Paramilitary Strategy in Venezuela Backfires...

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Tue Feb 6 10:02:00 MST 2001

Paramilitary Strategy in Venezuela Backfires...
Rangel to the Rescue

 Narco News 2001

Venezuela President Hugo Chávez Names:
Civilian Defense Secretary
Journalist José Vicente Rangel's First Task:
Stop the Paramilitaries Before they Start

Narco News Commentary: Even as the new administration of US President George W. Bush
repeated in public that it had no plans to destabilize Venezuela's democratically
elected government, behind the scenes a more nefarious strategy was already underway.
The wealthy land owners and cattle ranchers of Venezuelan regions near the Colombian
border were allying themselves with Colombia paramilitary chief and narco-trafficker
Carlos Castaño to destabilize the Chávez government from within.
The paramilitary strategy, straight from Pentagon manuals, has been used by Washington
in Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico and other countries as a potent subversive force to
do the dirty work for official military forces that are constrained by law. In
neighboring Colombia, Castaño's paramilitaries have committed near-daily massacres of
unarmed civilians in a terror campaign protected by the Colombian military command
with support of the $1.3 billion dollar, US-imposed, Plan Colombia.
Venezuela's popular and democratically elected President Hugo Chávez, because of his
sparkplug role in reawakening Bolívar's dream of a Latin América united against
foreign impositions, his opposition to Plan Colombia, and the vast oil resources that
make Venezuela an economic power, has presented problems for the interventionists in
Washington who speak of democracy but work to prohibit it throughout the hemisphere.
"Para-journalists" -- the mercenaries of the Fourth Estate -- like Larry Rohter of the
New York Times have consistently attempted to discredit Chhhávez, often citing his
military roots, as if to imply that his democratic government flirts with military
The events of recent days reveal how foolish and inaccurate Rohter and some others
have been throughout their reporting of the events in Venezuela. (Interestingly, the
US journalist who has offered the most profound analysis of the Chávez phenomenon was
not any liberal or lefist, but the libertarian Justin Raimundo, who thoroughly
researched Chávez's history and writings and concludes that his critics are the ones
blowing hot air.)
First, came the revelation, last Wednesday, that the wealthy cattle ranchers of the
Venezuelan border region with Colombia are forming armed paramilitary units to "combat
the Colombian guerrilla."
Chávez, as a career military officer and statesman, knows well that paramilitary
groups can only conduct their terrorism with covert support and protection from
official military forces: that has been the history of paramilitary squads from
Colombia to Chiapas.
And so the very next day, on the Second Anniversary of his first election as
president, during a military parade, Chávez, in one fell swoop, gave his country a
fighting chance to stop the paramilitaries before they start, and revealed his critics
to be wrong.
Chávez appointed a civilian statesman -- a journalist -- as Defense Secretary. And
José Vicente Rangel announced that his first task will be to address the ranch
owwwners along the Colombian border and solve the paramilitary problem before it turns
into, in his words, "a Frankenstein." Rangel will oversee operations of the Armed
Forces to protect that region and keep a strong eye on the lookout for paramilitary or
corrupt military activity. Nobody questions Rangel's intelligence nor commitment to
prevent the Colombianization of his nation.
Now, as if to add icing to the cake in the face of the anti-Chávez lobby, comes the
corrupt, disgraced and impeached ex-president of Venezuela, Carlos Andrés Pérez
(embezzler of $250 million dollars precisely from the country's Defense Department,
and long term Bush family operative), screeching that Chávez's appointment of a
civilian to the Defense Ministry will provoke a military coup. Even this, so far, has
been a bit too much for the corrupted Rohters and others like him of the press world
to report in English: it sounds too much like their own rhetoric, but more revealing
of their true agenda.
And so, once again, Chávez has confounded and foiled his critics, and launched the
first project in South América to stop the paramilitary menace in its tracks.
Here are some translations of this past week's stories from Latin América about the
news from Simón Bolívar's Venezuela.

>From somewhere in a country called América,

Al Giordano
The Narco News Bulletin
narconews at

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