Archive for June 14th, 2003

WSJ: At State a Chavez foe is labelled a terrorist

June 14, 2003

Liked <A href=",,SB105546155019819400-search,00.html?collection=wsjie/30day&vql_string=venezuela(article-body)”>the article by Mary Anastasia O’Grady about the State Department removing the visa of General Medina Gomez. Other articles say the South Command of the US military is very upset over this decision and the policies of the US State Department is in disarray (FT by subscription only):

“US policy towards Venezuela appeared to be in disarray yesterday after it emerged that the US envoy to Caracas revoked the visa of a former Venezuelan army general closely allied to Washington and opposed to the tumultuous rule of Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s president.

The move coincided with one of the strongest US criticisms of Mr Chávez to date, as Otto Reich, the White House’s special envoy for Latin America, compared Mr Chávez’s model of government to that of Fidel Castro, Cuba’s president.”

 Since the WSJ it is by subscription only and I still have storage problems here are the parts I liked best of the article:

“Brilliant. Mr. Chavez is well on his way to replacing Castro as the region’s most fearsome tyrant and the cerebral powerhouses at the State Department are busy thinking real hard about what a terrible threat the opposition presents. Another shining example of U.S. tax dollars at work.”

“The charge is “terrorist activity” but State says that the evidence cannot be released due to the risk of compromising sensitive intelligence sources. In the view of Venezuelans who know him, Mr. Medina’s character, belief system and résumé hardly lend credence to the charge that he would target innocent civilians.”

“There is no question that Mr. Chavez is “leveling” his country downward. One set of numbers that tell it all is the contraction in gross domestic product from $120 billion at the close of 2000 to what New York-based investment firm Bear Stearns estimates will be about $71 billion this year. A chimpanzee tossing darts to make policy could produce better results.”

“For more than a year he (General Medina) has been carrying out a most unmilitary manner of rebellion: civil disobedience. “

“An anonymous State Department source was quoted in press reports on Wednesday claiming that the real reason is “coup plotting.” That’s a charge that also comes from Mr. Chavez, who is frustrated with the general’s bonafides. Still, it’s hard to believe, unless open, unarmed defiance is a new trend in running military coups.”

But perhaps the best was General Medina’s own reaction:

“As to his visa, Mr. Medina says, “To continue confronting this illegal, terrorist and communist government, it’s not necessary to have a U.S. visa. We are not struggling for American interests but rather for the freedom of our own country.””