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"The new transition cabinet ended up including only the most conservative elements of Venezuelan society. They then proceeded to dissolve the legislature, the Supreme Court, the attorney general’s office, the national electoral commission, and the state governorships, among others. Next, they decreed that the 1999 constitution, which had been written by a constitutional assembly and ratified by vote, following the procedures outlined in the pervious constitution, was to be suspended. The new transition president would thus rule by decree until next year, when new elections would be called. Generally, this type of regime fits the textbook definition of dictatorship. "Venezuela: Not a Banana-Oil Republic after All
"Army Commander in Chief Efrain Vasquez and General Ramirez Poveda, two of the major military backers of a transitional government, received training at the notorious US Army School of the Americas (SOA). Vasquez attended the school from January 23rd to December 2nd, 1988, taking a course called “Command and General Staff Officer Training”. General Ramirez took a course called “Auto Maintenance Officer Training” from May 8th to August 11th, 1972."http://www.soaw.org/Articles/current%2520info/new/venezuela.htm
In the past year, the United States channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to American and Venezuelan groups opposed to President Hugo Chvez, including the labor group whose protests led to the Venezuelan president's brief ouster this month.http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/25/international/americas/25VENE.html
"WASHINGTON, April 15 — Senior members of the Bush administration met several times in recent months with leaders of a coalition that ousted the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, for two days last weekend, and agreed with them that he should be removed from office, administration officials said today."http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=68&ncid=68&e=1&u=/nyt/20020416/ts_nyt/bush_officials_met_with_venezuelans_who_ousted_leader
Pentagon sources revealed the United States provided critical military and intelligence support to the Venezuelan military coup against President Hugo Chavez.Read article by By Wayne Madsen
The United States had been considering a coup to overthrow the elected Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, since last June, a former US intelligence officer claimed yesterday.London Guardian - American navy helped Venezuelan coup
"I, Hugo Chávez Frias, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela," the statement read, "have NOT resigned the legitimate powers given to me by the people."http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/14/international/americas/14POOR.html
"The cabinet is back in place," said 60-year-old Miguel Reyes, one of the protesters who stood watching a parade of Chávez officials return to the presidential palace. Referring to Mr. Chávez, he added, "We are waiting for the president to show up, and then we will go home."
"What we want is our president; we want to know what they've done to him," said José Osvaldes, screaming on the street. "There are people who do not have the courage to tell us what is happening."
Carlos Duque, 41, said: "You can't take someone who is democratically elected by the people, and then put in a dictatorship of convenience. We want to get back the president of the republic."
Chavez said the evidence includes information collected from a coastal radar installation that tracked a foreign military ship and aircraft operating in and over Venezuelan waters a day after his ouster. The ship, helicopter and plane -- identified by their transponder codes as military -- disappeared from the radar the morning he returned from his imprisonment on the island of La Orchila, he said.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33757-2002May4.html
In addition, Chavez said, an American was involved in what he characterized as an assassination plot against him uncovered in Costa Rica four months ago.
"The violence erupted on the third day of a general strike called to support oil executives who want Chavez to sack new management at the state oil monopoly Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA. The executives are conducting a work slowdown that has seriously cut production and exports in Venezuela, the No. 3 oil supplier to the United States and the No. 4 oil exporter in the world.
The 950,000-barrel-per-day Paraguana refinery, one of the world's largest, ran at less than 50 percent capacity, and loading of tankers proceeded slowly, with at least 20 vessels anchored at main ports. The 130,000-barrel-per-day El Palito refinery will not reach full capacity until the weekend."
"Chavez angrily accused the news media of inciting social unrest by exaggerating the size of a general strike this week, and ordered five private Caracas television stations shut down. The stations continued transmitting by satellite, however."http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20020415/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/venezuela_oil_protest_245
MEXICO CITY — When is a coup not a coup? When the United States says so, it seems — especially if the fallen leader is no friend to American interests. What else to call the fall on Friday of Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez? An armed transition of power? By any other name, though its European and Latin American allies deplored it, it was a consummation devoutly wished for by the White House. "The actions encouraged by the Chávez government provoked a crisis," the White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said on Friday. That sentence was spring-loaded, given the history of Latin American coups tacitly encouraged or covertly supported by the United States.
For Washington, the real crisis in Caracas was Mr. Chávez. It ended with his leaving office at gunpoint. Now 1.5 million barrels of Venezuelan oil a day will keep flowing to the United States. And none will go to Fidel Castro's Cuba — Venezuela's new leader, an oil man, immediately declared that tap shut.
In Latin America, the United States has long preferred friendly faces in presidential palaces, playing reliable roles, whether or not they are wearing uniforms. It supported authoritarian regimes throughout Central and South America during and after the cold war in defense of its economic and political interests. In tiny Guatemala, the Central Intelligence Agency mounted a coup overthrowing the democratically elected government in 1954, and it backed subsequent right-wing governments against small leftist rebel groups for four decades. Roughly 200,000 civilians died. In Chile, a C.I.A.-supported coup helped put Gen. Augusto Pinochet in power from 1973 to 1990. In Peru, a fragile democratic government is still unraveling the agency's role in a decade of support for the now-deposed and disgraced president, Alberto K. Fujimori, and his disreputable spy chief, Vladimiro L. Montesinos.
April 14, 2002
A Coup by Any Other Name
By TIM WEINER
"Venezuela's commercial media have a lot of explaining to do. On Friday and Saturday, most big newspapers and TV programs seemed to welcome the coup, immediately calling Chavez an ex-president, and recognizing the junta as legitimate government. It was hard to shake the feeling that it was a chamber of commerce coup. On Saturday, many companies took out full page ads, welcoming the change in government. One US owned phone company offered free cell phone calls on Sunday, to let Venezuelans call their loved ones and celebrate their bright new future."NPR, April 15, 2002, listen to clip