Monday, October 1, 2012

CFR Report Suggests U.S. Preparing For Upcoming Venezuela Coup, Exploiting Civil Unrest

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Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post
September 29, 2012

As election drama intensifies in Venezuela, Anglo-American plans to initiate yet another destabilization effort in a sovereign nation seem to be manifesting via the usual suspects – American ambassadorial staff and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Under the leadership of President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela has been a stalwart source of resistance to the plans of the Anglo-Americans for several years, particularly since the George W. Bush administration and, like all other imperialist policies, continuing through the Obama administration.

Likewise, for just as long, Chavez’ government has been the target of US/NATO-backed destabilization efforts, covert operations, and political pressure.

Although Venezuela and the United States are held together by joint business interests involving petroleum exports and imports, this fact has done nothing to soften the tension between the two governments. Venezuela is, after all, the biggest supplier of petroleum to the United States. In turn, the United States is Venezuela’s biggest customer.

Nevertheless, both countries have been without ambassadors since 2010 due to Chavez’ rejection of the nomination of Larry Palmer by the Obama administration and Washington’s subsequent dismissal of the Venezuelan ambassador in response. Furthermore, the imperialist US sanctions regarding countries, banks, businesses, and individuals that do business with Iran were applied to the Venezuelan state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), in May 2011 after the US State Department claimed that PDVSA delivered two cargo shipments of refined petroleum products worth approximately $50 million to Iran between the months of December and March 2010-2011.

In addition, as NewsMax reports,
The U.S. also imposed penalties on Venezuela's Military Industries Co. for violating the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act by selling or buying sensitive equipment and technology related to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missile systems.

Even more so, Chavez’ government, in 2002, was briefly overthrown as a result of a coup largely supported by the United States. Although Chavez was able to regain control of the Presidency and the government within a mere 48 hours, such an affront to Venezuelan sovereignty and personal power is not likely to be forgotten by Chavez. In turn, the fact that the United States is ready and willing to back opposition leaders capable of storming the capitol and taking power is not likely to be forgotten by individuals seeking to do so.

Now, with presidential elections soon to take place pitting the relatively popular Hugo Chavez (he is ten percentage points ahead) against Henrique Capriles Radonski, the ever-present concern over Anglo-American meddling in the internal political affairs of Venezuela is becoming a legitimate issue once again.

As one can plainly see, however, this uneasiness is not without firm foundation in reality. For instance, in a recent paper published by the Council on Foreign Relations around mid-September entitled, “Political Unrest in Venezuela,” the former US ambassador to the South American nation, Patrick D. Duddy provided a clear list of possible military, financial, and political contingency measures to be taken after elections are held on October 7.

Duddy cites the repeated warnings made by Chavez during the campaign regarding the possibility of chaos, destabilization, violence and even civil war if he fails to win the election in order to suggest that these conditions may arise out of Chavez’ sabotage of Venezuelan elections. However, the reality is that, while this does exist within the realm of possibility, the violence and chaos that ensues is much more likely to be a legitimate and organic reaction to the election of Radonski who is seen as much more favorable toward dismantling many of the social programs that Chavez heavily invested in. Even Duddy admits in his paper that a Chavez loss might result in riots by government workers “before Capriles can be inaugurated.”

In his paper, Duddy provides several instances that he supposes are “Warning Indicators” of violence and political unrest as a result of the Venezuelan presidential elections. Among these indicators are those such as the following:
  • Chavez dies or an announcement is made that his death is imminent.
  • Violent crime is allowed to surge in the major cities before the election.
  • Weapons are distributed to the militia.
  • Basic food items disappear.
  • Remaining independent media are closed and/or prominent journalists are detained.
  • Sharp divisions within Chavismo surface publicly, suggesting insiders know Chavez is failing.
  • A senior political figure close to either Chavez or Capriles is assassinated.
  • Local supplies of gasoline are interrupted.
Although many of these conditions have been predicted or are quite possible inside the United States in coming years, Duddy sees their presence in Venezuela as the signal of apocalyptic social upheaval. More importantly, Duddy represents this upheaval as vital to the interests of the United States – particularly those of U.S. involving the need “to promote democracy, increase regional cooperation, combat narcotics, and protect its economic interests in the region.”

For clarification purposes, one may translate these interests to mean “to install puppet regimes via destabilization programs, create U.S. regional hegemony, further the drug trade for intelligence purposes (while imprisoning members of the general public), and protecting private banking and corporate interests operating or wishing to operate in the region.”
  • Nevertheless, Duddy writes that several scenarios exist as a possibility to trigger the political unrest itself. They are, according to Duddy,
  • Chavez’s defeat on October 7 looks likely before the election.
  • Chavez wins the election – or plausibly claims to win – and almost immediately dies or withdraws from public life for health reasons.
  • The election is held and Capriles wins.
  • Capriles wins and is inaugurated.
  • The election is held and the results are too close to call or are unacceptable to the government.
In other words, Duddy suggests, the underdog Radonski is facing an uphill battle not only in terms of popular support but also in the form of Chavezs’ government machine. But, while may very well be the case, Duddy has more obvious reasons for supporting Radonski than he initially lets on.

Chavez, whatever one thinks of his political philosophy, has represented a largely anti-imperialist position in recent years with his nationalization of oil companies, gold industry, and even some of the food industry away from the traditional market and foreign governments. Chavez also demanded Venezuelan gold stocks be returned to Venezuela and out of Western banks.

Radonski, on the other hand, is seen as being much more “market-friendly.” In fact, analysts from Credit Suisse, Casey Reckman and Igor Arsenin, stated to Bloomberg News earlier this year that, “A Capriles victory would be a good outcome from the market’s perspective, in our view, as he seems to be a more viable presidential candidate than the opposition has presented previously. He espouses a gradualist, inclusive, left-of-center but market friendly approach.”

Again, a translation is necessary. Chavez represents a threat to the Anglo-American imperialist strategy because of his refusal to engage in unrestrained privatization. Radonski represents a much better option due to his support for, at the very least, privatization and “free market” tendencies.

Indeed, a Radonski presidency would not be the first time the current governor of Miranda has cooperated with the Anglo-Americans. During the aforementioned coup against Chavez in 2002, Radonski, who was Mayor of Caracass’ Baruta district, was implicated in the detention of Ramon Rodriquez Chacin, Venezuela’s Interior Minister. Although the charges of fomenting violence on the Cuban embassy during the coup attempt were ultimately dropped, the suspicion surrounding Radonski’s allegiances remain. After all, the U.S. State Department was quick to go to bat for Radonski when his trial was set to take place, claiming that his case was indicative of Venezuelan Human Rights abuses.

If the claims regarding Radonski’s association with pro-Zionist groups are true, along with his questionable actions (at best) during the Venezuelan coup, then there is little surprise as to why former ambassador Duddy and the Anglo-American establishment would support him.

With this in mind, Duddy writes that the possibility for violence in the event of a Chavez victory is very real. The question facing the United States, according to Duddy, then becomes “What can we do about it?” Inside the pages of “Political Unrest in Venezuela,” he attempts to answer this question or, more accurately put, how the United States can best take advantage of such a situation.

In the section of his paper entitled, “Mitigating Options,” Duddy laments the fact that “The likelihood of success for unilateral U.S. efforts is low;” which itself suggests that, if support existed, unilateral U.S. action would be given serious consideration. However, it is important to point out that Duddy does not rule out unilateral action as much as he merely observes that support for it would be low.

Nevertheless, Duddy states that “multilateral efforts that include other important regional players are far more likely to influence Venezuelan behavior.”

Thus, it is important to note that, among Duddy’s “Mitigating Options,” there falls the subcategories of diplomatic, economic and financial, and military options.

In terms of diplomacy, Duddy suggests that the U.S., “together with like-minded nations . . . . . demand that the OAS declare Venezuela in breach of its obligations as a signatory of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and encourage a secretary-general–led mission to Caracas.” He also proposes that the United States involve the United Nations, the European Union, and “other international partners,” in order to “to explicitly endorse regional efforts to restore democracy.”

Unfortunately, Duddy does not define what a “regional effort to restore democracy” would look like. However, considering therecent history of Anglo-American interference, along with other international “coalitions of the willing,” we can only imagine that the results would bring little benefit to the Venezuelan people.

In terms of “Economic and Financial Options,” Duddy writes that, in the event of violence or “interruption of democracy,”
the United States could freeze individual bank accounts of key figures involved or responsible and seize assets in the United States. It could also arrange for the proceeds of Venezuelan government-owned corporate entities like CITGO to be held in escrow accounts until democracy is restored and encourage other important trading partners (i.e. Canada, Spain, France, Brazil) to do the same.
He also suggests that the “United States could block access to CITGO’s refining facilities in the United States and consider prohibiting PDVSA oil sales to the United States while the government’ status is uncertain.”

In other words, Duddy is proposing that the United States seize, freeze, and otherwise sanction Venezuelan assets until the election results are established to the satisfaction of the Anglo-American oligarchy. Clearly, a Chavez government does not fit the accepted mold formed by the shadow government currently guiding world society. Thus, one must naturally wonder just what the world power elite has in store for Venezuela on October 7.

With this in mind, the next section of Duddy’s paper, entitled “Military Options,” is much more concerning.

For instance, in this section, Duddy writes that,
The United States could encourage other Latin American militaries, as well perhaps as the Spanish, to communicate to the Venezuelan military the importance of complying with constitutional mandates, respecting human rights, and preserving democracy. While Chavez loyalists dominate the Venezuelan high command, it is not clear to what extent they control the middle ranks. Nor is it clear to what extent the military’s loyalty to Chavez’s Bolivarian movement would trump other considerations. In the abortive coup of 2002 the military temporarily removed Chavez but also restored him to power.
In this short section, Duddy is doing more than simply hinting that the United States, along with other Latin American client states, “encourage” the Venezuelan military to depose Hugo Chavez and install a different government. Notice that nowhere does Duddy suggest the possibility that Radonski might be the culprit in contested elections and post-election violence. The reason for this is that Radonski is not the target of the Anglo-American destabilization efforts – Chavez is. It is also ironic because Radonski has himself been involved in the instigation of political violence in the past.

Indeed, Duddy’s interpretation of “encouragement,” taken in the context of recent NATO-related adventures, sounds dangerously close to “direction” and outright “involvement.”

As Lee Brown of Venezuela Analysis writes,
However there are obvious concerns that this fits neatly with the objectives of those within the right-wing opposition in Venezuela who are planning for the non-recognition of the coming elections if, as expected, Hugo Chavez wins. With the polls showing strong leads for Hugo Chavez, a campaign is already underway by sections of the right-wing opposition coalition to present any electoral defeat as being down to Chavez-led fraud. This has seen baseless attacks on the independent National Electoral Council (CNE,) which has overseen all of Venezuelans’ elections described as free and fair by a range of international observers. The opposition has announced plans to place tens of thousands of ‘witnesses’ at polling stations on election day and then, illegally to release its own results ahead of the official results in a clear bid to discredit them. These plans have sharpened fears that opposition-led disruptions and destabilisation will follow their defeat. This could easily meet Duddy’s condition of 'an outbreak of violence and/or interruption of democracy'. 
Clearly the paper raises the spectre that, as with the US-backed coup in 2002, the US could seek to blame any right wing opposition-led post election disruption on the Hugo Chavez government, with the US then taking the measures Duddy suggests. 
The 'options' suggested by Patrick Duddy, a former Bush era Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, form part of ongoing hostilities to the democratically elected Chavez government from neo-cons in Washington. Connie Mack, chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, has openly advocated that Venezuela is added to the US lists of states that sponsor terrorism. Whilst Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney earlier this year attacked Venezuela during the US Presidential campaign as a threat to national security and accused Venezuela of 'spreading dictatorships & tyranny throughout Latin America'. 
With less than one month to go until the Venezuelan people go to the polls, and with it looking likely that they will re-elect Hugo Chavez, solidarity in defence of the right of the people to choose their own government free from outside intervention clearly remains vital.
Indeed, the entire purpose of Duddy’s paper seems to be a preparation at the academic level for a second coup attempt in Venezuela using “contested” elections as a justification. Much like the destabilizations taking place all over the world, particularly in the Middle East, the Anglo-Americans appear to be posturing for political, financial, proxy, or even direct involvement in the domestic affairs of yet another sovereign nation using civil unrest as a justification. More interesting still is the fact that the civil and political unrest used to justify this involvement has been fomented by the Anglo-American intelligence networks to begin with.

There is little doubt that streets full of angry demonstrators, regardless of the reason for their discontent, will be broadcast back to the United States and the rest of the Western world as anti-Chavez activists and peaceful protesters. As what little liberty the Venezuelan people had begins to flow down the drain, the corporate media will laud the crowing of the new free market king in the place where a democratically elected President once stood. Like the unfortunate people of Libya, the Venezuelans will wake up to a much darker world upon completion of the Anglo-American destabilization plan. Americans, however, will just wake up none the wiser.

Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Mullins, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor's Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident. Turbeville has published over one hundred articles dealing with a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville is available for podcast, radio, and TV interviews. Please contact us at activistpost (at)

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