Osama bin Laden: football in US-Venezuela spat

In an Oct. 9 interview with CNN, televangelist Pat Robertson—who recently got in hot water by calling for the assassination of Hugo Chavez—accused the Venezuelan president of giving Osama bin Laden $1.2 million after the 9-11 attacks and of trying to obtain nuclear material from Iran.

“The truth is, this man is setting up a Marxist-type dictatorship in Venezuela, he’s trying to spread Marxism throughout South America, he’s negotiating with the Iranians to get nuclear material and he also sent $1.2 million in cash to Osama bin Laden right after 9-11,” Robertson said. “I apologized and I said I will be praying for him, but one day we will be staring nuclear weapons and it won’t be Katrina facing New Orleans, it’s going to be a Venezuelan nuke.”

“So my suggestion was, isn’t it a lot cheaper sometimes to deal with these problems before you have to have a big war,” he added (none-too-subtly advocating assassination again, despite his supposed “apology”). Asked how he had obtained information on Chavez giving money to bin Laden, Robertson said: “Sources that came to me. That’s what I was told.”

“And I know he sent a warm congratulatory letter to Carlos the Jackal, he’s a friend of Mommar Qaddafi,” he said. “He’s made common cause with these people that are considered terrorists.” (Australia Herald-Sun, Oct. 10)

Meanwhile, Chavez charged two weeks ago: “The United States is protecting the Osama bin Laden of Latin America.” He was refering to the refusal of the US to deport Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban right-wing militant wanted on terrorism charges in Venezuela. Chavez accused George Bush, of “double standards” in the fight against terror.

In September, Bush told a UN summit that “terrorists must know that, wherever they go, they cannot escape justice.” (UK Guardian, Sept. 30)

See our last posts on the US-Venezuela showdown and the Posada Carriles case. Also note that far from wanting to “nuke” New Orleans, Chavez offered to send planeloads of aid in the wake of Katrina—an overture predictably snubbed by Washington.