from Weekly News Update on the Americas
On Feb. 2, in a ceremony marking the seventh anniversary of his first inauguration, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez Frias announced the expulsion of US naval attache Cmdr. John Correa. “I have evidence,” Chavez said, that Correa was carrying out espionage work along with a “group of traitor [Venezuelan] soldiers who are being brought to justice.” If US military attaches continue these activities, Chavez added, it may be necessary to “withdraw the entire so-called US military mission in Venezuela.” The US embassy denied that any attaches were “involved in inappropriate activities.” Chavez had warned on Jan. 30 that Venezuelan intelligence had “infiltrated” the US embassy.
At the same ceremony, Chavez announced a number of social measures, including a 15% increase in the minimum wage and the end of an unpopular 1% tax on bank transactions. He also signed a decree granting 80% of the new minimum wage to Venezuelan housewives with serious economic difficulties.
Chavez’s expulsion of Correa came on the same day that US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and US national intelligence director John Negroponte delivered unusually harsh criticisms of Chavez in Washington. “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 [Cuban president] Fidel Castro and [Bolivian president] Mr. [Evo] Morales and others,” Rumsfeld said. (New York Times, Feb. 3; Resumen Latinoamericano, Feb. 3)
[German dictator Hitler came to power in January 1933 when he was appointed chancellor (prime minister) to head a coalition government which included his National Socialist party; Chavez was elected president in 1998 with 56% of the vote.]
Weekly News Update on the Americas, Feb. 5
Weekly News Update on the Americas
See also WW4 REPORT #117
“Chavez threatens to cut off oil to US,” WW4 REPORT, Feb. 27
Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, March 1, 2006
Reprinting permissible with attribution