Reportedly, Hugo Chavez dispatched the director of the Venezuelan security service (Sebin) to meet with the chief bodyguard of Henrique Capriles Radonski, the top opposition candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. The mission of Chavez's envoy was to warn that — as Sebin learned from credible sources in Miami — a plan is brewing to assassinate Radonski. Details of the talk remained under wraps, but surely a deal was reached concerning some sort of synchronous efforts to keep Radonski safe during his campaign tours.
Chavez stressed later that the personal safety of Venezuelan citizens is the government's top responsibility regardless of their political positions and that protection had been offered to Radonski. The opposition leader brushed off the signal of alarm and responded with an outpouring of demagoguery in Twitter, charging that approaching him over the matter was «irresponsible» and that the president must provide for the security of all Venezuelans, not just one.
The pro-government media seem to have taken the situation a lot more seriously than the opposition, with the headlines that popped up sounding like «Radonski faces an assassination plot but plays fool», «No alternative to shielding simpleton Radonski», «Radonski ignores assassination warning», «Got to keep Radonski safe», etc. It transpired in the process that authors who otherwise tend to clash over politics and the elections discerned more or less the same motivation behind the likely assassination plot. Awareness is growing in the US, Israeli, and Venezuelan political an financial circles which invested in Radonski that their candidate's chances are modest to miserable. Polls currently give Chavez 55-60% even though up to date his health problems prevented him from energetic campaigning. Radonski's team counts on board top-paid gurus with strong connections in the US Department of State, the CIA, and Mossad, whose clients posted top-line results in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, and other parts of Latin America, but their achievements in Venezuela were minimal since they were confronted by Chavez in 1998, the year the charismatic Venezuelan leader launched his first campaign. Since then, the only time Chavez briefly lost the grip on power was when, in 2002, conspirators drove him out of office for three days in a violent coup.
Watchers uniformly recognize that Radonski's conversion from a rightist ultra to a left-center progressist and a self-proclaimed adept of Ghandi's doctrine failed to boost his score. His team and its US patrons convened a number of times in Panama, Columbia, and Miami to assess the situation and arrived at the conclusion that prospects for their protégé would remain dim unless his campaign spins off as radical and increasingly confrontational.
Radonski made the first step in the direction when he showed up — with a support group and a bunch of bodyguards – in Cotiza, a Caracas district with predominantly populist leanings, but the locals appeared to stay unimpressed by the candidate who was evidently unable to blend in. Sporadic gunfire erupted during the visit as bikers in «populist» red shirts suddenly pulled over, shouting insults and threats. Bodyguards promptly closed their ranks around Radonski and he defiantly refused to leave the scene. Chavez's camp later interpreted the security's markedly unprofessional conduct as evidence that the whole episode had been staged. Similar unconvincing episodes in Maracay and Maracaibo — with bikers in invariably red shirts provoking clashes with the supporters of Chavez and bullying journalists and whoever happened to pass by – are already on the opposition frontrunner's record.
No doubt, more of the same is coming, and the only question is how long the game is going to unfold. Estimates show that the future of Radonski's presidential bid would become easily measurable within two or three months from now, and that – unless his rating somehow starts to climb – the Washington puppeteers would have no option but to switch to plan B, which is to altogether derail the elections in Venezuela. As the majority of commentators note, killing Radonski and blaming the murder on Chavez is the simplest solution at hand. Political analyst Humberto Gomez Garcia, for example, projects that Radonski is about to fall victim to the designs of conspirators from his own support team. The assassination would certainly trigger a deep political crisis, make it impossible to hold the elections as scheduled, and put the Venezuelan regime on the brink of a full-blown civil war with Chavez's opponents, from oligarchs to Columbian paramilitary groups. For the conspirators, the end goal may be to create in Venezuela the conditions that would warrant a direct US intervention in the country's domestic affairs.
It is clear why Radonski is the target of choice for the plot: his past never sank into oblivion in Venezuela despite the recent political facelift. Radonski was in his high school years when he joined the Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) which built its agenda on vehement anti-communism. The Venezuelan administration outlawed TFP in 1984 over charges that it planned to assassinate the Pope during his tour of Venezuela. Radonski made it to parliament in 1998 to become the youngest legislature chairman in Venezuelan history. It is a significant detail that he ran as a representative of Zulia where he had never met the constituency face to face. An offshoot of a wealthy family backed by Zionists and the CIA could easily count on such success in the sunset years of Venezuela's Fourth Republic. In 2000, Radonski was among the founders of Primero Justicia, a party with a reputation of a CIA pet. In April 2002, he was a key figure in the anti-Chavez coup, led the siege laid by insurgents to the Cuban embassy, and hunted for the supporters of the regime. The criminal activities earned him a jail term of several years and a reason to describe himself as «a political prisoner of the dictatorial regime». Radonski outraced his populist rival in the elections in Miranda state in November, 2008, meaning that, if he is killed, it would be easy to shift the blame on the regime taking revenge.
The fact that Radonski is a homosexual will likely be thrown into the campaign of allegations against the Venezuelan government. Even now the media that – neutrally, for the most part – touch upon the subject come under fire over what is condemned as privacy invasion. An unmarried presidential hopeful of 40 is not a regular candidate in the essentially conservative Venezuela. Last February, The Independent lashed out at Chavez for «homophobic» slurs at Radonski but was unable to substantiate its criticisms and had to place a disclaimer in its electronic version. The gay community does exercise some influence on the Venezuelan politics, especially in the spheres of media, finances and masonic clubs.
If the plan of the anti-Chavez camp to sacrifice Radonski materializes, Venezuela will see its stability and progress owed to the period of the populist governance irreversibly undermined. Chavez prevailed in April, 2002 amidst the bloody coup puled off by CIA agents who readily sacrificed human lives to the cause of «democracy» and color revolution, but will he be able to do the same a decade later? It will take strong will and plenty of public support to counter the Empire's propaganda onslaught, orchestrated street unrest, and the attacks launched by the Venezuelan fifth column. The CIA stored tons of weapons in its Venezuelan hideouts to arm the US contractors, Columbian paramilitary groups, and the volunteers with a record of fighting in places like Libya, Iraq, and Syria.
Chavez famously made defending the revolution at any cost a part of his creed. These days, the moment when the resolve will be put to a crucial test is closer than ever.