IAC denounces Venezuela coup

Greg Butterfield gregb at wwpublish.com
Sat Apr 13 09:03:44 MDT 2002

April 12, 2002

According to an anti-war organization based in the United
States, the U.S. government working with Venezuelan
reactionaries, the wealthy classes of that South American
country and the international pro-U.S. media, has fomented
and carried out a military coup against the popularly
elected leader, President Hugo Chavez.

Teresa Gutierrez of the International Action Center (IAC)
said, "the coup has all the markings of a CIA plot, much
like the one carried out against the Chilean President
Salvador Allende in September 1973."

Gutierriez pointed out that the so-called strike leading
up to the coup was really an action by the wealthy owners
of the factories, aided by a corrupt sector of the trade
union movement representing only the most privileged
workers in the oil industry.

"The moneyed media has all joined in an attempt to blame
pro-Chavez forces for the deaths of demonstrators," she
added. "Our own sources, from those sympathetic to Chavez,
say that it was reactionaries and police who started the
shooting, and they fired at pro-Chavez demonstrators.

"Most of those who died were from the poorer parts of the
population who voted for Chavez in overwhelming numbers
and who still support him, according to our sources."

The IAC, whose founder is former U.S. Attorney General
Ramsey Clark, has been a leading organization opposing the
Bush administration's post-Sept. 11 crusade, including the
bombing of Afghanistan.

It is part of the International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to
Stop War & End Racism) coalition, which is organizing a
protest on April 20 at the White House calling for freedom
for Palestine, no new U.S. war on Iraq, and in opposition
to U.S. intervention in Colombia, Venezuela, Korea, the
Philippines and elsewhere in the Third World.

Sara Flounders of the IAC said: "That the Bush
administration has rushed to welcome the new Venezuelan
government, despite its illegal and unconstitutional
creation, is a clear sign that Washington was in on the
coup from the beginning.

"The Bush administration has targeted Chavez because he
had an independent foreign policy. He was friendly to Cuba
and he had the courage to criticize the U.S. war drive
against Afghanistan," Flounders said.

"We consider the coup against Chavez in Venezuela as part
of the more aggressive U.S. military policy since Sept.
11," said Flounders. "It goes hand in hand with the
threats against Iraq, support for the Israeli massacre of
Palestinians, and of course with the new threats of open
U.S. intervention against the revolutionary movement in
Colombia, Venezuela's neighbor."

Below is the eyewitness account of a leader of the popular
movement, directly from Caracas. It was published on the
web site of the Belgian Workers Party on April 12, 2002:

Is the resignation this morning of Venezuelan President
Chavez due to a popular uprising, as the media make it
appear? Nothing seems less true! An eyewitness account
from Maximilien Averliaz, a leader of the popular movement
that supports Chavez, directly from Caracas.

By Pol De Vos
April 12, 2002

Maximilien Averlaiz: "The plot appears to have been well
prepared. It all started with a call for a general strike
for Wednesday, April 10, launched by an alliance between
the organization of the bosses FEDECAMARAS and the corrupt
union the Venezuelan Workers Central (CTV). The big
privately owned media helped create a climate of tension.
They agitated the population against the government. The
strike, however, for the most part failed. It occurred
only in a few places. In the other places, the bosses
purely and simply closed their factories in such a way
that the workers were unable to work.

After the first day of the strike, FEDECAMARAS and the CTV
prolonged their action for an indeterminate time period,
while calling for a demonstration April 11. During this
reactionary demonstration, large groups of partisans of
President Chavez gathered at Miraflores to defend his
"Bolivarian Revolution." The poor people came down from
the neighborhood on the edge of the city toward the
government building to support their president.

Chaven has always guaranteed the right to demonstrate to
the opposition, all the while appealing to his partisans
to refuse to respond to provocations and denouncing the
crass media manipulation.

While Chavez was making a radio talk Thursday evening, the
second phase of the destabilization plan was unleashed.
The leaders of the right-wing opposition directed their
demonstration toward Miraflores, where the progressives
had assembled. Their aim was clear: blood must flow.

The government gave an order to the National Guard to
place itself between the two groups to avoid battles. At
this moment, some elite sharpshooters began to fire on the
pro-Chavez demonstrators. They had been posted on the tops
of high buildings, at 200 meters (650 feet) from the
crowd. The first two deaths fell from among the defenders
of the populist president.

It is then that the right-wing demonstrators attacked the
National Guard, while the auxiliary police of the extreme
right-wing mayor of Caracas, Alfrede Pena, fired on the
pro-Chavez demonstrators. They unleashed violence to make
a counter-revolution possible. The majority of deaths were
from defenders of Chavez.

In the night from Thursday to Friday the following step
took place. A group from the National Guard and a large
part of the Command of the Army turned openly against
President Chavez and seized the state television station.
The national and international media have been the most
important instruments of this coup d'etat, orchestrated by
the wealthy elite classes with the direct support of the
United States.

iacenter at iacenter.org

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