Friday, April 8, 2005

US Has Plans To Attack Hugo Chavez

As regular readers may remember, the Winter Patriot has been paying close attention to the few stories which have surfaced lately concerning Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. In the last few days, a couple of new [and seemingly important] articles have caught my eye.

In a relatively short piece on ZNet, Stuart Munckton reports that the USA has plans to attack Chavez and his government and to institute a violent oppression against his supporters.
Caracas claims to have information of an assassination plot to be carried out "within 100 days" against Chavez, although the government has refused to reveal its sources.


A March 17 Washington Post article, entitled "Anti-Bush fears assassination", reported that the previous week "former CIA operative and prominent Bush supporter" Rodriguez, when asked by his interviewer about the assassination plot accusations, stated "that he had information about the administration's plans to 'bring about a change' in Venezuela, possibly through 'military measures'".


The United States openly supported a military coup against the Chavez government in April 2002, which was reversed two days later by a popular uprising. Since then, however, the US Congress-funded National Endowment For Democracy has poured millions of dollars into the groups that supported the coup.

Washington's aim is to crush the popular revolution being carried out by Venezuela's working people -- who are organising on a mass scale to take control of the country out of the hands of the privileged oligarchs who have traditionally governed.
And so on.

The other important article is at Information Clearinghouse. In it, Vladimir Bravo-Salazar gives good background about what is going on in Venezuela, why the Venezuelan people support Chavez so heartily, and why what happens in Venezuela will have profound implications, not only for Latin America but for the rest of the world.
The People of Venezuela have democratically re-founded their republic as the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and given themselves what is arguably the most advanced Constitution in the world [9]. It is a Constitution that establishes (in its Preamble and in its Articles 2 and 3), among its values, not only freedom but independence, peace, solidarity, common good and coexistence. And among its rights, not only to life but to work, to healthcare (Article 83 and 84), to culture, to education, to social justice and equality without discrimination and subordination. One example of its avant-garde social and humanistic perspective is that it recognizes work at home as an economic activity that entitles housewives to social security (Article 88). Article 90 mandates the eight hour work day and stipulates that no employer has the right to demand a worker to work overtime. The Constitution also insures that the ultimate power remains with the People through multiple Popular Referenda, including those that can revoke the mandate of any elected official.


The goal of the Bolivarian Revolution is to have a society formed of individuals who are capable not only of enjoying their liberties but also constructively carrying out effectively their duties in a participative democracy for the betterment of the whole of their society, country and humanity. Part of this process is the provision of free education (from elementary to graduate level). According to the rector of the Bolivarian University: "education is not just to create professionals. Education is much more than that. Knowledge is power, and more people with knowledge empowers the whole population. Educating women empowers not only the women educated, but the whole population. Creating critical thinkers, a population of intellectuals, is a much more profound project than just preparing people for jobs" [21].

In order to make this goal a concrete reality, the Venezuelan government has implemented a series of programs, known as missions; Mission Robinson, providing elementary level education; Mission Ribas, providing high-school level education; Mission Sucre, providing college level education and Mission Vuelvan Caras, providing education in the trades. Additionally, free healthcare is provided through Mission Barrio Adentro, which has established an expanding network of neighborhood clinics, that, for the first time, have brought medical care into the poorest neighborhoods and areas of the country. The government has also, through Mission Mercal, created a network of basic grocery stores, located in the same neighborhooods, that sell subsidized food staples at very affordable prices.
We're talking about a true liberal democracy here, folks. This is the kind of government that Bush is said to support. He doesn't really support liberal democracy, of course, he just has friends who go around telling the media that he does. And while the lying goes on in Washington and elsewhere, the Venezuelan people are trying to build themselves a decent society.

Is it the right -- or has it somehow become the duty -- of our leaders to stop this? Of course it isn't ... but will that stop them? It's tough to be optimistic on this point: the ethical question of right vs. wrong has never made any difference to our so-called leaders in the past. There's a very secret and very powerful branch of our government whose job is overthrowing foreign governments. What does that tell you? That we care about the right of other nations to elect their own governments?

Meanwhile, in Venezuela,
The quest is to achieve a solidarity-based, non-violent society, a real and participative democracy, health care for all, free access to education and quality of life for all its members. This stands in contrast to the neo-liberal alternative, which reduces the individual to an island with no sense of the common good and only concern for the self. Thus, an individual in a neo-liberal paradigm is forced to cope with the increasing polarization of her/his society by dehumanizing others.
I've been wondering: Would Bush and his maniac advisers attempt to wage war against Venezuela and Iran at the same time? While other wars continue in Afghanistan and Iraq? It sounds so completely crazy that I hesitate to suggest it, but as we have seen, just because something is completely crazy does not mean they won't do it!

Thanks to Peg C. at the Brad Blog for some good pointers lately, including one of the articles mentioned above.