Secret US plot against Venezuela revealed


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Venezuela¹s D-Day: Democratic Socialism or Imperial Counter-Revolution

The December 2, 2007 Constituent Referendum

By Prof James Petras

Global Research, November 28, 2007

On November 26, 2007 the Venezuelan government broadcast and circulated a 
confidential memo from the US embassy to the CIA which is devastatingly 
revealing of US clandestine operations and which will influence the referendum 
this Sunday (December 2, 2007).

The memo sent by an embassy official, Michael Middleton Steere, was addressed to
the head of the CIA, Michael Hayden. The memo was entitled ŒAdvancing to the 
Last Phase of Operation Pincer¹ and updates the activity by a CIA unit with the 
acronym ŒHUMINT¹ (Human Intelligence) which is engaged in clandestine action to 
destabilize the forth-coming referendum and coordinate the civil military 
overthrow of the elected Chavez government. The Embassy-CIA¹s polls concede that
57% of the voters approved of the constitutional amendments proposed by Chavez 
but also predicted a 60% abstention.

The US operatives emphasized their capacity to recruit former Chavez supporters 
among the social democrats (PODEMOS) and the former Minister of Defense Baduel, 
claiming to have reduced the Œyes¹ vote by 6% from its original margin. 
Nevertheless the Embassy operatives concede that they have reached their 
ceiling, recognizing they cannot defeat the amendments via the electoral route.

The memo then recommends that Operation Pincer (OP) [Operación Tenaza] be 
operationalized. OP involves a two-pronged strategy of impeding the referendum, 
rejecting the outcome at the same time as calling for a Œno¹ vote. The run up to
the referendum includes running phony polls, attacking electoral officials and 
running propaganda through the private media accusing the government of fraud 
and calling for a Œno¹ vote. Contradictions, the report cynically emphasizes, 
are of no matter.

The CIA-Embassy reports internal division and recriminations among the opponents
of the amendments including several defections from their Œumbrella group¹. The 
key and most dangerous threats to democracy raised by the Embassy memo point to 
their success in mobilizing the private university students (backed by top 
administrators) to attack key government buildings including the Presidential 
Palace, Supreme Court and the National Electoral Council. The Embassy is 
especially praiseworthy of the ex-Maoist ŒRed Flag¹ group for its violent street
fighting activity. Ironically, small Trotskyist sects and their trade unionists 
join the ex-Maoists in opposing the constitutional amendments. The Embassy, 
while discarding their ŒMarxist rhetoric¹, perceives their opposition as fitting
in with their overall strategy.

The ultimate objective of ŒOperation Pincer¹ is to seize a territorial or 
institutional base with the Œmassive support¹ of the defeated electoral minority
within three or four days (before or after the elections ­ is not clear. JP) 
backed by an uprising by oppositionist military officers principally in the 
National Guard. The Embassy operative concede that the military plotters have 
run into serous problems as key intelligence operatives were detected, stores of
arms were decommissioned and several plotters are under tight surveillance.

Apart from the deep involvement of the US, the primary organization of the 
Venezuelan business elite (FEDECAMARAS), as well as all the major private 
television, radio and newspaper outlets have been engaged in a vicious fear and 
intimidation campaign. Food producers, wholesale and retail distributors have 
created artificial shortages of basic food items and have provoked large scale 
capital flight to sow chaos in the hopes of reaping a Œno¹ vote.

President Chavez Counter-Attacks

In a speech to pro-Chavez, pro-amendment nationalist business-people 
(Entrepreneurs for Venezuela ­ EMPREVEN) Chavez warned the President of 
FEDECAMARAS that if he continues to threaten the government with a coup, he 
would nationalize all their business affiliates. With the exception of the 
Trotskyist and other sects, the vast majority of organized workers, peasants, 
small farmers, poor neighborhood councils, informal self-employed and public 
school students have mobilized and demonstrated in favor of the constitutional 

The reason for the popular majority is found in a few of the key amendments: One
article expedites land expropriation facilitating re-distribution to the 
landless and small producers. Chavez has already settled over 150,000 landless 
workers on 2 million acres of land. Another amendment provides universal social 
security coverage for the entire informal sector (street sellers, domestic 
workers, self-employed) amounting to 40% of the labor force. Organized and 
unorganized workers¹ workweek will be reduced from 40 to 36 hours a week (Monday
to Friday noon) with no reduction in pay. Open admission and universal free 
higher education will open greater educational opportunities for lower class 
students. Amendments will allow the government to by-pass current bureaucratic 
blockage of the socialization of strategic industries, thus creating greater 
employment and lower utility costs. Most important, an amendment will increase 
the power and budget of neighborhood councils to legislate and invest in their 

The electorate supporting the constitutional amendments is voting in favor of 
their socio-economic and class interests; the issue of extended re-election of 
the President is not high on their priorities: And that is the issue that the 
Right has focused on in calling Chavez a Œdictator¹ and the referendum a Œcoup¹.

The Opposition

With strong financial backing from the US Embassy ($8 million dollars in 
propaganda alone according to the Embassy memo) and the business elite and Œfree
time¹ by the right-wing media, the Right has organized a majority of the upper 
middle class students from the private universities, backed by the Catholic 
Church hierarchy, large swaths of the affluent middle class neighborhoods, 
entire sectors of the commercial, real estate and financial middle classes and 
apparently sectors of the military, especially officials in the National Guard. 
While the Right has control over the major private media, public television and 
radio back the constitutional reforms. While the Right has its followers among 
some generals and the National Guard, Chavez has the backing of the paratroops 
and legions of middle rank officers and most other generals.

The outcome of the Referendum of December 2 is a decisive historical event first
and foremost for Venezuela but also for the rest of the Americas. A positive 
vote (Vota ŒSí¹) will provide the legal framework for the democratization of the
political system, the socialization of strategic economic sectors, empower the 
poor and provide the basis for a self-managed factory system. A negative vote 
(or a successful US-backed civil-military uprising) will reverse the most 
promising living experience of popular self-rule, of advanced social welfare and
democratically based socialism. A reversal, especially a military dictated 
outcome, will lead to a massive blood bath, such as we have not seen since the 
days of the Indonesian Generals¹ Coup of 1966, which killed over a million 
workers and peasants or the Argentine Coup of 1976 in which over 30,000 
Argentines were murdered by the US backed Generals.

A decisive vote for ŒSí¹ will not end US military and political destabilization 
campaigns but it will certainly undermine and demoralize their collaborators. On
December 2, 2007 the Venezuelans have a rendezvous with history.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of 
the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on 

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