Venezuela: US Naval maneuvers encourage Zulia separatists?

From the Wayne Madsen Report, via, April 6:

In a replay of US naval maneuvers held during the time the Bush administration tried to unseat Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in an April 2002 abortive coup, the US Navy is deploying a task force led by the USS George Washington to waters off the Venezuelan coast in “Operation Partnership of the Americas.”

US, Dutch, and British forces are in Jamaica training English Caribbean security forces as part of “Operations Tradewinds.”

The Bush administration is now using its neo-con allies in the Dutch government to accuse Chavez of having designs on the Netherlands Antilles. Echoing the Bush neo-cons, Dutch Defense Minister Henk Kamp called Chavez a “fanatic populist” who wants to invade Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao (the so-called “ABC islands”).

Venezuelan political and military leaders have called the Dutch charges ridiculous and point out that the US Southern Command has been issuing policy documents clearly stating that populist movements spreading from Venezuela, Uruguay, and Bolivia to Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Mexico are threats to national security.

The survival of multinational corporate vampires is now equated to US national security by the neo-con owned and operated Pentagon. The Pentagon maintains “Forward Operating Location” military airbases in Aruba and Curacao.

If anything, it is Washington and its Dutch allies who pose a threat to Netherlands Antilles autonomy. The neo-con Dutch government has, through Round Table Conferences (RTCs) with the Antilles and Aruba, attempted to convince the islands to cede judicial autonomy to the central Dutch government. Using the non-ABC islands of Saba, St. Eustatius, and Saint Maarten as wedges, Washington and The Hague, have caused problems for the ongoing efforts of the Netherlands Antilles to devolve autonomy to the individual islands and largely scrap the federal system.

However, while the Bush administration and its Dutch lackeys charge Chavez with having territorial designs on the ABC islands, the military-industrial oligarchy in Washington and Houston may be fomenting a separatist movement in western Venezuela’s oil-rich Zulia state.

Chavez has accused Zulia’s right-wing governor, Manuel Rosales, of working with the United States and American oil interests to promote independence for the state.

A recently-formed right-wing and pro-business group called “Own Road” is pushing for an independence referendum for the state. There is evidence that the group has received support from intelligence elements operating from within the US embassy in Caracas. In addition, US-backed mercenaries and Florida-based missionaries have attacked the villages of pro-Chavez indigenous tribes in Zulia.

The Bush administration would have Venezuela’s oil-rich Zulia state declare independence as a US client state. Other Latin American nations with populist governments can expect similar Bush/neocon-supported secessionist movements.

Already, there are US-supported secessionist stirrings in the hydrocarbon-rich Chaco region of Bolivia aimed against President Evo Morales, a Chavez ally.

The parallels between Own Road (“Rumbo Propio”) and southwestern Iran’s Ahwaz independence movement (which is backed British and US intelligence) are striking.

Both Zulia and Ahwaz are oil-rich regions … US intelligence now backs independence movements in both regions designed to pry oil-rich resources away from anti-Bush central governments.

Conversely, in regions where independence movements threaten US oil interests, the Bush administration provides the central governments with military hardware and special counter-insurgency training.

This is the case with oil-rich Aceh in northwestern Sumatra in Indonesia, the Angolan enclave of Cabinda, and the Delta region of Nigeria.

See our last post on Venezuela.