Labour Party Pakistan starts Inkaar Tehreek (No
People of Lahore not to pay the new bus fares
raining, LPP activists gathered in front of a private bus stand
at Railway Station Lahore area to protest the recent raise in
Lahore bus fares. They appealed to the people of Lahore not to
pay the revised bus fares. They demanded an immediate withdrawal
of the increased oil prices. Many travelers joined the very live
demonstration and agreed with the demand....
COUNTER - COUP, REVOLUTION !
By Eva Golinger
Sunday, April 11, 2010
VENEZUELA COMMEMORATED THE EIGHTH YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE COUP D’ETAT
BACKED BY WASHINGTON THAT CHANGED THE BOLIVARIAN REVOLUTION FOREVER
In just 47 hours, a coup d’etat ousted President Chavez and a counter
coup returned him to power, in an extraordinary showing of the will and
determination of a dignified people on a revolutionary path with no
return. The mass media played a major role in advancing the coup and
spreading false information internationally in order to justify the coup
plotters’ actions. CIA documents revealed US government involvement and
support to the coup organizers
When Hugo Chavez was elected President in 1998, the Clinton
administration maintained a « wait and see » policy. Venezuela had been
a faithful servant to US interests throughout the twentieth century, and
despite the rhetoric of revolution spoken by President Chavez, few in
Washington believed changed was imminent.
But after Chavez followed through on his first and principal campaign
promise, to initiate a Constitutional Assembly and redraft the nation’s
magna carta, everything began to change.
The new Constitution was written and ratified by the people of
Venezuela, in an extraordinary demonstration of participatory democracy.
Throughout the nation in early 1999, all Venezuelans were invited to aid
in the creation of what would become one of the most advanced
constitutions in the world in the area of human rights. The draft text
of 350 articles, which included a chapter dedicated to indigenous
peoples’ rights, along with the rights to housing, health care,
education, nutrition, work, fair wages, equality, recreation, culture,
and a redistribution of the oil industry production and profit, was
ratified by national referendum towards the end of 1999 by more than 70%
Elections were immediately convened under the new constitutional
structure, and Chavez won again with an even larger majority, around
56%. Once in office in 2000, laws were implemented to guarantee the new
rights accorded in the Constitution, and interests were affected.
Venezuela assumed the presidency of the Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC), with oil at approximately $7 USD a barrel.
Quickly, under Venezuela’s leadership, which sought to benefit oil
producing nations and not those supplied, oil rose to more than $25 USD
a barrel. Washington was uneasy with these changes, but still was «
waiting to see » how far the changes would go.
CHANGES WASHINGTON DISAPPROVED
In 2001, the Bolivarian Revolution proposed by President Chavez began to
take form. The oil industry was in the process of being restructured,
hydrocarbons laws were passed that would allow for a redistribution of
oil profits and Chavez was recuperating an industry – nationalized in
1976 – that was on the path to privatization. An opposition began to
grow internally in Venezuela, primarily composed of the economic and
political elite that ruled the country throughout the prior 40 years,
now unhappy with the real changes taking effect. Aligned with those
interests were the owners of Venezuela’s media outlets – television,
radio and print, which belonged to the old oligarchy in the country.
In early 2001, President Chavez attended the Summit of the Americas
meeting in Quebec, Canada. By now, Washington had undergone its own
changes and George W. Bush had moved into the White House. President
Bush also was present at the meeting in Quebec, and there announced the
US plan to expand free trade throughout the Americas – the Free Trade of
the Americas Act (FTAA). Hugo Chavez was the only head of state at the
summit to oppose Washington’s plan. It was the first showing of his «
insubordination » to US agenda.
Later that year, after the devastating and tragic attacks on the World
Trade Center in New York City, Washington began a bombing campaign in
Afghanistan. President Chavez publicly declared the bombing of
Afghanistan and the killing of innocent women and children as an act of
terror. « This is fighting terror with more terror » he declared on
national television in October 2001. The declaration produced
Washington’s first official response.
US Ambassador to Caracas at the time, Donna Hrinak, paid a visit to
Chavez in the presidential palace shortly after. During her encounter
with the Venezuelan President, she proceeded to read a letter from
Washington, demanding Chavez publicly retract his statement about
Afghanistan. The Venezuelan head of state declined the request and
informed the US Ambassador that Venezuela was now a sovereign state, no
longer subordinate to US power.
Hrinak was recalled to Washington and a new ambassador was sent to
Venezuela, an expert in coup d’etats.
WASHINGTON ORGANIZES THE COUP
As Washington’s concern grew over the changes taken place in Venezuela,
and the insubordination of the Venezuelan President, business groups and
powerful interests inside Venezuela began to contemplate Chavez’s
removal. Those running the state-owned oil company, PDVSA, were adamant
to defend their positions and control over the company, as well as their
mass profits, which instead of being invested in the country were being
coveted in the oil executives’ pockets.
A US entity, created by US Congress in 1983 and overseen by the State
Department, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), began to channel
hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups inside Venezuela to help
consolidate the opposition movement and make plans for the coup. School
of the Americas-trained Venezuelan military officers began to coordinate
with their US counterparts to organize Chavez’s ouster. And the US
Embassy in Caracas, with the recently arrived Ambassador Charles
Shapiro, was helping to put the final touches on the coup d’etat.
« The right man for the right time » in Venezuela, said an Embassy cable
sent to Washington in December 2001, referring to Pedro Carmona, the
head of Venezuela’s Chamber of Commerce, Fedecamaras. Carmona was
signaled out as the « president-to-be » after the coup succeeded. That
December 2001, oil industry executives led a strike, and called for
Chavez’s resignation. Their furor began to grow in early 2002 and by
March, the strikes and protests against President Chavez were almost a
The NED quadrupled its funding to Venezuelan groups, such as Fedecamaras
and the CTV labor federation, along with a series of NGOs plotting
Chavez’s ouster. A State Department cable from the first week of March
2002 claimed « Another piece falls in to place » and applauded the
opposition’s efforts to finally create a plan for a transitional
government : « With much fanfare, the Venezuelan great and good
assembled on March 5 in Caracas’ Esmeralda Auditorium to hear
representatives of the Confederation of Venezuelan Workers (CTV), the
Federation of Business Chambers (Fedecamaras) and the Catholic Church
present their ‘Bases for a Democratic Accord’, ten principles on which
to guide a transitional government ».
Soon after, a March 11, 2021 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) top
secret brief, partially desclassifed by Jeremy Bigwood and Eva Golinger
through investigations using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA),
revealed a coup plot underway in Venezuela. « The opposition has yet to
organize itself into a united front. If the situation further
deteriorates and demonstrations become even more violent…the military
may move to overthrow him ».
Yet another CIA top secret brief from April 6, 2002, just five days
before the coup, outlined the detailed plans of how the events would
unravel, « Conditions Ripening for Coup Attempt…Dissident military
factions, including some disgruntled senior officers and a group of
radical junior officers, are stepping up efforts to organize a coup
against President Chavez, possibly as early as this month…The level of
detail in the reported plans…targets Chavez and 10 other senior
officials for arrest…To provoke military action, the plotters may try to
exploit unrest stemming from opposition demonstrations slated for later
this month… »
A CORPORATE-MEDIA-MILITARY AFFAIR
National papers in Venezuela headlined on April 10-11, 2002 that the «
Final battle will be in Miraflores », the Venezuelan presidential
palace, hinting that the media knew the coup was underway. That April
11, a rally began at the PDVSA headquarters in Eastern Caracas. The
rally turned into a march of several hundred thousand people protesting
against President Chavez and calling violently for his ouster. Those
leading the rally, the presidents of the CTV, Fedecamaras and several
high level military officers who had already declared rebellion just a
day before, directed the marchers towards the presidential palace,
despite not having authorization for the route.
Meanwhile, outside the presidential palace, Chavez supporters had
gathered to support their President and protect the area from the
violent opposition marchers on the way. But before the opposition march
even reached the palace or the area near the pro-Chavez rally, shots
were fired and blood began to spill in both the pro- and anti-Chavez
demonstrations. Snipers had been placed strategically on the buildings
in downtown Caracas and had open fired on the people below.
Pro-Chavez supporters on the bridge right next to the palace, Puente
Llaguno, fired back at the snipers, and the metropolitan police forces,
who were firing at them. A Venevision camera crew, positioned near the
pro-Chavez rally, took images of the fire fight and quickly returned to
the studio to edit the material and produce a breaking news story
showing the pro-Chavez supporters firing guns with a voice-over stating
they were firing on « peaceful opposition protesters ». The images were
rapidly reproduced and repeated over and over again on Venezuelan
national television to justify calls for Chavez’s removal. The
manipulated images were later shown around the world and used to blame
President Chavez for the dozens of deaths that occurred that April 11,
2002. The truth didn’t come out until after the dust had settled and the
coup was defeated. The television crew had been told to take the footage
and manipulate it, under direct orders from Gustavo Cisneros, owner of
Venevision and a variety of other media conglomerates and companies, and
also the wealthiest man in Venezuela.
The high military command turned on President Chavez and took him into
custody. He was taken to a military base on an island off Venezuela’s
coast, where he was either to be assassinated or sent to Cuba.
Meanwhile, the « right man for the right time » in Venezuela, Pedro
Carmona - designated by Washington, swore himself in as President on
April 12, 2002, and proceeded to read a decree dissolving all of
Venezuela’s democratic institutions.
COUNTER-COUP AND REVOLUTION
As the Venezuelan people awoke to television networks claiming « Good
morning Venezuela, we have a new president » and applauding the violent
coup that had occurred a day earlier, resistance began to grow. Once the
« Carmona Decree » was issued, Venezuelans saw their worst fears coming
true – a return to the repressive governments of the past that excluded
and mistreated the majority of people in the country. And Chavez was
absent, no one knew where he was.
Between April 12-13, Venezuelans began pouring into the streets of
Caracas, demanding a return of President Chavez and an ouster of the
coup leaders. Meanwhile, the Bush administration had already issued a
statement recognizing the coup government and calling on other nations
to do the same.
But the coup resistance grew to millions of people, flooding the areas
surrounding the presidential palace, and the presidential guard, still
loyal to Chavez, moved to retake the palace. Word of the resistance
reached military barracks throughout the country, and one in Maracay,
outside of Caracas, acted quickly to locate and rescue Chavez and return
him to the presidential palace.
By the early morning hours of April 14, Chavez had returned, brought
back by the will and power of the Venezuelan people and the loyal armed
These events changed Venezuela forever and awoke the consciousness of
many who had underestimated the importance and vulnerability of their