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A wave of paranoia is overcoming Venezuela's Hugo Chávez

By Veneconomy

08.03.05 | A wave of paranoia is overcoming President Chávez and his acolytes. The fear of assassination is widespread among the members of the government. According to Chávez’ version of the facts, the warning of the danger was raised by Fidel Castro himself, while José Vicente Rangel claims that the person who corroborated the threat hanging over the Venezuelan President’s head was Ambassador Shapiro, obliged to reveal this information under U.S. law.

Rumor has it that the mastermind behind the assassination is none other than George W. Bush himself and that, apparently, the CIA was to be the agency that would carry it out.

The Venezuelan government’s accusations against the Bush administration are nothing new. They go back to the events of April 2002, when it was accused of being behind the alleged aborted coup d’état. However, feelings have never run so high before. Now, in addition to the fear of assassination, there is the fear of an imminent Yankee invasion of Venezuelan territory. The mobilization of the USS Saipan in the vicinity of Curaçao last week triggered all the Executive’s alarm bells.

The government’s response to these threats has been unanimous: the Foreign Minister, the Commander of the Army, Ministers, the president of the National Assembly, the Vice-President, and, of course, President Chávez have proclaimed to the world the danger that lies in wait. The message for Bush is more than clear: if he attacks Venezuela, he will not get a single drop of Venezuelan oil ever again.

There is more than one reading to the hysterical rhetoric being displayed by the socialist revolutionary government.

One is that the euphoria at having completely consolidated power on the domestic front has prompted them to go out and conquer the leadership of the region. With the helping hand of a barrel of oil at more than US$43, the crusade to win over supporters for the Bolivarian process in the rest of the continent and to achieve separation from U.S. imperialism could bear fruit in the medium and long terms.

Another reading is that internal divisions within Chavismo are so serious that they have made it necessary to find a common enemy that will unite them. Now that opposition within the country has been abolished, what could be better than imperialism as a cause for raising the banner of unity?

Yet a third reason that could be behind these accusations is the need to distract the attention of people at home and abroad from the country’s real social problems. After six years in power, Chavismo is using high oil prices to hide the serious state of collapse to which it has brought the economy.



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