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<nettime> venezuelan update digest [bello x2, brozefsky x3]
nettime's_oil_futurist on Tue, 10 Dec 2002 23:41:06 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> venezuelan update digest [bello x2, brozefsky x3]

"Ricardo Bello" <aracal {AT} well.com>
      What's going on in Venezuela? Kidnapping and Democracy.
"Ricardo Bello" <aracal {AT} well.com>
      Referendum in Venezuela
Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>
      Bulletin on Venezuela (Narco News)
Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>
      A call to action by CISPES on Venezuela
Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>
      Venezuela: racist opposition

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From: "Ricardo Bello" <aracal {AT} well.com>
Subject: What's going on in Venezuela? Kidnapping and Democracy.
Date: 9 Dec 2002 17:09:27 -0800

The Police Inspector who began the investigations on the Altamira
massacre (all casualties were anti-chavez demonstrators), was
kidnaped yesterday night, shot in the chest, and left in the
street; but he didn't died and told the story for the press after
surgery. When the Inspector began to draw the lines of shooting's
lines (where did the bullets come from, where did they hit and
in what directions), apparently he reached the conclusion that
several killers were involved. A few hours later he was kidnapped.

Give Chavistas a couple of days, at the most. This afternoon,
the Bankers Association announced they would join the strike:
Banks will open only for a few hours every morning to cash checks,
and only small operations. The wisest thing for our Colonel would
be to name an interim President, maybe a General close to him
and acceptable to the opposition, while general elections are
organized. The state of the nation is the best proof that Chavez
isn't fit to run this country.

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From: "Ricardo Bello" <aracal {AT} well.com>
Subject: Referendum in Venezuela
Date: 9 Dec 2002 17:18:21 -0800

"The third reason the pro-coup forces are in a hurry is found
in their doubts about being able to win a recall referendum.
Article 72 places three conditions to revoke the term of the
All the conditions were met and the President has not submit
to the will of over 2.000.000 signatures, checked not in a aleatory
manner, but one by one.

"President Chavez has publicly affirmed that he will submit himself
to this constitutinoal instrument and the international mediators
of the conflict,like César Gaviria, secretary general of the
Organization of American States (OAS)"
Chavistas walked out and abandonned several days ago the Negotiating
Table put together by Gaviria at the Hotel Melia, and in a radio
talk announced that even if he lost the referendum by 90% he
wouldn't leave his post.

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From: Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>
Date: 10 Dec 2002 09:43:38 -0600
Subject: Bulletin on Venezuela (Narco News)

December 10, 2002
Please Distribute and Publish Widely
A Narco News Breaking News Editorial

Gaviria Should Leave Venezuela
Venezuelan Majority Takes to the Streets, Coup Plotters Hide
By Al Giordano

Permission is granted to anyone to republish this editorial on the condition
that it is published in full, without censorship, and with a link to:

These are the hours of immediate history.

As in Eastern Europe 13 years ago, the final defeat of dictatorial power in
Venezuela came last night at the doors of its "control rooms" - the TV

On Monday night, the Venezuelan majority - unwilling to allow an upper-class
economic coup d'etat that poses dishonestly as a "strike" to unseat its
democratically elected government - took to the streets on a scale only seen
once before in the nation's modern history; as they had last April, when
they turned back a military coup d'etat.

By early Tuesday morning the masses had every Commercial TV station in the
nation surrounded. Their weapons were nonviolent and theatrical: pots, pans,
fireworks and thousands of defiant but smiling faces.

Only at one TV installation in one of the outlying provinces - in Maracay
State - did the public actually invade the facilities of a station that uses
the public airwaves. Everywhere else, including at all the national TV
stations in Caracas, immense restraint has been shown by the masses
protesting outside of them.

The bluff of the former ruling class and its media - that their top-down
imposed sabotage of the Venezuelan economy and oil industry of the past week
is somehow a popular "strike" - has been called. The "strike leaders,"
including corrupt oil union boss Carlos Ortega, have, in recent hours,
disappeared from public view, abandoning their own supporters among the
upper classes.
To make sure the coup plotters don't flee the country, the neighbors of
Simon Bolivar International Airport near Caracas have surrounded the airport
as well.

The coup supporters, including the rogue ex-military officials from April's
attack on democracy who in recent days have called unsuccessfully for
military coup, promptly abandoned Plaza Altimar last night, their physical
base: the public stage they had occupied continuously for the past few

Confronted with the rising of the more massive and true majority of
Venezuelan Civil Society, the rogue officers and the elite of Caracas have
retreated, returning to their homes to watch the conflict on TV as fireworks
boom in the air all around them.

Meanwhile, the ostensible "mediator" of the conflict has cynically called
for government repression against the peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators
assembled outside the TV stations. With that action, Cesar Gaviria has lost
any illusory credibility in his aspiration to "mediate" the Venezuelan
conflict. He should return to Washington immediately.

Gaviria, Go Home

Gaviria, secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS), has
just squandered whatever credibility the organization tenuously had as
mediator in the Venezuelan conflict. He should leave Caracas immediately -
where he has become a destabilizing force against democracy and
constitutional rule - and cease posing as a "mediator" of a power-struggle
in which he is, now transparently, a partisan player.

On the very same day - Monday, December 9th - that the permanent council of
the Organization of American States (OAS), representing all nations in
America, stated that "all the countries of the hemisphere ratify unanimously
our support for Venezuelan democracy," the OAS chairman, in Caracas, showed
his contempt for that same Venezuelan democracy and the right of public

According to the French Press Agency (AFP), Gaviria "condemned" peaceful
demonstrations by the Venezuelan people outside of pro-coup TV stations
Globovision, Venevision, and other commercial media corporations. The "news
coverage" of those media companies in recent days has been at extreme levels
of simulation and dishonesty even for them: the people have had enough.
Terming the popular assemblies as "acts of intimidation" against a "free
press," Gaviria called upon the Chavez government to use repression against
the demonstrators.
"The secretary general of the OAS is deeply worried about the acts of
intimidation against the installations of some of the principal media of the
country such as Radio Caracas Television, the De Armas Group, Venevision and
Globovision," Gaviria stated through an OAS press release from the posh
Melia Hotel in Downtown Caracas, according to AFP.

Gaviria expressed his "condemnation of such acts that put freedom of speech
at serious risk," reported AFP, and made "an urgent call upon the
authorities to take immediate action to cease such threats. There can be no
doubt that press freedom and free speech are two totally consistent elements
with the existence of democratic principles."

But in calling for government action against the free speech rights of the
people to peaceably assemble, Gaviria revealed the false discourse of Power
regarding "press freedom." For Gaviria (and some corporate "press freedom"
organizations), the libertinism of a paid press takes priority over the
liberty of free speech by all the people. Nothing is more frightening to
them - nor more important for Authentic Democracy - than a scenario in which
the masses confront this era's hijacking of the public airwaves by an elite

For the past week, coup supporters demonstrated (as is their right, too)
outside of Venezuela's public TV station, without a single word of protest
from Gaviria or any "press freedom" organization, and without any repression
from the Chavez government. Gaviria certainly did not term those
demonstrations as "threats" or call on the State to "cease" them, as he did
yesterday against the more popular demonstrations against media simulation.

The Venezuelan people have every right and duty to demonstrate outside of
the commercial TV stations. Those media companies backed the failed April
2002 coup d'etat in that country with a big lie that "Chavez Resigned" when
twice-elected President Hugo Chavez had not. For the past week, those
commercial TV stations have nakedly attempted to provoke another coup by
inventing another big lie - parroted by most of the U.S. and
English-language press corps - that a management imposed work lockout in
some sectors is somehow a "general strike." Like "Chavez Resigned," the use
of the term "strike" is this week's big lie; repeated ad nauseam in the hope
that it will be believed by the gullible among us.

The problem for the Big Liars is that the Venezuelan majority didn't buy it.
The people - having watched foreign companies like McDonald's, Wendy's and
British Petroleum lock their workers out for the imposed "strike" while the
small neighborhood shopkeepers and businesses remained open - have, in this
month of December of 2002, showed the world that "the big lie theory" for
controlling public opinion no longer works.

Who the Hell is Cesar Gaviria?

Gaviria, the former Colombian president (1990-1994), was the chief
beneficiary of the assassination of popular Colombian presidential candidate
Luis Carlos Galan, whose elimination cleared the way for the Gaviria
presidency. Gaviria was the president who allowed paramilitary death squads
to gain a foothold in Colombia. It was Gaviria who sold his nation's
sovereignty to foreign powers and betrayed his own attorney general Gustavo
de Greiff, after de Greiff had defied Washington by calling for drug
legalization. And it was Gaviria who Washington later installed as
secretary-general of the OAS in order to pave the way for Plan Colombia and
military intervention in that country.

In recent days, Gaviria has ostensibly been in Venezuela as a "mediator" of
the conflict between the oil-soaked oligarchy on one side and the supporters
of the Constitutional democracy and the Chavez government on the other.

Washington's discourse this week has been to feign support for democracy in
Venezuela (while Spaniard intelligence operatives from Europe handled the
hands-on dirty work of this most recent coup attempt) by making
proclamations of support for Gaviria as mediator.

Now that Gaviria has called for State repression against the peaceful
assemblies spreading like wildfire tonight throughout Venezuela, the true
goals of this US-backed act of "Mediation Theater" are obvious to all
reasonable observers. This was an attempted coup in strike's clothing.

Foreign powers and billionaire economic interests tried to fix the game by
installing their own referee, Cesar Gaviria, in Caracas. But he's not an
umpire or referee. He's a player for the team that has now lost the contest,
an advocate for destabilization and repression, and it is time for Gaviria
to get the hell out of the stadium.

The only possible "mediator" of this dispute cannot be the commercial media
nor foreign interests: It is, and will be, the Venezuelan people who now
make the calls.

Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>
Free Scheme/Lisp Software  http://www.red-bean.com/~craig

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Subject: A call to action by CISPES on Venezuela
From: Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>
Date: 10 Dec 2002 00:34:31 -0600

What's Really Happening in Venezuela

December 8, 2002

"I will not give in to blackmail nor pressures of any
kind. I swear to you that I will be with the people my
entire life. You brought me here and you are the only
ones who can get rid of me. Nobody else is going to
take me out of here."

- Venezuela President Hugo Chavez Saturday, December 7,

Dear Colleagues,

To read the commercial news reports from Venezuela, one
might almost think there is a popular "strike" that has
brought an "authoritarian" regime to its knees,
threatened U.S. oil supplies and that the Chavez
government is not allowing the people to vote on its

None of those above statements are true in the
slightest, but the simulating behavior of most
English-language correspondents from Caracas is, as
ever, over the top and knowingly false.

To help clear up the haze of lies and distortion with
some facts, Narco News publishes the analysis by three
correspondents on the scene in Venezuela, including two
professors from the Narco News School of Authentic
Journalism: Thierry Deronne, the Belgian journalist who
works with Tele-Tambores Community TV in Venezuela; Max
Arvelaiz, the French-Venezuelan communications
consultant to the Chavez government, and, Paul
Emile-Dupret, observer and official of the European
Parliament, all eye-witnesses to events in recent days.

You can read their factual accounts at:


Other late-breaking news items:

- The Venezuelan Navy today regained control of the
hijacked oil tanker from its mutinous captain. The last
effective maneuver of the upper-class "opposition" was
thus foiled and the "strike" (management imposed
lockout of workers from their jobs) that began last
week has now fracased on every front.

- Friday night's contemptible shooting of civilians in
an opposition demonstration by gunmen, resulting in the
capture of Portuguese national

Joao Gouveia, has taken a shocking turn:

"Congressman of the MVR party (Fifth Republic Movement)
and journalist Juan Barreto reported today that Joao
Gouveia, the Portuguese citizen accused of having
assassinated various members of the opposition
concentrated in Plaza Francia of Altamira (the wealthy
section of Caracas) entered the country

(Friday) at 5:40 p.m. coming from Lisbon. Barreto said
that Gouveia confessed that he had been contracted by
pro-coup General Medina Gomez to cause a massacre in
Altamira, for which he was paid 35 million bolivares.

"Congressman Barreto said that as a journalist he has
contacts in various agencies and information that the
accused was acting as if he were paranoid, faking that
he was mentally ill, but after examined by different
psychiatrists who determined he was lucid, finally
confessed this morning.

"Barreto reported that in a few hours the video of
Gouveia's confession will be made public."

Source: http://www.aporrea.org/

- If this is true, and such a video confession exists,
as the congressman and journalist reports, the
"opposition" leaders who have, without a shred of
evidence, blamed Chavez and his supporters for Friday's
shootings (3 dead, 28 wounded), will have to face facts
that one of their own top leaders is capable of
ordering his own supporters shot in order to create
destability and mayhem in order to justify another coup
attempt by rogue uniformed forces. General Medina Gomez, like clockwork - we
remind - moments after Friday night's shootings called on military officials
to overthrow the elected government by force. The Armed Forces -
significantly cleaned-up after last April's two-day military coup - have
remained solidly on the side of the constitution this round (as evidenced by
today's smooth retaking of the hijacked oil tanker).

- This video would also raise very clear questions
about who was behind the sniper attacks last April that
created the first pretext to try and take power by upper-class coup. As
previously reported by
Narco News and others, the snipers captured last April
11th were freed on April 12th by Dictator-for-a-Day
Pedro Carmona (a fact still not reported by the
simulating commercial correspondents).

It is difficult for many to believe that there are
interests so cynical as to order their own supporters
shot to gain sympathy for their "cause," but to close
observers of the Venezuelan reality this possibility is
not surprising at all. Stay tuned as we hunt down the

- Finally, after months of turning the other cheek,
Venezuelan President Chavez today announced that middle and upper level
managers of the state oil company who participated in this week's sabotaje
and hijacking maneuvers will be fired: a decision that is reasonable by any
standards, and, in fact, overdue.

- Meanwhile, today, two million Venezuelans took to the
streets today to defy the "strike of the spoiled brats" and defend their
electoral choices. The mood is still tense but all the momentum and factual
information continues to cumulate on the side of constitutional rule and
against destabilizing coup attempts.

- One of the losers of this week's skirmishes is U.S.
State Department fixer Otto Reich. (We note that
Secretary of State Colin Powell was, surprisingly, not
accompanied by Reich in his trip last week to Colombia,
an indication that Reich's extremist brinkmanship in
South America is increasingly viewed as
counter-productive even among moderates, like Powell,
in the Bush administration.)

The events of the next few days could accomplish the
"two-fer" of putting to rest delusional coup fantasies
by anti-democracy forces in Venezuela and also be the final nail in the
coffin of Reich's reign over U.S. Latin America policy.

It was the Venezuelan electorate in 1998 (and five
times since) that started the ball rolling for a united
Latin America against outside impositions. The
Venezuelans withstood and turned back April's coup
attempt, and appear to have the current one well in
hand. In early January, Brazil will inaugurate
president Lula de la Silva and Ecuador's Lucio
Gutierrez is walking through the same door in his

There will no doubt be cynical commercial media
correspondents who continue to "cry wolf" with their
hysterical predictions of the overthrow of Venezuela's
democratically elected government. But their
wolf-crying has diminishing effect after having been so wrong so many times.

What they don't admit, at least not in their simulated
reports, is that the coups fail precisely because
democracy in Venezuela is so extraordinarily healthy,
compared to that of any other country in the
hemisphere. It is vibrant. It is strong. It respects
human rights and voter control. And it has been
exemplary in its tolerance displayed toward a bratty
and disruptive upper-class "opposition."

As Venezuela has lived some very trying moments in
recent hours, the truth that shines through is that
democracy and constitutional rule endures even the
harshest most cynical provocations.

The hour has come for the commercial media - in
Venezuela and among U.S. and English language correspondents who have been
feeding a false picture of
events there - to grow up and cease the dishonest
reports that get proved wrong again and again and
again, and again today.

>From somewhere in a country called New York City,

Al Giordano Publisher The Narco News Bulletin
http://www.narconews.com/ narconews {AT} h...

Subscribe for free alerts of new reports:




by Don White, CISPES-LA

The Committee In Solidarity With The People of El
Salvador is joining the Nicaraguan Network in issuing
an Action Alert over the escalating crisis in
Venezuela. At the end of this article there is an
"unedited" letter from Caracus which warns of a dirty
war continuing to escalate in the country. Call the
State Department and let the U.S. government know that
we are monitoring U.S. complicity in the Venezuelan
crisis and call for respect for the elected government
of the country.


As the political crisis worsens in
Venezuela, our government remains silent. We invite you
to join a call to urge the Bush administration to make
a clear statement against unconstitutional and violent
means to resolve the current crisis and explain that it
will not tolerate a coup government and will not have
diplomatic or normal commercial relations with any
coup-installed government.

For more information, contact Katherine Hoyt at the
Nicaragua Network e-mail nicanet {AT} afgj.org or Marya
Murray at murraydiaz {AT} cepr.net.

Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>
Free Scheme/Lisp Software  http://www.red-bean.com/~craig

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Subject: Venezuela: racist opposition
From: Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>
Date: 10 Dec 2002 10:20:20 -0600

Racist rage of the Caracas elite

Venezuela's embattled president faces a Pinochet-style opposition

Richard Gott
Tuesday December 10, 2002
The Guardian

Pilin Leon, a former Miss Venezuela, was busy judging the Miss World
competition in London on Saturday when the oil tanker that bears her name,
illegally at anchor in Lake Maracaibo (principal source of Venezuela's oil),
was boarded by Venezuelan marines. The end of history was supposed to mean
an end to class struggle, but the current political conflict in Venezuela
suggests it is alive and well.

When the captain of the Pilin Leon first dropped anchor, he was expressing
his solidarity with the anti-government strike in Caracas. But the tanker's
crew were opposed the strike and their captain's piratical action. When the
marines boarded, on the orders of the embattled president Hugo Chavez, only
the captain needed to be replaced.

For the past year or more, Venezuela's upper and middle classes, opposed to
Chavez's government, have protested in the wealthy new neighbourhoods of
Caracas, while the poor (the vast majority of the city's population) have
come from their shantytowns and demonstrated to defend "their" president.

Chavez celebrated his overwhelming electoral victory of four years ago at
the weekend, at the end of a week-long insurrectionary strike designed to
force him to resign, and so far he has displayed a Houdini-like capacity to
escape from tight situations. In April, a similar scenario led to a brief
coup d'etat, from which he was rescued by an alliance between the poor and
the armed forces, and this time, the president says, he will not allow
himself to be surprised.

The opposition has been hoping to repeat in December what it failed to
achieve in April, but the situation is no longer the same. The armed forces
are now more solidly behind the president than before. The most conservative
generals no longer hold important commands; those involved in the April coup
attempt have all been sent into retirement.

The international situation is different, too. The US welcomed the April
coup, but this time, with more important problems elsewhere, Washington is
being more circumspect. It has publicly thrown its weight behind the
negotiations being conducted by Cesar Gaviria, the Colombian ex-president
who leads the Organisation of American States.

Perhaps even more significant than the changing attitude of the military and
of the US is the fact that the poor are more mobilised now, to such an
extent that there is talk of a possible civil war. Until the April coup, the
poor had voted for Chavez repeatedly, but his revolutionary programme was
directed from above, without much popular participation. After the coup,
which revealed that the opposition sought to impose a regime on Pinochet
lines, the people realised that they had a government that they needed to
defend. The opposition's protest marches have now conjured up a phenomenon
that most of the middle and upper classes might have preferred to have left
sleeping - the spectre of a class and race war.

Opposition spokesmen complain that Chavez is a leftist who is leading the
country to economic chaos, but underlying the fierce hatred is the terror of
the country's white elite when faced with the mobilised mass of the
population, who are black, Indian and mestizo. Only a racism that dates back
five centuries - of the European settlers towards their African slaves and
the country's indigenous inhabitants - can adequately explain the degree of
hatred aroused. Chavez - who is more black and Indian than white, and makes
no secret of his aim to be the president of the poor - is the focus of this
racist rage.

The trump card of the opposition, in April as in December, has been the
state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, often described as the
fifth largest oil exporter in the world, and an important supplier to the
US. Nationalised more than 25 years ago, it has been run over the years for
the exclusive benefit of its employees and managers - its profits being
invested everywhere except Venezuela. Before the arrival of Chavez, it was
being prepared for privatisation, to the satisfaction of the engineers and
directors who would have benefited. But with a block placed on privatisation
by the new Venezuelan constitution, the company's middle class and
prosperous elite has been happy to be used as a shock weapon by the leaders
of the Pinochet-style opposition, and they have tried to bring their entire
industry to a halt.

The vital task for Chavez is to bring the oil company back under government
control, replacing the conservative management with the radical executives
who had been forced out in earlier internal struggles. If he is to support
the crews loyal to the government on tankers such as the Pilin Leon, he may
yet need to impose a state of emergency to regain the upper hand.

ˇ Richard Gott is the author of In The Shadow of the Liberator: Hugo Chavez
and the Transformation of Venezuela

Craig Brozefsky <craig {AT} red-bean.com>
Free Scheme/Lisp Software  http://www.red-bean.com/~craig

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