Chavez Says He Uncovered Coup Plot


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Associated Press
Chavez Says He Uncovered Coup Plot
By FABIOLA SANCHEZ , 09.01.2006, 10:53 PM

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claimed Friday he had uncovered a plot to 
topple his government, blaming his political opponents and calling them 
"lackeys" of the United States.

His mention of a coup plot prompted whistles and shouts from thousands of 
supporters who filled the streets to welcome him home Friday after a foreign 
tour in which China, Malaysia and Syria offered to support Venezuela's bid for a
seat on the 15-member U.N. Security Council.

He called opposition presidential candidates "lackeys of U.S. imperialism."

"I have reports that the counter-revolutionary opposition has a plan to 
overthrow me in a coup," Chavez said. He gave no other details and did not 
identify any of the alleged conspirators. But he accused his enemies of planning
to repeat a 2002 coup led by dissident generals that briefly drove him from 

Chavez has warned of numerous alleged plots, though in recent months he has not 
mentioned any specific report of a conspiracy.

If he wins another six-year term in the December election, Chavez said he plans 
to call a referendum halfway through the term on whether he should stay on and 
whether a constitutional prohibition on running for subsequent terms should be 

The Venezuelan leader's four-nation tour was the latest in a series of 
international stops coinciding with his country's push for a rotating Security 
Council seat despite U.S. opposition.

"Support for Venezuela's candidacy to the U.N. Security Council has only grown. 
Everyday we have more of the world's support to defeat U.S. imperialism in the 
United Nations," Chavez told the cheering crowd. "For the first time in history,
Venezuela truly holds a privileged, respected place in the world because we - 
for the first time - have a foreign policy that doesn't depend on any world 
power center."

Washington is lobbying against Venezuela's bid and is backing Guatemala. The 
race will be decided by the General Assembly in a secret ballot in October.

The Security Council has five permanent members with veto power - the United 
States, Britain, Russia, China and France - and 10 rotating non-permanent 
members which serve two-year terms.

Chavez, first elected in 1998, has maintained loyal support partly through 
oil-funded social programs popular among the poor.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press.

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