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Latest News From Venezuela and Latin America - Chavez: 'Our Time to Attack' ^ | Feb. 5, 2003 | Tiana Perez

Posted on 02/05/2003 5:36:27 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe

Chavez: 'Our Time to Attack'

Feb. 5: As the strike against leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez loses power, he and his backers are growing bolder.

Supporters injured four people Tuesday when they opened fire on the offices of Caracas' opposition mayor. The attack marred the government's commemoration of the 11th anniversary of a failed coup led by Chavez.

Venezuelans gathered Sunday in close to 3,000 improvised voting centers around the country to hand in their signatures in support of ousting Chavez. Albis Munoz, representative of the main opposition body, stated “nearly 4 million participated in support of the Alternative Referendum,” banned by the government on the grounds that time constraints would not allow for its implementation.

The non-binding referendum envisioned by the constitution is only a survey on the president’s popularity. El Universal quoted Munoz as saying, “The number of people who signed yesterday surpasses the number of votes in his favor during the 1998 election that brought him to power,” clearly showing the general sentiment in Venezuela.

The consultative Alternative Referendum was expanded to include 10 issues, including the amendment of articles related to free speech, presidential and congressional terms, the annulment of 49 presidential economic decrees, as well as the request to have striking oil workers who were recently fired by Chavez return to their jobs.

The main opposition body assures that the signatures will not be dated once the government and the opposition resolve the stalemate and has consented to have the signatures used for whichever decision is reached by the roundtable discussions mediated by the Group of Friends, which includes Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Spain and Portugal. Sunday was also an important day for the government, whose supporters chose to stay at home and watch the president’s seven-hour program broadcast through the government’s channel.

Chavez referred to his victory over the alternative referendum, which he deemed illegal, and stated “there will be no safeguard this year. They will have to take care of their own defense. Adversaries to the nation, the coup plotters, the terrorists, fascists, shield yourselves as it is our time to attack. Do not come asking for mercy as we are attacking in all respects.”

The Next NAFTA: Free Trade Area of the Americas

Feb. 3: Next November, Miami will host the VIII Free Trade Ministerial, including countries from Canada to Chile, paving the way for the Free Trade Area of the Americas. The FTAA, envisioned to be completed by 2005, eliminating tariffs between the 34 member countries, seeks to create a free trade area of 800 million consumers, drastically surpassing the biggest common market, the European Union with 370 million.

The campaign to bring the Permanent Secretariat of the FTAA to Miami is lead by Gov. Jeb Bush, who recently appointed Ambassador Charles Cobb to lead Florida’s FTAA efforts. The governor remarked during a press conference Friday that “bringing the secretariat to Miami would relate the Americas to the American experience.”

The FTAA would provide for an increase in exports to Latin America of US$200 billion over the next 10 years. The treaty is comparable to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which includes Mexico, Canada and the U.S., and has brought an annual gain in savings between US$1,260 and US$2,040 for an average American family of four, according to the U.S. Trade Representative Office.

A major benefit of the FTAA will be its ability to create jobs nationally and internationally as domestic and Foreign Direct Investment increase. In the case of Central and South America job creation is not only a means of fostering growth, but also a tool to shift labor away from drug manufacturing, inextricably tied to terrorist movements that continue to plague the region.

The belief behind the FTAA is that as economies improve, the accomplishment of important reforms such as the rule of law, increased transparency, human rights and anti-corruption initiatives is more attainable.

Talks between these 34 countries have triggered worldwide protests from the anti-globalization and anti-American groups since they began in 1994. The supporters of the anti-trade movement travel the world to protest against the “neo-liberal” policies being negotiated at the World Trade Organization (WTO), G-8 and G-7 summits, which they assure serves the rich countries’ "imperialistic" attempt to take over the poor.

Demonstrations often turn violent, resulting in the burning of the American flag, as seen in Seattle during the annual WTO meeting held in 1999, including deaths, as was the case in Genoa during a G-8 summit.

Additionally, leftist Brazilian President Inacio “Lula” da Silva's initiative to try to negotiate as a block, rather than unilaterally to increase the chances of better conditions for Latin America’s major markets, may polarize negotiations thus adding to the difficulties of the extensive agreement.

Many fear that the 2005 deadline might not be met, postponing the development of the Americas toward a much-awaited common market.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bush; ftaa; jeb; jebbush; latinamericalist; wto
Previous Reports: Marxist Mayhem in Colombia
1 posted on 02/05/2003 5:36:27 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe
When this blows up, a lot of folks are gonna wonder what happened and why.

Irregardless, it will happen... my heart and prayers goes out to the freedom loving people of Venezuela.

2 posted on 02/05/2003 5:40:39 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
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To: *Latin_America_List; Cincinatus' Wife; madfly
3 posted on 02/05/2003 5:54:39 PM PST by Libertarianize the GOP (Ideas have consequences)
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To: NormsRevenge
4 posted on 02/05/2003 6:12:13 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Tailgunner Joe
I'm surprised the Army lacked the will to overthrow Chavez. Carter provided important tactical support for the Communists.
5 posted on 02/05/2003 7:02:07 PM PST by Man of the Right
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
ir·re·gard·less   Audio pronunciation of "irregardless" ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (r-gärdls)
adv. Nonstandard

[Probably blend of irrespective, and regardless.]
Usage Note: Irregardless is a word that many mistakenly believe to be correct usage in formal style, when in fact it is used chiefly in nonstandard speech or casual writing. Coined in the United States in the early 20th century, it has met with a blizzard of condemnation for being an improper yoking of irrespective and regardless and for the logical absurdity of combining the negative ir- prefix and -less suffix in a single term. Although one might reasonably argue that it is no different from words with redundant affixes like debone and unravel, it has been considered a blunder for decades and will probably continue to be so.

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

[Buy it]


adv : in spite of everything; without regard to drawbacks; "he carried on regardless of the difficulties" [syn: regardless, irrespective, disregardless, no matter, disregarding]

used chiefly in nonstandard speech or casual writing. :-)

6 posted on 02/05/2003 7:22:52 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
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To: Man of the Right
When Chavez's opponents "take up a petition," Chavez knows he has won.
7 posted on 02/05/2003 7:23:40 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: NormsRevenge
My shop teacher in high school used "irregardless."
Hated it then. Hate it now.
9 posted on 02/05/2003 7:27:43 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

We should do nothing unless we see that the Venezuelans are willing to lay down their lives for their own liberty. Right now, too many are showing up in Miami.

We shall wash our hands of this affair. As long as Chavez sells us oil, then we should adopt a policy of strict neutrality. If he does something stupid, like fiddle around with Al Qaeda, we should send in a hit squad to take him out as an example to others.

Be Seeing You,


10 posted on 02/05/2003 7:29:17 PM PST by section9 (The girl in the picture is Major Motoko Kusanagi from "Ghost In the Shell". Any questions?)
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To: section9
I think you're on to something.
11 posted on 02/05/2003 7:40:47 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
Seeing as how we have abandoned the Monroe Doctrine under Jimmah Cahtah, I guess it's OK if Chavez hangs out with Castro. Altho I would rather see him hang ... period. But that wouldn't be PC, I reckun.
12 posted on 02/05/2003 7:53:31 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi)
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To: NormsRevenge
I thought that Jimmy the Peanut Farmer went down there to straighten things out....What happened????
13 posted on 02/05/2003 9:33:14 PM PST by HomersNose
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To: shanec
Hey, are you still down there? What is going on? It sounds depressing...
14 posted on 02/05/2003 10:15:16 PM PST by marron
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To: Libertarianize the GOP; Tailgunner Joe
Feb. 5, 2003 - Chavez Supporters Seize City Hall in Caracas ***CARACAS, Venezuela -- Dozens of demonstrators commemorating Hugo Chavez's 1992 failed coup attempt seized Caracas City Hall on Tuesday, firing weapons, threatening employees and injuring five before being chased out by national guard troops. The occupation of the office of Mayor Alfredo Pena, an opponent of President Chavez, was a reminder that even as a general strike in Venezuela seems to be crumbling, national reconciliation is a long way off.

An 11th-anniversary observance in Plaza Bolivar of the coup attempt that occurred when Chavez was still a soldier began peaceably, with Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel laying a wreath before a statue of South American revolutionary leader Simon Bolivar in the capital's historical core.

But the ceremony soon turned violent, a direction to which Venezuelans have become increasingly accustomed. About 40 followers entered City Hall, which fronts the plaza, and fired off pistols and fireworks, according to Pena's security chief, Ramon Muchacho. Troops of the national guard, which owes allegiance to Chavez, were called in to remove the demonstrators but took 30 minutes to arrive, according to Fire Chief Rodolfo Briseno.

Among the injured were three city policemen under Pena's command who were hurt as they tried to clear the building. "We have reached a new level of violence and impunity when armed groups can enter City Hall, create chaos and threaten women and children, all with the national guard standing by doing nothing," said Muchacho in an interview in a parking lot just off the plaza.

Opponents of Chavez called the general strike Dec. 2 hoping to bring the national economy to a standstill and force him to quit. But the strike has been dissolving, as many stores, banks and restaurants reopen, usually for abbreviated hours. "If I don't produce, who is going to bring food to my house? No one," said Cristobal Jimenz, a waiter at Tasca Tio Pepe, a cafeteria inside the Tamanaco City Shopping Center. "I got a job during the strike at a catering company, but it didn't work out. No one in Venezuela wants to celebrate anything."

Meanwhile, proponents of an August referendum to shorten Chavez's term said they had gathered millions of signatures. Chavez, energized by the failure of the strike to force him out, dismissed the effort. "To cover up the great defeat that we gave them, they claim to have collected 4 million signatures in one day," Chavez said at a ceremony granting urban land titles to the poor. "Let them believe their own stories and create their own lies."

On Feb. 3-4, 1992, Chavez, then an unknown lieutenant colonel, tried with several other army officers to overthrow the government of President Carlos Andres Perez. About 80 civilians and 17 soldiers died in pitched battles. Chavez was imprisoned, then freed, and when he ran successfully for president in 1998, his stature was enhanced by his role in the attempted coup as an idealist willing to lay down his life for reform. He took office in early 1999.

Chavez supporters would like Feb. 4 to become a day of national "jubilee," if not a formal holiday. In a speech Tuesday, Chavez said that "Feb. 4 is a day which divides history. Eleven years later, this is just the beginning of that revolutionary process. Today, the spirit of Feb. 4 is more alive than ever in the heart of the people." But in the Plaza Altamira, the upscale residential area of Caracas that is the nerve center of opposition to Chavez -- and where dozens of people signed petitions Tuesday for his recall -- people disagreed. "We aren't celebrating anything. We are mourning the people who died in the 1992 coup attempt," said political activist Pic Ling Fung.

Since taking office, Chavez has tried to impose a "Bolivarian revolution" as a way of redistributing Venezuela's wealth to the poor. His efforts have deeply divided the country and led to his being briefly overthrown last April. Foreign investors have fled, and the currency, the bolivar, has lost more than half its value in the last year.***

15 posted on 02/05/2003 11:33:45 PM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: NormsRevenge
Actually the Monroe Doctrine was that foreign influence outside of this hemishpere would not be tolerated by the US. It was aimed at the Europeans powers and put them on notice not to try and recolonize any portion of Latin America.

Not much help against Castro.

But you're right about Carter. We should have never given up the canal; Chinese domination there has resulted.

16 posted on 02/06/2003 3:49:39 AM PST by happygrl
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To: HomersNose
I thought that Jimmy the Peanut Farmer went down there to straighten things out

He did! But whose side did you think he was on, ours?

17 posted on 02/06/2003 4:06:00 AM PST by chilepepper
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To: backhoe; RnMomof7; Fiddlstix; shanec; HAL9000; Freedom'sWorthIt; rintense; OXENinFLA; Sparta; ...
18 posted on 02/06/2003 7:16:31 AM PST by madfly
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To: NormsRevenge; Cincinatus' Wife; shanec
How To Steal An Election: Chavez Preparing Massive Vote Fraud for Q3/2003 By Joel Salazar, in Caracas
19 posted on 02/06/2003 8:23:14 AM PST by madfly
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To: madfly
It's worked before. Look at Zimbabwe for the most recent example of a stolen election using these means. Robert Mugabe is another dictator coached by Fidel Castro.
20 posted on 02/06/2003 9:12:52 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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