days after president Hugo Chávez affirmed at the Rio Group summit that
"our government only wants peace," the U.S. is now seeking to have
Venezuela declared "a state sponsor of terrorism."
McClatchy News reported Monday,
The Bush administration has launched a
preliminary legal inquiry that could land Venezuela on the U.S. list of
nations that support terrorism, following reports of close Venezuelan
links with Colombian rebels, a senior government official has confirmed. (Pablo Bachelet, "U.S. May Add Venezuela to List of Terrorist States," McClatchy Washington Bureau, Monday, March 10, 2008)
In other words, the U.S. State Department
is using Uribe's "dodgy dossier" as a pretext for sanctions and
embargoes against the Bolivarian republic. If implemented, such
restrictions would severely limit the ability of U.S. firms to do
business with Caracas while making it nearly impossible for Venezuela
to export oil to the United States or import vital spare parts
necessary to keep the economy going.
Under onerous rules now being considered,
the Treasury Department's Office of Asset Control could potentially
freeze Venezuelan financial assets in U.S. banks. Such aggressive
action by the Bush administration would "make the economy scream,"
the infamous order given by Richard M. Nixon to the CIA in the run-up
to the violent putsch that overthrew Chile's democratically-elected
socialist president, Salvador Allende, on September 11, 1973.
The McClatchy report continues,
The legal review comes after Colombia
captured four computers belonging to a guerrilla leader in a March 1
raid into Ecuador. The documents suggest the Venezuelan government was
in the process of providing $300 million to the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
As investigative journalist Greg Palast reported after actually reviewing
the documents, there is no mention whatsoever that the Venezuelan
government was "in the process of providing $300 million to … FARC."
Commenting on the crisis, U.S.-Venezuelan attorney Eva Golinger wrote Tuesday,
Over the past year, the U.S. State
Department has classified Venezuela as a nation "not collaborating"
with either the "war on drugs" or the "war against terrorism". The
Pentagon and the intelligence communities released reports earlier this
year citing Venezuela as a "major threat to U.S. national security" and
have proposed beefing up military presence in the region. The White
House and Congress have increased USAID and National Endowment Funding
to opposition groups in Venezuela in an effort to rebuild ailing
conservatives that favor a U.S. agenda. International media portray
Chávez as "public enemy #1" and the leader of a Latin American "axis of
evil" that is threatening regional stability. ("The Peacemaker," Venezuela Analysis, Tuesday, March 11, 2008)
With this in mind, Bill Conroy at The Narco News Bulletin
is reporting that CIA and Pentagon corporate cut-outs have exported at
least 11 aircraft to Venezuela since 2003, four of which have
subsequently been linked to cocaine planes seized by Mexican and
Central American authorities. Conroy's extensive investigation into the
mysterious aircraft and even dodgier companies have led him to conclude
that the planes are linked "to an elaborate covert intelligence
operation." Conroy reports:
The covert program, law enforcement
sources contend, likely involves the CIA and components of Defense
Department intelligence agencies, and is focused, in part, on
penetrating, or even propping up, narco-trafficking groups in
Venezuela. That country's outspoken leader, Hugo Chávez, is regularly
demonized by U.S. policymakers for, among other things, supposedly
allowing his country to become a haven for narco-traffickers. ("U.S. Cocaine-Plane Invasion Spooks Latin America," The Narco News Bulletin, March 11, 2008)
The Narco News investigation dovetails with one that Florida-based journalist Daniel Hopsicker
has been reporting for nearly two years when the first plane was seized
on the Yucatan peninsula by Mexican authorities in April 2006, carrying
some 5.5. tons of cocaine.
Conroy and Hopsicker have both reported that the operation, code-named Mayan Express,
appears to prioritize intelligence goals over law enforcement.
Multi-ton loads of cocaine may have been allowed to flow freely into
the United States as Washington's "drug warriors" looked the other way,
a classic sign of a sanctioned intelligence operation.
Two of the aircraft identified in their
reports, a Gulfstream II jet (tail number N987SA), which crashed in
Mexico last September with a payload of some four tons of cocaine, and
a Beech 200 (N391SA) seized in Nicaragua "with the false tail number
N168D," have been linked to the CIA's "extraordinary rendition"
program, according to Council of Europe investigators.
In a prior interview with Conroy,
attorney Mark Conrad, "a former high-level supervisory U.S. Customs
agent who has an extensive background in the intelligence world," told Narco News,
"Even though it looks as if you are
unraveling odd connections you may be only seeing a small part of what
is going on — or you may be seeing what you are expected to see,
missing something else.
"My guess — and that is all that it
is — is that this has something to do with operations in Venezuela —
either to finance ops, or to divert attention from Agency ops in
Venezuela to destabilize Chávez. … It is not in
the U.S. interests for Chávez to create another Cuba on some of the
largest oil field reserves in the world." [emphasis added]
Before the December 2007 constitutional
referendum which the Chávez government lost, Golinger reported that
Venezuelan counterintelligence obtained a CIA memorandum from the U.S.
Embassy which revealed extensive CIA/Pentagon plans to destabilize the
country. Code-named "Operation Pliers," the memo was dated November 20,
2007. Golinger wrote,
Operation Tenaza has the objective of
encouraging an armed insurrection in Venezuela against the government
of President Chávez that will justify an intervention of US forces,
stationed on the military bases nearby in Curacao and Colombia. The
Operation mentions two countries in code: as Blue and Green. These
refer to Curacao and Colombia, where the US has
operative, active and equipped bases that have been reinforced over the
past year and a half in anticipation of a conflict with Venezuela.
The document confirms that
psychological operations are the CIA's best and most effective weapon
to date against Venezuela, and it will continue its efforts to
influence international public opinion regarding President Chávez and
the situation in the country.
Operation Tenaza is a very alarming
plan that aims to destabilize Venezuela and overthrow (again) its
legitimate and democratic (and very popularly supported) president. The
plan will fail, primarily because it has been discovered, but it must
be denounced around the world as an unacceptable violation of
Venezuela's sovereignty. ("CIA 'Operation Pliers' Uncovered in Venezuela," Venezuela Analysis, November 28, 2007)
While "Operation Pliers" may have failed
back in December, the CIA has been ratcheting up tensions ever since,
as the March 1 U.S.-Colombian attack on Ecuador clearly demonstrates.
Since its failed April 2002 coup against the socialist government, the
United States, working through a multitude of fronts–from the CIA, the
American Center for International Labor Solidarity, the International
Republican Institute to the National Endowment for Democracy–have
poured millions of dollars into Venezuela, funding a broad campaign of
subversion and violence.
Utilizing assets such as Súmate, Acción
Democrática, Comando Nacional de la Resistencia and media outlets such
as Globovisión, RCTV and the Interamerican Press Society, Washington
and their far-right allies are planning a "Pinochet option" to topple
the democratically-elected government of Hugo Chávez.
Despite on-going attacks by Colombian
far-right narco-trafficking paramilitary gangs such as the Autodefensas
Unidas de Colombia (AUC) and Águilas Negras (Black Eagles) in the
Venezuelan state of Tachira, analysts believe that the U.S.-funded Plan
Colombia is being used by the Bush and Uribe regimes as part of a
military "pincer" movement against Venezuela.
Tachira's governor, Blanco la Cruz, told the Australian socialist journal, Green Left Weekly that,
"The zones that suffer this problem
most intensely are [the area] south of Lake Maracaibo in Zulia, Alto
Apure, and, obviously, Tachira. In these states, the paramilitaries,
helped by the Colombian government, have taken control of various
areas, buying up farms with the money from extortion, kidnapping and,
principally, drug-dealing." (Jim McIlroy & Coral Wynter,
"Venezuela: Guns, Drugs and Thugs: The threat from Plan Colombia,
Number 684, September 20, 2006)
If the United States determines that
Venezuela "has … crossed the threshold of state sponsor of terror,"
according to an "unnamed official" cited by McClatchy News,
full-blown U.S. sanctions would usher in a state of savage economic
warfare as a prelude to a U.S. invasion and occupation of Venezuela and
its strategic petroleum resources.
Additional documentation of U.S. destabilization operations against Venezuela can be found at Venezuelafoia.info