If you have only heard bad things about Hugo Chavez in the media, you might not have heard that his election, re-election, and triumph in a US-backed recall by wide margins were certified by international monitors, and that network whose broadcast license he refused to renew actively helped the US backed coup against Chavez and bragged about it on the air while the coup was going on. He also refused the IMF economic program that would have cut social spending and left Venezuela with only 1% of their oil income, the rest going to oil companies and the debt run up by past corrupt governments.
And if you believe the criticism of him in the media, consider what our ally, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is doing right now: sentencing a gang rape victim to 200 lashes for being in the company of men. There is no election of the Saudi family, recall, or referendum on their power, but the CIA isn't trying to remove them because big oil thinks they've already got the best deal they can get there.
Now there is another vote in Venezuela on amending their constitution, and even the CIA concedes 57% of Venezuelans support Chavez.
That is not stopping them from planning the kind of economic disruption and military take over that led to the coup in Chile in 1973 and decades of torture, mass executions, and economic policies that enriched a handful of the already wealthy and eroded the middle class.
The only problem with doing this in Venezuela is Chavez is FROM the military, and most of the military sided with him when a coup was attempted before because they were sick of being the bad guys and oppressing their own people.
Attacking Chavez is not only morally wrong, but economically foolish. Like Iran, the best weapon Venezuela has to retaliate is economic--they can simply accelerate the move away from trading oil in dollars, drying up the money and credit Bush needs to continue his wars.
If we were really concerned about reducing terrorism and having a stable supply of oil, we would work with leaders like Chavez and work to destabilize big oil instead.
The memo sent by an embassy official, Michael Middleton Steere, was addressed to the Director of Central Intelligence, Michael Hayden. The memo was entitled 'Advancing to the Last Phase of Operation Pincer' and updates the activity by a CIA unit with the acronym 'HUMINT' (Human Intelligence) which is engaged in clandestine action to destabilize the forth-coming referendum and coordinate the civil military overthrow of the elected Chavez government. The Embassy-CIA's polls concede that 57 per cent of the voters approved of the constitutional amendments proposed by Chavez but also predicted a 60 per cent abstention.
The US operatives emphasized their capacity to recruit former Chavez supporters among the social democrats (PODEMOS) and the former Minister of Defense Baduel, claiming to have reduced the 'yes' vote by 6 per cent from its original margin. Nevertheless the Embassy operatives concede that they have reached their ceiling, recognizing they cannot defeat the amendments via the electoral route.
The memo then recommends that Operation Pincer (OP)
be operationalized. OP involves a two-pronged strategy of impeding the referendum, rejecting the outcome at the same time as calling for a 'no' vote. The run up to the referendum includes running phony polls, attacking electoral officials and running propaganda through the private media accusing the government of fraud and calling for a 'no' vote. Contradictions, the report emphasizes, are of no matter.
The CIA-Embassy reports internal division and recriminations among the opponents of the amendments including several defections from their 'umbrella group'. The key and most dangerous threats to democracy raised by the Embassy memo point to their success in mobilizing the private university students (backed by top administrators) to attack key government buildings including the Presidential Palace, Supreme Court and the National Electoral Council. The Embassy is especially full of praise for the ex-Maoist 'Red Flag' group for its violent street fighting activity. Ironically, small Trotskyist sects and their trade unionists join the ex-Maoists in opposing the constitutional amendments. The Embassy, while discarding their 'Marxist rhetoric', perceives their opposition as fitting in with their overall strategy.
The ultimate objective of 'Operation Pincer' is to seize a territorial or institutional base with the 'massive support' of the defeated electoral minority within three or four days (presumably after the elections though this is not clear. JP) backed by an uprising by oppositionist military officers principally in the National Guard. The Embassy operative concede that the military plotters have run into serous problems as key intelligence operatives were detected, stores of arms were decommissioned and several plotters are under tight surveillance.
Apart from the deep involvement of the US, the primary organization of the Venezuelan business elite (FEDECAMARAS), as well as all the major private television, radio and newspaper outlets have been engaged in a campaign of fear and intimidation campaign. Food producers, wholesale and retail distributors have created artificial shortages of basic food items and have provoked large scale capital flight to sow chaos in the hopes of reaping a 'no' vote.