Veritable grass-roots democracy it was.
Opposition legislators were also brought to Washington in recent months, including at least one delegation sponsored by the International Republican Institute, an integral part of the National Endowment for Democracy, long used by the CIA for covert operations abroad.
Overthrowing a man such as Hugo Chavez, guilty of such transgressions, was a duty so "natural" for the CIA that the only reason it might not have been intimately involved in the operation would be that the Agency had been secretly disbanded.
William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower. Blum can be reached at: BBlum6@aol.com