Lula? Lula said what?
I thought today's State Dept. briefing
with deputy spokesperson Adam Ereli was amusing:
Regarding a question on Venezuela:
QUESTION: Okay. In his speech yesterday in Venezuela, President Lula (Of Brazil) openly criticized what he called the U.S. defamation and insinuation against President Chavez. He also said that, "Venezuela has the right to be a sovereign country." Do you have comments on this?
MR. ERELI: These are comments by President Lula?
MR. ERELI: Of Brazil?
MR. ERELI: I didn't see those comments or his speech so I really don't want to respond to the question in that way. What I would tell you is that the issue for the United States is actions that Venezuela takes, policies that Venezuela follows, that are contrary to the principles of democracy, human rights and freedom that I think are the -- they are the commonly held values most nations in the hemisphere, number one.
And number two, the importance of taking concrete actions and serious actions to fight narcoterrorism, to fight terrorists, to contribute positively to regional security -- those are areas in which Venezuelan actions cause us concern. Those are areas in which we would encourage action that can allay the concerns of us and other members of the region who look on practices in Venezuela and say these are contrary to norms and standards that we all -- the rest of us -- adhere to.
QUESTION: A follow-up on this?
MR. ERELI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Doesn't it concern the U.S. that Brazil, which is the biggest neighbor in the region, doesn't see Venezuela in the same way as the U.S. does?
MR. ERELI: I don't know if I would accept that characterization as accurate. I think that the United States and Brazil and the other countries in the region have common aspirations for the region in terms of political development, economic development and leadership in solving regional problems, and that that's what we are looking to -- it is those tendencies that we are looking to strengthen in our engagement with hemispheric partners.
QUESTION: Could you be more specific about Venezuelan shortcomings with respect to the counter narcotics issue?
MR. ERELI: Not really. I'll look and see what we've said on the past, but off the top of my head I can't give you a detailed answer."
Perhaps the reason Adam can't be more specific is because there is no connection to narco terrorism in Venezuela. If anything the Chavez government has the been the constant victim of U.S. interference.
And didn't the Colombians violate Venezuelan sovereignty by kidnapping one of their rebels on Venezuelan soil?
The Boston Globe
"Colombian authorities battling rebels in a four-decades-old war say they seized Rodrigo Granda, the foreign relations chief of the FA RC rebel group, in Colombia on Dec. 13.
But a Venezuelan inquiry indicates he was illegally abducted from the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, apparently by Colombian agents helped by rogue Venezuelan colleagues.
Chavez has stayed silent, but if the kidnap were confirmed it could strain relations with Colombia, which have been soured in the past by disputes over security.
It also would lead to pressure from the president's leftist supporters for him to deal with this interference in Venezuela's affairs from a strong US ally."
Hugo Chavez eventually smoothed things over with Columbia, who actually has been friendlier with Chavez these days. Principles of democracy?
Ereli said "actions that Venezuela takes, policies that Venezuela follows, that are contrary to the principles of democracy," which is interesting since it was U.S. supported NGOs who engineered a coup against Chavez in 2002. That's not very democratic.
The State Department's's inspector general found the U.S. had an involvement in the coup through the work of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
According to the CATO Institute
(The)"NED which also has a history of corruption and financial mismanagement, is superfluous at best and often destructive. Through the endowment, the American taxpayer has paid for special-interest groups to harass the duly elected governments of friendly countries, interfere in foreign elections, and foster the corruption of democratic movements."
The U.S. acted as if they knew nothing about the coup but:
" CIA Senior Intelligence Brief
dated April 6, 2002 ( MORI DocID:1136214), reads, in pertinent part: ?Dissident military factions, including some disgruntled senior officers and a group of radical junior officers, are stepping up efforts to organize a coup against President Chavez, possibly as early as this month?
To provoke military action, plotters may try to exploit unrest stemming from opposition demonstrations slated for later this month or ongoing strikes at the state-owned oil company PDVSA."
On April 21, 2002 the Observer
"...officials at the Organization of American States and other diplomatic sources, talking to The Observer, assert that the US administration was not only aware the coup was about to take place, but had sanctioned it, presuming it to be destined for success."
Imagine that. The U.S. would never try to overthrow a government in Latin America, would it?
The fact that the country provides the world's 5th largest supply of oil can't have anything to do with the Bush administration's dislike of the Chavez government.
Last year the NED tried again through "referendum
" to recall Chavez. That sort of nonsense may fly in California but not in Venezuela.
The results showed overwhelming support for Hugo Chavez.MSNBC
: Aug. 16, 2004
"With 94 percent of the votes counted, Chavez had 58 percent of the vote and the opposition 42 percent, Francisco Carrasquero, president of the National Elections Council, said ahead of the news from the monitoring team.
The victory stunned opposition figures who have fought for years to oust Chavez and will likely give him an even broader mandate for his ?revolution for the poor.?
Chavez is seen as a hero by Venezuela?s majority poor but as an authoritarian by his critics, particularly among the wealthy.
Though the opposition swiftly rejected the results, saying they were fraudulent, (Former president Jimmy)Carter and the head of the Organization of American States, who led observer teams, said the voting appeared clean.
Carter said the partial results announced Monday morning by election officials showing a wide margin of victory for Chavez ?coincided? with his own team?s findings.
?Now it?s the responsibility of all Venezuelans to accept the results and work together for the future,? he said. [Isn't that what the republicans told the democrats after the 2000 election?]100.000 AK-47s! The hemosphere is in danger!!!!!
Nowadays the U.S. is all about Venezuela buying 100,000 ask-47s from Russia.
reported on Feb. 11th:
"The U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, said this week that the 100,000 Russian automatic rifles being purchased exceeded the number of Venezuela's regular armed forces. [So there is one gun for every soldier we have and that's it?]
"This is a sovereign action by Venezuela which President Chavez's government is not willing to discuss," Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel said in a statement.
In his statement, Rangel described the U.S. reaction as "another impertinence from Mr. Bush's government. One has to ask whether the U.S. concern might not stem from the fact that this equipment is being bought in Russia and not in the United States."
Adam Ereli said:
... (the)weaponry could have a "destabilizing effect" on the hemisphere. [Wow, 100,000 thats alot.] He added that the United States has raised the issue with Russia on a number of occasions.
Asked about the US statement, Russian foreign minister Sergey) Lavrov said that the weapons deal was in line with international law.
"There is nothing to comment about," Lavrov told reporters. "This is part of bilateral ties between Russia and Venezuela, and it doesn't contradict any international norms or international obligations of Russia and Venezuela."
The Interfax news agency last Friday also quoted an unidentified Russian diplomat who said that Moscow was surprised to hear the US complaints against the deal which he described as "biased and unfounded."
And then Rummy
chimed in on March 24, 2005
"Rumsfeld, during a four-day trip to Latin America, raised concerns about the reports of Venezuela's rifle purchases Wednesday.
"I can't imagine what's going to happen to 100,000 AK-47s," Rumsfeld said at a news conference in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, which shares a border with Venezuela.
"I can't understand why Venezuela needs 100,000 AK-47s. I personally hope it doesn't happen. I can't imagine, if it did happen, it would be good for the hemisphere," the defense secretary said.
Rumsfeld appeared with Brazil's vice president and defense minister, Jose Alencar, who declined to offer similar criticism of Chavez. Alencar would only say that Brazil respects the right of self-determination of other countries." [Imagine another country lecturing us on another country's right of self determination!]
And now Spain is going to sell them stuff!!!!!
"(The) Spanish government plans to sell military equipment to Venezuela...
...The deal (involves) ships and transport planes worth 1.3bn euros ($1.7bn; #1bn."
ARRRGH! the hemosphere!!!!
Gasp! Well, as long as they keep the oil coming...
[Note: Chavez is rolling in oil money. (Oil was at $56 a barrel today. I paid $2.16 yesterday ofr a gallon.] He's subsidizing Castro's economy and spending freely on his pet social programs. Venezuelans are paying a dollar for gas, and interestingly enough, the Iraqis are paying 5 cents a gallon, when they can get it. We're, U.S. tax payers, making sure Iraqi gas stays cheap
Posted by bushmeister0
at 10:09 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 31 March 2005 9:48 PM EST