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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Days Of Venezuela and Roses

"He daren't withdrawal. Arabia's part of his empire now. If he gets out now he'll never get back in again."

- Peter O'Toole as T.E. Lawrence in "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962)

So today is one of the most important days in World Events. 

Today the Venezuelan people vote on whether or not they want to make changes in their constitution. The changes include reducing the work week to 36 hours (nice). Free university tuition for all (yahoo!). And vague and expanded emergency powers for the President of Venezuela and no defined limit as to how long he can stay in office (oops!).

I like Hugo Chavez. He's a likeable chap. I also like that he's refused to give the income from Venezuela's massive oil reserves to foreign companies. Venezuela now keeps the money from sales of its oil. Makes perfect sense, but in practice such a thing rarely happens. Just ask Nigeria. Holding on to their own oil has allowed Venezuelas to pay off their national debt - something that would have been impossible under previous governments - and become an independent self-respecting nation. A massive dirt poor population, politically astute and cagey after years of being exploited by outsiders, is finally stepping out a dark age.

Losing such massive profits makes non-Venezuelan energy companies very angry. And these energy companies are among the most powerful entities on earth. While the rest of us have been tightening our belts over the past few years, Exxon has been setting earnings records year after year.

In 2002, U.S. interests sponsored a coup to get rid of Hugo Chavez. American cleric Pat Robertson called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez in 2005. And this weekend former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, has a piece in the Washington Post about the absolute necessity to neutralize the tyrant, Hugo Chavez (in the piece, Rumsfeld laments the oppressed people of Venezuela, but doesn't mention that Venezuela is sitting on billions and billions of euros worth of oil. To him, apparently, that's not so important).

So then this past week, Chavez showed the world a memo sent from the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela to the CIA outlining steps taken to influence today's vote in Venezuela. The memo seemed perfectly authentic in that it outlined what you would expect the CIA to do, assuming it's doing its job properly, to influence a vote.

  • Take the streets and protest with violent, disruptive actions across the nation
  • Generate a climate of ungovernability
  • Provoke a general uprising in a substantial part of the population
  • Start to release data during the early hours of the afternoon on Sunday that favor the NO vote (
  • Creating an acceptance in the public opinion that the NO vote will win for sure
  • Criticize and discredit the National Elections Council
  • Generate a sensation of fraud
  • Use a team of experts from the universities that will talk about how the data from the Electoral Registry has been manipulated and will build distrust in the voting system
  • Seek an aliance between those abstentionists and those who will vote "NO"
  • Sustain firmly the propaganda against Chavez
  • Encourage a military rebellion inside the National Guard forces and other components
(thanks to www.globalresearch.ca)

Textbook stuff. Right out of the "How To Rig A Vote" handbook.

Chavez as a result has declared that if there is evidence of American tampering with the voting process today, if there is any attempt at civil unrest or a military revolt, if CNN Espanol or any of the other big media companies operating in Venezuela violate the voting regulations against announcing results before polls close, then he will halt oil shipments to the U.S. 

Let me write that again: ... then he will halt oil shipments to the U.S.

And he really seems to mean it.

It's worth noting that the principal 2002 coup plotters were granted clemency and that Venezuelan tv stations that supported the coup were still allowed to operate. So when Chavez makes a threat like that, it should not be taken lightly.

This is Cuban Missile Crisis-sized brinksmanship.

If the U.S. intelligence apparatus allows the Venezuelan referendum to go ahead unmolested, it seems almost certain the referendum will pass with a little room to spare. As a result, Hugo Chavez's power and influence across Venezuela - and the rest of South America - will soar. South American solidarity is dangerously close to pushing foreign interests off the continent entirely. This would be, as it were, the last nail in the imperialist coffin. This is a situation more threatening to American-based corporate power than a whole basketful of North Korean saber-rattling nutcases.

If the CIA plan goes ahead, and Chavez, does stop oil shipments ... well, let's just say the gang in Washington right now are not diplomats, by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, such a move by Chavez would be an invitation on a silver platter to turn the Cold War against Venezuela into a Shooting War. Strategists in Washington have been keeping a coy eye out for that invitation for some time.

If you go to war with Venezuela, you probably also go to war with Iran. Aware that they were both high up on American "to do" lists, the two countries signed a mutual security agreement several years ago.

So today is a red-letter day. Perhaps a day to ask questions?

Some of my questions:

Is this CIA memo even real? Does it matter if it's real or not? What does all the recent Colombia ruckus have to do with all this? Will any of this be covered in the mainstream media? Why is every world leader around the globe lately rushing to establish autocratic emergency powers? How long does Hugo Chavez have to live? Will he make it till the end of the year? Will he die in a plane crash or by lone gunman? 

And what was up with that CNN Espanol "mistake" this week where they flashed a picture of Chavez on the screen with the caption "Who killed him?" (in Spanish) beneath it??

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