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The USA invades Venezuela…

By Aleksander Boyd

London 22 July 2004 – Google’s Venezuela news sections, both in Spanish and English, provide an introspective view of the current paranoic mindset of chavistas. The most repetitive argument by far is that of the US interference in Venezuelan affairs. Thus one can read reference to comments made by Rafael Ramirez, Minister of Energy, expressing that Venezuela will cut the oil supply to the US. Further statements, this time round by Jesus Perez, Foreign Secretary, accusing the Bush administration of interference can be also read. Guerrilla - bomb - expert - turned - PDVSA - president Ali Rodriguez stated recently “…not one dime will be paid to SAIC…” and that ‘suave’ ambassador of ours in the US says in that respect that the decision by the OPIC was “political.” Lastly Venezuela’s incumbent president accusing Bush of “…heading a mafia of assassins.” What a crew eh?

One does not have to be endowed with clairvoyance powers to see the direction that the official discourse will take. Probably before August 15th some of those leftist elements infatuated with Chave$$ will claim that the USA has indeed invaded Venezuela. It may be Richard Gott or perhaps Eva Golinger, who knows? What is rather clear is that there are certain issues that force me to believe that chavismo is in its terminal state.

Issue 1

“If I lose the recall I will run for the next election” said Chavez in Argentina. Sensing that he will be recalled he jumped the gate and sent the order, through the international media, to his minions in the Supreme Court, that up to this moment were silent about the possibility of Chavez’ running in the elections due 30 days after the recall.

Issue 2

The updated electoral roll has roughly 13.890.000 according to CNE authorities. Last Friday El Universal published a different number, claiming that the roll had close to 15 million people. Quick question; who benefits from a smaller number of voters? Chavez was ratified in 2000 by some 3.775.000 votes. If we were to take the CNE number as definite (13.890.000) and substract from it the average electoral abstention, estimated at 45%, we will end up with 7.639.500. If this figure is divided evenly we get 3.819.750. That means that both YES and NO will surpass the number of votes that Chavez got in 2000. Taking into account that all pollsters, whether opposition or government commissioned, estimate that abstention in the coming recall, owing to the deep polarization of the citizenry, will be substantially lower than normal; the fact that the vote is by no means even and that very many people who did not participate for fear of reprisal in the signature collection drives will do so, Chavez seems to be at a loss.

Issue 3

The obnoxious deals that have been forged lately by high officials (PDVSA bonds, Citibank building, etc.) demonstrate that at least some of them feel that they need to make a final effort to ‘save for the rainy day.’

Issue 4

The absurd objections that electoral authorities have put in place to the international observers only reinforce the generalised apprehension that the regime is desperately avoiding transparency. Observers’ freedom of movement and action have been constrained a propos.

Issue 5

The recall referendum has generated enormous interests in the international community. The eyes of the world seem fixed upon Venezuela and everyone agrees upon the necessity of solving the political impasse through the ballot box. Chavez’ angst however is strident; he’s making a Herculean effort to pick up a fight with anyone in order to deviate attention from the recall. In customary incompetent fashion he has failed miserably.

Issue 6

The spending spree is not paying off. Dwellers of shantytowns appreciate the gesture but desire even more to work and live in relative peace, which is just not possible with a president whose persecution manias are pushing the country towards sheer chaos and anarchy.

Issue 7

The political prisoners: Elsy de Peña, William Forero, Wilfrido Tovar, Jacobo Supelano, Orlando Pantaleon, Saul Lozano, Jorge Hinojosa, Omar Guillen, Jose Neira Celis, Henrique Capriles Radonsky, Dulce Bravo, Vasco da Costa, Ovidio Poggioli, Francisco Uson and Carlos Alfonso Martínez are there for everyone to see, it is not a invention of the opposition or spin but rather living examples of how Hugo Chavez deals with dissent.

Issue 8

The preposterous and rather contradictory allegations against the funding that NGOs have received from the NED whilst everyone knows that Spanish Judge Baltazar Garzon’s investigations on money laundering and tax evasion of the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) unveiled ‘contributions’ given to Hugo Chavez in the order of $1.5 million.

This recall is not a vote between the opposition and Chavez. Instead it is between Chavez the charlatan and Chavez the incompetent whose dismal performance in the conduction of the state has brought unprecedented levels of misery to all. The USA has not invaded Venezuela; crime, deceit, desperation, misfortune, misery and hunger have.

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