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One Flew Over the Coup-Coup's Nest
April 18, 2002
By Bridget Gibson

It is always a pleasant surprise when the words that emanate from the politicians corresponds with their policy, and it should not be such a surprise when it does not. The latter is the case at hand. On September 20, 2001, in one of the most important speeches ever written for him, George W. Bush clearly stated, for all to hear, that the cause of the worst act to occur on American soil in decades lay in hate for American freedoms.

On November 5-7, 2001, our National Security Agency, the Pentagon and the U.S. State Department held a two-day meeting on U.S. policy toward Venezuela. These meetings had been held to discuss foreign policies in the past: 1953 for Guatemala (overthrow government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman and replace with Carlos Castillo Armas), 1963 for Brazil (organize campaign of labor strike and propaganda to overthrow government of Joao Goulart) and 1973 for Chile (campaign of assassinations, propaganda, labor strikes and demonstrations to overthrow government of Salvador Allende. Cost: $8,400,000).

The similarities do not end there. After each of these high level meetings, the targeted countries underwent what is known as a coup d'etat: that very undemocratic process in which the military assists some shadowy unknown in the takeover of the government. The shadowy figures in Venezuela were parts of the military, business, unions, the Roman Catholic Church and the news media. The coup installed Pedro Carmona and forced the removal and imprisonment of President Chavez to an island. Within hours of his illegal installation, Carmona dissolved the National Assembly, the Supreme Court and the Venezuelan constitution.

Since that meeting in November, the American papers, television and radio media have dutifully reported the proscribed verbiage regarding the duly elected president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. It may be the work of Richard Armitage or the Pentagon's Office of Strategic Information, that secretive branch that we were told by Donald Rumsfeld was dissolved - the one that was set up to spread disinformation to the American and foreign public. In this way, the good people of the United States can be sure to never understand the actions that unfold before them, yet behind their backs.

Though the American public would not know, it seems dreadful that President Chavez has been working to represent the people in his country that have the least voice: the poor, the jobless, the hungry, the sick. Then President Chavez did the unthinkable. He raised taxes on his country's biggest exporting asset: oil. He decided that the taxes collected from the distribution of his country's natural depleting resource should help pay for health care, schools and other necessary infrastructure. This act did not sit well with the free-marketers that believe that their God-given right is to plunder any country and leave its cupboards bare.

Meetings have been held in Washington with George W. Bush's staff with the emissary's from Carmona's camp to garner support from Washington. A Defense Department official gave the following in response to questions of U.S. involvement: "We were not discouraging people," the official said. "We were sending informal, subtle signals that we don't like this guy (Chavez). We didn't say, 'No, don't you dare,' and we weren't advocates saying, 'Here's some arms; we'll help you overthrow this guy.' We were not doing that."

Somehow I cannot see the above scenario without questioning the governmental and personal ethics of an administration that so strongly claims to have a charter membership in the "ethics club." Would it not have been more appropriate for our government to hold to the provisions that mandate the Organization of American States to come to the defense of democracy?

The Bush Administration, by their words and actions, have no such compunctions to the rest of the globe. The repeated trouncing and negation of treaties, the ever-expanding "war on drugs", "war on terra" and the propensity for hiding records with one hand, and removing human and citizen rights with the other, is showing America's citizenry why "they hate our freedom."

What we, the people, did not understand in George Bush's September 20th speech, was that they do not hate us, the citizenry, for our freedoms specified by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They hate us as an imperial country with the freedom to destroy their fragile democracies, their resources and their humanities. We need to be asking ourselves and our governmental representatives many more questions and demanding answers. We need to stop giving our rights as citizens away without question. If we do not begin to look much deeper for resolutions to very large and real problems, we shall end up as cornered and caged as the Israelis, with hundreds of thousands of police and military personnel patrolling every corner and living in fear.

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