Bush's statements reflect stunning ignorance, striking mendacity, or both. Bush appoints himself as the judge and steward of democracy and some type of social engineer who ignored and abandoned New Orleans, but insists Chavez needs to invest government money for the human needs of the people in Venezuela.
Bush, the admitted non-reader, is probably unaware the U.S. has a long history of overthrowing elected governments in Latin America, especially when peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean had the audacity to attempt to use government for the material benefit of their own people instead of American corporations. The CIA was the principle weapon in Guatemala and Chile. The U.S. also sent troops to fight against those who sought to restore a constitutional government in the Dominican Republic. The U.S. Marines liberated people of Puerto Rico in 1898 and they have been resisting their freedom ever since. U.S. presidents authorized clandestine aid to military coups in Brazil and Argentina. Troops repeatedly invaded and occupied Nicaragua and Haiti.
The U.S. organized a group of counter-revolutionaries (the Contras), a mercenary, terrorist army largely composed of those loyal to the military dictatorship of the Somoza family, to fight the Nicaraguan Sandinista government that came to power in a 1979 revolution and that won a free and open election in 1984. In 1981, the CIA flew Argentine General Leopoldo Galtieri, of that country's authoritarian military government, to help train the Contras. On December 8, 1982, due to concerns about widespread Contra atrocities, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Boland Amendment (411 to 0), effectively outlawing U.S. assistance to the Contras.
President Reagan signed the bill into law on December 21,1982. Nevertheless, instead of obeying the law and respecting the constitution, officials in the Reagan administration initiated a clandestine operation to fund the Contras illegally. Under Marine Colonel Oliver North, and others like Robert Gates (former head of the CIA now Secretary of the Department of Defense), weapons were sold to Iran, illegally (we call it trading with the enemy nothing new for a Bush). Proceeds from those sales went to purchase arms for the Contras. Other sources of financing included luminous champion of democracy Prince Bandar of the Saudi royal family (aka Bandar Bush) and cocaine trafficking from our friends in Colombia and with the help of then CIA-asset Manuel Noriega, resulting in large quantities of cocaine entering the United States.
A 1989 Senate inquiry headed by a young Senator John Kerry (D-MA) concluded that members of the U.S. State Department "who provided support for the Contras were involved in drug trafficking ... and elements of the Contras themselves knowingly received financial and material assistance from drug traffickers." The report added, "Contra drug links included payments to drug traffickers by the U.S. State Department ... after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges. A Washington Post story (Oct. 31, 1996), "CIA, Contras, and Drugs: Questions on Links Linger," states that the CIA approved the transfer of several million dollars of drug money from Colombian smuggler George Morales to Contra leaders Octaviano Cesar and Adolfo Chamorro.
In 1988, CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz published a report describing how 50 Contras and drug traffickers had been protected form law enforcement by the Reagan-Bush administration. Declassified memos indicate Oliver North repeatedly was informed of Contra ties to drug trafficking. In fact, in North's personal notebook (which somehow escaped his shredder) the entry for August 9, 1985 discusses a plane used by Mario Calero, (brother of Adolfo Calero, head of the Contras official political arm, the FDN), to transport supplies from New Orleans to Contras based in Honduras. North's notebook reads, "Honduran DC-6 which is being used for runs out of New Orleans is probably being used for drug runs into the U.S."
North's depravity was not limited to his criminal enterprise of funding terrorism through illegal arms sales and collaboration with drug traffickers and Iranian terrorists groups. North also helped draft a 1984 plan to suspend the U.S. Constitution and impose martial law in the United States. According to an article of July 5, 1987 in The Monitor (McAllen, Texas) by Alfonso Chardy, North's plan was offered to be the blueprint in the event of widespread internal dissent, or national opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad. In other words, not content to use drug money to mobilize mercenary terrorists against an elected government, in accordance with instructions from President Reagan, North actually planned a coup d'etat against the U.S. if too many members of the public opposed an illegal invasion of Nicaragua.
Bush is probably ignorant of all of this history.
However, Bush cannot be unaware of his own administration's involvement in the military coup against the elected government of President Hugo Chavez. On April 11, 2002, elements of the Venezuelan military, media companies, and business community affected a military coup d'etat, in which the legally elected President Hugo Chavez, his cabinet and members of the Venezuelan legislature were arrested. The coup placed Chamber of Commerce head, Pedro Carmona, in power. Carmona decreed the abolition of the Constitution and dissolved the National Assembly, the Supreme Court, the Public Defender's office, and the Attorney General's office. Carmona also suspended all governors and mayors elected during the Chavez presidency. These fiats were known as the "Carmona laws."
The Bush administration gave full diplomatic recognition to the Carmona "government" (which lasted less than three days), with no regard for constitutional government or democracy. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Otto Reich pressed other hemispheric countries to follow suit. To his chagrin, only El Salvador obeyed. But why not support Carmona as the people's choice? The Constitution discarded by Carmona was the product of lengthy discussion and debate in a popularly-elected assembly. It then was submitted to a public referendum, winning approval of 71% of voters in December 1999.
Classified documents acquired by U.S. Attorney, Eva Gollinger, reveal that the CIA had prior knowledge of the conspiracy. One document, a Senior Executive Brief, shows detailed knowledge of the plot. Moreover, the CIA employed Special Operations Group personnel to help organize the coup. Otto Reich had met with coup planners at the White House. According to the Guardian (UK), "The failed coup in Venezuela was closely tied to senior officials in the U.S. government. They have long histories in the 'dirty wars' of the 1980s, and links to death squads working in Central America at that time." (Ed Vulliamy, 21 April 2002, "Venezuela coup linked to Bush team.")
The Carmona coup lasted two days. Carmona surrendered when confronted with masses of people surrounding the presidential palace in Caracas and as Chavez loyalists in the armed forces would not obey orders from officers involved in the coup.
Since the coup's failure thanks to the damned desire for democracy among the backwards people of Venezuela, the U.S. annually spends more than $5 million supporting the Venezuelan opposition, including political parties. U.S. taxpayer money is sent to interfere blatantly in the internal politics of a sovereign state through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the so-called National Endowment for Democracy (NED) better known as the National Endowment for Dictatorship. Imagine the reaction in the United States if another government were to pump millions of dollars into American parties and candidates in hopes of influencing an American election in favor of its preferred candidates, underwriting anti-Bush propaganda, and called it "promoting democracy." (I think I remember how Hannity, Limbaugh and others complained about money from China entering the coffers of the Democratic party in 2000). Beyond that, imagine the reaction if that same government had supported an attempted military coup in the U.S.
By the U.S. penal code, Americans who accepted such aid could be sentenced to prison or even death, and would be ineligible to hold any political office. (Federal Penal Code, Title 18, Chapter 115, Section 2381)
Now, Bush, who supported a military coup against an elected government, and abolishment of a constitution by decree, appoints himself the steward of democracy. On the other hand, Chavez, elected President of Venezuela in 1998 and re-elected in 2002 and last week, by a wide majority over the U.S. funded candidate, is a "threat to democracy." Since 1998, Chavez and his party, the 5th Republic Movement (MVR), have won 9 consecutive elections. Chavez also submitted to and won the August 2004 referendum through which the opposition tried to remove him. Provision to remove a president through a majority vote is part of the 1999 Venezuelan constitution. Perhaps it is fortunate for Bush the U.S. Constitution has no such provision.
Jeffrey Crafts is a public school teacher in South Texas and a part-time college instructor.
Original article courtesy of Virtual Citizens
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