Friday, June 08, 2007

President Hugo Chavez Accuses US of a 'Soft Coup' Attempt in Venezuela

Chavez Accuses U.S. of a “Soft Coup” Attempt in Venezuela

Friday, Jun 08, 2007
By Gregory Wilpert

Caracas, June 7, 2007 (— Chavez accused the Venezuelan opposition and the U.S. of planning a “soft coup with a slow fuse,” using the same method that has been applied in various eastern European countries in the past few years.

Chavez made the accusation during a press conference with representatives from the international media yesterday.

“To George Bush and the ideologues of this soft coup with a slow fuse: Sirs, your plan for Venezuela, forget about it, the only thing that could happen here is a revolutionary explosion. We do not want this to happen, but if it does, I would be at the forefront…” said Chavez in his introductory remarks to the assembled journalists.

Sketching his understanding of what he was talking about on a whiteboard, Chavez explained, “The slow fuse plan has a combination of small explosions that could give birth to a big explosion, but it would be a big revolutionary explosion – that’s the only kind of explosion that could happen here. It would be an explosion that would go against them and we do not want this to happen.”

Chavez was referring to the recent students protests as protests that copied the model of demonstrations that helped topple governments in Serbia, Ukraine, and Lithuania recently. Chavez explained that, according to the French journalist Thierry Meyssan, the mastermind behind this model, is the director of the Albert Einstein Institution, founded by Gene Sharp.

This institution advocates the use of non-violence to destabilize government, using the sectors of society that are easiest to manipulate. In Venezuela, though, this strategy would fail, said Chavez, because it can only work with governments that are unpopular.

“We are fully able to cut the slow fuse here, to extinguish it, but even if we did not manage to do so, because they are putting much money, meeting in Miami and in countries in Latin America, we are deployed 24 hours a day, doing intelligence and counter-intelligence work, here in Latin America and even in the United States,” said Chavez.

In many cases Chavez said that his government managed to neutralize the plans. “In these days there have been things we have already neutralized, sites where weapons of war were collected, Molotov cocktails, rifles. We have arrived and neutralized them and we will continue to do so.”

The reason for the effort to destabilize his government, said Chavez, had to do with his Venezuela’s leadership in forming ALBA, the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America, to which Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, and recently Nicaragua belong. “Venezuela has become the bastion of a new process in Latin America. The success of the ALBA summit worries them and they want to kill the snake by the head because they believe that by placing the brakes on Venezuela they will put the brakes on a historical process that is coming about,” said Chavez.

U.S. Defeat in OAS

Chavez also touched on a variety of other topics, such as the recent OAS General Assembly meeting in Panama, where a request by the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to send an OAS delegation to Venezuela, was not put on the meeting agenda. Chavez said “not one country” supported the proposal to have a delegation examine the case of RCTV in Venezuela.

Rice’s abrupt departure from the meeting when Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro was about to speak showed, “signs of imperial decadence,” according to Chavez. Rice leaving like that was “a lack of respect. Bush left the same way at the [OAS meeting in] Mar del Plata [Argentina].”

The attacks on Venezuela do not hurt, though, because “all these aggressions [against Venezuela] strengthen Venezuela – they don’t realize it,” exclaimed Chavez.

Venezuela to Leave IMF, But Not Right Away

Asked about Venezuela’s plans to leave the IMF, Chavez clarified that the plans still stand, but that due to technical reasons Venezuela cannot do so right away.

“As a matter of fact, we have nothing to do with the International Monetary Fund, which is facing a serious crisis,” he said.

Also, so far there are no plans to nationalize the country’s mining industry, about which there has been some speculation recently.

With regard to the plans to change the constitution so as to allow more an indefinite number of reelections of the president, Chavez clarified that this issue would be placed on the ballot as a separate referendum question in addition to the other possible changes to the constitution.

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