Once again, Chavez is vindicated while Washington’s sky falls

Well, well, well, well, well, well, WELL. Look who’s been telling the truth all along:

SANTA MARTA, Colombia (AFP) – Venezuelan former soldiers plotted against President Hugo Chavez’s government at a Colombian military building, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said.

Uribe made the stunning disclosure Saturday at this Caribbean resort town where he is meeting with Chavez, and after analyzing documents furnished by the Venezuelan leader.

“The Venezuelan soldiers who are in Bogota went to a building to meet with members of the Colombian military. President Chavez gave us these documents … we analyzed them and this morning I said to President Chavez: ‘I must tell you the truth: this is a building of Colombia’s public forces,'” he said.

Uribe said that intelligence efforts against the Venezuelan government are conducted in the building, and took full responsibility for the affair.

Now, this is pretty unprecedented. A right-wing US ally, taking responsibility for his country’s part in a US-backed plot against a Venezuelan leader? The sky must surely be falling over Washington.

So much evidence is now surfacing to show that Hugo Chavez, contrary to all BushCo’s efforts (helped by the out-of-touch commercial press of the Venezuelan oligarchy) to paint him as a nutty, paranoid wannabe dictator in need of toppling, is in fact nothing of the sort. He was right all along: Washington has been very much behind the attempt on his life in 2002, and they’re still trying to overthrow him now. Yes, it is a grave charge to level, but it’s not so far-fetched when you consider that Dubya has been forced to admit to some truly vile domestic spying of his own. If even his own country is not safe from Bush-ordered espionage and attempts to quash dissent, then who’s to say that Venezuela–one of the US’s leading suppliers of oil–is any safer from his depredations?

The only thing keeping the US from declaring outright war on Venezuela right now is the demonstrable fact that Chavez is not a dictator; indeed, he’s the most thoroughgoing democrat in all the Americas, and has enormous popular support at home and abroad. Thus he has deprived Bush of any chance of grouping him with Saddam and declaring a war for oil (disguised, of course, as “defending democracy”.)

Meanwhile, Chavez has been moving from strength to strength. The Venezuelan national assembly, as of the December 4 election, consists of a solid two-thirds majority from Chavez’s own party, with the balance of the seats occupied by pro-Chavez legislators from other parties. The anti-Chavez forces, however, shot themselves in the foot by withdrawing from the elections even after getting all the concessions they demanded of the electoral authority. (It now turns out that they pulled out because they were plotting another US-backed coup attempt; a terrorist scheme was foiled in time by the Venezuelan national guard. The anti-Chavez voting bloc abstained not out of protest against Chavez, as they claimed, but to keep their asses from getting blown sky-high by bombs that never did go off at the appointed polling stations.)

And speaking of strength: How about that Evo Morales, eh? Defying the media’s expectations (or should we say propaganda?), Morales won a solid majority of his own, meaning nothing stands between him and the presidency of Bolivia. Not bad for an indigenous former coca grower–the first brown man ever to rule his country since its founding some 200 years ago. It’s high time, too: Bolivia has been chafing against Washington’s political installations and the World Bank’s economic policies for years. It’s time the Bolivians had a leader who actually speaks for them. The rich, mostly white oligarchy sure doesn’t. They’d sell the ground (and the vast natural gas reserves it contains) out from under the people’s feet, if they had their way, and bugger off to Miami, where they can rub shoulders with Latin America’s worst.

And if you’re noticing some parallels there with Venezuela, pat yourself on the back. Chavez and Morales are good friends, and there is no small hope in Bolivia that he will take a leaf from Chavez’s book and put natural-gas revenues to work for the good of the people, as Chavez has done with his country’s oil. And like Chavez, Morales has bitter enemies in Washington and Miami. One can only hope that he’ll take another leaf from Chavez’s book, too: that of keeping himself surrounded by bodyguards wherever he goes. Chavez knows firsthand the dangers of assassination that lurk for any leftist democratically elected to make a difference in Latin America, and no doubt he’s already on the horn giving Morales sound advice on how to keep his neck out of the noose.

And oh yeah, this just in…look who else has grown a spine all of a sudden:

BOGOTA (AP) — Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, one of Washington’s best friends in South America, told the United States to stop "meddling" in his country’s affairs after the U.S. ambassador urged him to take steps against corruption in regional elections.

U.S. Ambassador William Wood, in a speech in the capital Friday, said the 2003 elections for mayors and governors saw many unopposed candidates because potential opponents were bribed, scared off and, in some cases, murdered.

He said rightist paramilitary groups were often to blame for those abuses and warned the same could happen in elections scheduled for March elections.

The illegal paramilitaries recently signed a peace deal that makes fighters who disarm eligible for benefits such as reduced prison sentences, pardons, job training and stipends. Wood said fighters who seek to manipulate elections should be stripped of their benefits.

Uribe responded in a sharply worded statement late Friday.

"The Colombian government does not accept the meddling of foreign governments, even if it is the United States," he said, adding that it is already clear that paramilitary leaders lose benefits if they break the law.

Uribe said Washington should not try to use Plan Colombia, an anti-drug program funded mostly by a $4 billion aid package from Washington, "to put pressure on our country."

The U.S. Embassy said Wood meant no offense by his remarks.

"There was no intention to interfere in any way with Colombian elections, but rather to support the democratic, free, open and impartial process," the embassy said in a statement Saturday.

Yeah, I’ll just bet it is. Those words might mean more if they weren’t coming from the most brutally interfering Washington administration in living memory.

As I’ve said before, US elections are neither democratic, nor free, nor open, and certainly not impartial anymore. The last two federal ones were so god-awfully foul that long lines of people were holding their noses as they entered the polling booths. Once again, Washington is cordially re
minded to get its own house in order before attempting to “support” any other country striving for democracy.

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