Tuesday, October 28, 2003

IS THE C.I.A. UP TO NO GOOD IN VENEZUELA ?

Tuesday 28, October 2003

A quick trip business to Brazil with three days rest in Rio, and it is hard to get back and face up to our reality here. Only two major stinks developed these last days. One, and the worst by far, is the naked attempt by the Chavez administration to grab control of the High Court once and for all. This I need to investigate more before I can write about it.

More fun to write about is the alleged covert actions of the CIA in Venezuela. Apparently two of our “star” assemblymen have presented a video that establish clearly that the CIA is up to no good in Venezuela. Let’s examine this story in more details.

1) The two representatives that have presented the alleged videos, Maduro and Barreto, are among the ones that enjoy the least credit in the National Assembly, or in the country for that matter. The simple fact that they are the ones that presented that video already casts a serious doubt as to the validity, veracity and/or importance of the video. A few weeks ago I actually wrote a little piece on Mr. Barreto and there is little else I could add to what I already said on the character. (September 12: The credibility Gap)

2) I have not seen the whole video since I am just back from Brazil. But from the tidbit and what I have been told, it has the technical hallmark of a hack job. And it does not really say anything really compromising, except for showing an ex (?) CIA advising a security company. A normal job for an ex-CIA.

3) Even if what is shown in the video were to be true it would show a supremely incompetent CIA. Not that the CIA has not made serious blunders in the past but being caught with a well known private protection company that is known to protect some of the leaders of the opposition is just silly. Incidentally, there are several of such companies protecting all sorts of public officials, embassies, etc... It just turns out that the owner of the alleged company was the one protecting Carmona Estanga before April 11 2002. What a wonderful coincidence, isn't it not? And how stooopid of the CIA to have maintained ties with the company that is perhaps the most watched of all the Private Security Companies in Venezuela, whose owner is currently exiled since April 13 2002.... Actually if the CIA indeed got caught that way, then the CIA is more likely to be working for Chavez than against Chavez.

Conclusion: this is most likely a rat.

It is part of the strategy destined to meddle even further the atmosphere and try to find a way, any way, to block the collection of the signatures scheduled for November 28. Just one of the many red herrings thrown by Chavez to see if the opposition loses its wits and bites a bait that would give Chavez an excuse to call off the recall referendum (state of emergency?). So far the opposition has not responded to any of the innumerable inanities thrown at it, and keeps focused on collecting the 20% signatures it needs to force a referendum in the first trimester 2004. (2)

In this light it is easy to understand that Chavez henchmen are willing to “enhance” or even forge any thing that could be used against opposition leaders. Or stir some cheap patriotism, which we all know is the last refuge of scoundrels.

Meanwhile “new evidence” is promised. We can always use a good laugh.

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(1) Maduro, since I must describe him, is another one of the “brilliant” failures of the chavismo. He presented himself as the guy that was going to reorganize the trade unions and bring them to Chavez. Apparently he had some experience organizing the Caracas Metro union. Well, apparently the experience was not good enough since after a series of failures, when the Union elections took place he was side stepped by Chavez for Aristobulo Isturiz (who became education minister after he failed to become the head of the unions). Since them Maduro has reinvented himself as one of the leaders in the National Assembly which eventually landed him the job to stonewall the negotiations with the opposition during the December strike and on. At negotiating he is not good. At blocking negotiations be it with the OAS or the National Assembly he is very good. Which is what really his master want.

(2) Any serious poll predict Chavez with less than 40% in voter favorable intention for him, and what is even more dangerous a "hard" 40-50% that say their mind will not change against Chavez until then, no matter what Chavez does. Electoral pollsters say that the hard negative votes cannot be changed quickly, not in barely a trimester. The only tactic that can work in such a short time period is all out negative campaigning.

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