|COUP-MAKING IN VENEZUELA:
THE BUSH AND OIL FACTORS
by Karen Talbot
Karen Talbot is Director of the International Center for
Justice and Peace, and a member of the Executive
Committee of the World Peace Council.
The power elite in the United States has never been happy
with democratically-elected Venezuelan President Hugo
Ch?vez, but it took the Bush administration to turn up the
heat against him. Matters reached a boiling point in April
with the coup d'etat against Ch?vez which surprisingly
lasted only two days as millions of Venezuelan poor came to
his defense. Many of the details about the ousting of Ch?vez
and his replacement by corporate mogul Pedro Carmona
Estanga, during those 48 hours, have yet to be sleuthed out,
but key evidence implicating Bush and his cohorts has
The primary clues are revealed in the repeated criticisms of
Ch?vez by Washington--echoed in the commercial media--and
its immediate virtual endorsement of the Carmona regime by
its failure to condemn the coup. In this stance, the U.S.
stood alone. The unmistakable backdrop behind the U.S.
position is Venezuela's status as the fourth largest
oil-exporting country in the world, and currently the third
largest source of U.S. oil imports.(1) "Venezuela is a major
cash cow for Phillips Petroleum and ExxonMobil. Chevron
Texaco and Occidental Petroleum are two other major oil
companies with interests in Venezuela and Colombia."(2)
The mantra of complaints against Ch?vez who had been elected
in record landslide votes in 1998 and 2000, included his
Bolivarian reforms to "take from the rich and give to the
poor;" his refusal to allow U.S. planes to fly over
Venezuelan territory for its war in Colombia; his opposition
to the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA); and his
leadership in OPEC where he works for a fairer deal for
Venezuela and other oil-producing countries by pushing up
oil prices. (In the process, Venezuela dropped below Canada,
Saudi Arabia, and Mexico in supplying oil to the U.S.) Also
particularly rankling to the Bush Administration with its
abundance of right-wing Cubans, is Ch?vez's sale of oil to
Cuba in exchange for medical care.
Venezuela has been receiving about half of its revenues from
the state owned Petr?leos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA).(3) So
providing more for the country's poor multitudes necessarily
meant maximizing the gains from Venezuela's rich national
resource, oil. This entailed altering the 60-year-old
agreement with foreign oil companies "that charges them as
little as one percent in royalties," plus handing them huge
tax breaks, according to the London Guardian (4) The giant
transnational oil corporations and business interests,
coveting all that black gold, had far different plans. Not
surprisingly, the PDVSA figured heavily in all the intrigue
and machinations leading to the coup. "Opposition business
leaders have said openly that they want to depose Ch?vez "so
they can boost oil production or even privatize the
country's cash cow [PDVSA]....they have been enraged ...over
Ch?vez's efforts to take resources from the rich to aid the
poor, who represent 80 percent of the population," says
Newsday writer, Letta Tayler.(5)
As he donned his presidential sash(ordered months before
from Spain (6)) and dined sumptuously with his
co-conspirators, the 48 hour usurper, Carmona, moved almost
instantaneously to turn around Ch?vez's Bolivarian policies
and consolidate what amounts to an "oiligarchy." Within 48
hours, he dissolved the parliament and the supreme court,
dismissed all mayors and governors, stopped the shipment of
oil to Cuba, and started a massive wave of repression across
the country. But there is more.
THE GOAL: PRIVATIZATION OF VENEZUELA'S OIL
According to an article in Proceso by Aram Ruben Aharonian
(7), private investigations revealed that one of the moves
of the 48-hour coup leaders was "the privatization of PDVSA,
turning it over to a U.S. company linked to President George
Bush and the Spanish company Repsol; plus the sale of CITGO,
the U.S. subsidiary of PDVSA, to Gustavo Cisneros and his
partners in the north: as well as an end to the Venezuelan
government's exclusive subsoil rights."
Aharonian continues: "For this to happen, it was necessary
to suspend the 1999 constitution and take advantage of the
conflict at the state oil company, where top management was
following orders sent from the north through its former
president Luis Giusti. And support came from businessman
Isaac P?rez Recao, for whom Carmona had worked in the Venoco
oil company, and who actively participated in the coup and
provided financing." (8) Giusti has ties with the White
House as an energy advisor. (9)
Cisneros, a longtime friend of former President George Bush,
who had hosted Bush on a fishing trip a few months ago,
heads up a corporate empire stretching from the U.S. to
Patagonia. Cisneros' huge dominion is made up of DIRACTV,
Venevisi?n, Coca Cola, and Televisa. (10)
"On the afternoon of the coup [April 12]. The plotters,
including Carmona, met at the Venevisi?n television station.
'This government was put together at Gustavo Cisneros'
office,' said opposition legislator Pedro Pablo Alc?ntara
(Democratic Action Party). The person who read Carmona's
decree and who Carmona named as attorney-general, was Daniel
Romero, who had been a private secretary to former President
Carlos Andres Perez and a functionary in the Cisneros
organization." reported Aharonian.(11)
Venezuela's state-owned PDVSA is Latin America's largest
company. (12)-a lucrative prize awaiting the eager fingers
of the privatizers.
Let's be clear: privatization, often touted as making
government firms and other entities more efficient, does so
by eliminating unions, greatly reducing wages, cutting
benefits, laying off workers, increasing the work load for
the remaining employees, and by wiping out revenues that
formerly went for social programs such as health care,
education and aid to the poor, in a given country. Often
these firms are sold and closed down, with the profits going
to mega corporations and banks in the north. These are the
only ways to reap private profit from what were once
publicly-owned enterprises. Thus, privatization vastly
increases the gap between the rich and poor.
The maneuvers to achieve privatization of PDVSA clearly
began in earnest after Ch?vez became president. Though we
are being told that it was the PDVSA workers who reacted
against Ch?vez's changes, the Wall Street Journal article,
inadvertently disclosed quite a different picture. It speaks
of "top management and white-collar workers" at PDVSA being
"in open revolt against the government of President Hugo
Ch?vez. "[T]hey have participated in...noisy demonstrations
and work stoppages to protest the recent appointment of
three Ch?vez loyalists to PDVSA's board. The insurgent
managers are supported by the leaders of the 40,000 strong
Fedpetrol oil workers' union...Leaders of a newly organized
PDVSA 'management union' aren't saying when or if they would
strike. However, after holding a companywide meeting last
weekend, they announced plans to carry out a series of
gradual escalations of the conflict that could culminate in
an indefinite strike...The controversy quickly exploded when
thousands of PDVSA executives, signed full-page newspaper
ads denouncing the new appointees as 'incompetent.'" (KT's
In a subsequent Wall Street Journal article, Marc Lifsher
said that on April 4, "the PDVSA executives declared a work
stoppage."(KT's emphasis) (14)
In the lexicon of U.S. labor, the strike actions essentially
appear to be, "lockouts" by management. The leadership of
the oil workers union operating in close alliance with the
two political parties that ran Venezuela for 40 years before
Ch?vez became involved, as well. More on that later.
Now comes the information unmasking the entire situation.
The WSJ article stated: "Trouble between elite PDVSA
administrators and the president has been building....since
Mr. Ch?vez pushed through a controversial hydrocarbons law
that increases most production royalties on both PDVSA and
international oil companies to 30% from 16.7%. The law also
requires PDVSA to own a majority stake in all joint ventures
with foreign companies. (KT's emphases) (15)
The article points out that Ch?vez made the changes because,
as he stated, PDVSA has become a "state within a state."
That this may, in fact, have been the case is also revealed
by the WSJ article which said that "the former president of
PDVSA, Brig. General Guaicaipuro Lameda was dismissed on
February 23, 2001, and he was replaced by economist Gast?n
Parra. Mr. Parra, critics charged, is a 1960s-era
big-government leftist, dispatched to PDVSA on a mission to
tie the company more closely to the state." The article
points out that Lameda says the PDVSA "has a 27-year history
of being efficiently run as a profit-making company that
pays dividends to its shareholder, the state. It shouldn't
be delegated to the inferior status of being a mere
appendage of the oil ministry, subject to the president's
interference."(KT's emphases) (16)
The giant PDVSA is owned by Venezuela, not a fiefdom of
PDVSA board members put in place by the previous corrupt
Venezuelan oligarchy. The state is not merely a
"shareholder" of PDVSA. It owns PDVSA. Allegations about
PDVSA being a "mere appendage of the oil ministry" seem
ludicrous since clearly the oil ministry would have
jurisdiction over the government-owned enterprise.
Similarly, it would seem that the government clearly has
every right to decide on the board members and to "tie the
company more closely to the state."
BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S ROLE
Last fall, "a stream of prominent Venezuelans opposed to
Ch?vez's populism...began visiting U.S. officials...to float
ideas about his ouster," wrote Letta Tayler. In some
meetings, including one this year at the U.S. Embassy that
was attended by Pedro Carmona [head of the big business
alliance Fedecamaras]....a coup was specifically proposed,
participants in those talks said... Some Ch?vez opponents
left the meetings believing that 'all the United States
really cared about was that it was done neatly, with a
resignation letter or something to show for it,' said a
Venezuelan source familiar with some of the discussions,"
Tayler reported. (17) (Early in the coup attempt the word
went out that Ch?vez had indeed "resigned." Ch?vez's wife
and others among his advisors adamantly denied those reports
which helped galvanize the huge mass turnout in support of
Ch?vez, despite massive media misinformation.)
Further, the article points out that "pro-Ch?vez Venezuelan
officials have said two members of the U.S. Embassy's
military attach?s were briefly inside the coup-makers'
military headquarters at Fort Tiuna on April 13...One of the
U.S. officers held an hourlong closed-door meeting with Gen.
Efrain Vasquez Velasco, the army commander, one Venezuelan
official said." Embassy spokesman John Law denied these
Bush appointees dealing with this region got their start in
the dirty wars under President Reagan. According to an
article in the Observer: "One of them, Elliot Abrams, has a
conviction for misleading Congress over the infamous
Iran-Contra affair." Abrams is based in the White House as
senior director of the National Security Council for
'democracy, human rights and international operations,' and
has a long history as a leading theoretician of the school
known as "Hemispherism" which focuses on countering Marxism
in the Americas and which spawned the coup in Chile in 1973,
and backed the regimes and death squads in Argentina, El
Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and elsewhere. He "gave the
nod for the coup," in Venezuela, said the Observer. (19)
Otto J. Reich, a right-wing Cuban exile and former lobbyist
for Mobil Oil, who is now U.S. assistant secretary of state
for Latin America, received at the White House Venezuelans
plotting a coup, including Carmona himself. These visits
began "several months ago" and continued until a short time
before the aborted coup, according to OAS sources cited in
the Observer article. In these meetings, "the coup was
discussed...right down to its timing and chances of
success," the sources said. (20)
Reich has extensive ties with Venezuela. He had been
appointed ambassador to Venezuela in 1986, even though his
appointment had been heavily opposed by leaders in that
country and by democrats in Congress. (21)
The congressional investigation into the Iran-contra scandal
revealed that Reich reported directly to Reagan's National
Security Aide, Colonel Oliver North, in the White House.
North was convicted for his role in Iran-contra scandal.
(22) Reich subsequently was removed from Reagan's staff.
The London Guardian reported that last June, American
military attaches had been in touch with members of the
Venezuelan military to examine the possibility of a coup,"
It quoted journalist, Wayne Madsen, a former Naval and
National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence officer as
saying that U.S. Navy ships "provided signals intelligence
and communications jamming support" to the Venezuelan
military during the coup attempt. (23)
The Guardian article details many other aspects of the
logistics support provided by the U.S. for leading members
of the coup. These and other particulars about the forces
behind the coup in which 17 people were killed and more than
100 injured--many apparently from snipers on rooftops--are
now being investigated.
Remembering the disturbing similarities to the
U.S.-instigated Chilean coup including the killing of
democratically-elected President Allende in 1973--which
succeeded after one failed coup attempt--the great majority
of Venezuelan people are remaining vigilant to any further
moves to oust Ch?vez.
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) provided funds
for opposition groups in Venezuela, as revealed in a New
York Times article. It said "In the past year, the United
States channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants
to U.S. and Venezuelan groups opposed to President Hugo
The NED was founded in 1983 by Congress, and began openly
financing many activities that once had been exclusively
carried out as covert operations by the CIA. Often their
operations are supplemented by funds from the Agency for
International Development (AID) and, of course, the CIA and
other intelligence agencies continue their own parallel
The NED has operated in tandem with all major
interventionist undertakings in the 1980s and 1990s. (25)
Wrapping itself in the rhetoric of "democracy" the NED
continues to take millions of tax dollars from U.S. workers
and give them to so-called non-governmental and "civil
society" groups to build opposition, and to ultimately
unseat elected governments, or otherwise bring about "regime
change." The targeted countries have usually been "guilty"
of some level of rejection of "free market reforms,"
domination by transnational corporations, privatization, and
various austerity measures imposed by international
financial institutions. Other countries whose basic economic
systems are socialist and therefore essentially counter to
the "free market" and corporate rule, are subject to
especially intense NED intrigues.
Prior to the days of the NED, the Central Intelligence
Agency and other U.S. intelligence bodies, covertly carried
out all of these operations, toppling many democratically
elected governments. In fact the very first venture by the
CIA in 1948, was to successfully swing the elections in
Italy to bring about victory for the right-wing Christian
Democratic Party which was swarming with former
collaborators with the fascist Mussolini regime.
It is common knowledge that the CIA was instrumental in the
overthrow of Prime Minister Mossedeq of Iran (because he had
nationalized the oil industry), Salvador Allende of Chile
(assassinated), Cheddhi Jagan of Guyana, Prime Minister
Michael Manley of Jamaica, Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala, Juan
Bosch of Dominican Republic, Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba
of Congo (assassinated) and Indonesia's President Sukarno,
among others. There were also countless other CIA covert
actions aimed at propping up brutal right-wing death squad
leaders in El Salvador, contras in Nicaragua, Suharto in
Indonesia, apartheid South Africa, ad infinitum. These
operations were often carried out in tandem with U.S.
military might. Add to this the training of thousands from
Latin America in what was formerly called the "School of the
Americas" in Ft. Benning, Georgia.(renamed Western
Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) Alumni of
this infamous "school" move on to become torturers,
murderers, death squad leaders, and coup makers throughout
the southern part of the hemisphere.
In the process, billions of tax dollars from the pockets of
U.S. workers have been dished out through the super secret
budgets of intelligence agencies and to the
BRAZIL FASCIST COUP
The story of coup-making in Brazil is almost identical to
what was done in numerous countries including Chile, Iran,
and now, Venezuela. In March 1964, Brazil's elected
president, Joao Goulart, ordered the nationalization of all
private oil refineries. By April 1, a military junta brought
down his government ushering in an era of an exceedingly
brutal tyranny which introduced the use of death squads.
The CIA was involved in a major way in bringing about the
coup d'etat in Brazil. One aspect of the CIA intervention,
pertaining to propaganda, involved techniques used in
country after country. According to Noam Chomsky and Edward
S. Herman, "In 1962, the CIA mounted a 'saturation campaign'
with 80 weekly radio programs, 300 additional hours of
radio-TV advertising, a flooding of the press with canned
editorials and 'information,' large quantities of billboard
ads and pamphlets, etc. It kept 'dozens' of journalists on
its payroll and edited a monthly magazine, using top quality
paper and free distribution. It even rented the editorial
page of Rio's evening paper, A Noite. And it subsidized the
publication of numerous conservative books, distributed free
and without attribution." (26)
Creating splits in the labor movement in Brazil and Chile
through the activities of the CIA- backed American Institute
for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) contributed significantly
to the success of coup against Goulart in Brazil, Bosch in
Dominican Republic, and Allende in Chile. The effort in
Venezuela to oust Ch?vez also involved "labor actions,"with
many of the labor leaders closely allied with the former
officials of pre-Ch?vez right-wing governments. Coupled with
the constant bombardment of anti-Ch?vez propaganda by the
corporate-owned media and the NED destabilization efforts,
this tie-in with labor was aimed at creating confusion among
The role of the CIA, AIFLD and U.S. corporations in the
bloody overthrow of President Salvador Allende in Chile is
widely known. Allende had been elected president in November
1970, and began land reform, and nationalized the banks, the
mines and large industrial firms. This stirred the ire of
the U.S. government. After all, U.S. and foreign
corporations controlled almost all of the key sectors of the
economy--machinery and equipment, 50 percent; iron, steel
and metal products, 60 percent; automotive assembly, 100
percent; tobacco, 100 percent; advertising, 90 percent,
according to James Petras, testifying before a Congressional
Committee in 1975.
So on September 11, 1973, Allende was overthrown and
assassinated. At least thirty thousand people were killed by
General Pinochet's military junta within a very short time.
ENTER THE N.E.D.
One of the very first operations heavily financed by NED
resulted in the electoral defeat of the Sandinistas in
Nicaragua in 1989. More recently, NED involvement in the
former Yugoslavia helped fragment that country and bring
down its leadership.
The NED web site reveals many details of NED's
"projects."(Sometimes information about the grantees has
been removed from the site following various expos?s.
Nevertheless, researchers have retained printouts of this
material.) What emerges is a picture of the countries and
issues of NED concentration during a given year. For
example, there continues to be heavy emphasis on Eastern
European countries and former Soviet republics, as well as
Cuba and China. During recent years, a large number of
grants went to opposition groups in the former Yugoslavia.
N.E.D. AND LABOR
The largest NED grants, by far, consistently go to so-called
"labor solidarity" groups--usually in the hundreds of
thousands of dollars. These are funneled to groups in
various countries through the American Center for
International Labor Solidarity (ACILS) or its regional
counterparts, which are connected with the AFL-CIO. In fact
ACILS is described as one of the four core NED institutes.
The others are: The National Democratic Institute for
International Affairs, the International Republican
Institute, and the Center of International Private
In the case of Venezuela, the New York Times pointed out in
a candid article entitled "U.S. Bankrolling Is Under
Scrutiny for Ties to Ch?vez Ouster," that the NED quadrupled
its budget to $877,000 for that country just prior to the
coup attempt. ACILS' share of the new budget was $154,377.
But ACILS also had been receiving grants for activities in
Venezuela in the prior couple of years. For example in 2000,
ACILS received $60,084 "[t]o support the Confederation of
Venezuelan Workers (CTV) to effect reforms intended to
increase rank and file control over decision making. ACILS
will conduct courses for regional federations of the CTV,
focusing on problems and challenges for unions in a changing
world, restructuring of labor organizations, and
establishing internal elections for union leadership.(30)
This sounds innocuous, even laudable. However, clearly such
"internal elections" had not been carried out up to that
time, during the many years prior to Ch?vez's presidency.
Even the statement issued by the AFL-CIO about the events in
Venezuela said that in October and November 2001, CTV
members voted in the "first one-member-one vote, secret
ballot union election in Venezuelan history." (31) The
obvious question is: if the CTV was in need of
democratization throughout its history, why did this
involvement of ACILS/NED start just at the time Ch?vez was
instituting major reforms in the country including taking
more direct hold of the oil industry for the benefit of the
people of Venezuela, including by appointing new members to
the management board of the PDVSA?
Ironically, the Venezuelan unions' operations are more
transparent than at any time in history partly because of a
number of reforms that were launched by Ch?vez who had
pushed through a referendum calling for Mr. Ortega and all
other labor leaders to stand for direct elections before the
rank and file last October, according to Wall Street
Journal. (32) After elections were held, there followed
accusations of fraud when Ortega and the old guard declared
themselves the winners and refused to submit the official
results and ballots to the government. The International
Confederation of Trade Unions (ICFTU) and the AFL-CIO, of
course, had denounced this referendum as interference in the
internal affairs of unions.
The AFL-CIO and NED proudly stated in the invitation to a
closed forum on February 12, which they sponsored, that the
CTV played "a key role in the national strike on December
10"--an action called by business owners which resulted in
sending millions of workers home. The invitation also said
the CTV had joined with business and other groups in " a
massive demonstration against the government on January
23."(33) It remains unanswered whether or not the union
members ever participated in a vote to support the "strike."
The amount of money allotted to ACILS for work in Venezuela
is relatively small and could be dismissed as insignificant.
And the AFL-CIO statement about ACILS work in Venezuela
states that all the funds were used only for "printing of
election materials, the training of CTV election committees,
and the sponsoring of forums which brought labor, business,
human rights and religious leaders together in defense of
freedom of association." Further, the statement
"unequivocally condemned the coup attempt of April 12th."
Yet, the ACILS Venezuelan operation should be seen in the
context of the total amounts of money directed by NED to
ACILS for work in other selected countries. The sums given
for ACILS operations are nearly always considerably larger
than for other grantees. ACILS also receives funds from the
Agency for International Development (AID), acknowledged
Barbara Shailor, head of ACILS, according to an article
titled "Its time to come clean: Open the AFL-CIO Archives on
International Labor Operations."(35)
Questions are being raised by concerned union members about
any role ACILS may have had in the coup attempt in
Venezuela. This is exemplified by the Monterey Bay Labor
Council which passed a motion to send a letter on this
matter to John Sweeney, AFL-CIO president. The letter
expressed concern about the allegations contained in a San
Joe Mercury News article (4/25/02) and asked "why the
AFL-CIO would be involved in funneling State Department
money to a labor federation in Venezuela that was actively
involved in trying to overthrow that country's
It recalled that "for decades the AFL-CIO's American
Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) meddled in the
internal affairs of our Latin American neighbors using State
Department money...This set a terrible precedent and left a
bitter taste in the mouths of many Latin American trade
unionists. It gave the impression that the AFL-CIO is an
instrument of the U.S. government for achieving our
government's political goals, rather than an independent
labor federation fighting for labor rights both at home and
The letter pointed out that they were heartened when the
Sweeney administration abolished AIFLD and its sister
institutes and replaced them with ACILS. "We hope the recent
revelation regarding Solidarity Center activity in Venezuela
involving State Department/NED money does not signal a
resumption of AIFLD-style meddling in the affairs of other
countries," the letter said.
It concluded by saying: "We wholeheartedly agree with
AFL-CIO support for our sister labor movements around the
world and all efforts to strengthen them in our common
struggle against corporate-driven globalization. We believe,
however, that these activities should be funded by our
members and not by the U.S. government, whose agenda on
labor issues is often antithetical to ours."
"CLEAR THE AIR"
There were earlier resolutions--initially unanimously passed
by the South Bay Labor Council (San Jose)--and later joined
by the King County Labor Council (Seattle), the Washington
State Labor Council, and Pride at Work. The South Bay Labor
Council resolution cited articles showing that the AFL-CIO
played a role leading to the bloody Pinochet overthrow of
the democratically- elected government of Chile, that its
work was linked to corporate and CIA intervention ordered by
Richard Nixon and led by Henry Kissinger, that the AFL-CIO
engaged in similar activities in many countries on almost
every continent and that such activities served corporate
interests and were funded by the U.S. government. The
resolutions called on president Sweeney to clear the air by
revealing exactly what activities may still be engaged in
abroad with funds paid by government agencies and to
renounce any such ties arguing that these would compromise
the AFL-CIO's credibility and trust of workers here and
abroad and "would make us paid agents of the government or
of the forces of corporate globalization."
These and other discussions within the U.S. labor movement
are critical to clearing the way for true global labor
solidarity so essential today in order to counter the
corporate global reach.
Meanwhile, more details continue to surface about the role
played by the CTV leadership, especially its president,
Carlos Ortega, in the coup attempt in Venezuela. That Ortega
was deeply involved is indicated by numerous accounts,
including in the Newsday article by Tayler. The article
points out that former Venezuelan President Carlos Andres
Perez, wanted on corruption charges in Venezuela and
currently living in Miami, and who has been accused of
involvement in the plot, is a mentor of both Ortega and
Carmona. Ortega is described as helping to organize the
April 11 strike and march on Miraflores Palace. In fact,
Carlos Ortega shouted "on to Miraflores" that day, helping
to divert the march route to the palace. (36)
The Wall Street Journal also reported that "some Venezuela
political analysts remain unconvinced of Mr. Ortega's
reformist credentials. The union movement in Venezuela,
operated in close alliance with the two political parties
that shared power here for 40 years through the 1990s has a
history of corruption. In fact, the unions contributed to
the wave of public revulsion with the traditional political
class and lifted Mr. Ch?vez to power in elections in 1998."
"THE PERFECT CRIME"
Since the aborted coup the campaign to topple Chavez has
been redoubled. Le Monde diplomatique described the likely
scenario for overthrowing Chavez:
"[T]here will be a coalition of the well-to-do, bringing
together the Catholic Church (represented mainly by Opus
Dei), the financial oligarchy, the employers' organizations,
the bourgeoisie and corrupt trade union leaderships -- all
repackaged as "civil society." The owners of major media
will collude ... to support the campaigns that they will
each launch against the president, in the name of defending
that "civil society". The media will function as a factory
of lies and will fire public opinion with facile slogans:
"Chavez is a dictator" -- even though the country has not
one single political prisoner... The media will yell the
message that "Chavez must go...
"[T]he press and TV will brandish terms--"the people,
democracy, liberty" etc. They will mobilize street
demonstrations and any attempt by the government to
criticize them will be immediately described as "a serious
assault on freedom of expression," to be reported to
relevant international organizations.... they will revive
the insurrectional strike and encourage ideas of a coup and
an assault on the presidential palace...
"[W]ith renewed ferocity and remarkable impunity the
Venezuelan media currently uses lies and disinformation in
the biggest ever destabilization campaign against a
democratically elected government. Since the world hardly
seems to care, the media hopes that this time it will
succeed in committing the perfect crime.(38)
These U.S. covert operations, destabilizations, and military
interventions are escalating under the Bush administration
as it targets a long list of "evildoer" nations. Hundreds of
millions of poor and working people around the world have no
chance to better their conditions so long as such
pro-corporate, globalization, and imperial policies
continue. Workers and the great majority of people in the
United States, working in unity and coalition, have the
greatest responsibility and the greatest possibility to put
an end to those anti-democratic, fascistic, warmaking and
terrorist policies which also do great harm to multitudes in
1. Marc Lifsher, "Oil Workers Threaten Strike in Venezuela,"
Wall Street Journal, March, 2001.
2. Guardian, London, ,Jan. 30, 2002.
3. Op.cit., Lifsher.
4. Op. Cit., Guardian.
5. Letta Tayler, "Peace Kept for Now," Newsday, Apr. 24,
7. Aram Ruben Aharonian,"Hamburgers, Cured Ham, and Oil,"
Proceso Mexico City, May 1, 2002.
9. "Tales from a failed coup: From Venezuela, disturbing
evidence of American incompetence," Economist, London ,Apr.
12. Op.cit., WSJ.
14. Marc Lifsher, "Venezuelan Crisis Deepens, Cutting Oil
Flow and Threatening Ch?vez," Wall Street Journal. Apr. 12,
17. Op. cit., Tayler.
19. Ed Vulliamy, "Venezuela coup linked to Bush team,"
Observer, London, Apr. 21, 2002.
23.Guardian ,London, Apr. 29, 2002.
24. New York Times, "U.S. Bankrolling Is Under Scrutiny for
Ties to Chavez Ouster," Apr. 25, 2002.
25. William Robinson, 'Promoting Polyarch: Globalization,
U.S. Intervention, And Hegemony-Cambridge University Press,
1996, pp 86-89.
26.Noam Chomsky, and Edward S. Herman, "The Washington
Connection and Third World Fascism," South End Press Boston,
29."U.S. Bankrolling Is Under Scrutiny for Ties to Ch?vez
Ouster," New York Times, Apr. 25, 2002.
30. See NED web site, year 2000 grants.
31. "The AFL-CIO and Worker Rights in Venezuela."
32. Op. cit.,Lifsher, WSJ, 14.
33. As reported by Kathryn Hoyt, Co-coordinator, Nicaragua
34. Op. cit. AFL-CIO statement.
35. Kim Scipes, "Its time to come clean: Open the AFL-CIO
Archives on International Labor Operations", Labor Studies
Journal, Vol. 25, No. 2, Summer,2000, p. 151.
36. Op. cit., Tayler.
37. Op. cit. , Lifsher, WSJ, 14.
38. Ignacio Ramonet, "The perfect crime," Le Monde
diplomatique, June 2002.