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Has Cong. Hyde flipped out and called for regime change in Venezuela?

The anti-Chavez Venezuelan press claims Cong. Henry Hyde (R-Il) has written a letter to president Bush asking him to suppport a military overthrow of the President of Venezuela.
What are they smoking in DuPage County, Illinois? The Venezuelan conservative newspaper El Universal in its web edition of 10 26 02 (htt:// publishes a Spanish version of what purports to be a letter from US Congressman Henry Hyde (R-Il) to President Bush asking for US support for a military overthrow of the legally elected president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.

The political context is that for several days a gaggle of high ranking military officers in full uniform have been holding court in a public plaza in Caracas demanding Chavez's ouster. Although these gentlemen stop just short of declaring a violent coup, they are wearing full uniform and in any other country in the world they would be arrested for this.

In the Hyde letter, the opposition accusations against Chavez are re-hashed with special emphasis on the bogus charge that he is supporting terrorism. Then the letter really goes off the deep end, ferociously attacking Jose Inacio Lula Da Silva, the leftist candidate who will likely win the Brazilian presidential election tomorrow, and Lucio Gutierrez, the leftist front-runner in the upcoming presidental runoff in Ecuador. The letter finishes by accusing Lula of having plans to build a Brazilian atomic bomb which would represent a threat to the United States.

The real issue here is that Chavez, Lula, and Gutierrez have all been critics of the impact of corporate globalization and neo-liberal economics on the life of ordinary people in poor countries such as their own. If Chavez survives and Lula and Gutierrez win their elections, there will be, when you include socialist Cuba, four important Latin American countries ranged in opposition to US policy such as the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas). Further, the inspiration and leadership of these four countries, especially gigantic Brazil, will inspire the peoples of Argentina and other hemespheric countries to demand that their political leaders also abandon neo-liberal policies and stand up to the USA, the IMF, the World Bank etc. This would be a disaster for imperialism a la Geore W. Bush. So no wonder these people are getting hysterical. This gives the Bushies a strong motive to intervene in some way, probably the old fashioned way of surreptitiously supporting military coups-d'etat.

I have had many travails and misfortunes in my life, but, thank God, I have never had Henry Hyde as my congresscreature. Perhaps someone who does can (a) give a call to his office and ask for authentication of the letter--a copy in English if possible, and if it proves (as I suspect) to be the authentic product of the silver -haired statesman of the Western suburbs, ask him what brand of tobacco he has been smoking lately.



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