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Castro and Chavez

Lee Forman

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IMO this is well worth watching for developments...

Anyone want odds on Chavez?

Three articles - 2 recent, the last from Oct, 2002.


Castro Says U.S. to Blame if Chavez Assassinated

Reuters on Yahoo ^ | 2/11/05 | Anthony Boadle

Posted on 02/12/2005 1:13:01 PM PST by NormsRevenge

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuban President Fidel Castro (news - web sites) warned the United States Saturday against plotting to kill his most important ally, Venezuela's leftist President Hugo Chavez.

"I say to world public opinion: if they assassinate Chavez, the responsibility will fall squarely on the president of the United States, George W. Bush," Castro said.

The Cuban leader, who was the target of CIA (news - web sites) assassination plots after his 1959 revolution steered Cuba toward Soviet Communism, gave no evidence that Chavez's life was in danger.

But he said the United States would be responsible for killing Chavez even if the Venezuelan military was to carry out the assassination.

He added: "If they can eliminate him, they will."

Populist Chavez has led oil-rich Venezuela into a close alliance with Cuba, raising fears in Washington of Cuban-style communism taking hold in the South American country, a major supplier of oil to the United States.

Castro, 78, boasted that he had survived at least 100 attempts on his life. CIA plots against him included such capers as poisoned cigars, an exploding conch shell and toxin to make his beard fall out.

"This comes from a survivor. I have survived," he said in a nearly six-hour speech that lasted into the early hours of Saturday.


Closing a five-day conference of economists on the evils of globalization and free-market policies, Castro said the United States would be wasting its time trying to bump him off because socialism was well established and irreversible in Cuba.

Note: Give it 4 months after your passing El Commandante.

But in Venezuela, Chavez's so-called Bolivarian revolution was at a decisive stage, he said.

Castro said the U.S. government was furious with Chavez and agreements the two leaders signed in December that allow cash-strapped Cuba to pay for vital imports of Venezuelan oil with medical and educational services.

Cuba has 20,000 doctors, dentists, teachers and sports trainers in Venezuela, mainly working in pro-Chavez slums. Castro said the number would rise to 30,000 by the end of the year.

Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq (news - web sites), Castro has repeatedly accused the Bush administration of wanting to attack Cuba to oust his government, a charge vehemently denied by U.S. officials.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites) added to Cuban fears of American intervention by dubbing the one-party island state an "outpost of tyranny" during her Senate confirmation hearing (news - web sites) last month.

Castro said Cubans were well prepared to defend themselves with guerrilla tactics down to the last man and woman.

"I will fight until death. I will die with all the rest," he said.

Rice also reinforced a barrage of U.S. criticism of Chavez, citing what she called his autocratic measures at home and his negative influence in the region.



Monday February 21, 6:33 AM

Chavez to suspend oil to US if assassination try

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened to suspend oil exports to the United States if someone tries to assassinate him, adding that US President George W. Bush would be to blame.

"If they kill me, there will be a really guilty party on this planet whose name is the president of the United States, George Bush," Chavez said on his weekly radio program, "Hello, Mr. President."

"If, by the hand of the devil, those perverse plans succeed ... forget about Venezuelan oil, Mr. Bush," he said.

Chavez said he was convinced that Washington was "sketching out the assassination plans" before his Bolivarian Revolution advances in Venezuela and Latin America.

Chavez revealed a week ago that Cuban President Fidel Castro had warned him of a US assassination plot.

"Now, I am going to say it. Neither Fidel Castro nor I talk nonsense.

"If something happens to me, I blame the president of the United States," he said.

"I will not hide. I am going to be in the streets with you. I entrust myself to God, but I know that I have been condemned to die," Chavez said.

"Each second of my life I will spend in the struggle and God's will be done," he said.

Castro said on February 12: "If Chavez is assassinated, the blame will fall on Bush.

"I say that as someone who has survived hundreds of the empire's (assassination) plans," he said.

Chavez has also recently accused the United States of being involved in an April 2002 coup, which removed him from power for less than two days.

Washington has accused Chavez of being undemocratic especially when it comes to the Venezuelan opposition, and has more recently criticized arms purchases from Russia and Brazil.

Venezuela is the only Latin American member of the Organization of the Petroleum Producing Countries, and sells about 1.5 million barrels daily to the United States, nearly as much as Saudi Arabia.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently called Chavez "a negative force" in Latin America, and the State Department backed Colombia in a recent dispute between the Caribbean neighbors over the arrest of a Colombian rebel in Caracas by Colombian officials without Venezuela's knowledge or consent.

"The United States knows that I have a 70 percent (approval rating)," Chavez said. "And they know that I am unbeatable in the 2006 elections and that they cannot isolate us from our brother countries, despite their blackmail attempts."

From 2002...



Sunday, 20 October, 2002, 22:23 GMT 23:23 UK

Chavez 'foils assassination plot'

Chavez survived a coup earlier this year

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said he escaped an assassination attempt against him this weekend as he was returning from a trip to Europe.

Security forces foiled a plot to shoot down his plane, the leftist leader said in his weekly broadcast to the nation.

They were hunting us, waiting for us

Hugo Chavez

Opposition groups have called a 12-hour general strike on Monday to demand either the resignation of Mr Chavez or early elections.

The presidential plane was diverted from Maiquetia airport outside Caracas to a military air base to the west of the capital, the president said, after a tip-off from the interior minister.

[Note: The old left turn on Elm trick].

"The boys told me that Diosdado [Cabello] was calling me and recommended that I not land [at Maiquetia] but at Liberator air base," Mr Chavez said.

According to the president, security agents intercepted a group of armed men near Maiquetia on Friday night and a gunfight ensued.

The plotters escaped, he said, but left a Swedish-made AT4 bazooka - a weapon used by Venezuela's army - and a map showing the flight path of the presidential plane.

A diary and a mobile phone containing the numbers and names of "civilian and military coup-plotters" were also recovered, but Mr Chavez gave no details saying an investigation was under way.

"They were hunting us, waiting for us," he said.

Strike splits country

Monday's general strike has been called by labour and business leaders, backed by opposition political parties and dissident military officers.

About 3,000 extra troops are being deployed in Caracas for the strike

The stoppage is expected to be backed by airlines, shops, private schools, factories, farmers and most food stores, as well as much of the press, and public hospitals plan to attend only to emergencies.

Those opposing the strike include public school teachers, transport workers, banks and petrol stations.

The powerful oil union, Fedepetrol, is split on how to react with some leaders urging support and others pointing to recent pay rise of 35% awarded last month by the state oil monopoly, Petroleos de Venezuela.

Opposition groups have accused the government and its supporters of trying to intimidate people into rejecting the strike.

Violent history

The Venezuelan leader, who himself first tried to take power in coup in 1992 before being legally elected in 1998, has frequently spoken of plots to overthrow him.

A coup in April of this year removed him briefly but he returned to power within days on a wave of popular support, mainly from Venezuela's poorer citizens.

In his years in office, Mr Chavez, an admirer of Cuban President Fidel Castro, has antagonised various sections of his oil-rich country's society, including business leaders and the clergy.

But he continues to enjoy mass popular support as a rally last Sunday showed, when hundreds of thousands turned out.

He has brushed off Monday's strike, predicting that only a handful of Venezuelans would stay home.

"The strike, it's safe to say, has already failed," he said.

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Thanks, Lee.

Hugo Chavez is a very interesting and somewhat bizarre character. Given that he has made high profile visits to Iraq and Cuba, visibly associated himself with leftist rebels in Colombia and made a huge territorial claim on Guyana, it's no wonder he's not on Washington's Christmas list.

Let's not forget that after the United States went into Afghanistan post September 11, Chavez made his infamous "fighting terror with terror" comment.

If I were Chavez, I would be looking over my shoulder as well. :rolleyes:


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