by Agustin Blazquez with the collaboration of Jaums Sutton

The news on April 11 could not have been better for the cause of freedom in the Americas: Chavez, the dictator of Venezuela, had been deposed by popular, pacific demonstrations reminiscent of the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, is a close friend and ally of the last tyrant in this hemisphere, Fidel Castro. In addition to Cuba, he is associated with other equally anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-democracy terrorist states including Libya, Iran and Iraq. Chavez also sought and obtained an alliance with communist China.

Chavez called Gadhafi’s Libya, "a model of participatory democracy." Embracing the fundamentalist Ayatollah of Iran, he declared, "We have Sister Revolutions with equal struggles and the same destiny." Chavez praised Iraq’s Saddam Hussein calling his regime a "model" for "my Venezuela." And of his mentor, Castro, he said, "Now we can talk of a single team." He also said that Cuba and Venezuela are "swimming together toward the same sea of happiness."

In addition, Chavez took an active part in the international terrorist network by helping the violent Marxist narco-guerrillas of Colombia and offering sanctuary in Venezuela’s territory for their operations on the border with Colombia.

Chavez (in cahoots with Castro) plan for Venezuela is to build a regime similar to Cuba. To that effect an invasion of Cuban "workers" replaced many Venezuelan workers (leaving Venezuelans unemployed), started mingling in internal affairs, and introduced communist indoctrination. This indoctrination extends from children in elementary school through to university. Cuba sent many "teachers" and "doctors" to help in the proselytizing. And China – notorious for violations of human rights and unfriendliness to America - sent "workers" to help Chavez’s regime.

As Castro did in Cuba after 1959, the armed forces of Venezuela were reorganized by putting Chavez’s cronies in charge of all important positions in the military. And as in Cuba, promotions became conditional on political beliefs. Cuban military advisers and intelligence operatives descended on Venezuela to help organize the repressive apparatus necessary to keep the new dictator in place.

The so-called "Cubanization" of Venezuela was well underway when, on June 10, 2001, Chavez, following Castro’s example and guidelines, created paramilitary battalions to repress and intimidate his political adversaries. While in Cuba they are called "Rapid Response Brigades" Chavez called his "Bolivarian Circles."

As the infamous Cuban "Committees for the Defense of the Revolution," Chavez created in Venezuela similar repressive organizations to spy on the citizenry in each neighborhood with branches in companies, hospitals, schools and universities. His excuse for the creation of these repressive organizations was "to defend the Bolivarian revolution against counterrevolution." Meanwhile, Chavez exported great quantities of oil to Cuba at subsidized prices in exchange for Castro’s help with all of these efforts.

In a June 26, 2001, article by Jack Sweeney published by The Washington Times, pg. A14, titled Chavez angles for absolute power said, "Since returning to Caracas from a 21-day tour of Russia and Asia, Mr. Chavez has sharpened his rhetoric. During a rally on June 9, he warned bankers, industrialists and owners of news media that they would soon be arrested on tax-evasion charges and would have to forfeit personal and corporate assets. The next day the president announced the expulsion of foreigners critical of his government."

And in his radio address to the nation on the first weekend of August 2001, Chavez declared, "private property is not sacred."

Chavez also began close surveillance and intimidation of the free press with the goal of controlling freedom of expression. No wonder the people of Venezuela are fed up with their dictator and the way he is driving their country into the same "sea of happiness" – an euphemism for catastrophe and despair – as Castro’s Cuba. And Chavez’s popularity dropped to 20%. Thus, on April 9, 2002, the people of Venezuela began a general strike and demanded the resignation of Hugo Chavez.

More than five hundred thousand people took to the streets of Caracas, the capital of Venezuela for a few days of peaceful demonstrations and marched to the presidential palace, Miraflores. The U.S. network television media did not report this unprecedented popular upraising, thus denying the people of Venezuela international support for their effort to get rid of the only dictatorship left in South America.

But Chavez’s paramilitary "Bolivarian Circles," were ordered to shoot the demonstrators. About 40 of them were killed and hundreds wounded. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, among the dead, journalist Jorge Tortoza and among the wounded journalists Jonathan Freitas, Enrique Hernandez and his brother Luis Enrique. The military took Chavez away from the presidential palace and flew him to Fort Tiuna, an army facility in Caracas. Jubilation followed among the population, who believed he was gone for good and a new provisional president, Pedro Carmona was appointed until new elections were held. But soon the jubilation turned to despair.

In an April 14, 2002 article in Spanish titled Perro no come perro [Dogs do not eat dog] by Jose Luis Fernandez of the agency La Voz de Cuba Libre in Los Angeles, an intriguing analysis is presented of the sudden political reversal in Venezuela which then brought Chavez back to Miraflores.

According to Fernandez analysis, contrary to popular understanding, the Armed Forces of Venezuela were not all against Chavez. Most of those against him had already been replaced. And when the security of Chavez was at stake during the mass demonstrations that broke out around Miraflores, his loyals intervened, took him to safer ground and provided him protection for the following 24 hours.

Fernandez said that during that period, Chavez and his cronies were able to identify all their opposition leaders for future retribution. After the names were recorded, the farce was over and the same loyalists that rescued him from Miraflores returned him to power. All part of a very carefully prepared plan developed for just such a crisis.

Chavez returned with more power than when he had left a few hours earlier. Fernandez, as well as other political analysts from Venezuela said that this incident is the equivalent of Castro’s 1961 Bay of Pigs victory, which gave Castro even more power and control over Cuba. If that is the case, according to Fernandez and others in Venezuela, Chavez will use the incident as reason to first nationalize the private radio and TV stations as well as the main newspapers, then the printing houses, the big businesses and eventually all private property just as Castro did in Cuba.

According to reports coming directly from Venezuela (not being reported by the U.S. network television), Chavez’s paramilitary thugs have been well armed with expensive weapons. They are intimidating the people on the streets, and forcing them to stay inside their houses. Gunshots from automatic weapons have been heard in many neighborhoods. Calls for police protection are not being answered. There has been heavy looting by Chavez’s thugs of the businesses that participated in the general strike.

Radio, TV stations and newspapers have been surrounded by Chavez’s paramilitary thugs, reporters have been intimidated, and many remained hidden inside their offices. There is chaos and fear in Venezuela.

Among the many messages asking for international help and to publicize the nightmare that has befell that country since Chavez came back to power, there is the voice of a Venezuelan woman (for obvious reasons I will not disclose her name) that sent this desperate message via email on April 15, 2002, to the international community, "My country has been deceived. We need to ask for help more than ever from international organizations and beg them to come to Venezuela to see what is really going on. The reality is not as it appears.

"I worry about my country, the freedom of expression and its security. Don’t let yourself be deceived. This man [Chavez] instructed by Fidel has been intelligent enough to manipulate the whole world."

Is the U.S. media going to do justice for the people of Venezuela and report what is happening? Are American television journalists going to support and show their solidarity with the Venezuelan journalists killed, the injured and those whose lives are in peril by Chavez’s thugs? Somehow, I doubt it, based on their long record of protecting left wing dictators, especially Chavez, a protégé of their beloved Castro.

So far, the U.S. television network media has only superficially reported the incidents in Venezuela and always in relation to the effect on the price of crude oil. This clearly shows their disdain for the welfare of the people of that nation that is located in our own Americas.

Jim Guirard, Jr., former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Senators Allen Ellender and Russell Long called me on April 12 and told me of a motto that he created and gave me permission to use. It clearly defines the reality of the struggle of the people from Venezuela: "Venezuela si, Cubazuela no!" So, I pass it on to you.

© 2002 ABIP

Agustin Blazquez, Producer/Director of the documentaries
COVERING CUBA, COVERING CUBA 2: The New Generation & the upcoming COVERING CUBA 3: Elian
And author with Carlos Wotzkow of the book COVERING AND DISCOVERING

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