Caracas, Venezuela, August 23, 2005 (Venezuelanalysis.com).- U.S. Christian televangelist Pat Robertson, host of "The 700 Club" show on the U.S. Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, during his television show on Monday.
"You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it." Reverend Robertson commented after his network aired a news piece highly critical of the twice-elected South American leader.
"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don’t need another 200 billion dollar war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with," Robertson continued.
In recent months Chavez has hinted that the U.S. government, after failed attempts to remove him from the presidency, might contemplate his assassination, given the fact that his high approval ratings in Venezuela make him very likely to be reelected next year.
"It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don’t think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United … This is in our sphere of influence, so we can’t let this happen," the televangelist continued.
Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition, accused the U.S. of not doing enough to overthrow Chavez. "There was a popular coup that overthrew him, and what did the United States State Department do about it? virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in," Robertson said referring to the April 2002 coup, which was reversed after millions of Venezuelans took the streets to demand the return of their elected president.
Chavez and many independent analysts argue that the U.S. government was involved in the coup. Documents obtained under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, show that the U.S. government channeled millions of dollars in grants to U.S. and Venezuelan groups opposed to President Chávez, including several that participated in the failed coup. The documents, posted at www.VenezuelaFOIA.info, also show the CIA had advance knowledge of the coup, giving credibility to reports of U.S. involvement.
Robertson accused Chavez of destroying the Venezuelan economy, which grew 17% in 2004, and is expected to grow double digits again in 2005. "He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he’s going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent," he said. Politically-motivated capital flight, lock-outs, strikes, and a coup attempt, caused the Venezuelan economy to contract in 2002 and 2003. The economy later recovered in 2004 after Chavez regained control of the state-owned oil company, and Venezuelans went to the polls exercising their right to demand the recall of the President.
America for the Americans
Robertson invoked the Monroe Doctrine under which the United States must exercise control over the Americas. "We have the Monroe Doctrine; we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly," he said. Venezuela has the highest reserves of crude oil outside of the Middle East and it is one of the main suppliers of oil to the U.S.
The televangelist is a strong supporter of U.S. President George W. Bush, and mobilized his millions of followers during the two recent presidential elections.
Robertson, whose fortune ranges between 200 million and one billion dollars, is a strong believer in God and the power of prayer. "I want to be part of God’s plan of what He is doing on earth, and I want to bring Him glory," reads his mission statement on his website.
- Video of Robertson demanding the assasination of Chavez (QuickTime format, courtesy of MediaMatters.org)
- Venezuela’s Chavez Accuses U.S. Government of Considering his Assassination
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- Opinion: Kill Venezuela’s Chávez? by Ignacio Ramonet