On Monday, Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition of America and a former presidential candidate, openly called for the assassination of the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. “We have the ability to take him [Chavez] out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability,” stated Robertson, our devout Christian.
Robertson went on to describe Chavez as a “terrific danger” to the United States and that it was “our duty” to stop Chavez from making Venezuela a “launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism.”
With the developing revolution in Venezuela, Chavez has emerged as the number one enemy of US imperialism. Over the last four years the US has been behind every attempt to overthrow Chavez, beginning with the April 2002 coup, the bosses’ lockout and then the referendum campaign. The failure of the US-backed opposition has led a section of the Bush Administration to contemplate other means of getting rid of Chavez, namely assassination.
Of course, US officials have denied this, as they have done so in the past. But behind the scenes, they are busy plotting Chavez’s downfall. In 1975, following the Watergate Scandal, congressional committees in the House of Representatives began investigations into the activities of the FBI and CIA. The inquiry disclosed that these bodies had conducted secret operations of all kinds. For instance, despite repeated denials, the CIA had been involved in assassination plots against Castro and other heads of state.
It was also discovered from the investigation that the CIA – with the collusion of a secret Committee of Forty headed by Henry Kissinger – had worked to “destabilise” the Chilean government of Salvador Allende When in 1974 the American ambassador to Chile, David Popper, suggested that the junta was violating human rights, he was rebuffed by Kissinger, who sent a message: “Tell Popper to cut out the political science lectures.”
The Church Committee, in its report on the CIA attempts to assassinate Castro and other foreign leaders, stated that “once methods of coercion and violence are chosen, the probability of loss of life is always present”. It went on to say, “there is, however, a significant difference between a cold-blooded, targeted, intentional killing of an individual foreign leader and other forms of intervening in the affairs of foreign nations.”
In practice, this “difference” was non-existent when it came to defending the interests of American imperialism, especially in Central and Latin America. This was precisely the point blurted out by Robertson. He merely states what the others are thinking.
“You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he [Chavez] thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it,” Robertson said. “It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war... and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop.”
Of course, our evangelist is wrong. The assassination of Chavez would provoke an almighty wave of revolutionary feeling throughout Latin America and beyond. Oil shipments to the USA would be cut immediately and action would be taken against US property on the continent. Venezuela is the fifth largest oil exporter and a major supplier of oil to the United States. The CIA estimates that the USA absorbs almost 59% of Venezuela’s total exports. A cut in the supply would have devastating economic consequences in the States.
Robertson went on to accuse the United States of failing to act when Chavez was briefly overthrown in 2002. “We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability,” said Robertson. “We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator,” he continued. “It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.”
This blunt language is normally reserved for private conversation amongst the ruling circles of America. Robertson is not simply a nutcase. He was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988 and is a prime force within the Republican Party. He is a close ally of the Bush Administration. Ironically, Robertson has done a service in bringing out clearly the real intentions of American imperialism. It exposes their hypocrisy about “freedom” and “democracy” and reveals the real brutal nature of a system in decline.
In their simple-mindedness these people may believe that killing the man will solve their problems. They are fooling themselves if they do. For behind Chavez are the millions of workers and poor of Venezuela who have risen up and gained dignity in the revolution that is unfolding. Everything must be done to protect Chavez as he embodies the Venezuelan revolution. The best way of doing it is to put an end to the system that has produced the Venezuelan oligarchy, that is Venezuelan capitalism and its imperialist backers.