The misinformation about Muammar Gaddafi having allegedly fled Libya has been given by the British Foreign Secretary William Hague. The canard was quickly denied both by the leader of the People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in Tripoli, and by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas. The attempted effort to tie Gaddafi’s alleged arrival in Caracas to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who had ostensibly granted asylum to the Libyan leader, was meant to show that the dictators support each other as long as they can, but that the passing bell would toll for Chavez, too.
The Venezuelan leader sees the events in Libya as a sort of déjà vu, for the CIA, Mossad, MI6, and some other intelligence services, including those of Spain and Canada, plotted against Chavez and his immediate followers and carried out their plans in Caracas in April 2002, causing allegedly unprompted rioting. Demonstrators chanted slogans “Down with Chavez”, “Down with Castro-Communism”, with sharpshooters opening fire from building roofs and balconies. Targets were singled out arbitrarily, so both Chavez supporters and opponents came under fire. The basic objective was to wreak havoc and create uncertainty, fan the flames and plunge the Venezuelans into a fratricidal war. The United States and its allies in the Western Hemisphere were to send troops to Venezuela at the final stage of developments on the pretext that order should be enforced and oil production facilities and pipelines should be protected from the “saboteurs of Chavez and Castro”.
The opposition leaders ruled Venezuela from the Miraflores Palace for almost three days. They persecuted the Bolivarian regime officials extra-judicially by having them beaten up, tortured and “preventively incarcerated”. A latent struggle for ministerial portfolios was on, with passions running especially high around the office of the president of the state oil company PDVSA. But it was not until the US embassy interfered that the candidacy was agreed. “My life was hanging by a thread”, Chavez said later. But people’s protests upset the plotters’ plans. Chavez’s triumphal return to Caracas proved a momentous event of the early 21st century.
The bitter experience gained helps Chavez and his inner circle to come up with weighted assessments of the developments in Libya. The Venezuelan President has written the following in his blog: “Long live Libya! Gaddafi has come up against a civil war!”. This way Chavez reacted to his Foreign Minister Maduro’s address to the National Assembly. The Foreign Minister put it bluntly that the Gaddafi opponents’ attempts to establish control over the part of the country where oil and gas are produced were “separatist moves”. Nicolas Maduro said that the conflict in Libya is being fomented to justify armed intervention and lay hands on Libya’s oil. The US plans to break Libya into several parts to weaken OPEC and downgrade the North African country’s role in determining the amount of world oil production and setting prices for hydrocarbons.
On the ongoing fights in a number of Libyan cities, mostly in the east of the country, Maduro said that “those were the attacks that rebels mounted against government agencies and that touched off an appropriate reaction of the authorities”. This is a war, the Venezuelan Foreign Minister said, urging not to fall for what the western news media are saying, since the media in question “are creating conditions for justifying an invasion. The hard times that Libya is living through should not be judged by reports of imperial news agencies. These agencies have always lied and continue lying about our countries. It is not until several weeks later that we will learn the whole truth about the ongoing developments. Meanwhile I would like to understand why those who are criticizing Libya are not critical about the massacre of almost one million people in the imperialist bombardments of Iraq, and also Afghanistan and Pakistan”.
The Venezuelan President treats the Libyan revolution leader with respect. When still a young conspirator-officer and working on his programme for the “Bolivarian project”, Chavez carefully studied Gaddafi’s Green Book, which sets forth the theory and practice of “direct democracy governed by the people”. He would later call the project the Blue Book. The coordination of efforts by Chavez and Gaddafi to boost OPEC’s influence became an important factor in the oil-producing countries’ financial and economic prosperity. In 2004, the Libyan leader awardedhis new reliable ally in the anti-imperialist struggle the Gaddafi international prize for human rights.
News reports sometimes refer to Chavez as Gaddafi’s “only ally”. But their cooperation is about warding off intervention and occupation by the US and NATO troops, rather than about Venezuela’s support for the Libyan leader’s efforts to remain in power. The nations of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, or ALBA, are at one with Chavez on this. The Government of Ecuador has denounced violence in Libya and has denied emphatically any foreign interference in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya internal affairs. Anything suggestive of the situation in Iraq should be ruled out. President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua described the ongoing propaganda campaign against “our brother” Gaddafi as “hideous”.He said specifically that it is logical to presume that the struggle that is being waged is one for the seizure of oil, – the immense wealth that belongs to the people of Libya. “There is much talk of bombardments, but there has been no sign of them. We did not see a single (Libyan) plane that would fire at the civilian population. The only bombing attacks that we can recall were carried out (by NATO forces) in Iraq and Afghanistan”.
When commenting on the developments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, those in Venezuela who oppose the Chavez regime will invariably point out that Zero Hour will come for Hugo Chavez, too. The Venezuelan leadership is aware that the “fifth column” in the country is paving the way for a US invasion. If the opposition in Venezuela came to power, this would lead to a loss of Venezuela’s oil sovereignty. Gaddafi’s downfall would become a tragedy for the Bolivarian revolution supporters and a grand occasion for the “fifth column”. Fidel Castro has urged one and all to protest against the crime that NATO is preparing to commit against the people of Libya.
The ongoing information warfare against Libya, spreading mendacious reports that no less than a thousand people have died, that Gaddafi is sending his next of kin abroad, and that his sons have defected to the opposition is just the beginning. We will next inevitably hear of Gaddafi sending tons of gold and precious stones abroad by his personal aircraft. It is safe to assume that his wealth will be estimated at 40 billion dollars. In olden days, the possession of 40 billion dollars (not 30 billion, or 50 billion, but 40 billion dollars) was ascribed to Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro and one Russian politician.
Whatever the course of events in Libya, it is obvious that those in favour of a coup in the West’s interests will provoke bloody incidents throughout the country. The mysterious sharpshooters are due to appear quite soon.They always appear at the right place at the right time in the guise of tourists, athletes or archaeologists, do their dirty work and disappear into thin air. May the hasty evacuation of a number of embassies from Tripoli mean by any chance that the sharpshooters are already at their operational sites?