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Opinion and Analysis: International | Politics

Is The CIA Trying to Kill Venezuela's Hugo Chávez?

"I want to kill that son of a bitch," said the Capitan of the Venezuelan National Guard, Thomas Guillen in a recorded telephone call with his wife. In the call, played on Venezuela's state TV channel last month, the Capitan reveals his and his father's plans to kill President Hugo Chávez. The next day, the Capitan and his father, retired General Ramon Guillén Dávila, were arrested and taken into custody for conspiring to kill the President of Venezuela. [1]

In recent weeks, Hugo Chávez has increasingly warned that the United States has plans to kill him and is stepping up its activity against him and his government.  Chávez has also claimed that the CIA is working with associates of the famous Cuban terrorist and CIA agent Posada Carriles, designing plans for his assassination. But could there be any truth to all of this?  Could this be a classic CIA-conspiracy to kill another official "enemy" of the United States?  A quick look at the connections between the CIA and the General Ramon Guillén Dávila shows that it definitely is a possibility.

The United States manages to spread its tentacles into different countries around the world in various ways, influencing and intervening in the politics of sovereign nations. In Latin America, one of the most common ways is through supposed "drug operations." The CIA has been known to run "anti-drug" operations in countries like Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador.

In Venezuela, such CIA-created "anti-drug" operations were led in the 1980's by the same General Ramon Guillén Dávila who was recently planning to kill Chávez. According to the Miami Herald, Guillen was the CIA's most trusted man in Venezuela and the senior official collaborating with the CIA during the 1980's. [2]

As head of the Venezuela National Guard, Guillén worked closely with the CIA to infiltrate and gather information about Colombian drug trafficking operations. But instead of curbing drug operations, Guillén and the CIA ended up smuggling cocaine themselves, and the whole thing exploded when 60 Minutes aired an expose in 1993.  The CIA had collaborated with Guillén to smuggle the incredible sum of 22 tons of cocaine into the United States. [3]

After US customs intercepted a shipment of cocaine entering the country through Miami Internatoinal Airport, an official investigation revealed that General Guillén was responsible. But according to investigative journalist Michael Levine, Guillén was a CIA "asset" operating under CIA orders and protection, a fact that was later admitted by the CIA.  General Guillén was never extradited for trial in the U.S. [4]

So is General Ramon Guillén Dávila still a CIA "asset" working to knock off the Venezuelan President? Whether or not the General maintains ties with the CIA, it does seem that he would be a likely candidate for destabilization efforts against the Chávez government.

According to the web page School of the Americas Watch, General Guillén graduated from the infamous U.S. combat training school in 1967. [5] The School of the Americas, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001, is a US military facility that is used to train Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques and interrogation tactics.  

As another of the many tentacles of the U.S. Empire, the School of the Americas has been called the "biggest base for destabilization in Latin America." Located in Fort Benning, Georgia, the school sends its graduates throughout the region to repress left-wing and communist movements and to influence the political situations in Latin American countries. The school has frequently supported regimes with a history of employing death squads and torture to repress their populations.

Last week, during the 5th anniversary of the 2002 U.S.-supported coup attempt against the Venezuelan government, Chávez emphasized that "the empire never rests." He assured that the United States, along with the Venezuelan elite will continue conspiring in order to remove him from power, and that they would never accept the Bolivarian Revolution.

It would be no surprise, however, if the CIA were planning to kill or overthrow Hugo Chávez. The criminal organization has a long and dirty history of covert operations including assassinations, economic warfare, and rigged elections. In Latin America alone the CIA has overthrown numerous regimes in places like Nicaragua, Chile, Panama, Brazil, Grenada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and, most recently, Haiti in 2004.

What would be more surprising is if the CIA is not searching for a way to get rid of the popular Venezuelan President. After all, Chávez has proven to be quite a threat to the interests of the U.S. Empire and their corporate sponsors. Chávez has sharply rejected Washington's neo-liberal agenda, nationalized major sectors of the economy, freed his country from IMF and World Bank mandates, strengthened OPEC, taken control of the nation's oil industry, and strengthened south-south integration across the world.

However, what is even more threatening to the interests of the empire is that the revolution in Venezuela serves as an example in the region, and is now spreading to other places.  Countries like Bolivia and Ecuador are now living their own revolutions, replicating the Venezuelan experience.  

It seems feasible that former CIA "asset" General Ramon Guillén Dávila was conspiring with the CIA to get rid of the most consolidated leftist movement in Latin America today. But regardless of whether or not the CIA can manage to extinguish the fire in Venezuela, it might be too late for them to control the growing wave of leftist revolutions in the region.
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1.    "Presentan grabación sobre supuesto plan de magnicidio contra Chávez," ABN / Aporrea.org, 07/03/07 http://www.aporrea.org/actualidad/n91527.html

2.    Jerry Meldon, Contra-Crack Guide: Reading Between the Lines, 1998. http://www.consortiumnews.com/archive/crack10.html

3.    Howard G. Chua-Eoan, "Confidence Games," Time Magazine, Monday, Nov. 29, 1993, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,979669,00.html?iid=chix-sphere

4.    Michael Levine, "Mainstream Media: The Drug War Shills?," http://www.expertwitnessradio.org/essays/e6.htm

5.    School of the Americas Watch, Notorious Graduates from Venezuela, http://www.soaw.org/article.php?id=248

Chris Carlson is a freelance journalist and activist living in Venezuela.  See his personal blog at:  www.gringoinvenezuela.com