Chris Carlson / Z Magazine & Alfonso Daniels / Sunday Telegraph – 2007-04-23 23:28:26
Is the CIA Trying to Kill Hugo Chavez?
Chris Carlson / Z Magazine
VENEZUELA, ZNET (April 19, 2007) — “I want to kill that son of a bitch,” said the Capitan of the Venezuelan National Guard, Thomas Guillen in a recorded telephone call with his wife. In the call, played on Venezuela’s state TV channel last month, the Capitan reveals his and his father’s plans to kill President Hugo Chavez. The next day, the Capitan and his father, retired General Ramon Guillen Davila, were arrested and taken into custody for conspiring to kill the President of Venezuela. 
In recent weeks, Hugo Chavez has increasingly warned that the United States has plans to kill him and is stepping up its activity against him and his government. Chavez has also claimed that the CIA is working with associates of the famous Cuban terrorist and CIA agent Posada Carriles, designing plans for his assassination. But could there be any truth to all of this? Could this be a classic CIA-conspiracy to kill another official “enemy” of the United States? A quick look at the connections between the CIA and the General Ramon Guillen Davila shows that it definitely is a possibility.
The United States manages to spread its tentacles into different countries around the world in various ways, influencing and intervening in the politics of sovereign nations. In Latin America, one of the most common ways is through supposed “drug operations.” The CIA has been known to run “anti-drug” operations in countries like Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador.
In Venezuela, such CIA-created “anti-drug” operations were led in the 1980’s by the same General Ramon Guillen Davila who was recently planning to kill Chavez. According to the Miami Herald, Guillen was the CIA’s most trusted man in Venezuela and the senior official collaborating with the CIA during the 1980’s. 
As head of the Venezuela National Guard, Guillen worked closely with the CIA to infiltrate and gather information about Colombian drug trafficking operations. But instead of curbing drug operations, Guillen and the CIA ended up smuggling cocaine themselves, and the whole thing exploded when 60 Minutes aired an expose in 1993. The CIA had collaborated with Guillen to smuggle the incredible sum of 22 tons of cocaine into the United States. 
After US customs intercepted a shipment of cocaine entering the country through Miami Internatoinal Airport, an official investigation revealed that General Guillen was responsible. But according to investigative journalist Michael Levine, Guillen was a CIA “asset” operating under CIA orders and protection, a fact that was later admitted by the CIA. General Guillen was never extradited for trial in the U.S. 
So is General Ramon Guillen Davila still a CIA “asset” working to knock off the Venezuelan President? Whether or not the General maintains ties with the CIA, it does seem that he would be a likely candidate for destabilization efforts against the Chavez government.
According to the web page School of the Americas Watch, General Guillen graduated from the infamous U.S. combat training school in 1967. The School of the Americas, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001, is a US military facility that is used to train Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques and interrogation tactics.
As another of the many tentacles of the U.S. Empire, the School of the Americas has been called the “biggest base for destabilization in Latin America.” Located in Fort Benning, Georgia, the school sends its graduates throughout the region to repress left-wing and communist movements and to influence the political situations in Latin American countries. The school has frequently supported regimes with a history of employing death squads and torture to repress their populations.
Last week, during the 5th anniversary of the 2002 U.S.-supported coup attempt against the Venezuelan government, Chavez emphasized that “the empire never rests.” He assured that the United States, along with the Venezuelan elite will continue conspiring in order to remove him from power, and that they would never accept the Bolivarian Revolution.
It would be no surprise, however, if the CIA were planning to kill or overthrow Hugo Chavez. The criminal organization has a long and dirty history of covert operations including assassinations, economic warfare, and rigged elections. In Latin America alone the CIA has overthrown numerous regimes in places like Nicaragua, Chile, Panama, Brazil, Grenada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and, most recently, Haiti in 2004.
What would be more surprising is if the CIA is not searching for a way to get rid of the popular Venezuelan President. After all, Chavez has proven to be quite a threat to the interests of the U.S. Empire and their corporate sponsors. Chavez has sharply rejected Washington’s neo-liberal agenda, nationalized major sectors of the economy, freed his country from IMF and World Bank mandates, strengthened OPEC, taken control of the nation’s oil industry, and strengthened south-south integration across the world.
However, what is even more threatening to the interests of the empire is that the revolution in Venezuela serves as an example in the region, and is now spreading to other places. Countries like Bolivia and Ecuador are now living their own revolutions, replicating the Venezuelan experience.
It seems feasible that former CIA “asset” General Ramon Guillen Davila was conspiring with the CIA to get rid of the most consolidated leftist movement in Latin America today. But regardless of whether or not the CIA can manage to extinguish the fire in Venezuela, it might be too late for them to control the growing wave of leftist revolutions in the region.
1. “Presentan grabacion sobre supuesto plan de magnicidio contra Chavez,” ABN / Aporrea.org, 07/03/07 http://www.aporrea.org/actualidad/n91527.html.
2. Jerry Meldon, Contra-Crack Guide: Reading Between the Lines, 1998. http://www.consortiumnews.com/archive/crack10.html.
3. Howard G. Chua-Eoan, “Confidence Games,” Time Magazine, Monday, Nov. 29, 1993, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,979669,00.html?iid=chix-sphere.
4. Michael Levine, “Mainstream Media: The Drug War Shills?,” http://www.expertwitnessradio.org/essays/e6.htm.
5. School of the Americas Watch, Notorious Graduates from Venezuela, http://www.soaw.org/article.php?id=248.
Chris Carlson is a freelance journalist and activist living in Venezuela. See his personal blog at: http://www.gringoinvenezuela.com.
Copyright 2007 Z Magazine
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Chávez Arms Community Groups
As He Anticipates US invasion
Alfonso Daniels / Sunday Telegraph
CARACAS (April 21, 2007) — A dozen people gather inside a rudimentary, two-storey brick house in Catia, the most dangerous of all the slums that ring the Venezuelan capital, Caracas.
They talk excitedly about plans to repair crumbling walls, clear sewage and help local enterprises. It is the business of civic leaders everywhere — yet this gathering is also the vanguard of Leftist president Hugo Chávez’s 21st-century “socialist revolution”.
By the time they have been trained and armed, they will also be ready to defend Venezuela against outside interference, including the US invasion that Mr Chávez says he expects.
“El Comandante (Mr Chávez) told us to create communal groups and to tackle problems ourselves,” said Lenny Guerrero, 35, to nods of assent from others in the room. “Some government officials came here to help us create the groups. Power will now rest with the people.”
On Mr Chávez’s order, 17,000 communal councils have now been set up across the country, and an estimated £1 billion earmarked to fund them. As the official slogan, “Build power from below”, proclaims, their stated purpose is to promote grass-roots democracy and hand power directly to the people — in particular the urban poor who make up the bulk of his most fervent supporters.
But as well as grappling with the grim conditions in slums such as Catia, members of these voluntary groups will constitute a nationwide militia, schooled in Cuban-style tactics for both guerrilla warfare and counter-insurgency.
Gen Alberto Mueller, an advisor to Mr Chávez, told The Sunday Telegraph: “Some communal groups have already received military training. They’ll train in their own neighbourhoods and will be equipped with any arms — guns, grenades, knifes — the community can provide. We have a right to defend ourselves, like the UK has, and be sure we’ll do it.”
advertisement The move has caused alarm among Mr Chávez’s critics, who claim the groups will be used to repress internal dissent. They point out that, unlike Venezuela’s military reservists, the communal councils come under Mr Chávez’s direct control, including the appointments of their oversight committees and allocation of funding.
They are being created in tandem with plans to expand Venezuela’s military reserve fivefold, from about 200,000 people to one million — a move Mr Chávez has introduced in the belief that his sworn foe America is planning some kind of military intervention.
Tensions with Washington and the West are likely to escalate further next month, when the Chávez government plans to begin taking control of the main European and American-owned oil fields in Venezuela — a move ordered by presidential decree in February.
The communal councils project is being overseen by David Velasquez, a communist who is the president’s new “minister of the popular power for participation and social development”.
Although the favoured blueprint for the scheme is the Paris Commune of 1871, under which socialism briefly reigned in the French capital, critics say it is more reminiscent of “mini-Soviets”, which will be used to monopolise Venezuelan local politics.
Emilio Grateron, an opposition councillor from the rich Chacao area, claimed that communal councils which did not toe the Chávez line were usually denied permission to set up. “When we went to the ministry to set them up, they asked us our political affiliation. When they saw we’re not Chavistas they didn’t say no, but flooded us with requests until you feel like giving up,” he said.
Luis Enrique Lander, a sociologist at the Central University of Venezuela, said that some official regulatory committee members were pushing for “non-Chavista” groups to be denied acceptance and funding.
Ironically the new communal council in Catia has been devoting its energy to fighting the expansion of the nearby Fabricio Ojeda industrial complex, which is built with state oil money and which the Chávez administration portrays as an example of its new socialist co-operative model. Local residents are sceptical of promises to resettle them in better conditions.
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