Venezuela’s President Says Assassination Plot Means Fewer Public Appearances

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez confirmed the existence of plans to assassinate him and explained that this conspiracy comes “from outside the country,” and has in no way altered his faith in the Venezuelan military.

Venezuela’s president Chavez explaining why the June 24 parade was canceled and why he canceled other public appearances.
Credit: VTV

Caracas, Venezuela, June 15, 2005—Last night Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez confirmed declarations recently made by other government officials that warn of an assassination attempt on his life and clarified that this is a foreign conspiracy in which the Venezuelan military has no part.  Upon arriving to a military Institute, Chávez stated that, “it is a conspiracy from outside the country, supported by the internal lackeys that had ordered my death on the 12th of April (2002).  Only thanks to God that the Armed Forces and the conscious majority of its men and women did not fulfill the order that I was to wake up dead on the 12th of April.”

The Venezuelan President explained that for his own security, measures, such as the suspension of the military parade of the 24th of June in the state of Carabobo, were being taken.  “I decided to suspend the parade on the 24th of June; it is not the first time that we have done this…The fundamental reason, and the Minister of Defense explained this to the country, is that an assassination plan has been detected around or in the very Carabobo Camp,” Chávez stated, adding that the zone around Carabobo is “very open and sufficiently risky.”

Chávez criticized some of the leaders of the opposition and the private media for having manipulated the decision to suspend the parade by printing twisted, fabricated statements such as “the President does not trust the military.”  He then affirmed and reiterated that he does not harbor any kind of distrust neither in the active military.

According to Chávez, Venezuela’s military intelligence is well aware of these conspiracies as evidenced by the advice for him not to attend the march against terrorism on May 28th.  In a building along one of the principal roads through which the march passed, “sufficient evidence” was found showing that a group of Colombian sharpshooters had been there.

“In the Parque Central building they found the evidence.  There was a group of Colombians, … according to what the neighbors say, monitoring the place, entering and leaving, looking for an angle of fire,” Chávez stated.

Chávez’s absence in the march, combined with the cancellation of his weekly television and radio program, Aló Presidenté, the day after the march, caused rumors to circulate that he had kidnapped or shot.  Thousands of people gathered in front of the presidential palace demanding to see their President.

According to the Venezuelan Minister of the Interior and Justice, Jesse Chacón, these shows of popular support as well as the results of surveys carried out by firms such as Datanalysis that peg Chávez’ popularity to be upwards of 70 percent, constitute a “very bleak” forecast for the opposition, especially in terms of the 2006 presidential elections. Chacón affirms that “the goal of the government is to win ten million votes in favor,” of Chávez in the 2006 elections.

Since the short and mid-term calculations anticipate that oil prices will remain high, Chacón expects that Venezuela will continue to fund and create social programs in areas such as education, healthcare and employment, among others, which directly improve the quality of the lives of the majority of the Venezuelan people. Thus it seems natural to the Minister that anyone who is unable to unwilling to look for an answer with a democratic framework would resort to an assassination attempt.