Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said soldiers suspected of conspiring in a plot to destabilize the government were arrested, adding the situation is under control.
Chavez, a self-proclaimed socialist who has accused the political opposition of trying to overthrow his government since he survived a brief coup in 2002, said the country’s intelligence agency uncovered a plan to infiltrate the Miraflores presidential palace. He made the comments yesterday on state television.
“We’ve arrested some soldiers, and they remain detained, who were in contact with a solder on the run in the U.S., protected by the U.S. government, sending messages about a so- called Operation Independence,” Chavez said.
And by "our" I mean the United States government, which means the current administration, which means that Chavez just accused President Obama of trying to topple the Venezuelan government just before an election. The fact that the Obama administration has no interest in doing such a thing - tragically* - is of course meaningless; as is the fact that the Chavez regime probably put this whole thing together themselves. What's important is whether anti-Americanism will help Chavez just enough to let him cook the electoral books plausibly: if it does (which it often does), then it can be used, and never mind who's President.
Mind you, none of this means that Chavez doesn't hate Obama: he almost certainly does. Obama's an American: he's an American President; he's an American President who's not nearly socialist enough for this Commie's tastes; and frankly there's going to be the skin color issue, although not in the way that you think. Racism in Venezuela is apparently one of those highly complicated class issues**; there's ostensibly no overt animus, but there's a definite hyper-awareness there over relative skin tones, and there seems to be at least a small correlation between lightness of skin and higher socioeconomic status. In other words, Barack Obama is likely to be too white for Hugo Chavez' ideological tastes. Irony: it's what's for dinner.
Still, this claim that we helped with the coup isn't personal. It's strictly business.
*John F Kennedy would have tried to topple Chavez, you know. Of course, it would have been as much of a disaster as the rest of Kennedy's South American shenanigans, but he would have at least tried.
**I say "apparently" because I'm not an expert; merely someone who has just read about two dozen contradictory and squabbling articles on the subject.
Crossposted at Moe Lane.