During an appearance today at the National Press Club in Washington,
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld compared Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez
to Hitler, declaring, "We've got Chavez in Venezuela with a lot of oil
money. He's a person who was elected legally, just as Adolf Hitler was elected
legally, and then consolidated power, and now is of course working closely with
[Cuban leader] Fidel Castro and Mr. Morales [Bolivian President Evo Morales]
and others. It concerns me."
Concurrently, in testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
of the U.S. Congress, John Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence, which
oversees the 15 intelligence bodies of the U.S. Government, claimed, "In
Venezuela, President Chavez, if he wins reelection later this year, appears
ready to use his control of the legislature and other institutions to continue
to stifle the opposition, reduce press freedom, and entrench himself through
measures that are technically legal, but which nonetheless constrict democracy.
We expect Chavez to deepen his relationship with Castro (Venezuela provides
roughly two-thirds of that island's oil needs on preferential credit terms).
He also is seeking closer economic, military, and diplomatic ties with Iran
and North Korea. Chavez has scaled back counter-narcotics cooperation with the
US. Increased oil revenues have allowed Chavez to embark on an activist foreign
policy in Latin America that includes providing oil at favorable repayment rates
to gain allies, using newly created media outlets to generate support for his
Bolivarian goals, and meddling in the internal affairs of his neighbors by backing
particular candidates for elective office."
Apart from the dangerous misrepresentation of the reality of Venezuelan social
and political life and the absurd comparison to Hitler, with whom the U.S. went
to world war, these declarations evidence a scary escalation of aggression towards
the Venezuelan government and people by the Bush Administration. Rumsfeld and
Negroponte represent the two entities in the United States that wage war: Defense
and Intelligence. Their positions go beyond the State Department's diplomatic
rhetoric that has characterized relations between Venezuela and the United States
during the past few years and up the ante to an increasing possibility of war
between the two nations. As the U.S. prepares to take actions against Iran in
the very near future, publicly declaring a link between Venezuela and Iran,
as well as North Korea, provides justification for an inclusion of Venezuela
on the list of nations targeted by the Bush Administration for military intervention.
During the past few days, the Venezuelan government has made public concrete
evidence of an espionage case that has resulted in the expulsion of a U.S. military
attaché, Navy Capitan John Correa, from this South American nation. Capitan
Correa had been recruiting Venezuelan naval officials over a period of more
than twelve months, with the aim of obtaining inside information of military
and political strategies of the Venezuelan government and pressuring officials
to turn against President Hugo Chávez. Although the U.S. Embassy in Caracas
and its Ambassador, William Brownfield, have denied knowledge of any wrongdoing
on the part of U.S. diplomatic officials, evidence of illegal penetration of
Venezuelan armed forces by U.S. military attachés has been provided to
An excerpt of testimony from a Venezuelan soldier recruited by the U.S. Embassy
and working as a "double-agent" for the Venezuelan government, to
be published in entirety in my next book, the follow-up to The Chávez
Code: Cracking U.S. Intervention in Venezuela, follows:
"I am an enlisted soldier pertaining to the action command group. I
am testifying about the activities of officials from the United States Embassy
[in Caracas]. They seek information and analysis about certain activities
of members of our Armed Forces and have contacts with officials that work
with the Minister of Defense and they provide them with activities about our
Armed Forces. My job is to try and find certain information and to monitor
different political organizations, such as the Tupamaros, Bolivarian Circles,
the people who work with Lina Ron, as well as information about the acquisition
of arms in the Armed Forces. I note herein that I am working as an infiltrator
in these groups, an undercover agent, I do not share the anti-American views
of these groups, I am just trying to obtain the best information possible
for my superiors, for the defense of our nation."
"What do they give you in return?"
"Money, political contacts and the possibility of work"
"What is the best they have given you up until now?"
"A ten-year visa to enter the United States, whenever I want, and according
to them, in the future I can attend a course in their intelligence agency
in the United States and once I prove my loyalty to them and they see I truly
have guts, I can possibly do an intelligence course with the CIA, that's what
the military attaché at the Embassy, [name removed], told me himself."
Today's statements by Rumsfeld and Negroponte merely confirm the diehard intentions
of the U.S. government to continue its efforts to remove President Chávez
from power and impede the development of the Bolivarian Revolution. Over the
past few years, the Bush Administration has funneled millions upon millions
of dollars into building up an opposition movement to the Chávez administration
in Venezuela, utilizing U.S. tax payer dollars filtered through the National
Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Agency for International Development, and
has backed a failed coup d'état against President Chávez and oil
industry sabotage that caused billions of dollars in damages to the nation yet
failed to oust the government from power. For the year 2006, the U.S. Congress
has allocated more than $9 million dollars to opposition groups in Venezuela
(again, U.S. taxpayer dollars) and has launched a psychological operations campaign
coordinated from the Pentagon's Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida.
In a document published by the U.S. Army in October 2005 entitled "Doctrine
for Asymmetric War Against Venezuela," President Chávez and the
Bolivarian Revolution were labeled as the "largest threat since the Soviet
Union and communism."
Clearly, the Bush Administration has decided Venezuela and President Chávez
represent a "severe threat" to U.S. domination in the region and U.S.
control over energy resources in the hemisphere. Venezuela may very well be
next on the list for a "preemptory war" in the style of Iraq. Citizens
of the United States need to be aware of these dangerous steps taken by their
government against a nation exercising its democratic and sovereign right to
decide the type of socio-political system it desires. Venezuela's democracy,
participatory in nature, is supported by more than 70% of its populace. Recent
polls place President Chávez's popularity at 77%.
Citizens from around the world had the opportunity to witness Venezuela's thriving
democratic revolution firsthand during the VI World Social Forum that just ended
in Caracas. Hundreds of thousands of diverse voices from around the world, along
with millions of Venezuelans, can attest to the fact that no dictatorship or
threat to democracy exists in Venezuela. The only threat Venezuela presents
to the United States is that of a good example.
Eva Golinger is a Venezuelan-American attorney and author
of The Chávez Code: Cracking U.S. Intervention in Venezuela, available
in English and Spanish through her website, www.venezuelafoia.info/codigo.html.