Old 02-16-2004, 12:05   #1
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I recently began following the events in Venezuela. The Caracas Chronicles pointed me to this article, which was written in response to Chavez's Public Accountability speech.

Would you classify the opposition to Chavez's government as an insurgency?


Right, left, revolutionaries and other Venezuelan political mislabels
By Gustavo Coronel
February 16, 2004

Venezuelan politicians and intellectuals were defined, for many years, as belonging to the "right" or to the "left." These definitions used to carry meanings that went beyond politics. In the Venezuela from 1940 to 1990 the "left" was considered to be largely brilliant, their members liked to drink, many did not marry but lived together and their speech was usually full of bad words. Moreover, they were often atheists and wrote many more poems than prose. The "right" was rather dull, were never seen drunk in public, lived all their lives with their spouses, never swore, went to mass every Sunday and wrote more essays than poems. In Venezuela no intellectual or aspiring politician wanted to be defined as belonging to the right. Everybody wanted to be a" leftist." In my family, on my mother's side, I was seen as an outcast because I was a "rightist" while on my father's side I was considered a "leftist." As a result I rapidly became resentful of these rather arbitrary definitions, which could make or break people.

Most Venezuelans wanted to be "leftist" because they liked to be irreverent, to drink and to write poems. In fact, being labeled a "rightist" was largely demeaning. After all, most of the great Venezuelan intellectuals and humorists were members of the "left." The few conservative intellectuals such as Mario Briceno Iragorry, Mariano Picon Salas and Alejandro Garcia Maldonado were very respected but not popular. This rather naďve distinction prevailed for many years in the country. The left was considered to be progressive while the right "opposed" change. The left embraced revolutionary measures while the right preferred evolutionary progress.

Today, these two concepts have lost much of their original meaning. We have a government, which calls itself revolutionary while most of the well-known Venezuelan leftists are in clear opposition to that "revolution." At the same time, conservative strongholds such as the top military brass, those generals gone to fat and full of medals won in tournaments of adulation, are supporting the government. Today the Catholic Church, very conservative in nature, rejects the government and the labor unions, progressive and leftist in nature, reject the government as well. The business sector, a traditional member of the right, is opposing the government and the same applies to the university students, usually considered to be leftist. The rightist communist party led by the old Stalin followers, intellectually obsolete and politically fossilized, is very much a part of the government, but the most valuable intellectuals of the left: Zapata, Miguel Henrique Otero, Manuel Caballero, Americo Martin, Pompeyo Marquez, Teodoro Petkoff, among others, are firmly opposed to Chávez.

For all practical purposes the political "rice with mangoes" which the Chávez government has concocted in Venezuela has ended with all traditional political labels. The new labels being applied do not have much logic either. For example, referring to this government as the champion of the poor is a misnomer, since all indices and statistics show that the Venezuelan poor have never been so many and so poor as they are under this government. Claiming that this government has been trying to end social exclusion does not resist the most cursory analysis since we have never had a more exclusive government. Today, the middle class, the labor unions, university students, the church, the media, the diverse business sectors, the big farmers and cattlemen are all excluded from the Venezuela made to the order of Chávez. To argue that this is a government of Afro-Venezuelans, according to the new term coined by the government, is plainly racist as Venezuelan society is made up of a blend of races.

Perhaps calling Chávez a revolutionary leader is the greatest misnomer of all. Chávez is a populist demagogue in the worst tradition of the Latin American caudillos of the last 100 years: Rosas and Peron in Argentina, Gomez and Guzman Blanco in Venezuela, Velasco Ibarra and Bucaram in Ecuador, Pinochet in Chile. Although these had diverse political ideologies, they all shared an authoritarian and egocentric trait, the same one that now characterizes Chávez. These men thought they were above the law of the land, that "they" were the law. They used political institutions as their personal tools and rapidly became narcissistic in the exercise of power. The speech by Gomez to the Venezuelan National Congress in 1919, where he started to say that he wanted to retire while all congressmen shouted: No . . . please, stay . . . do not go, was clearly the inspiration for those Chávez speeches where he says: "if you do not want me anymore, I'll go," while his followers cry and plead with him not to go. Peron used this little trick often but the great master of deceit was Velasco Ibarra, the Ecuadorian who was president several times. He kept saying: "Give me a balcony and I will be president again." Chávez is one of this species, not a true revolutionary but a grotesque parody of one. A true revolutionary in Latin America would be the anti-caudillo, not one more undistinguished name in the long list of caudillos. A true revolutionary would conduct a government respectful of the minorities, including all citizens in his vision of government, sincerely dedicated to the educational upgrading of the population, surrounding him, herself with the best and the brightest and not with dumb bullies. A true revolutionary would end with the ridiculous military parades and replace them with civic parades. In short, a true revolutionary would govern without pomp and with the simplicity, dignity and civic manners that we remember with pleasure from President Medina Angarita (1940's), President Gallegos (1940's) and President Leoni (1960's).

Political labeling in Venezuela has lost all meaning. What remain are the age-tested divisions between the honest and the dishonest, the decent and the louts, the dignified and the brigands.

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Old 02-16-2004, 12:37   #2
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I like it. Thanks
Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.

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Old 02-27-2004, 21:07   #3
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NDD or anyone else in the know, what do you think about the recent protests in Caracas? I myself do not know enough about the whole situation to make an educated comment. I do know that my wifes cousin got lit up by the riot police at the demonstations. I got to see the pics of him on the below link.
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Old 02-28-2004, 06:25   #4
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For some pictures of recent events:

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Old 02-28-2004, 07:41   #5
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Two killed in Venezuela demonstrations
Tens of thousands protest scrutiny of recall petition

Friday, February 27, 2004 Posted: 10:34 PM EST (0334 GMT)

CARACAS, Venezuela (CNN) --Two people died and 21 were wounded by gunshots when national guard troops clashed Friday with tens of thousands of antigovernment demonstrators who took to the streets of the capital to protest the government of President Hugo Chavez, an official said.

For hours, members of the national guard -- wearing riot gear -- faced off against the demonstrators, firing tear-gas canisters and pellet guns to halt the crowds' advance along Avenida Libertador, a main thoroughfare that cuts across the city.

More than 400 people were treated for asphyxia, and the wafting gas forced the evacuation of hundreds from nearby buildings, Fire Department Cmdr. Rodolfo Briceno said.

It was not clear how many of the casualties were members of the guard and how many were demonstrators.

One policeman was shot in the head and taken to a hospital, a colonel told reporters. One photojournalist also was taken to a hospital.

In Washington, the State Department warned U.S. citizens in the country to "avoid all demonstrations and areas where groups are gathering."

Opposed to the rule of Chavez, the demonstrators were protesting Tuesday's decision by the National Electoral Council ordering that 1.4 million signatures on a recall petition be scrutinized for possible fraud.

The protest coincided with a summit of the 19 members of the G-15 being held about three miles away, where Chavez was meeting with the presidents of Brazil and Argentina.

Venezuelan military officials had warned protesters not to provoke violence by attempting to reach the summit, The Associated Press reported.

The opposition has collected 3.4 million signatures, far more than the 2.2 million required under the country's constitution to mandate a recall vote.

But the council questioned the authenticity of those pages that contain similar handwriting for several people.

The demonstrators acknowledge that the handwriting was in many cases done by the same person, but contend that the signatures and fingerprints accompanying each of the names is different.

They accuse the government of changing the rules of the game.

The government has been urged by the Organization of American States, the European Union and the U.S.-based Carter Center to overlook slight errors and accept the petition, according to the AP.

Chavez, whose term of office is slated to expire in 2006, had agreed to call a special election if the National Council ruled against him and recommended a recall vote.

But last week he said that he would appeal a vote against him to the nation's highest court, the Supreme Justice Tribunal.

The opposition blames Chavez for the country's economic woes.

Chavez's removal was the focus of a general strike in 2002 that had crippled the economy and sparked huge, sometimes violent demonstrations. The strike forced Venezuela -- the world's fifth-largest oil producer -- to buy gasoline from Brazil and Trinidad.

Chavez still enjoys support among the nation's poor, who were planning to hold a pro-government rally Sunday.

Find this article at:
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Old 03-01-2004, 15:26   #6
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Venezuela Protests Go On, Referendum Prospects Fade
By Pascal Fletcher

CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Protesters seeking a recall vote against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez barricaded streets in Caracas Monday as international efforts to save the referendum process looked close to collapse.

In an opposition-dominated east Caracas district, masked youths threw stones, bottles and fireworks at National Guard troops who fired tear gas and pellets. Opposition demonstrators blocked a highway and other streets with burning debris.

A long-running campaign by Chavez's foes for a referendum on his rule has turned violent over the last four days. At least two people have been shot dead and dozens injured in violent pro-referendum protests in Caracas and other cities.

Defense Minister Gen. Jorge Garcia said the incidents were isolated and that the armed forces would maintain order.

Opposition leaders accuse the leftist president and pro-government electoral officials of blocking their petition for a vote. They have stepped up protests, threatening renewed political upheaval in the world's No. 5 oil exporter.

"This will go on as long as God wills it. Venezuela is fighting its own war now. We don't want a referendum now, we want (Chavez) to resign," said Juan Carlos Pirela, a protester who confronted troops in Altamira, an opposition stronghold.

The chances of a referendum ever being held suffered another blow Monday when Venezuela's top electoral official quarreled with the Atlanta-based Carter Center over whether that U.S. observer mission was withdrawing from the nation.

National Electoral Council President Francisco Carrasquero announced that a Carter Center observer had told him they were pulling out, because of a dispute among divided electoral officers over how to proceed with the much-delayed referendum process.

Denying this, Carter Center mission leader Jennifer McCoy said: "The mission remains in Venezuela."

Carrasquero insisted: "I'm not lying."

The Organization of American States, which is also observing the referendum process, did not comment. But it has called on the National Electoral Council, where Chavez supporters hold a 3-2 majority, to speed up evaluation of the referendum petition and keep it fair and transparent.

The council was due later Monday to announce a preliminary ruling on the petition.

It was expected to announce further checks on about 1 million pro-referendum signatures, a move that opposition leaders condemn as a tactic to torpedo the poll. Chavez says the vote petition is riddled with forgeries.

The opposition says it handed in 3.4 million pro-referendum signatures in December, well above the 2.4 million required to trigger a vote.

"The electoral council is denying us a peaceful and democratic solution," said Delsa Solorzano of the Democratic Coordinator, an anti-Chavez coalition.

Traffic in Caracas was thrown into chaos Monday by the burning barricades. But outside the trouble spots, the situation was generally calm in much of the capital.

Chavez, elected in 1998 on a promise to fight poverty, has promised to crack down on disturbances and says the United States is backing an attempt by the opposition to topple him.

Sunday, he called President Bush (news - web sites) an "a--hole."

He also threatened to cut off oil supplies to the United States if it tries to invade or blockade Venezuela, which is its fourth-largest oil supplier.

Chavez's comments and the violence helped push oil prices to their highest level since shortly before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq (news - web sites) last year. U.S. crude touched $36.45 a barrel.

U.S. officials routinely dismiss his accusations as bluster.


NDD, comments? Is this guy as crazy as he seems?
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Old 03-02-2004, 10:14   #7
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Would you think the commander of the 82d was crazy if he led a coup attempt on Washington? Thats Chavez in a nutshell. His election cut pretty much all US assistance to his military, ended all exchange programs ect. From what I have heard the Milgroup is just a shell. On election day back in 98 the MIST was pulled from country, leave your gear, just get on a plane today. I dont know if anyone ever went back.
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Old 03-04-2004, 17:55   #8
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Caracas, Thursday March 04, 2004

Venezuelan ambassador to UN resigns due to human right violations

"As a representative in the UN, an organization with a primary responsibility in the promotion, protection and defense of human dignity, I cannot be indifferent when human rights are not respected in my own country," Milos Alcalay said.


The Venezuelan Ambassador to the Organization of the United Nations, Milos Alcalay, resigned Thursday arguing that the authorities in his country are violating the population's human rights.

Alcalay offered a press conference in the Washington offices of the UN to explain the three reasons that have forced him to abandon the position: Human right violations and repression by the government, the poor situation of the Venezuelan democracy and the government's use of "conflict diplomacy."

"As a representative in the UN, an organization with a primary responsibility in the promotion, protection and defense of human dignity, I cannot be indifferent when the human rights are not respected in my own country," Alcalay said in a press release delivered to the press and read in Venezuela by GlobovisiĂłn news channel.

Alcalay, who had recently returned to Washington from Caracas, said that the international community has seen with astonishment the uncontrolled military and political repression that is taking place in Venezuela.

"The consequences are the loss of human lives, injured people, missing persons, political prisoners without trial, as women and children are harassed by a brutal, unacceptable and primitive reaction by security forces or those who give them orders," the diplomat pointed out.

"This means," he continued, "that demonstrators have no possibility to manifest themselves without the risk of being brutally repressed (...), and this must cease immediately."

Alcalay said that a diplomat with more than 30 years of experience as himself couldn't serve a political movement like the ruling Movimiento Quinta RepĂşblica.

"I hope my resignation is understood as a testimony that reaffirms the call for all Venezuelans to reunite and consolidate a national salvation government, one with the ethical principles that have inspired the nation throughout history and the values of a just, transparent and solidarity-driven society," he said.

In 1998, Alcalay was Venezuela's deputy foreign minister, and in 1999, ambassador to Brazil. Under President Hugo Chávez, he served as ambassador to the United Nations until January 2004, when he was appointed ambassador to Great Britain.

Translated by Edgardo Malaver

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Old 03-04-2004, 18:27   #9
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"If Chávez loses in Venezuela it would be total devastation to the Cuban economy,'' said Jorge Salazar-Carrillo, a Cuba expert at Miami's Florida International University.


Do you agree?
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Old 03-06-2004, 13:36   #10
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Revolutionary Venezuelan Youth Deserter Tells of Secret Training in Cuba
from Caracas Venevision Television on Friday, March 05, 2004
Article ID: D141093
Mauricio Caval interviews Humberto Jose Freites, a young man who belonged to the Francisco de Miranda Front of Revolutionary Venezuelan Youth. This group recruits young people, eager to make a difference, allegedly to carry out social work projects to help the poor, but they eventually find themselves in Cuba receiving training -- including "motivational speeches" from Fidel Castro himself -- in "Socialism or Death" in order to defend what is called the "process," in other words, the "revolution." This revolution, as Venezuelans have seen, especially in the last two years, has been carried out by a small group to the detriment of the rest of the people, especially the most poor.

Freites was recruited in the eastern part of the country, but they also recruit young people in Caracas and the western part of Venezuela.

Caval asks Freites about his training experience in Cuba.

Freites says he was working as a coordinator of the southern region of the Rivas Mission (meant to help high school dropouts graduate) and that he was called to Caracas to become part of what he calls the Group of 40. He said he was told that this group was going to be part of a secret, special mission, and that they were going to be trained in Fort Tiuna by Cuban personnel.

Video changes to an unidentified man stating that a group of Cubans was detected at Fort Tiuna, specifically at the 3101 Command Company of the 31st Infantry Brigade, carrying out activities yesterday (date unknown) . It was determined that they were Cubans because their shirts said "Bolivarian Force Social Workers" (Fuerza Bolivariana Forjadores Sociales). Video shows file footage from 5 December 2003, showing a group of people standing inside the base at night.

Freites says that once in Fort Tiuna he was given an ID card that allowed him to come and go without being bothered by anyone, and that when he found out what it was all about he used it to leave and that he is now in hiding.

When asked why he was in hiding, Freites says it is because he is afraid of the Cubans and the power they have in Venezuela, where he believes they are running things. He said the entire geopolitical scene in Venezuela is being monitored from Cuba.

Video changes to an interview from 5 December 2003 with Cuban journalist Uberto Mario Hernandez, who deserted in October 2003. Hernandez says that members of the Cuban Communist Party's Central Committee are operating in Venezuela, holding meetings.

Carval asks Freites how it was he came to be in Havana.

Freites states that he was unemployed and that he heard from a friend that a military front was providing employment, so he looked into it in hopes of a job. He says he was given an exam, and that this process was supervised by Hugo Cabezas, the director of the Directorate of Identification and Alien Affairs (Diex). After passing the exam, he says he traveled to Cuba with a group comprised of revolutionary youth, including from the Fifth Republic Movement (MVR) and communist and Tupamaro factions. The group gathered first in Caracas for about four days and then took flights to Havana. The government paid for all this, he stated. Once in Cuba, he says their passports were taken away, perhaps so no one could leave. He says there were minors in the group. He was registered in what used to be a social work school and with the others was made to sing the Cuban and Venezuelan national anthems every morning. He states that those in charge of the training were members of the UJC (Young Communists Union), the right hand of Fidel Castro, and other communist groups. He says the first group consisted of approximately 800 brigade members, as they were called, and that in the second group, his, there were some 1,600, and that the third group had more than 2,000. He states that all these youth are now back in Venezuelan territory. He says he spent a month or two in Cuba and that the traveling is done using military installations and that care is taken not to allow the press to film any of the comings or goings. He said that in Cuba they were given protection by the Cuban Revolutionary Police, a group Chavez wants to put in place in Venezuela in replacement of the police forces in Venezuela. He shows a certificate stating that he graduated from the "Training Course for Venezuelan Social Workers."

Asked about the training itself, Freites says that wakeup time was 0600 local, and that everyone had an instructor assigned to them to make sure they made their bed and did similar chores. The person assigned to him was a Cuban named Alberto Mesa. He says that this process of qualifying in tasks of this nature was entitled "Emulating Che (Guevara)," or being better every day, which was one of the many things of this nature imposed on the students. The idea was to see Che Guevara as an idol and example of the revolution.

Video returns to the archive interview with Cuban journalist Uberto Mario Hernandez. Hernandez says that the Communist Party is the only party in Cuba. It organizes and directs every activity in Cuba. Children are indoctrinated into Marxist-Leninist thought from the beginning. The party is behind all of the civic organizations and the people are brainwashed.

Freites states that Fidel told them several times that the revolution in Venezuela needed more blood and that they would be supported by the Army and weapons of Cuba and also have the backing of the Bolivarian Front of the Revolution, a guerrilla group here in Venezuela.

Video changes to an interview from 19 March 2003 with journalist Sandra Murillo, who writes for the newspaper Los Andes. Murillo says that the Bolivarian Freedom Force (Fuerza Bolivariana de Liberacion) is known to be operating in southern Tachira State and areas like Tres Esquinas, Puente Rojo, Chorrosquero, La Ceiba, and La Gabarra, though residents say nothing for fear of reprisals. These guerrillas are well-armed, with automatic, high-caliber weapons. In a communiqué delivered to the paper by the Bolivarian Freedom Force in early November, the group declared itself to be the armed wing of the sovereign people of Venezuela. Murillo says that despite this claim, in the areas in which they operate, they seem to be the armed wing of the national government. This front works with the Simon Bolivar Coordinating Board in Caracas and there are others in the eastern part of the country and in the border states. Video shows an interview with an anonymous young man testifying that these groups do exist because he has seen them in Chorrosquero, Valle Verde, and Guasgualito.
Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.

Still want to quit?
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Old 03-06-2004, 13:37   #11
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Caval asks Freites what was meant by "more blood" being needed in the revolution, and he responds by saying they were told that within the revolution one does not have a right to his own life, but rather that life belongs to the cause.

Caval asks what kind of training and information was given, stating that he imagines it did not have much to do with social work.

Freites says the instruction was based on training them as cadres, or leaders, and the fact that he and the other members of the group would eventually take the reigns of the revolution and replace all the political parties and other groups currently supporting the revolution, because Chavez told them on one occasion that he sees them as "devils" who are always asking for their share of power and who all have a hand around his neck and are choking him. Included in this group of "devils," according to Freites, are Venezuelan Petroleum, Inc (PDVSA), Fatherland for All (PPT), MVR, etc.

Caval asks what Fidel Castro had to say specifically to his group in Havana.

Freites states that the main thing Castro strove to do was express the need for them to be against the US Government, because all it was interested in was Venezuelan oil. He says Castro told them they could count on Cuba, and that he always invoked the image and thoughts of Jose Marti and Che Guevara. He says they were even taken to Santa Clara where there is a monument to Guevara, and he says all people in a photo he shows from the outing are Venezuelans. He says they were all made to proffer a blood oath that they would be willing to die for the Bolivarian revolution.

In the studio, political analyst Anibal Romero comments on what Freites is stating in his interview, saying that it is additional evidence that Chavez is attempting to raise a parallel army to prepare for a civil war and massacre those Venezuelans who are opposed to his totalitarian designs. He says that at no time in Venezuela's history has a foreign government  in this case, the government of Cuba  been allowed to penetrate the national government to such an extent. This is treason. This interview shows that Chavez is capable of leading Venezuela to a national tragedy.

Caval asks Freites where else, besides Fort Tiuna, there are armed members of Cuban intelligence.

Freites said that the "Group of 40," which he belonged to, must by now be halfway through its training in Fort Tiuna, and that when he left they were being trained to coordinate clashes and neutralize the main opponents of the revolutionary government. He says they were receiving instruction by Cubans and that they would use that training in action to be taken later. When asked who some of the main targets are, Freites says they are people like governors and mayors who do not agree with the "process," as well as leaders of the opposition parties and groups. In fact, he says that Fidel mentioned some of these people by name, such as former Carabobo mayor Salas Romer and Miranda Governor Enrique Mendoza. He states that the leadership of the Venezuelan Workers Confederation (CTV) and Petroleum People are also targets, for example, along with the media, especially the group Chavez likes to call the "four horsemen of the apocalypse" -- Globovision, Venevision, Televen, and Radio Caracas Television (RCTV). He says that all the missions, such as the Robinson Mission and the Rivas Mission, are carbon copies of groups in Cuba, and that the goods and materials they utilize come from Cuba.

Video returns to the archive interview with Cuban journalist Uberto Mario Hernandez. He says that the Cuban consulate in Caracas hands out Communist propaganda material. This same material is spread by Cuban doctors in Venezuela when they go into the poor communities to take care of patients.

Freites said that when he was in Cuba they were told that the instruction they were receiving was in exchange for Venezuelan petroleum, but that they should not see Cuba as taking advantage of Venezuela in this regard, because the knowledge they were getting was worth more than oil.

Caval once again asks Freites about Cuban intelligence personnel in Venezuela and if he knows how many of such people there might be.

Freites says there are two such individuals, and that one goes by Noel and the other Guillermo. He said their cover is that they are supposedly acting as directors of the different missions, but that their real, secret mission is to gather information in eastern Venezuela and send it directly to Cuba.

Caval asks Freites what has happened in his life since he left his training program to go into hiding and what he expects from this point on.

Freites says that he thought long and hard about it when he decided to become a deserter, and that the deciding factor was that he was not a murdered and could not shoot other Venezuelans. He says there are other "brigade members" who would like to leave, too, but that fear keeps them there. He said it is fear of what he is going through, of not knowing anything about his family, of being on the move constantly and not sleeping well because he knows that he is a target of these people. He says his possible pursuers could include the Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services (DISIP), the Metropolitan Police, the Judicial technical Police (PTJ), etc. He states that he will ask for protection, and he feels that when this interview comes out it will be explosive and will force a change in the leadership of the Francisco de Miranda Front.

Freites concludes by saying that while the idea of this front is for the people to see this group as socials workers, they are really social fighters, and that in their training they were told that while a social worker is not willing to give up his or her life for their work, social fighters are ready to give up their life, and that if this is not the case, they do not deserve that life.

Political analyst Anibal Romero concludes that the purpose of Cuban officials in Venezuela is fourfold: to provide personal protection for Hugo Chavez, to promote revolutionary laws that will lead to a system of absolute power in Venezuela, to control the armed forces and prevent a resistance movement, and to infiltrate the intelligence services and the police force while reporting back to Cuba on Venezuela's state of affairs.
Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.

Still want to quit?
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Old 03-08-2004, 13:41   #12
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Chavez warns U.S. about '100-year war'
Monday, March 8, 2004 Posted: 1:43 PM EST (1843 GMT)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- President Hugo Chavez on Sunday vowed to freeze oil exports to the United States and wage a "100-year war" if Washington ever tried to invade Venezuela.

The United States has repeatedly denied ever trying to overthrow Chavez, but the leftist leader has accused Washington of being behind a failed 2002 coup and of funding opposition groups now seeking a recall referendum on his presidency.

Chavez accused the United States of ousting former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and warned Washington not to "even think about trying something similar in Venezuela."

Venezuela "has enough allies on this continent to start a 100-year war," Chavez said during his weekly television show.

He added that "U.S. citizens could forget about ever getting Venezuelan oil" if the United States ever tried to invade the South American country.

Venezuela provides about 15 percent of U.S. oil imports but relations between the two countries are rocky over Chavez's friendship with Cuban President Fidel Castro, his criticism of U.S.-led negotiations for a free trade zone in the Americas and his opposition to the war in Iraq.

The United States was slow to condemn the 2002 coup, initially accusing Chavez of provoking his own downfall.

Chavez has increasingly railed against U.S. meddling in Venezuelan affairs as his opponents step up protests to demand the recall vote. Top U.S. officials have recently accused Chavez of becoming increasingly autocratic.

On Saturday, at least 500,000 Venezuelans marched in Caracas to protest the National Elections Council's decision last week that an opposition petition for the recall vote lacked enough valid signatures. Opponents turned in more than 3 million signatures December 19 but the council ruled only 1.8 million were valid. The council ordered more than 1 million citizens to confirm they signed and rejected more than 140,000 signatures outright.

Rioting over the decision killed eight people and hurt scores more. The violence subsided after the Organization of American States and the U.S.-based Carter Center pledged to help give citizens a fair chance to proved they signed.

Venezuela is deeply divided between those who fear Chavez is trying to impose Cuba-style socialism and those who say he has given an unprecedented political voice to the impoverished majority.

Chavez insists election officials have reason to believe the recall petition is fraud-ridden. He claims many signatures belong to dead people, minors and foreigners.

On Sunday, Chavez promised his government would investigate the deaths and injuries from last week's violence. Opposition leaders accuse National Guard troops of committing abuses while trying to keep rock-throwing protesters from blocking roads with burning tires. Chavez accuses his opponents of instigating chaos.

"The government is investigating all the acts of violence and especially those in which people died," Chavez said. "Violence only takes place when a group of the opposition leaders decide there will be violence."
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Old 03-08-2004, 15:20   #13
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Somebody needs to call that ass clown and tell him George Bush is President, not that guy that let people get away with stuff.

Be more like a 100 minute war.

Hell Team Sergeant, come on down, me and you can handle this one by ourselves. We'll let the boys rest.
Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.

Still want to quit?
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Old 03-08-2004, 15:25   #14
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Venezuela: The Next Cuba
By Paul Crespo
FrontPageMagazine.com | March 3, 2004

As Venezuela’s embattled democratic opposition gears up for its planned August referendum against that South American nation's increasingly authoritarian ruler, President Hugo Chavez is consolidating his “Bolivarian Revolution” and subverting what’s left of the country’s constitutional democracy. Calling the legal referendum on his rule a “mega-fraud,” Chavez is doing all he can to thwart the peaceful recall effort. Many fear that he has little intention of allowing a vote. Meanwhile, the migration of frightened Venezuelans to the US continues.

There is no doubt that Chavez – with Fidel Castro’s help -- is creating a Cuban-style socialist state in Venezuela. Scholar Maxwell Cameron calls it the world's first "slow-motion constitutional coup." In the process, Chavez also is breathing new life into Fidel Castro’s dying and decrepit dictatorship. But what’s even more worrisome is the fact that the mercurial Chavez is turning the large, oil rich country into a base for international terrorism.

Sadly, not many people recognize this threat. In my July 2003 American Legion Magazine article -- The Other "Axis of Evil" -- I described the dangerous and growing alliance between Latin America’s two major anti-American rogue states and international terror groups operating throughout the hemisphere.

Focusing on the close and burgeoning partnership between Castro and Chavez, I explored the links both Castro and his new Caracas-based clone have with Latin American communist guerillas, drug dealers and Islamic terrorists. Referring to Castro as an anti-American godfather, “increasingly advising his new alter-ego in Venezuela…” I wrote that Chavez, “with Castro’s direction and support – may be turning Venezuela into a new anti-American terrorism hub.”

Noting Castro’s long history of subversion, espionage and terrorism -- including the October 2001 arrest in Washington, DC of Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes, the former senior Cuba analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) -- my article highlighted Castro's continuing threat to the US. Cuba remains on the US State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism. Chavez and Castro are intimately linked, meeting and talking regularly. Chavez has said Cuba and Venezuela are, in effect, “one team.”

The partnership is so close that Venezuela’s intelligence and security service, known as DISIP, reportedly has come under control of the Cuban intelligence service, the DGI. Because of this, US intelligence agencies have ended their longstanding liaison relationships with their Venezuelan counterparts. Hundreds of Cuban advisors, coordinated by Cuba’s military attaché in Caracas, are also in charge of the elite presidential guard who defend Chavez against potential coups or military unrest.

Meanwhile, Chavez has purged and is reorganizing the Venezuelan military, making it personally loyal to him. Thousands of Cuban “teachers, doctors and sports trainers” also have flooded Venezuela. Their real job is to indoctrinate and train fanatically pro-Chavez paramilitary groups known as “Bolivarian Circles” that are part of a new 100,000-person People’s Reserve militia recruited from Venezuela’s poorest classes. These groups provide alternative armed cadres outside regular military channels loyal to Chavez.

While most of the mainstream media have ignored this growing menace, one major news magazine, US News and World Report, followed my piece with an in-depth investigative report in October 2003, Terror Close to Home: In Venezuela, a volatile leader befriends Mideast, Colombia and Cuba, confirming my exposition and clearly detailing the danger of Chavez’s links to Castro and terrorism.

The weekly newsmagazine said that its two-month review, "including interviews with dozens of US and Latin American sources, confirms the terrorist activity," adding that "the oil-rich but politically unstable nation of Venezuela is emerging as a potential hub of terrorism in the Western Hemisphere, providing assistance to Islamic radicals from the Middle East and other terrorists."

Most prominent in Venezuela’s list of friendly terror groups are the communist FARC guerillas (Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces) who have terrorized Colombia for over 30 years and have killed thousands of people. Gen. Gary Speer, former acting chief of America’s Southern Command, who said during a Senate Armed Services committee hearing in March 2002 that “we are very concerned about President Chavez … the FARC operates at will across the border into Venezuela.”

“There are arms shipments originating in Venezuela that get to the FARC and the ELN [National Liberation Army],” he added. “We have been unable to firmly establish a link to the Chavez government, but it certainly causes us suspicions. The company that Chavez keeps around the world, although under the guise of OPEC, certainly causes additional concerns as well.” The US News piece details the exact location of FARC camps inside Venezuela where Venezuelan military advisors reportedly train FARC guerillas.

Sadly, Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry stated in a February speech in Boston that the murderous FARC guerillas had "legitimate complaints" despite the fact that they have the support of less than three percent of Colombia's citizenry.

Chavez’s links to Middle East terrorists may be more indirect but US officials note that Venezuela is providing support--including identity documents--that could prove useful to radical Islamic groups. U.S. News noted that Chavez's government has issued thousands of “cedulas,” the equivalent of national ID cards, to people from Cuba, Colombia, and Middle Eastern `countries of interest' like Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and Lebanon that host foreign terrorist organizations.

According to US News, some of these cedulas were subsequently used to obtain Venezuelan passports and even American visas, “which could allow the holder to elude immigration checks and enter the United States.” Chavez also was the only western leader to travel to Iraq to visit Saddam Hussein prior to his ouster by the US.

This article provoked an outcry from Chavez and his henchmen. The Venezuelan ambassador to the US, Alvarez Herrera, wrote an angry letter to the editor of US News deriding the article’s accusations as “false” and “outrageous.”

The ambassador then tried to counter the magazine’s first-hand evidence by stating unconvincingly that “the government of Venezuela has ratified the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism…and has signed multiple UN conventions on terrorism.” Yet, the signature of this anti-democratic leftist demagogue on any international treaty hadly confirms his peaceful and lawful intent.

An indignant Chavez also told foreign reporters "I challenge the staff of US News and World Report or its owners to come here and look for one single shred of evidence, to show the world one single shred of proof." Chavez added that, "It is a strategy, to launch an offensive by concocting anything -- an assassination, a coup, an invasion." As a diversion from his terror links, Chavez has begun claiming loudly, and without any substantiation, that the CIA is trying kill him.

Much of the problem with our reaction to Chavez began with former US Ambassador to Venezuela, John Maisto who I briefly served as a military attaché at the US embassy in Caracas. His soft approach to the leftist demagogue was clearly flawed. Early on in Chavez's administration, the U.S. ambassador downplayed the Chavez threat, stating that it was Chavez’s actions, not words that really mattered.

Other Clinton administration officials echoed that sentiment and said that we should ignore Chavez’s rhetoric. That approach became informally known as the "Maisto doctrine." Yet, Chavez's actions inexorably have matched his rhetoric.

Despite his failure to appreciate the menace of a Chavez-Castro alliance, Maisto was inexplicably picked by the Bush administration to head – until recently -- the Western Hemisphere Affairs section at the National Security Council. He is still influencing Latin America policy as US Ambassador to the Organization of American States.

Fortunately, other members of Bush’s National Security team such as Presidential Envoy to Latin America, Otto Reich and Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere Roger Noriega do seem to understand the threat posed by the Chavez-Castro terror nexus.

Given the mischief Castro and Chavez are pursuing, Uncle Sam has his hands full dealing with the two dangers on either end of the Caribbean.

Paul Crespo is a former Marine Corps Officer and military attache at the US embassy in Caracas. An adjunct faculty member in the Political Science Departmnent at the University of Miami, he is also a Senior Fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (www.DefendDemocracy.org) in Washington, DC.

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Old 04-13-2004, 05:49   #15
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Venezuela Court Chamber Give Recall Order

By ALEXANDRA OLSON, Associated Press Writer
April 12, 2004 8:09 pm

CARACAS, Venezuela -- A chamber of Venezuela's Supreme Court on Monday ordered election authorities to accept more than 870,000 disputed signatures on a petition to recall President Hugo Chavez.

But squabbles within the Supreme Court mean the order by the three-justice electoral chamber may be tough to implement immediately.

Last month, the court's five-justice constitutional chamber ruled the three-justice electoral panel did not have the authority to decide matters concerning the recall.

The electoral chamber has asked the full 20-justice court to settle the dispute. Until then, the National Elections Council is unlikely to implement Monday's decision, electoral chamber president Alberto Martini said.

Venezuela's Supreme Court is divided into chambers that rule on different areas of law. The infighting has left the country in a legal limbo, threatening to dash hopes of bringing its political crisis to a peaceful conclusion.

Chavez supporters accuse the electoral chamber of being loyal to the opposition; the opposition says the constitutional chamber openly favors the government.

Accusing Chavez of becoming increasingly authoritarian, opposition leaders delivered more than 3 million signatures Dec. 19 to demand a referendum on whether he should quit before his six-year term ends in 2007. They needed about 2.4 million.

But the elections council ruled last month that only 1.8 million signatures were valid. The decision triggered several days of violent protests in different cities, killing 10 people in the worst bloodshed since a failed April 2002 coup.

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