Open Letter to El Nuevo Herald and the Miami Herald

We object to the tone and intention of a series of articles in El Nuevo Herald, which is clearly part of the intensifying effort to demonize the Bolivarian revolutionary process and isolate the various solidarity groups active in the U.S. and Canada.

An earlier version of this letter was sent to the editors of El Nuevo Herald and the Miami Herald in response to an article by Casto Ocando entitled “Redes chavistas penetran en EEUU”. So far, that letter has not been printed.  Since then, they have published 2 more articles by the same author on the same topic.  We have therefore decided to make this an open letter, have updated it to reflect the new articles, and have also added more examples of anti-Venezuelan activities taking place in the U.S. 

We object to the tone and intention of this series of articles, which is clearly part of the intensifying effort to demonize the Bolivarian revolutionary process and isolate the various solidarity groups active in the U.S. and Canada. Now more than ever, those who oppose U.S. intervention in Venezuela must stand together to reject these provocations.  Hands Off Venezuela! An injury to one is an injury to all! 

Please publicize this widely and join the Hands Off Venezuela Campaign in saying “No!” to U.S. intervention in Venezuela and around the world!

Open letter to El Nuevo Herald and The Miami Herald:

We, the U.S. Hands Off Venezuela Campaign condemn and deplore your March 20 article, “Redes chavistas penetran en EEUU”, the subsequent two articles, and .pdf file illustrating pro-Chavez organizations in the U.S. This is nothing but yellow journalism in an effort to undermine the U.S. and Canadian Bolivarian Circles, the Hands Off Venezuela Campaign, and others who support the Venezuelan revolutionary process. 

(See also: Redes chavistas chocan con leyes de EEUU, Chavistas cautivan a académicos de Estados Unidos, Gráfico de las organizaciones Chavistas en Estados Unidos (PDF))Your so-called investigation is nothing more than a witch-hunt intended to scare and intimidate supporters of the Venezuelan revolutionary process. Your effort to “expose” these groups, which mixes publicly available facts with half-truths, and journalistic hyperbole, is a transparent effort to discredit the Venezuelan solidarity movement being built in the U.S., Canada, and internationally. Attacks such as these are reminiscent of the days of McCarthyism, when people and organizations were accused without evidence in order to suppress opposition to U.S. government policies.

In addition, it is the height of hypocrisy that your paper supports the “War on Terror” while terrorist acts are being planned and discussed right under your noses without a word of condemnation.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal on January 29, 2003, right-wing Cuban groups based in Florida are planning the overthrow of Venezuela’s democratically-elected government. According to the Journal and Vheadline.com, Capt. Luis Eduardo García, the leader of the Venezuelan Patriotic Junta, is providing military training for some 50 members of the “F-4 Commandos”, 30 of them Cuban-Americans, the rest Venezuelans, in a shooting range close to the Everglades. He was reported as saying, “We are preparing for war.”

This is surely in violation of U.S. and International laws.

Other leaders of the U.S.-backed April 2002 coup against Chavez have taken refuge in Miami.*  Many of them have openly called for the violent overthrow of Chavez.  Former Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez, who is wanted by Venezuelan authorities in connection with the massacre of Venezuelan civilians in 1989, spends much of his time in Miami.  In past interviews he has declared that he is “working to remove Chavez [from power]… “Violence will allow us to remove him… [Chavez] must die like a dog, because he deserves it.”  

Local Miami TV stations Canal 22 and Channel 41 have on various occasions shown individuals calling for the violent overthrow of the Bolivarian government and assassination of President Chavez. As reported by Inter Press Service, Venezuelan actor and host Orlando Urdaneta said the following last year in relation to Venezuelan President Chavez on a local Miami station: “Venezuela’s biggest problem can be solved with a rifle with a telescopic sight.”  When asked who would give the order, his reply was, “The order has already been given.”

Most recently, ex-CIA agent, Felix Rodriguez, speaking to channel 22 in Miami, confirmed that Washington would take economic and military actions against Venezuela, including assassination. Rodriguez said that he expected to participate in a CIA command to end with the life of the Venezuelan president. According to Rodriguez, U.S. military forces could launch a pre-emptive air strike to assassinate Chavez. (Reported on www.Venezuelanalysis.com)

As far as we know, all of this goes against FCC regulations to say the least.

Instead, your paper focuses on “exposing” those active in the broad-based Venezuelan solidarity movement. Perhaps your writers’ time would be better spent investigating terroristic comments made on local television. Or perhaps they should investigate the legality of U.S. funding of opposition and terrorist groups within Venezuela, and the destabilization program currently being carried out in that country by groups such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the American Center of International Labor Solidarity (ACILS) of the AFL-CIO, and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE).**

Cort Greene for the U.S. Hands Off Venezuela Campaign

     * Documents incontrovertibly proving U.S. involvement in the April 2002 coup have been made public through the Freedom of Information Act and are available at: http://www.venezuelafoia.info/

     ** The role played by these and other groups is outlined in the following interview with Philip Agee, formerly of the CIA: http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/articles.php?artno=1403