Venezueula: The center may not hold

Red Squirrel details the enormous tension and conflict in Venezuela now, with the referendum vote on Saturday. Things are getting extremely polarized, with fighting in the streets, murder, and probable CIA intervention.

Venezuelan counterintelligence just released a document they say is a CIA memo outlining destabilization plans. Imagine the pressure-cooker atmosphere the release of the document must have created. And what it will be like if the lid blows off.

  • With no sense of irony, Roger Cohen pens an op-ed this morning in the New York Times telling President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela to shut up, and halt that economic model to which Cohen objects.

    Cohen was quoting the paragon of democracy, King Juan Carlos of Spain, who “got it right when he recently interrupted Chávez’s trademark verbal diarrhea with a brusque: “Why don’t you just shut up?”

    To democratic minds, it’s monarchs like Carlos who are repulsive and obscene, an assault on the very notion of democracy. [Democracy etiquette tip: When in the presence of monarchs like Juan Carlos, politely interrupt and remind them that they are grotesque anachronisms.]

    So it comes as no surprise that Chávez, elected, re-elected, and committed to using the spoils of oil to spread the wealth around to the poor should be such a pain to the monarch Carlos and the imperialist-minded Cohen, who take it as an assumption that they have a right to tell the people of Venezuela and its president how to conduct themselves.

  • Regardless of who wins, the losing side will claim fraud and foul, with more confrontation and street fighting.

    And a country can only take so much of that until it fractures.

  • Here’s a PDF link to a VERY interesting poll about attitudes of Venezuelans. About 2/3 support the direction Venezuela is going in, although fewer (although still a majority) support the referendum.

  • Russell King

    Larry Johnson, over at, (the ex CIA guy who is on the progressive side) says this is crap:

    the bogus memo allegedly written to the Director of the CIA by some nimrod diplomat at our Embassy in Venezuela. Dubbed Operation Pliers (on some websites) and Pincers (on others), we are offered a peek behind the curtain of CIA efforts to topple Chavez. It starts off:

    November 20,2007


    De: Michael Middleton Steere, US Embassy

    Para: Michael Hayden, Director Agencia Central de Inteligencia.

    Asunto: Avance de la Fase Terminal de la Operación Tenaza

    Tomando en consideración los anteriores avances documentales en torno a la Operación Tenaza que coordina Humint en Venezuela según la directiva 3623-g-0217, cumplo en informarle para los fines consiguientes, del status actual de dicha operación, la cual entra en su fase terminal según lo estimado.

    As the official bubble burster let me state for the record, this is patent nonsense. State Department officers do not write memos to Hayden. Particularly mid-level Foreign Service Officers. A CIA officer under diplomatic cover sends his communications to headquarters via an encoded message. We call these messages cables, harkening back to the days of telegraphs and telegrams.

    This, in my judgment, is the work–very clumsy work at that–of the Venezuelan intelligence service eager to build on the truth that the United States has sought to oust Chavez. All of this is quite convenient with Venezuelan elections on the horizon. It may be hamhanded, but for internal Venezuelan consumption, this is brilliant psyops and should help Chavez further demonize the equally clumsy Americans.

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