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miércoles, mayo 04, 2005

Newsday investigation of US involvement in VZ politics

NYC-based Newsday has put out a fascinating article on U.S. involvement in Venezuelan politics.


A Newsday examination reveals that the U.S. support of Venezuelans opposed to Chavez has deepened the rift between the two nations, raised doubts about two respected U.S. agencies and led to a result that is questionable at best. This is a tale of the United States pouring millions of dollars into an apparent attempt to oust a popularly elected Latin American leader -- an effort so poorly implemented that experts say the net result has been to solidify Chavez's hold on power and has led U.S. senators to worry that administration policy could provoke Chavez into suspending oil shipments, which currently account for 15 percent of U.S. imports.

Officials at the U.S. State Department, USAID and NED vigorously deny they are trying to unseat Chavez. But during her tour of Latin America this past week, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused Chavez of having a "destabilizing" influence in the region and called for a "free and completely democratic Venezuela."

While the State Department asserts that U.S.-funded projects are aimed at bolstering a multi-party system and promoting dialogue in a nation wracked by political violence, recently declassified documents suggest a bias toward the opposition.

It also follows the story of Maria Corina Machado,a leading anti-Chavez activist who was one of 400 oppositionists who signed the Carmona Decree abolishing the democratically elected government during the two-day coup of 2002.

Though she refuses to accept Chavez's defeat of the Súmate-led recall referendum, whose results were upheld by the Organization of American States and the Carter Center, Machado contends her work is nonpartisan.

Asked why she was in the presidential palace hours after the coup, Machado insisted she was only accompanying her mother, who'd wanted to visit her "very good friend" -- the wife of coup leader Pedro Carmona.

As for her signature on the decree suspending or dissolving the Supreme Court, National Assembly and Constitution, Machado claimed she innocently put her name and national identity number on a blank paper she assumed was a reception sheet.

Hilarious, in a disturbing sort of way.

read the full article here.

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