The United States, in its struggle against the
Revolution, had in the Venezuelan government its best ally: the eximious Mr. Rómulo Betancourt Bello.We did not
know it then.He had been elected
President on December 7, 1958; he had not taken office yet
when the Cuban Revolution triumphed on January 1st, 1959.Weeks later I had the privilege of being
invited by the provisional government of Wolfgang Larrazábal
to visit Bolivar’s homeland, which had been so supportive
Very seldom in my life had I
seen a warmer people. The film images are still
preserved.We drove down the broad
highway that replaced the paved road I was taken through the first time I
traveled to Venezuela in 1948 -from Maiquetía to Caracas- by the most reckless drivers
I had ever seen.
That time I heard the noisiest, longest and most embarrassing
booing of my life when I dared to mention the name of the recently elected
President-to-be.The more radical masses
of the heroic and combative Caracas had overwhelmingly voted
The “illustrious” Rómulo Betancourt was referred to with interest by Latin America and Caribbean political circles.
What was the explanation for
that? He had been so radical when he was young that at the age of 23 he became
a full member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Costa Rica and
remained there from 1931 to 1935. Those were the hard times of the Third
International.From Marxism-Leninism he
learned about the class structure in a society, the exploitation of men by
men throughout history and the development of colonization, capitalism and imperialism in
In 1941, together other leftist
leaders, he founded the PartidoAcciónDemocrática (Democratic Action
Party) in Venezuela.
He acted as provisional
president of Venezuela from October 1945 to February
1948 by virtue of a civic and military coup d’état. He went again into exile
when the eminent Venezuelan writer and intellectual,Rómulo
Gallegos, was elected Constitutional President and almost immediately
after was ousted.
The well-lubricated machinery
of his party elects him President during the elections held on December 7, 1958, after the Venezuelan
revolutionary forces, led by Junta Patriótica
(Patriotic Junta) that was headed by FabricioOjeda, overthrew the dictatorship of
By the end of 1959, when I spoke at Plaza del Silencio, where hundreds of thousands
of people had gathered, and I mentioned, out of sheer courtesy, the name of Betancourt, there was this colossal
booing that I mentioned earlier against the President-elect.To me that was a true lesson of political
realism.Later I had to pay a visit to
him, since he was the
President-elect of a friendly nation.I
found him to be an embittered and resentful man.He was already the model of “democratic and
representative” government the empire needed.He collaborated as much as he could with the Yankees previous to the
mercenary invasion through Girón.
FabricioOjeda, a sincere and unforgettable
friend of the Cuban Revolution, whom I had the privilege to
meet and with whom I talked extensively, told me later much about the
political process in his homeland and the Venezuela he dreamed of.He was one of the many persons assassinated
by that regime, which was totally to the service of the imperialism.
Almost half a century has gone
by ever since. I can attest to the exceptional cynicism of the empire that we, the Revolutionary Cubans, the proud heirs of Bolivar
and Marti, have indefatigably confronted.
During all these years, ever since the days of FabricioOjeda, the world has changed
significantly.The military and
technological power of that empire has grown bigger, and so have its experience
and total absence of ethics.Its media
is ever more costly and less committed to moral standards.
To accuse Hugo Chávez, the leader of the Bolivarian
Revolution, of inciting a war against the people of Colombia and unleash
an arms race, to portray him as the mastermind and promoter of drug
trafficking, and accuse him of repressing the freedom of expression, violating human rights and
other similar misdeeds is a repugnant and cynical action, as everything else that the
empire has done, still does and promotes.We can neither ever forget nor stop reiterating realities.Objective and well-reasoned truth is the most
important weapon with which we should ceaselessly hammer into the conscience of
The US government –it is
necessary to remind us of that- promoted and supported the fascist coup d’état
in Venezuela on April 11, 2002, and after it failed, it pinned all its hopes in an
oil coup, supported with technical programs and resources capable of
destroying any government, thus underestimating the
people and the revolutionary leadership of that country.
Ever since then, the US government has
ceaselessly plotted against the Venezuelan revolutionary process, just as it did and has
continued to do against the Revolution in our Homeland for fifty years now.The United States is far more interested in
controlling Venezuela –given its huge energy
resources and the other raw materials it has, which are obtained at
negligible prices, as well as the huge facilities and services owned by transnationals – than Cuba.
After violently crushing the
Revolution in Central America and thwarting, by bloody and repressive
coups, the democratic and progressive advances in South America, the empire could not resign
itself to the construction of socialism in Venezuela. This is a real fact that could
not be denied by or hidden from those with a minimum political education in Latin America or elsewhere in the world.
It is worthwhile remembering
that not even after the coup promoted by the United States on April 2002 the Venezuelan
government armed itself.One oil barrel was
hardly 20 dollars worth, a currency that was already
devalued since 1971, when Nixon suspended the gold standard mechanism, almost thirty years before Chávez became President.When he took office, the Venezuelan oil was hardly
10 dollars worth.Afterwards, when prices went up, he invested the country’s
resources in social programs, development and investment
projects and cooperation with several Caribbean and Central American nations
and other poorer economies in South America. No other country had offered
such a generous cooperation.
He did not buy a single rifle
during the first years of his government.He even did something that no other country would have done at a time
when his integrity was at stake: he legally suspended the obligation of every
honest and revolutionary citizen to defend their country with the arms in their
I would rather say that the BolivarianRepublic waited for too long to acquire new weapons.The infantry rifles they had were the same that existed more than 50
years ago, when the head of the Provisional Government, Admiral Larrazábal, presented me with an automatic
FAL rifle on November 1958, the penultimate month of the
war. Venezuela continued to use that kind of
infantry weaponry for several years after Chávez took
It was the US government the one that
decreed the disarmament of Venezuela, when it banned the supplies
of spare parts for all the Yankee military equipment which it had traditionally
sold to that country, including fighting planes, military transport aircraft
and even communication equipment and radars.Accusing Venezuela of engaging in an arms
build-up is an extremely hypocritical attitude.
Quite on the contrary, the United States has supplied billions of
dollars worth in arms, means of combat, aircraft and training to the
Armed Forces of the neighboring Colombia.The pretext was the struggle against the
guerrillas. I can bear witness to the efforts made by President Hugo Chávez in his quest for the internal peace in that sister
nation.The Yankees not only supplied
weapons; they also instilled feelings of hatred against Venezuela among the troops they trained, as they did in Honduras, through the Task Force based
Wherever the US has military bases, it supplies the combat units
with the same type of uniform and equipment used by the interventionist troops
of that country anywhere else in the world. The United States does not need soldiers of its
own, as in Iraq,Afghanistan or the northern region of Pakistan, to plot acts of genocide
against our peoples.
The imperialist extreme right, which holds the reins of
power, resorts to brazen lies to mask its plans.
The Venezuelan-American lawyer
and analyst, Eva Golinger has shown how the
strategic arguments used in the message sent on May, 2009, to the United States Congress
to justify an investment in the military base of Palanquero
were absolutely altered in the agreement whereby the United States received
that same base together with several other civil and military facilities.The document sent to the Congress on November
16 entitled “Addendum
to reflect terms
of the US-Colombia Defense Cooperation Agreement” that signed on October 30, 2009, has been completely altered, as was explained by the
analyst.The document is no longer about
“the mobility mission
providing access to the entire South American continent with the exception of Cape Horn”. All references to global reach
operations, security theaters and increased capability
of the US Armed Forces to launch an expeditious warfare in the region have also
been modified, according to the sharp and well informed
Furthermore, it is obvious that the
President of the Bolivarian Republic is striving very hard to overcome the
obstacles put by the United States against Latin American countries, among them, social violence and drug
trafficking.The American society was
not able to prevent drug trafficking and consumption, the consequences of which are affecting
many countries of the region.
Violence has been of the most exported
products by the United States capitalist society during the last half a
century, through the increasing use of the media
and the so called entertainment industry.Those are new phenomena that the human society did not know about before.Such means could be used to create new values
in a more humane and just society.
Developed capitalism created the so called
consumption societies and with that it also created problems that it is not
able to solve today.
Venezuela is the country that has more rapidly been
implementing the social programs that can counteract those extremely negative trends.The colossal successes achieved in the last
Bolivarian Sport Games is a proof of that.
At the UNASUR meeting, the Foreign Minister of the BolivarianRepublic made a crystal-clear explanation about
the problem of peace in the region.What
is the position adopted by each country regarding the installation of Yankee
bases in South
America? This is
an obligation not only of each and every State, but also a moral obligation of each and
every conscious and honest man and woman of our hemisphere and the world.The empire should know that whatever the
circumstances, Latin Americans will fight tirelessly for
their most sacred rights.
There are far more serious and pressing
problems affecting all peoples in the world: climate change is perhaps the
worst and most urgent at this moment.
Before December 18, each State should adopt a decision.Once again the illustrious Peace Nobel Laureate,BarackObama, should define his position regarding this thorny
Since he accepted the responsibility of
receiving the Prize, he
will have to respond to the ethical request launched by Michael Moore when he
heard the news: “now you should earn it!”I wonder if he could.At a time when
there is a unanimous demand on the part of scientific circles to reduce carbon
dioxide emissions by no less than 30 per cent of the levels attained in 1990, the United States is only offering to
reduce 17 per cent of what it emitted in 2005, which hardly accounts for 5 per cent of
the minimum that Science demands from all the inhabitants of this planet by the
year 2020.The United States consumes twice as much per inhabitant
than Europe, and its emissions exceed those of China, despite its 1.338 billion inhabitants. An
inhabitant of the society that consumes the most, emits tens of times more CO2
per capita that a citizen from a poor country of the Third World.
In only thirty more years, the no less than 9 billion human beings
that will inhabit the planet will require that the carbon dioxide volumes
emitted into the atmosphere be reduced to no less than 80 per cent of the 1990
levels.Such figures are being bitterly
understood by an increasing number of leaders of rich countries.But the hierarchy that leads the most
powerful and rich country in the planet, the United States, comforts itself by asserting that such
predictions are scientific inventions.
Everybody knows that in Copenhagen, countries will, at best, agree on continuing discussions so that
an agreement could be reached among the more than 200 States and institutions
that should discuss about the commitments, among them, a very important one: which will be the
rich countries that will contribute to the development and energy saving of the
poorest countries and how much resources will they give?