Posted with permission from Green Left Weekly
by Kiraz Janicke
13 September 2008
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ordered the US ambassador in Caracas, Patrick Duddy, to leave the country within 72 hours on September 11.
Chavez announced the measure in solidarity with Bolivia, after Bolivian President Evo Morales expelled US ambassador Phillip Goldberg earlier that day for collaborating with the far right opposition movement currently carrying out violent protests to seize control of Bolivia’s wealthy eastern provinces.
The US has responded by expelling Bolivian and Venezuelan ambassadors from its territory, however Venezuela had already recalled its ambassador in protest.
Chavez said the measure was “in defence of democracy and the revolution in our brother country”, and that “both countries, Venezuela and Bolivia are victims of coup plotting and destabilising actions ‘made in the USA’.”
Venezuela and Bolivia are at the forefront of a continental-wide rebellion against neoliberalism and US domination.
In April 2002, the US backed a military coup against Chavez that was defeated by an uprising of the poor.
On September 10, host of television program The Razorblade and candidate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) for Carabobo governor in the November elections, Mario Silva, presented a recording in which a new coup and assassination plot planned against Chavez is discussed by former and active military officers.
Among the alleged participants are vice-admiral Carlos Alberto Millan Millan, who was on the verge of becoming commander general of the Navy.
In a fragment of the conversation, retired National Guard general Wilfredo Barroso Herrera outlined the taking over of the Miraflores presidential palace as their main goal: “There has to be only one objective … all our efforts towards where Mr [Chavez] is. If he is in Miraflores, then all our efforts go towards there.”
“We are going to take over Miraflores Palace, we are going to take over television plants”, the recording continued.
Also outlined was a plan to take over control of the Army general command with “the troops inside”, including “those that are in the barracks, in the Callejon Machado, 200 metres from the General Command”.
One of the actions could be to strike while Chavez was on a plane, aiming to “blow him up or capturing him with planes while [in] the air … we have to plan it well”.
In response the National Assembly has announced the creation of a special commission to investigate the coup plot.
National Assembly president Cilia Flores said the private media and opposition political parties are behind the move, ABN reported on September 11.
“They are promoting war. And what would they do with the million of Venezuelans who support the revolutionary government, those who want peace and don’t want to participate in a coup plot? It’s insane … they have openly urged people to rebel, generate violence and not recognise the democratic government.”
The PSUV, a mass party with millions of members and of which Chavez is president, has called for a massive mobilisation outside Miraflores on September 15 in support of Chavez and the revolutionary process.
Green Left Weekly correspondent Federico Fuentes also reported from the industrial city of Puerto Ordaz that Chavez supporters are planning mobilisations across the country.
Thousands of Chavez supporters rallied outside Miaflores on September 11, chanting “Chavez, friend, the people are with you”.