The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 70/No. 7           February 20, 2006  
U.S. rulers intensify confrontation with Venezuela
(front page)
The U.S. government is accelerating its course of confrontation against Venezuela. On February 3, the U.S. State Department expelled from the United States Jenny Figueredo, chief of staff of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington. U.S. officials told the press the step was taken in retaliation for the expulsion from Venezuela a day earlier of John Correa, a U.S. naval officer whom Caracas accused of spying for Washington.

On February 2, U.S. secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld likened Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez to Hitler during a luncheon at the National Press Club. When moderator Jonathan Salant asked Rumsfeld if the election of Evo Morales, a leader of the Movement for Socialism, as the president of Bolivia is part of a troubling trend, Rumsfeld responded that Morales’s victory does worry Washington. “I mean…you’ve got Chávez in Venezuela with a lot of oil money,” Rumsfeld said. “He’s a person who was elected legally just as Adolf Hitler was elected legally and then consolidated power and now is, of course, working with Fidel Castro and Mr. Morales and others. It concerns me.”

“Let the gang in Washington know it: We will stand firm in the country’s defense,” Venezuela’s vice president, José Vicente Rángel, told a crowd that welcomed Figueredo as a hero February 7, when she returned home to Caracas. Rángel accused Washington of unceasing aggression aimed at “destabilizing and overthrowing President Chávez.”

The U.S. government backed a military coup attempt in 2002 and an “oil strike” wealthy capitalists in Venezuela organized a year later to topple the Chávez administration. Both failed due to mass mobilizations by workers and peasants, who have taken advantage of land reform and other laws passed by the government to fight for land, jobs, and decent living conditions.

“If the U.S. government wants to break relations with Venezuela,” Chávez told thousands at a February 4 rally in Caracas, “it wouldn’t cost me anything to shut our refineries in the United States…. And sell our oil to other countries around the world that are asking us to buy more and more fuel and are true allies, like China, India, and European and Latin American countries.”

Venezuela is the fifth-largest oil producer in the world and the third-largest supplier of oil to the United States. Citgo, a U.S. subsidiary of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA, owns eight refineries in the United States and 13,500 gas stations.
Related articles:
Caracas: 1,000s attend World Social Forum  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home