Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chavez Warns that Bolivia is Being Destabilized by U.S. Just as Venezuela is

By: Kiraz Janicke -
Caracas, September 10, 2007 ( –

Flanked by Bolivian President Evo Morales, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
warned of a plan financed by the United States to derail the democratically
elected government of Bolivia, including a plan to assassinate Morales, said
Chavez during his weekly television program Aló Presidente.

I hold responsible the president of the United States, George Bush, for what
could happen to compañero Morales, because they are conspiring against the
government, including to kill him," he said.

However, Chavez warned, "If U.S. imperialism attacks our peoples, using
their lackeys in Venezuela and Bolivia, they can be sure that we're not
going to wait with our arms crossed."

"If that occurs," he continued, referring to the famous phrase of
revolutionary leader Ernesto "Che" Guevara, who called for Vietnam style
guerilla war against U.S. imperialism, "we will shout with Che Guevara and
then one, two, three, four, five, or 10 Vietnams will have to be created in
Latin America."

"Imperialism has a plan to knock off this Indian. I put to them we have a
plan also, but of course we are not going to say. Right, Evo? What is going
to happen to the Bolivian oligarchy is what happened to the Venezuelan
oligarchy the 12 and 13th of April [2002], when the Venezuelan people came
out to confront the tyranny, the imperialist coup. It's best that we don't
tell more of the plan."

Chavez's comments came as up to 100,000 people from Bolivia's campesino and
indigenous movements began converging on Sucre for a Social Summit in
defense of the Constituent Assembly. Over the past week Sucre has been
wracked with violent protests aimed at disrupting the process of
constitutional reform, which would provide a framework for the social
inclusion of Bolivia's long marginalized indigenous majority. Right wing
opposition groups demanding that the executive and legislative powers of
government be transferred from La Paz to Sucre have burned car tires and
repeatedly attempted to shut down the Constituent Assembly, which as a
result has called a one-month recess.

"The oligarchy that today is conspiring against Evo in Bolivia is the same
oligarchy that conspired here against Venezuela, against our people, it is
the same that here made a coup, driven forward and financed by the
government of the United States, the same is occurring in Bolivia," he added

While U.S. officials have repeatedly denied Chavez's claims that Washington
is attempting to overthrow him and other leftist governments in the region,
Chavez said that Morales possessed documentary evidence of U.S. interference
and intentions to destabilize his government.

Chavez's claims are supported by the investigation of U.S.-Venezuelan human
rights lawyer Eva Golinger, who last week published a report that documents
U.S. government funding of opposition groups in both Venezuela and Bolivia.
Golinger reveals that the USAID Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI),
opened in Bolivia in 2004 has contracted the U.S. Company Casals &
Associates Inc. (C&A) to manage US$13.3 million granted to 379
organizations, political parties, and projects in Bolivia. USAID-OTI and C&A
in Bolivia have focused their efforts on combating and influencing the
Constituent Assembly, and on "promoting separatism in the regions rich in
natural resources, such as Santa Cruz and Cochabamba," Golinger argues.

"The majority of the 13.3 million has been given to organizations and
programs working to 'strengthen regional governments' with the intention of
weakening the national government of Evo Morales," she continued.
Chavez insisted, however, that Venezuela and Bolivia want peace to increase
production of food and to carry out health, education, literacy, and social
justice programs and pointed out that Bolivia would soon be the third
country in Latin America to eradicate illiteracy after Cuba in 1961 and
Venezuela in 2005.

Morales thanked Chavez for being invited to his program and said that while
he recognized that his government was confronted by problems from various
opposition groups against the Constituent Assembly and the process of
constitutional reform, the majority of Bolivians are supporting the process
of change for more social equality.

Morales also spoke of the need to change the economic model in Bolivia and
Latin America more broadly, "The mineral wealth of Latin American countries
had been looted by industrialized nations and nothing had been done to drive
forward their development. The governments of Latin America are obliged to
take advantage of their natural resources to promote the development of
their peoples."

During the program Chavez and Morales signed a number of agreements for
joint development projects between their respective countries, as well as
inaugurating the first phase of the Siderúrgica Ferrominera iron and steel
plant in the Cuidad Piar in Venezuela's Orinoco oil belt.

The agreements, which form part of ALBA (the Bolivarian Alternative for the
Americas), initiated by Venezuela in opposition to the U.S. promoted Free
Trade Agreement of the Americas, include plans to form joint-ventures in
mining, cement and forestry projects, build a petrochemical plant in
Cochabamba, as well as a bi-national company to exploit the Mutun iron
deposit in Bolivia's Santa Cruz department, which, according to a statement
today from Venezuela's information ministry, has 42 billion metric tons of

During the broadcast Chavez also spoke of his offer to mediate peace
negotiations in neighboring Columbia between the government and the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), saying he would travel to
territory controlled by the FARC, if necessary, "I'm willing to go into
the deepest part of the largest jungle to talk with Marulanda."
"I have faith that we will succeed. Nobody said it would be easy," he added.