Murder or Ouster for Chavez?

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According to CNN, unnamed U.S. officials have branded the charge of Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, that the U.S. government plans to oust him from office through assassination as “ridiculous.”

Ridiculous?

Maybe those particular unnamed U.S. officials aren’t familiar with a government organization known as the Central Intelligence Agency, or the CIA. Its job is “regime change,” even through assassination, especially with respect to foreign leaders who refuse to toe the official U.S. government line and do what they’re ordered to do.

After all, to judge from history Chavez is an absolutely perfect candidate for CIA assassination. He recently publicly declared himself a socialist, he is close friends with long-time CIA nemesis Fidel Castro, he publicly criticizes the U.S. invasion and war of aggression against Iraq, he is making oil deals with Chinese communists, and his country sits on vast pools of oil.

Tell me: what better candidate for CIA assassination and regime change can there be than that?

Think about it: The CIA supported the military coup in Chile that ousted a self-proclaimed socialist, Salvador Allende, from office, despite the fact that he had been democratically elected, and installed a brutal U.S.-government-approved military strongman, Augusto Pinochet, into power, who then embarked on a reign of terror in which thousands of people who had been detained without due process of law or trials were tortured or killed. According to declassified documents, during the Pinochet coup the CIA played an “unfortunate role” (the phrase used in the documents) in the murder of an American citizen, Charles Horman, but unfortunately the CIA continues to keep the exact details secret because supposedly full disclosure of its role in the murder of an American citizen would jeopardize “national security.”

The CIA engineered the ouster of the democratically elected president of Guatemala because he was a self-proclaimed socialist who refused to do the bidding of U.S. officials, instigating a decades-long Guatemalan civil war that killed some 200,000 people.

The CIA also ousted the democratically elected prime minister of Iran because he was too independent of U.S. government control, because he had “communist leanings,” and because he wasn’t doing what U.S. officials wanted him to do with Iranian oil.

There are also strong indications of CIA support for the failed military coup against the democratically elected Chavez a couple of years ago.

Don’t forget, also, that the United States recently invaded Iraq, another country with vast oil reserves, for the purpose of ousting former U.S. ally Saddam Hussein and installing a U.S.-friendly regime that will do the bidding of U.S. officials.

And, of course, the CIA has had a 40-year obsession with ousting, especially through murder, the self-proclaimed socialist (and communist) Fidel Castro from power for refusing to follow U.S. directives, trying to assassinate him innumerable times. Let’s also not forget the deep sympathy that U.S. officials have long had toward anti-Castro terrorists.

Despite any other faults he might have (including his belief in socialism, whose programs, by the way, mirror those of U.S. officials, including Social Security, which is the crown jewel of socialism), Hugo Chavez is right to be concerned about the possibility of regime change by CIA assassination. Any pronouncements to the contrary by unnamed U.S. officials are, well, ridiculous.

Jacob Hornberger [send him mail] is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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