What’s Behind the Upheaval in
Multinational Oil and Gas Corporations?
No, Says U.S. Gov’t—Blame Hugo Chávez
We reproduce the following article, for the information of our readers, because it makes a good political point with some humor. It was posted on the “narconews” web site on June 8 and has been edited for Labor Standard. To view the original, go to:
by Al Giordano, Posted on Wed Jun 8th, 2005 at 09:16:29 AM EST
Toward the end of the two-day
session by the Organization of American States (OAS) in
After all, Washington had just received a stunning rebuke from the other countries around the table against its proposal to create mechanisms for foreign meddling in the affairs of other countries (read: Venezuela), and Bolivian President Carlos Mesa had just offered his resignation in the face of a massive popular movement to nationalize the Bolivian gas [and oil] industry.
Noriega, not used to losing
gracefully, simply blew his top, spitting loudly that Venezuelan President Hugo
Chávez is to blame for
Check out this account in Oligarch’s Daily, er, The Miami Herald:
As Bolivia drifted toward political chaos [read: a workers’ and peasants’ revolution] Tuesday, Washington’s top diplomat from Latin America hinted that Venezuela’s leftist President Hugo Chávez was somehow responsible for the worsening situation.
“Chávez’s profile in
“His record is apparent and speaks
for itself,” Noriega told reporters at the Organization of American States
general assembly in
Noriega had no hard facts to back up his claim—something even the staunchly anti-Chávez Herald acknowledged—and Venezuela issued an effective rebuttal (quoted, here, below the fold), but I can translate for you what Noriega was really trying to say: Noriega is angry that the Bolivian Armed Forces has refused to violently put down the demonstrators, and he blames that on the example Chávez has set for a pro-people, non-repressive, military in Venezuela...which has more and more admirers among military brass in other countries.
The Herald continued: “In
reply, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Alí Rodríguez ‘indignantly’ denied
allegations circulated by
Asked about Noriega’s comments, Rodríguez said, “It seems that he [Noriega] goes around seeking to throw fuel on the fire” and added that diplomats should try to put out fires, not fuel their flames.
”’The problems in
In a combined wire from the French
and German press agencies,
“At the end of the afternoon, the
State Department distributed press releases to justify its accusation. Among
them was an interview published by the conservative Argentine daily La Nación last May 16, titled: ‘Evo
Morales: We Want to Join with Fidel and Chávez.’” “They also distributed wire
reports that announced that Morales had invited Chavez to
These are hardly proofs of anything, not like, say, Julio Mamani Conde’s report yesterday about the meddling role of the United States in Bolivian affairs this week...And certainly not on the scale of the hard evidence, based on the U.S. government’s own unclassified documents, that the U.S. had directly meddled by fomenting unrest in Venezuela!
That said, I think Roger Noriega has a point, although his logic is convoluted. Let me explain:
According to well placed sources in La Paz, yesterday, prior to the resignation of Bolivia’s president, the new heir apparent to the Bolivian throne, Congressional leader Hormando Vaca Diez, had gone to Bolivia’s military brass with a plan already written for how the military will declare martial law and ruthlessly stamp out the social movements when Vaca Diez becomes president. (Who wrote that plan, Mr. Noriega?)
But the Bolivian generals told Vaca Diez to pound sand: They said, according to our sources, that they were tired of being the villains of history, causing coup after coup, massacring their own people. (This—and perhaps copious amounts of alcohol—explains Vaca Diez’s crestfallen voice during his Monday night press conference, heard around the world via Radio Erbol.)
U.S. Ambassador Roger Noriega is red-faced angry that the Bolivian military won’t get to work assassinating Evo Morales, Felipe Quispe, Oscar Olivera, the entire city of El Alto, and Authentic Journalists who are covering the story. And Noriega blames Chavez!
Noriega blames Chavez because Chavez—a military officer admired by many just like him across the hemisphere—has set the gold standard of how to put an Armed Forces to work on behalf of the people instead of against them. And simply by surviving the coup attempts against him, and by continuing his kinder-gentler non-repressive military model, Chavez has showed by example that Latin American military organizations need not be repressors, as they have historically been.
That is why, kind readers, Noriega