Venezuela’s President blamed the CIA for the coup in Honduras
President Hugo Chávez urged his US counterpart Barack Obama’s Administration to stop shilly-shallying and condemn the coup d’état against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.
During his weekly radio and TV program Aló Presidente (Hello President) last Sunday, Chávez avoided holding the US ruler responsible for the events in Honduras. He rather pointed to “the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the US Department of State and the Pentagon,” Efe reported.
Chávez claimed that if Obama moved to withdraw the US troops from the Honduran military base of Palmerola, revoke the visas and seize the properties that the members of the de facto government own in the United States, the situation for the coup leaders would become untenable.
Obama “is not going to trick us with an ambiguous discourse or with a smile,” warned Chávez. He added that Obama wants to be seen “as a peaceful dove, as an innocent lamb.”
The Venezuelan ruler said that he would rather deal with former US President George W. Bush than with Obama. In Chávez’s words, “you better face the head of the empire assuming his role as such, than face someone who is off and on.”
Chávez recalled that US President John F. Kennedy was killed by US “imperial” forces. “I hope they do not kill Obama, because Obama is biting off more than he can chew.”
Furthermore, the Venezuelan ruler admitted that he has “talked with several Honduran military officers.” He said that he knows that middle and low rank officers in the Honduran Army are unhappy with the current situation. Therefore, Chávez predicted that Zelaya would return to his country.
“Zelaya will return to his country. The government of Honduras will decide whether to kill him or not. He is willing to die,” the Venezuelan Head of State said.
Finally, he drew the attention of the de facto government about the arrest of a group of Venezuelan journalists in Honduras. Chávez said that “if anything happens” to the staff of the Venezuelan TV channels who are currently working in Honduras, the de facto authorities shall take responsibility for their actions.
Chávez added that despite the US military power, political changes in Latin America will not cease.
“The process of change in Latin America is not going to stop, President Obama. You can send the Fourth and the Sixth Fleet, or the world’s largest bombers, but changes will not end,” Chávez said.
Translated by Gerardo Cárdenas
Source: El Universal
Coverage of Mark Thomas Tearing shreds of the labour government and the banks whilst making a hell of a lot of sense on what to do about the crisis.
This Sunday, 15 February, Venezuelans vote in a referendum on a proposed Constitutional Amendment that will allow for any candidate to stand for the Presidency, or indeed for any elective office, without restriction on the number of terms they may serve. Only the people’s vote will decide whether they are elected and how many terms they serve.
In other words, if President Hugo Chávez, who is already serving his second term under the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, wishes to stand for a third term, he may do so. Equally, the opposition mayor of Greater Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, may stand three or four times if he wants (and if the people vote for him).
This is no different from the practice here in the UK, where Margaret Thatcher won four elections for the Conservatives (although we did not have the privilege of voting for her personally as Prime Minister), and Tony Blair won three times for Labour. It is of course different from the situation in the US, where some sixty years ago a limit of two consecutive terms was introduced for the presidency.
But why is there such a fuss about this proposal in Venezuela? Once again, as so many times before in the last ten years, the media are full of stories about Chávez’ dictatorial tendencies or being President for life, and the opposition goes on about “the principle of alternation [alternabilidad]”. But they know perfectly well that Chávez will only be re-elected in 2012 if the people vote for him in elections which have been certified time and again as impeccably free and honest, and that the possibility of mid-term recall still exists and will be maintained. And alternation, as the experience here in the UK and in so many “advanced democracies” shows, is all too often a neat device to prevent any real change while giving the appearance of choice with a superficial change of personnel.
The real problem is – and everyone knows this, they just don’t want to discuss it – that Chávez represents the continuation of the Bolivarian project, a popular revolution which has transformed Venezuela and inspired similar transformations in several other Latin American countries. And that against Chávez, the opposition will again lose, and lose badly as they have done before.
Hugo Chávez is the people’s candidate, and for the foreseeable future will continue to be. No, he is not a dictator, and of course he is not infallible. He himself has often recognised his failings. But he has demonstrated time and again his commitment to serving the people – the poor, the workers, the excluded – of Venezuela, and they have reaffirmed their confidence in him. If he were to go – and thank God, this is not the case – it is to be hoped that the people would find, indeed create (as they did with Chávez) another leader or leaders. But why substitute a leader of proven ability, indeed one who has grown in stature and maturity with every new stage of the revolutionary process?
In these circumstances, those who talk about “Chavismo without Chávez” are either naïve or ill-intentioned. What is at stake in Venezuela is a fundamental clash of class interests, although one which is being played out as far as possible in peaceful and democratic fashion. The campaign for the Constitutional Amendment to abolish term limits is simply the latest battleground in this contest, and as such, a victory for the “Yes” camp on Sunday 15 February is crucial – and let’s hope the victory is a decisive one!
By Noam Chomsky
THE SIMULTANEOUS unfolding of the US presidential campaign and unraveling of the financial markets presents one of those occasions where the political and economic systems starkly reveal their nature.
Passion about the campaign may not be universally shared but almost everybody can feel the anxiety from the foreclosure of a million homes, and concerns about jobs, savings and healthcare at risk.
The initial Bush proposals to deal with the crisis so reeked of totalitarianism that they were quickly modified. Under intense lobbyist pressure, they were reshaped as “a clear win for the largest institutions in the system . . . a way of dumping assets without having to fail or close”, as described by James Rickards, who negotiated the federal bailout for the hedge fund Long Term Capital Management in 1998, reminding us that we are treading familiar turf. Continue reading
The richest 400 Americans — that’s right, just four hundred people — own MORE than the bottom 150 million Americans combined. 400 rich Americans have got more stashed away than half the entire country! Their combined net worth is $1.6 trillion. During the eight years of the Bush Administration, their wealth has increased by nearly $700 billion — the same amount that they are now demanding we give to them for the “bailout.” Why don’t they just spend the money they made under Bush to bail themselves out? They’d still have nearly a trillion dollars left over to spread amongst themselves!
Of course, they are not going to do that — at least not voluntarily. George W. Bush was handed a $127 billion surplus when Bill Clinton left office. Because that money was OUR money and not his, he did what the rich prefer to do — spend it and never look back. Now we have a $9.5 trillion debt. Why on earth would we even think of giving these robber barons any more of our money? Continue reading
By Noam Chomsky
During the past decade, Latin America has become the most exciting region of the world. The dynamic has very largely flowed from Caracas, Venezuela, with the election of a leftist president dedicated to using Venezuela’s rich resources for the benefit of the population rather than for wealth and privilege at home and abroad, and to promote the regional integration that is so desperately needed as a prerequisite for independence, for democracy, and for meaningful development. The initiatives taken in Venezuela have had a significant impact throughout the subcontinent, what has now come to be called “the pink tide.” The impact is revealed within the individual countries, most recently Paraguay, and in the regional institutions that are in the process of formation. Among these are the Banco del Sur, an initiative that was endorsed in Caracas a year ago by Nobel laureate in economics Joseph Stiglitz; and the ALBA, the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean, which might prove to be a true dawn if its initial promise can be realized.
The ALBA is often described as an alternative to the US-sponsored “Free Trade Area of the Americas,” though the terms are misleading. It should be understood to be an independent development, not an alternative. And, furthermore, the so-called “free trade agreements” have only a limited relation to free trade, or even to trade in any serious sense of that term; and they are certainly not agreements, at least if people are part of their countries. Continue reading
We know that capitalism is not just the most sensible way to organize an economy but is now the only possible way to organize an economy. We know that dissenters to this conventional wisdom can, and should, be ignored. There’s no longer even any need to persecute such heretics; they are obviously irrelevant.
How do we know all this? Because we are told so, relentlessly — typically by those who have the most to gain from such a claim, most notably those in the business world and their functionaries and apologists in the schools, universities, mass media, and mainstream politics. Capitalism is not a choice, but rather simply is, like a state of nature. Maybe not like a state of nature, but the state of nature. To contest capitalism these days is like arguing against the air that we breathe. Arguing against capitalism, we’re told, is simply crazy. Continue reading