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Venezuela petitions US to stop funding coup supporters

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Issue: 20 Section: International News Geography: USA, Latin America Venezuela Topics: democracy

July 21, 2004

Venezuela petitions US to stop funding coup supporters

Venezuelans take to the streets against military and business coup organizers that temporarily deposed democratically-elected President Hugo Chavez in 2002.
In a June 22nd letter, Bernardo Alvarez, Venezuelan ambassador to the United States, asked U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to direct the National Endowment for Democracy to stop funding political opponents of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. The letter claims that the NED, which is supported by money from the U.S. Congress, is violating Venezuela's campaign finance laws and the endowment's own regulations by giving grants to organizations and people that supported the failed 2002 coup against the country's democratically elected leader.

"We would ask that, in supporting democracy in Venezuela, the United States take care not to violate Venezuela's election laws or other Venezuelan laws; and take care not to assist or facilitate the violation of such laws by Venezuelan citizens," read the letter. It also highlighted General Powell's own condemnation of the U.S.'s support of the 1973 Chilean coup and contrasted this with White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer's apparent endorsement of the Venezuelan coup when, at the time, he suggested that President Chavez had resigned.
The U.S. has been openly hostile towards Mr. Chavez since his landslide election victory in 1998. Mr. Chavez, socialist president of Venezuela and admirer of Fidel Castro, maintains popular support in the country by villainizing the wealthy business class, depicting them in speeches as living in "luxury chalets where they perform orgies, drinking whisky." The 2002 coup by military and business leaders that followed his attempt to nationalize the country's oil industry-the world's fifth largest-is widely understood to have been supported by the U.S. government.

» Richard Bennett: US Support for the April Coup in Venezuela

» Venezuelanalysis.com Venezuela Asks U.S. to Stop Funding Opposition and Coup Supporters

» BBC: Profile: Hugo Chavez

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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