CARACAS, Thursday July 14, 2005 | Update
The black beast of Cuban dirty war laboratories, charged with any and all evils and crimes, including involvement in the events of April 11, 2002 in Venezuela. Otto Reich rules out these charges evenly and lashes out at the "subsidiary" relation of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez with Cuban ruler Fidel Castro
Released himself from the bureaucratic log, the former US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and ex US Ambassador to Caracas, born in Havana, talks freely about Venezuela and the "candidate to dictator" ruling it.
Q: President Chávez said that he would receive US invaders with missiles and machine guns. Are there really any plans for an incursion of US troops into Venezuela?
A: The United States has not the least intention whatsoever of doing it. Such an issue is not even mentioned, at least until my leaving from government a year ago. Chávez' wording just shows that he has turned into a representation of Fidel Castro, who for 46 years has alleged US imminent invasion.
Q: But Cuba was invaded indeed.
A: In 1961, a group of Cubans did it. If the US had taken the action, Castro would not be in office. Chávez mirrors the tactics of keeping people in a state of panic and war to distract them from the inconveniences caused by the economic system to be imposed.
Q: In case of distraction tactics, what are rifles, planes and choppers for, as well as the creation of militias?
A: This is just a replicate of Cuba. Based on alleged US invasion, Castro militarized the whole people to the extent that it became the highest militarized country in the world. Where somebody with psychological problems is the head of a nation, sooner or later that nation will be militarized. And weapons and army need to be used. Castro used them in Africa, the Middle East, and Central America (Nicaragua.) In Colombia, Cuban troops took part with Colombian guerrillas in abduction, murder and bank robbery. In this connection, the hemisphere is in fear of Venezuelan arms race.
Q: What do you reckon the target would be of the arms used by Venezuela?
A: This should be asked to Chávez. However, much imagination is not needed to realize that quite possibly they would be used against Venezuelan neighbors. Fidel Castro has no immediate neighbors, as Cuba is an island. However, hundred Cuban troops were deployed in Grenada to help Maurice Bishop remain in power. Castro intervened militarily, but by subversive, indirect means. Otherwise, foreign countries, including the United States, could retaliate.
Q: Speaking of invasion, reference is made only to Colombia or goes beyond?
A: Not necessarily invading, but intervening. Now the key question is ¿what for? ¿Does Venezuela need any stockpile of weapons, since there is no danger of US invasion?
Q: In an article for a US magazine you disclosed that a Venezuelan military attaché was taken by surprise when he was giving money to political groupings.
A: It was found that he was giving money to Bolivian military, police and political forces.
Q: Can you attest to it?
A: The then Bolivian president Sánchez de Lozada just declared that Hugo Chávez had intervened in his country in this way.
Q: You call Venezuela a Cuban colony.
A: Colony is one term used. I have made reference to "branch office" and "subsidiary." It is clear that Chávez has put many of his country assets at Fidel Castro's availability. This is the case for the oil.
Q: If the US looked unperturbed at the events in Cuba after the 1962 missile crisis, why did it take a similar stance with Venezuela, as it is taking the same way?
A: US citizens note that all of these discussions about internal affairs in Latin America end with a single question ¿What is the US going to do? For my part, I ask to myself ¿What are Venezuelans or neighboring countries going to do in the event of a dictatorship?
Q: Considering the position taken by OAS (Organization of American States) in Nicaragua, with an ongoing coup and nothing is done, is that not a background to define the destiny of Venezuela?
A: (OAS) Secretary-General Insulza should be given more time. I am acquainted with him and know he is a sound person. He was in Nicaragua and Haiti, where institutional crisis is very serious. But I think that sooner or later he will pay attention to Venezuela.
Translated by Conchita Delgado
02:57 PM. HEAVY RAINS. Venezuelan Executive Vice-President Elias Jaua reported that the government is designing plans to support farmers, cattlemen and peasants of the state of Mérida who have been hit by heavy rains that have caused crop losses.