If there’s one thing media want you to know about Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, it’s that he doesn’t like the United States. On the PBS NewsHour (1/10/13), Ray Suarez told viewers that Chavez
antagonized Washington, it seemed, whenever he could, forging friendships with Iran’s Mahmoud Abbas (sic), Syria’s embattled Bashar al-Assad, and he formed an especially close bond with Cuban Presidents Fidel and Raul Castro.
“Chavez has made a career out of bashing the United States and allied himself with Iran and Syria.”
While it’s hard to say Chavez has made a “career” out of U.S.-bashing–he does have, after all, a full-time job as president of Venezuela–you, too, might be excused for harboring some hard feelings towards a government that helped to try to overthrow your own. Which may be why U.S. reports rarely bring up the 2002 coup attempt–and when they do, treat Washington’s involvement in it as another nutty Chavez conspiracy theory.
Here’s Juan Forero in the Washington Post (1/10/13):
A central ideological pillar of Chavez’s rule over 14 years has been to oppose Republican and Democratic administrations in Washington, which he accuses of trying to destabilize his government.
“I think they really believe it, that we are out there at some level to do them ill,” said Charles Shapiro, president of the Institute of the Americas, a think tank in San Diego.
As ambassador to Venezuela from 2002 to 2004, Shapiro met with Chavez and other high- ranking officials, including [Vice President Nicolas] Maduro. But the relationship began to fall apart, with Chavez accusing the United States of supporting a coup that briefly ousted him from power. U.S. officials have long denied the charge.
Shapiro recalled how Maduro made what he called unsubstantiated accusations about CIA activity in Venezuela, without ever approaching the embassy with a complaint. He said that as time went by, the United States became a useful foil for Chavez and most Venezuelan officials withdrew contact.
“A sure way to ruin your career, to become a backbencher, was to become too friendly with the U.S. Embassy,” Shapiro said.
So Venezuela has a strange political culture where being friendly with the U.S. government gets you in trouble.
The Post airs Chavez’s charge–and then the U.S. denial. But the United States had all sorts of contact with the coup plotters before they made their move against Chavez in 2002. According to the State Department (7/02):
It is clear that NED [National Endowment for Democracy], Department of Defense (DOD) and other U.S. assistance programs provided training, institution building and other support to individuals and organizations understood to be actively involved in the brief ouster of the Chavez government.
And the CIA, as was reported by Forero himself (New York Times, 12/3/04), knew of the coup plotting.
The Central Intelligence Agency was aware that dissident military officers and opposition figures in Venezuela were planning a coup against President Hugo Chávez in 2002, newly declassified intelligence documents show. But immediately after the overthrow, the Bush administration blamed Mr. Chávez, a left-leaning populist, for his own downfall and denied knowing about the threats.
Scott Wilson, who was the Washington Post foreign editor at the time, told Oliver Stone for his film South of the Border:
Yes, the United States was hosting people involved in the coup before it happened. There was involvement of U.S.-sponsored NGOs in training some of the people that were involved in the coup. And in the immediate aftermath of the coup, the United States government said that it was a resignation, not a coup, effectively recognizing the government that took office very briefly until President Chavez returned.
And we know that the United States made quick efforts to have the coup government recognized as legitimate. The Bush government, immediately after the coup, blamed it on Chavez. And some of the coup plotters met with officials at the U.S. embassy in Caracas before they acted.
But the important thing for readers to know, according to Wilson’s successors at the Washington Post, is that U.S. officials deny they supported anything.
Iran, Iraq, and Syria have signed a memorandum of understanding to expand their trade cooperation and boost the transit of goods through their borders.
Deputy Iranian Roads and Urban Development Minister Shahriyar Afandizadeh told the Fars News Agency on Saturday that the tripartite agreement on transportation and the transit of goods was signed in Tehran last week.
He added that senior Iranian, Iraqi, and Syrian trade officials agreed to facilitate the transport of goods by rail and road.
Afandizadeh noted that a rail line connects Bandar Imam Khomeini on the Persian Gulf in Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan and the town of Shalamcheh on the border with Iraq.
He said plans have been drawn up for the establishment of a railway connection between Shalamcheh and the Iraqi port city of Basra. Once the project is completed, the railway link will stretch to the Syrian port city of Latakia and subsequently to North Africa, the Iranian official stated.
Afandizadeh added that the Iran-Iraq-Syria railroad connection will accelerate the transit of goods from the northern coast of the Persian Gulf to African and European countries and make the process more economical.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran attaches paramount importance to the transit of goods and is seeking to expand its transit ties with neighboring states,” Iran’s deputy roads and urban development minister said.
He also noted that Iran is making efforts to boost the transit of goods from the port city of Chabahar in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan to former Soviet republics.
Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Oman, and Qatar also plan to sign an agreement to enhance transit cooperation in the near future, Afandizadeh said in conclusion.
- Tehran to build gas pipeline to Iraq, Syria (panarmenian.net)
- Iran begins oil production from a joint field with Iraq (alethonews.wordpress.com)
AL-KHALIL — The Israeli occupation authorities have stopped issuing permits for Palestinian West Bankers to enter occupied Jerusalem or 1948 occupied Palestine, sources in the Palestinian liaison office said Saturday.
They noted that no permits were issued for more than a month except for patients, adding that the ban started after the UN accepted Palestine as a non-member observer state.
An official at the chamber of commerce and industry in Al-Khalil affirmed the news saying that 1800 permits were tabled with the Israeli civil administration but no response was made to any of them.
He said that the arbitrary measure obstructed economic and commercial life for the Palestinians, adding that officials at the Israeli administration told them that the reason was the admission of Palestine at the UN.
- IOF arrests 320 Palestinian workers within ten days (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
On Saturday at dawn thousands of Israeli soldiers and policemen attacked the Bab Al-Shams Palestinian village, installed east of in occupied East Jerusalem, and forcibly removed dozens of activists loading them into buses.
The soldiers dragged several activists onto the ground, attacked reporters and journalists and declared the area a closed military zone, several injuries were reported.
The Israeli decision to evacuate the village came, on Saturday, through a direct order issued by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his right-wing fundamentalist cabinet.
Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that by midnight Saturday, the order was signed by Osnat Mandel, head of the Israeli High Court division of the Justice Ministry, under the claim that “the people and the tents must be removed due to security considerations”.
The Israeli Police said that the eviction order, issued by the court, prohibits the army from removing the tents, but orders the removal of the people staying there.
Also, the so-called Israeli Civil Administration Office, run by the occupation in the West bank, claimed that the Palestinian tent village “was installed on state land”.
But four Bedouin families living in the area confirmed that they own the land, and even showed deeds proving ownership.
Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, who was also at the Palestinian village, stated that hundreds of Israeli soldiers invaded the village after surrounding it, and attacked the nonviolent activists camped there, and started kidnapping them.
The soldiers violently attacked the residents, including journalists, elderly and women, and dragged several residents onto the ground.
The soldiers repeatedly interrupted the work of local reporters, flashing their lights onto the camera, and pushing the reporters away, and dragged dozens of activists into buses that were brought by the army to the area.
On Saturday evening, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, ordered the army “to remove the Palestinians and their supporters from the Palestinian outpost” that was installed on privately-owned Palestinian lands to send a message to Israel and the entire world that this land is the land of Palestine, and the Palestinian people have the right to inhabit it.
The army installed dozens of roadblocks around the area to prevent Palestinian traffic and surrounded the Bab Al-Shams camp where around 200 activists installed around 20 tents declaring the Bab Al-Shams Palestinian village, in the area where Israel illegally declared it intends to build thousands of homes for Jewish settlers, east of occupied east Jerusalem.
The Israeli decision to build the illegal settlements in the occupied state of Palestine came after the Palestinians managed to obtain an observer state status at the UN – General Assembly.
The Israeli decision was met with international condemnation, but the settler-led government of Benjamin Netanyahu, approved the illegal settlement project.
The so-called E1 settlement project aims at linking the Maale Adumim illegal settlement, where 35,000 reside, with occupied East Jerusalem, thus illegally confiscating Palestinian lands and blocking geographical continuity in the occupied West Bank.
This illegal Israeli project would divide the West Bank into two parts, and would completely isolate it from occupied East Jerusalem, an issue that would prevent the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.
Abdullah Abu Rahma, a Palestinian nonviolent activist from the West Bank village on Bil’in, who was also detained when the army attacked and evicted Bab Al-Shams, stated that this village is on private Palestinian land, and that the Palestinians are not invading anybody’s property, as they are establishing a village in the land of Palestine.
“We tied our hands, chained ourselves with each other to prevent the soldiers from removing us”, Abu Rahma said, “The Soldiers violently attacked us, beat us, and injured at least 10”
He added that there will be more nonviolent activities, and that the struggle for Bab Al-Shams, the nonviolent struggle for the liberation of Palestine will continue as the Palestinians are practicing their internationally-guaranteed right.
It is worth mentioning that the Palestine TV was live streaming from Bab Al-Shams, and the army repeatedly tried to interrupt the stream, pushing the reporters, and using large flashlight, pointing them against the camera to disrupt the images.
Wounded Journalist Hafeth Ibrahim
- Palestinians Establish a new Village, Bab Alshams, in Area E1 (alethonews.wordpress.com)