US out to topple Hugo Chavez

By Nil Nikandrov The Herald – Zimbabwe
Last summer, former US envoy to the Organisation of American States (OAS) Roger Noriega published a paper titled “US Must Prepare for a World Without Hugo Chavez” with the claims that “the cancer-ridden Chavez” has lost his grip on Venezuela, the country’s current regime is doomed, and the struggle over the post-Chavez Venezuela is already raging. Noriega therefore urges the Venezuelan opposition to be more assertive in compiling a program for Venezuela’s transition period “from dictatorship to democracy”.

Venezuela’s present-day opposition bracketed within Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (Coalition for Democratic Unity, MUD) hopes that the electorate was given enough time to forget about the bloc’s predecessor – the Democratic Coordination which in 2001-2004, under the supervision of the CIA, the US Defence Intelligence Agency, and the US Department of State, made several attempts on Chavez and and regularly instigated coups in Venezuela. The extremist and terrorist past, however, cannot be erased from the Venezuelan national memory no matter how the MUD leaders pledge allegiance to democracy these days. At the moment the opposition has to be hyperactive considering that the elections in Venezuela are slated for October 7, 2012.

With fresh polls giving Chavez 55 percent-60 percent, it is highly unlikely that he is going to face a serious challenge from any of his rivals. Those are available in quantities: the list includes Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles Radonski, National Assembly member María Corina Machado, Zulia State governor Pablo Pérez, capital city alcalde Antonio Ledesma, etc.
Nominating a consensus candidate by February, 2011 will not be easy for MUD considering that all of the above are authoritarian, egoistic, and uncooperative figures. In reports to Washington, US diplomats and spies routinely cite the opposition’s inability to act in concert as the reason behind the chronic inefficiency of their own efforts.

The US embassy in Caracas is busy implementing a broad plan supposed to help the opposition rise to power in Venezuela. Two plans are currently on the table. The first involves an important “cosmetic” component as the bloc of Chavez’s opponents has to be sold as a political force inclusively representing the whole Venezuelan population, in part by taking over the slogans and the agenda of the acting administration and by convincing the people that, if instated, the opposition would maintain the same social programs while using the oil revenues with greater efficiency.

No doubt, such promises have nothing to do with reality when dispensed by a coalition like MUD which is run by a bunch of neoliberals. Going public with neoliberal views in the electoral campaign which de facto opened in Venezuela is detrimental to one’s score, while the empty pledges do resonate with a part of the Venezuelan constituency which is tired of the country’s permanent political confrontation.

Professor Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, foreign policy specialist and a member of the Copei – Social Christian Party of Venezuela leadership, is in charge of organising the opposition’s campaign. Aveledo was elected to the parliament three times, served as a secretary to president Luis Herrera Campins, and authored over a dozen of books including one about XX century dictators, with Fidel Castro counted as such along with Adolf Hitler, Bennito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Francisco Franco, and Mao Zedong. Aveledoand his closest associates assist US sponsors in pouring money into MUD and staying in touch with Venezuela’s cunning and active fifth column – the group of covert oppositioners holding posts in the Venezuelan government, security services, and army.

Venezuelans know from experience that in practice neoliberal reforms expose the nation to endless pains and hardships. What awaits Venezuela if the opposition wins is a predatory dictatorship exercised by a group of oligarchs, a shutdown of industrialisation and agriculture modernisation programs, and step-by-step cuts of the government support for free education and housing.

Similarly to Venezuela’s past, plutocracy will be making inroads into the administration and gaining control over the president’s decision-making. Under a potential scenario, the nation will mount resistance to the closure of social programs to which the people already got used, and the empowered MUD will make the army and the police prop up the regime by repressive means. MUD will surely subject the army and the police to ideologically motivated purges and expel from them whoever would be suspected of holding communist or populist views.

Noriega briefs his peers that “the corrupt Chavez regime” and the “Cuban-trained” army generals and ideologists will not give up without resistance which, as he says, can take a form of derailing the planned elections. That set of ideas actually shows what arguments the opposition will present when, at a certain moment, it will be begging the US to intervene ostensibly to restore democracy.

Now it is to early to predict whether the opposition will prevail without revolt in October, 2012, but it is clear that unless Chavez achieves a tremendous triumph, his opponents already have plan B to set in motion. In its framework, there will be an outcry over alleged rigging in opposition-controlled media, and radical groups schooled in street unrest will, along with former AUC guerrillas, some student organisations and retired officers, destabilise the situation across the country. – Trinicenter.

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