Why Washington Hates Chavez

By Mike Whitney from Global Research

Chavez holding a victim of the flooding in the presidential palace, Miraflores.


PREFACE

The church in the United States calls Chávez an atheist. Some Christians have even called for his assassination. For instance, Pat Robertson, host of Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club and founder of the Christian Coalition of America, called for the murder of the Venezuelan President. Robertson said:

"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he (i.e., Chávez) thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I THINK THAT WE REALLY OUGHT TO GO AHEAD AND DO IT. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger to the United States ... This is our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil. That could hurt us very badly. WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO TAKE HIM OUT, AND I THINK THE TIME HAS COME THAT WE EXERCISE THAT ABILITY. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

My heavens! Has Robertson never read Matthew 5:21? -

"Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment."

The fact is, however, Chávez, is no atheist; he is probably more of a Christian than Robertson. Chávez has written:

"Our Bolivarian revolution is very Christian. I have a friend who isn't Christian, but lately has said he is a Christian ... his name is Fidel Castro ... I talk to [Castro] a lot about Christ each time we see each other, and he told me recently, 'Chávez, I'm Christian ...'"

Last Fall, Chávez addressed a rapturous crowd of poor Christians in the Bronx in New York city where he shared the pulpit with Jesse Jackson and former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. Also present were officials from the Cuban government. As he walked into church he was greeted with loud applause and chants of,

"Chávez, friend, the people are with you."

Chávez pulled a cross from his pocket and declared himself to be an "AUTHENIC CHRISTIAN WHO SERVES THE POOR." Chávez later said of the event:

"I felt a love for the poor people of the Bronx."

Father Roy Bourgeois, a Catholic Liberation Theologian who is perhaps best known for leading demonstrations against the U.S. Army's training school for Latin American military officers (and death squad leaders) at Ft. Benning, Georgia, said of Chávez:

"We've got a president and a government here THAT'S ON THE SIDE OF THE POOR that is offering the poor a vision that gives them hope and promise for a better way of life."

-- Antipas

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In late November, Venezuela was hammered by torrential rains and flooding that left 35 people dead and roughly 130,000 homeless.

In late November, Venezuela was hammered by torrential rains and flooding that left 35 people dead and roughly 130,000 homeless. If George Bush had been president, instead of Hugo Chavez, the displaced people would have been shunted off at gunpoint to makeshift prison camps--like the Superdome--as they were following Hurricane Katrina. But that's not the way that Chavez works. The Venezuelan president quickly passed "enabling laws" which gave him special powers to provide emergency aid and housing to flood victims. Chavez then cleared out the presidential palace and turned it into living quarters for 60 people, which is the equivalent of turning the White House into a homeless shelter. The disaster victims are now being fed and taken care of by the state until they can get back on their feet and return to work. [WE URGE YOU TO SEE APPENDIX 1 OF THIS ARTICLE.]

The details of Chavez's efforts have been largely omitted in the US media where he is regularly demonized as a "leftist strongman" or a dictator. The media refuses to acknowledge that Chavez has narrowed —

  • the income gap,

  • eliminated illiteracy,

  • provided health care for all Venezuelans,

  • reduced inequality,

  • and raised living standards across the board.

While Bush and Obama were expanding their foreign wars and pushing through tax cuts for the rich, Chavez was busy improving the lives of the poor and needy while fending off the latest wave of US aggression.

Washington despises Chavez because he is unwilling to hand over Venezuela's vast resources to corporate elites and bankers. That's why the Bush administration tried to depose Chavez in a failed coup attempt in 2002, and that's why the smooth-talking Obama continues to launch covert attacks on Chavez today. Washington wants regime change so it can install a puppet who will hand over Venezuela's reserves to big oil while making life hell for working people.

Craig Kelly

Recently released documents from Wikileaks show that the Obama administration has stepped up its meddling in Venezuela's internal affairs. Here's an excerpt from a recent post by attorney and author, Eva Golinger:

"In a secret document authored by current Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Craig Kelly, and sent by the US Embassy in Santiago in June 2007 to the Secretary of State, CIA and Southern Command of the Pentagon, along with a series of other US embassies in the region, Kelly proposed "six main areas of action for the US government (USG) to limit Chavez's influence" and "reassert US leadership in the region".

Kelly, who played a primary role as "mediator" during last year's coup d'etat in Honduras against President Manuel Zelaya, classifies President Hugo Chavez as an "enemy" in his report.

LEAKS REGARDING CHAVEZ FROM STATE DEPARTMENT CABLES

"Know the enemy: We have to better understand how Chavez thinks and what he intends...To effectively counter the threat he represents, we need to know better his objectives and how he intends to pursue them. This requires better intelligence in all of our countries". Further on in the memo, Kelly confesses that President Chavez is a "formidable foe", but, he adds, "he certainly can be taken". [Wikileaks: Documents Confirm US Plans Against Venezuela, Eva Golinger, Postcards from the Revolution] - NO WONDER THE US GOVERNMENT WANTS TO SHUT WILILEAKS DOWN AND SILENCE JULIAN ASSANGE. [Please see our article, "Julian Assange: Hunted by the US Government."]

The State Department cables show that Washington has been funding anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that pretend to be working for civil liberties, human rights or democracy promotion. These groups hide behind a facade of legitimacy, but their real purpose is to topple the democratically elected Chavez government.

NOTE: This is exactly what the US government is doing in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. [Please see our articles, "The Truth about What’s Happening in the Ukraine; Managing Democracy," "What’s Happening Now in Egypt," and "Assassination Nation."]

Obama supports this type of subversion just as enthusiastically as did Bush. The only difference is the Obama team is more discreet. [Please see our article, "Are US Presidents Afraid of the CIA."]

Here's another clip from Golinger with some of the details on the money-trail:

"In Venezuela, the US has been supporting anti-Chavez groups for over 8 years, including those that executed the coup d'etat against President Chavez in April 2002. Since then, the funding has increased substantially. A May 2010 report evaluating foreign assistance to political groups in Venezuela, commissioned by the National Endowment for Democracy, revealed that more than $40 million USD annually is channeled to anti-Chavez groups, the majority from US agencies.... [Please see our article on the way the NGOs attempted to topple Chavez, "The AFL-CIO and Death Squads."]

"Venezuela stands out as the Latin American nation where NED has most invested funding in opposition groups during 2009, with $1,818,473 USD, more than double from the year before....Allen Weinstein, one of NED's original founders, revealed once to the Washington Post, "What we do today was done clandestinely 25 years ago by the CIA..." (America's Covert "Civil Society Operations": US Interference in Venezuela Keeps Growing", Eva Golinger, Global Research) [Please see our article, "The Devil Was Here."]

Larry Palmer: a black "toady" to America's business elites.

On Monday, the Obama administration revoked the visa of Venezuela's ambassador to Washington in retaliation for Chávez's rejection of nominee Larry Palmer as American ambassador in Caracas. Palmer has been openly critical of Chavez saying there were clear ties between members of the Chavez administration and leftist guerrillas in neighboring Colombia. It's a roundabout way of accusing Chavez of terrorism. Even worse, Palmer's background and personal history suggest that his appointment might pose a threat to Venezuela's national security. Consider the comments of James Suggett of Venezuelanalysis on Axis of Logic:

"Take a look at Palmer's history, working with the U.S.-backed oligarchs in the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Sierra Leone, South Korea, Honduras, "promoting the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)." Just as the U.S. ruling class appointed an African-American, Barack Obama to replace George W. Bush with everything else intact, Obama in turn, appoints Palmer to replace Patrick Duddy who was involved in the attempted coup against President Chávez in 2002 and an enemy of Venezuelans throughout his term as U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela."

Venezuela is already crawling with US spies and saboteurs. They don't need any help from agents working inside the embassy. Chavez did the right thing by giving Palmer the thumbs down ...

The Palmer nomination is just "more of the same"; more interference, more subversion, more trouble-making. The State Dept was largely responsible for all of the so-called color-coded revolutions in Ukraine, Lebanon, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan etc; all of which were cookie cutter, made-for-TV events that pitted the interests of wealthy capitalists against those of the elected government. Now Hillary's throng want to try the same strategy in Venezuela. It's up to Chavez to stop them, which is why he's pushed through laws that "regulate, control or prohibit foreign funding for political activities". Cracking down on NGOs is the only way he can defend against US meddling and protect Venezuelan sovereignty.

Chavez is also using his new powers to reform the financial sector. Here's an excerpt from an article titled "Venezuelan National Assembly Passes Law Making Banking a "Public Service":

"Venezuela's National Assembly on Friday approved new legislation that defines banking as an industry 'of public service,' requiring banks in Venezuela to contribute more to social programs, housing construction efforts, and other social needs while making government intervention easier when banks fail to comply with national priorities."...

"The new law protects bank customers' assets in the event of irregularities on the part of owners... and stipulates that the Superintendent of Banking Institutions take into account the best interest of bank customers — and not only stockholders... when making any decisions that affect a bank's operations."

So why isn't Obama doing the same thing? Is he too afraid of real change or is he just Wall Street's lackey? Here's more from the same article:

"In an attempt to control speculation, the law limits the amount of credit that can be made available to individuals or private entities by making 20% the maximum amount of capital a bank can have out as credit. The law also limits the formation of financial groups and prohibits banks from having an interest in brokerage firms and insurance companies.

"The law also stipulates that 5% of pre-tax profits of all banks be dedicated solely to projects elaborated by communal councils. 10% of a bank’s capital must also be put into a fund to pay for wages and pensions in case of bankruptcy.

"According to 2009 figures provided by Softline Consultores, 5% of pre-tax profits in Venezuela's banking industry last year would have meant an additional 314 million bolivars, or $73.1 million dollars, for social programs to attend the needs of Venezuela's poor majority."

MONEY SPECULATORS… Winning big and losing big but whose money?

"Control speculation"? Now there's a novel idea. Naturally, opposition leaders are calling the new laws "an attack on economic liberty", but that's pure baloney. Chavez is merely protecting the public from the predatory practices of bloodthirsty bankers. Most Americans wish that Obama would do the same thing.

According to the Wall Street Journal, "Chávez has threatened to expropriate large banks in the past if they don't increase loans to small-business owners and prospective home buyers, this time he is increasing the pressure publicly to show his concern for the lack of sufficient housing for Venezuela's 28 million people."

Caracas suffers from a massive housing shortage that's gotten much worse because of the flooding. Tens of thousands of people need shelter now, which is why Chavez is putting pressure on the banks to lend a hand. Of course, the banks don't want to help so they've slipped into crybaby mode. But Chavez has shrugged off their whining and put them "on notice". In fact, on Tuesday, he issued this terse warning:

"Any bank that slips up...I'm going to expropriate it, whether it's Banco Provincial, or Banesco or Banco Nacional de Crédito."

Bravo, Hugo. In Chavez's Venezuela the basic needs of ordinary working people take precedent over the profiteering of cutthroat banksters. Is it any wonder why Washington hates him?

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God bless you all!

S.R. Shearer
Antipas Ministries

***

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WANT TO FELLOWSHIP ON HOW TO GO ON IN THESE DANGEROUS AND TROUBLED TIMES, WE URGE YOU TO CONTACT US AT: [email protected].

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FINALLY, WE URGE YOU TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT OUT THE FLYER WE SENT TO YOU RECENTLY.

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Then make copies and take these copies out to the campuses where you live; pass them out; OR if that seems too "daring" for you right now, post them on telephone poles, the sides of buildings, on campus bulletin boards; post them in union halls, in the neighborhoods of the poor and downtrodden, near employment offices, wherever you can.


Once again, we URGE you to read (or re-read):

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APPENDIX 1

THE CHRISTIANITY OF HUGO CHAVEX

BY: RODRIGO ACUÑA

Throughout Latin America a rich tapestry has long existed when it comes to Catholics who have fought with the poor and challenged the establishment. The Brazilian Franciscan Friar Frei Betto, Monseñor Óscar Romero of El Salvador, and Father Camilo Torres who left the order in the mid-1960s and joined the Army of National Liberation (ELN) in Colombia are all examples of this coming together of politics and theology. Marxists, Christians and left-wing politics mix in this region like in few other places.

Franciscan Friar Frei Betto, Monseñor Óscar Romero of El Salvador, and Father Camilo Torres

With this in mind, it is interesting to follow relations between the Catholic Church and the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frías, who is himself a believer ...

For a start, much evidence indicates that the Chávez administration is genuinely engaged in a series of ambitious policies aimed at reducing poverty and forging Latin American integration. Secondly, if President Chávez is sincere about his religious beliefs, his stance is certainly not out of kilter with the actions of countless Catholics throughout Latin American history who have also run into conflict with Church authorities.

Regarding the first point, a brief look at the practices of past Venezuelan governments highlights why Venezuela needs the radical change currently underway. In the past, previous administrations in Caracas were all too keen to sell the US cheap oil under market value while they in turn siphoned state profits through PDVSA, the state-owned oil company. According to one Business Week report last year, the country today, "is a far cry from the 1990s, when Venezuela welcomed the big oil companies to invest in marginal fields at a time of low prices." Having negotiated new joint ventures, the report notes that "Chávez has sharply hiked royalties and taxes on these operations to an effective take of more than 80%" while the revenues themselves are spent on, "lavish programs for Venezuela's poor, from monthly stipends for needy students to rice-and-beans subsidies for the barrios."

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BARBARA WALTERS' INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT CHÁVEZ

ABC News' Barbara Walters sat down with President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela for an interview in which Chavez shares his views on the United States, President Bush and America's 2008 presidential elections. Video: ABC News

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Speaking at the Pastoral Action Center in New York in 2005, President Chávez stated his admiration for Jesus Christ because,

"He confronted the religious hierarchies. He confronted the economic power of the time. He preferred death in the defense of his humanistic ideals, and fostered change..."

Speaking with Chilean sociologist Marta Harnecker about his close encounter with death during the April 2002 coup—the soldiers assigned to execute him refused to carry out their orders—President Chávez said,

"I began to recite my prayers with my crucifix. I was ready to die with my dignity."

Maybe due to his close brush with death or the fact that the late Cardinal Ignacio Velasco signed the 'Carmona decree', which dismantled the country's democratic institutions by "Dictator-For-a-Day," businessman Pedro Carmona, Chávez bitterly condemned Velasco's stance during the two day coup. Monsignor Roberto Luckert—also an outspoken opponent of Chávez—was going to hell, according to the President, to which Luckert responded that if that was the case, Chávez is 'going to hell, too'. As if the flames were not hot enough, US televangelist Pat Robinson in August 2005 called for Chávez's assassination.

Recently, however, events have taken a turn for the better with Chávez stating that:

"The Catholic Church, its priests at all levels, (should) take a step toward the forefront of the debate...You are welcome in the debate on building socialism, our socialism." In return, the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference has called for a "style of socialism that upholds free speech, tolerates opposing views and respects religious education."

[We urge you to see our article, "Liberation Theology, the Vatican, and the CIA: Ghosts and Phantoms."]



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