I am writing to urgently draw your attention to a report broadcast by the Venezuelan state-owned channel Venezolana de Televisión, on its programme 'La Hojilla', exposing a coup d'état and assassination plot against Venezuela's democratically elected President Hugo Chávez. (Please see the articles below).
I have spoken to the UK Embassy and they have confirmed that this was a serious plot and that the Venezuelan authorities are seeking to apprehend the perpetrators.
Please circulate this information as widely as possible and consider how your organisations, bodies, sectors, etc can best respond in condemnation of this attack on democracy.
We will keep you updated on developments. In the meantime please do not hesitate to contact me should you require further information.
Venezuela Information Centre
Assassination Plans in Venezuela Obey to the Empire's Command
Thu, 11 Sep 2008
The assassination plans against the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, obey to the command of the United States empire, stated this Thursday the leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Aristóbulo Istúriz.
At a press conference from the PSUV head office, in Caracas, Isturiz said that the empire's campaign is not only against Venezuela, but also against all the countries that fight against capitalism.
He also stated that the opposition sector plan riots and destabilizing actions against the initial stage of the academic year, against hospitals, all of that in order to prepare the path for the coup d'état and for the elections.
"For that reason they organized a movement for this. The 2-D movement (December 2nd 2007, movement against the constitutional reform) is involved on it, or do you think that those soldiers are alone?," IsturIz wondered.
The host of the television show "La Hojilla", Mario Silva, broadcasted by the Venezuelan state-owned channel Venezolana de Televisión, showed this Wednesday night a video where is disclosed a coup d'état and assassination plot planned by former and active military men against President Hugo Chávez.
The video presents telephonic conversations between the General of Division of the Army Wilfredo Barroso Herrera, the Vice-admiral Millán Millán and the General of Brigade of the Air Force Eduardo Baez Torrealba.
They talk about taking over Miraflores Presidential Palace and they point, as their main goal, to aim all the efforts where "the mister" is, referring to President Hugo Chávez. "If he is at Miraflores, then our efforts go there," one of the coup organizers says.
They also say "We are going to take over Miraflores Palace, we are going to take over television plants. The objective must be the same (...) that effort of unity has to be towards Miraflores Palace because it is the unity of the combat."
The plans of these military men include taking control of the Army Command Office, according to the conversations held by organizers showed in the video. The operation is divided into three zones of the country: Venezuela's west, east, and center.
They propose to carry out a "possible operation", while the President is still on the air. One of the actions could be to "blow him up or capturing him with planes while on the air (...), we have to plan it well," they said.
During the conversations they say that they count with commanders, colonels, pilots, one of them with more than 1,000 hours of flight in F-16, and instructors, who are willing to follow their orders.
"The pilots are the most important. There is one with more than one thousand hours of flight in F-16 and the other one is an instructor.
They are going to take off the planes. That commander, who is instructor, has some youngsters under his control, some captains and majors who are also willing to follow him just if the security man of the Libertador Base is with us," said during the conversation.
"He told me: I give you the pilots and put them inside a plane. He is a commander. Nobody will check him. He is the commander of the police there (...)" it can also be heard in the record.
Mario Silva stated that these kind of actions are the result of the fear of some opposition sectors, in which he accused Raúl Isaías Baduel (former Minister of Defence during Chávez's Administration) and Alberto Federico Ravell (President of Venezuelan private TV station Globovision), because they could lose governors and mayors election, which will be carried out on November 23^rd .
Silva said that the video was already handed to the General Attorney's Office for further investigations.
Bolivarian News Agency (ABN) / September 11, 2008
Venezuelan Journalist José Vicente Rangel:
'There is a plot plan, a concrete project underway'
"There is a plot plan indeed. This is not rhetoric, nor is it literature to harass nobody. It is a concrete project underway, similar to the old plan executing the April 11, 2002 coup, the oil boycott and other ventures," explained the Venezuelan journalist, lawyer and former Vice-president José Vicente Rangel, as he referred to the assassination and coup plot accusations made in La Hojilla, broadcast by VTV, Venezuela's state-run TV station.
During an exclusive interview granted to Venezuela's Bolivarian News Agency, Rangel said that the different accusations of assassination plans against President Chávez and plot plans to execute a coup against the democratically-elected Venezuelan government follow the same format used by opposition pro-coup sectors on April 11, 2002.
In this sense, he pointed out: "It's the same format, a format encouraging a social sector to hate Chávez and get rid of Chávez no matter what. It is expressed through plots, guarimbas (protest involving street blockades by burning tires and garbage, among other criminal actions), conflicts, and rejection to the democratic institutions."
"This plan does not only include the possibility of a coup, but also the possibility of assassinating the President," he said.
Rangel explained that these opposition pro-coup sectors and retired military officers have been encouraging officers of the Armed Force to plot against the government.
"These plans are fueled by a sector of retired and active military officers. Civil sectors which definitely do not believe in elections are also involved; they want to take advantage of the circumstances because there is kind of a discouragement among the opposition before an unsatisfactory electoral result," he said.
Rangel referred to the April 11, 2002 coup as an example. "We denounced the April 11 coup for several months, and nobody believed us. The opposition made fun of it and discredited the accusation before the coup took place."
"Some people do not want the word 'assassination' to be mentioned just to confirm the version when the President is killed. That's a miserable attitude of people involved in these ventures," said Rangel as he referred to the opposition sectors not taking seriously these new accusations.
When talking about sectors plotting inside and outside the Bolivarian Armed Force, Rangel highlighted that "this movement is not strong inside the Armed Force; it's an insignificant minority, but it just takes a minority to activate a coup and generate unfortunate situations."
In this regard, Rangel added that "this is encouraged by opposition sectors that do not have faith in the democratic system; they have repeatedly proven it. We are facing a delicate scenario which we can not ignore. That's the reason why I have been denouncing in my program for about four weeks what they have been planning."
The Venezuelan journalist recalled that when he was "Defense Ministry, when the April 11 coup took place, I faced this situation. Undoubtedly, I have experience and I have pointed it out in the meetings with members of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV, Spanish acronym), or government's officials. No information should be underestimated in this regard."
Bolivarian News Agency (ABN) / September 11, 2008