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Context of 'January 30, 2005: Venezuela Expands Cooperation with China'

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Hugo Chavez is elected president, beating Henrique Salas Romer, a Yale-educated former governor of Carabobo state. [CNN, 12/6/1998; CNN, 12/7/1998; New York Times, 12/9/1998]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Stanley Lucas, the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) senior program officer for Haiti, tells an audience on Radio Tropicale that there are three ways to get rid of newly elected Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide: call early elections and vote him out, charge him with corruption and let the courts imprison him, or assassinate him. With the blessing and assistance of the Bush administration, the IRI, a subsection of the US government’s National Endowment for Democracy, will step up its campaign to get rid of Aristide. The IRI, using $3 million in US taxpayer funds, will train and fund anti-Aristide candidates, help unite them into a single anti-Aristide bloc, and, according to a former US ambassador to Haiti, work to block all internationally-proposed power-sharing agreements in order to heighten Haiti’s political crisis and encourage a coup against Aristide. The IRI also will help in the Bush administration’s failed attempt to precipitate a coup against Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez (see April 12, 2002). Lucas himself is a charismatic, wealthy Haitian exile with a history of training Haitian insurgents and deep, murky ties to right-wing organizations and politicians in America, particularly longtime Aristide foe Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) and Bush’s Latin American envoy Otto Reich. [Salon, 7/16/2004]

Entity Tags: Stanley Lucas, International Republican Institute, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Radio Tropicale, Otto Juan Reich, Jesse Helms

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

Venezuelan Air Force Colonel Pedro Soto makes a public statement calling on President Hugo Chavez to resign. [Washington Post, 4/21/2002, pp. A01] It is later learned that Soto receives $100,000 from a bank in Miami for this denouncement (see Between Late March and Early April 2002).

Entity Tags: Pedro Soto

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan Rear Admiral Carlos Molina, Chavez’s former national security adviser, appears on television to demand Chavez’s resignation. Molina is a well known figure and according to the Washington Post, “even the president’s supporters interpreted the break as an alarming sign of the depth of opposition to Chavez… .” [Washington Post, 4/21/2002, pp. A01] It is later learned that Molina receives $100,000 from a bank in Miami for this denouncement (see Between Late March and Early April 2002).

Entity Tags: Carlos Molina

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Two days after Rear Admiral Carlos Molina calls for Chavez’s resignation (see February 18, 2002), two staff members of the International Republican Institute, Michael Ferber and Elizabeth Winger Echeverri, approach Molina. Recalling the encounter, Molina later tells the Washington Post: “They wanted to talk about human rights, democracy, their operation in Washington. I can’t remember what else we discussed.” [Washington Post, 4/21/2002, pp. A01]

Entity Tags: Carlos Molina, Michael Ferber, Elizabeth Winger Echeverri

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan Vice Admiral Carlos Molina and Air Force Colonel Pedro Soto each receive $100,000 from a Miami bank account for denouncing Chavez (see February 18, 2002). [Washington Post, 4/18/2002, pp. A17]

Entity Tags: Carlos Molina, Pedro Soto

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is overthrown in a military coup. However, the coup collapses after two days, and Chavez returns to power. [BBC, 4/14/2002] Otto J. Reich, the US’s assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, is in contact with Chavez’s successor on the very day he takes over. The Bush administration claims Reich was pleading with him not to dissolve the National Assembly. [New York Times, 4/17/2002]

Entity Tags: Rogelio Pardo-Maurer, Lucas Romero Rincon, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez Frias, Otto Juan Reich, Elliott Abrams

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

George A. Folsom, president of the International Republican Institute, applauds the ouster of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. “The Venezuelan people rose up to defend democracy in their country,” he says in a statement. “Venezuelans were provoked into action as a result of systematic repression by the government of Hugo Chavez.” [New York Times, 4/25/2002]

Entity Tags: International Republican Institute

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez alleges that “a plane with US registration numbers was at an army airstrip on Venezuela’s Orchila Island, one of five places he was held in captivity during his brief removal from power,” reports the BBC. [BBC, 4/16/2002]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

An unnamed US senior administration official says, “The United States did not know that there was going to be an attempt of this kind to overthrow—or to get [Venezuelan President Hugo] Chavez out of power.” [Newsday, 11/24/2004]

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

An official investigation by the Venezuelan government reveals that two high-ranking US officers joined the Venezuelan military commanders who backed the coup at Fort Tiuna, the largest military base in Caracas, where President Hugo Chavez was forcibly taken after being captured by soldiers supporting the overthrow of his government. [Agence France-Presse, 4/20/2002; Guardian, 5/13/2002]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claims to have foiled another coup plot to remove him from office. [BBC, 10/6/2002]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claims to have escaped an assassination attempt while returning from a trip to Europe. [BBC, 10/20/2002]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

February 3, 2003: Strike Ends in Venezuela

A strike in Venezuela (see February 3, 2003) ends after 63 days. Although some oil workers continue striking, oil output slowly returns to a level about half of pre-strike production. [BBC, 2/3/2003]

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

For the two-month duration of a strike in Venezuela (see February 3, 2003), the only commercials on Venezuelan TV are pieces by the opposition attacking President Hugo Chavez. [Adage, 2/10/2003]

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s government signs a deal with China to expand its oil market into China in search of more lucrative deals. [United Press International, 1/30/2005; Bloomberg, 2/2/2005]

Entity Tags: Scott McClellan, Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

President Hugo Chavez announces that the Venezuela controlled oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, may sell eight oil refineries owned by US companies. Four of them are owned by Citgo Corporation and are currently used to refine Venezuela’s heavy, high-sulfur crude oil for use in the US. This move is part of a strategy to reduce Venezuelan dependency on US oil markets. At his speech in Argentina, Hugo Chavez describes Venezuelan dependency: “Not one Venezuelan works at these refineries… they don’t give us one cent of profit… they don’t pay taxes in Venezuela… this is economic imperialism.” Ivan Orellana, Venezuela’s representative to OPEC says that any “contracts found to be not in the national interest would be renegotiated.” [Bloomberg, 2/2/2005] The Venezuelan oil industry currently exports half of its oil to the US. [New York Times, 1/25/2005] This latest move is an indication to the Bush administration that the Chavez government is willing to test their relationship. US officials are worried about the implications of the sale for the American economy as 15 percent of US oil imports currently come from Venezuela. White House spokesman Scott McClellan says, “we have serious concerns. We have made our concerns known when it comes to President Chavez….” [Bloomberg, 2/2/2005]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias, Scott McClellan

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Roger Noriega, US Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, says the US is concerned that an arms trade deal struck between Venezuela and Russia could destabilize the region. Venezuela has agreed to purchase about 40 Russian military helicopters and 100,000 rifles. CNN reports that Noriega told its Spanish-language service “that Washington [is] worried the arms may end up with groups such as Columbia’s Marxist FARC rebels.” [Reuters, 2/8/2005; Al Jazeera, 2/13/2005] Observers interpret this latest move by the Hugo Chavez government as another step in a strategy apparently aimed at decreasing Venezuela’s dependence on the US economy by strengthening ties with states such as China, Russia and Iran. [Al Jazeera, 2/13/2005] Venezuela’s Vice President Jose Vincente Rangel defends the weapons trade deal with Russia. Rangel says that the deal is of no relevance to the US and that the deal is “a concern only for the Venezuelan people and the nation’s institutions.” [Reuters, 2/8/2005]

Entity Tags: Roger Francisco Noriega

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela accuses the US government of planning “new aggressions” against him. The aggressions, Chavez describes, include another attempted coup and an assassination attempt. Chavez warns US president George W. Bush that if an assassination attempt was successful the people of Latin America would assume that democratic rules “no longer apply.” Chavez warns that another consequence of his assassination would be an “interruption of the flow of oil to the US.” Chavez asks that Bush consider these consequences before making a decision about his assassination. [Venezuela Analysis, 2/20/2005]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US International Relations, US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

The US State Department says that President Chavez’s allegations (see February 20, 2005) that they are planning to assassinate him are “ridiculous.” [Voice of America, 2/23/2005]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declares that the US-sponsored project, the Free Trade Agreement for the Americas (FTAA), is dead. Chavez says that a new model will be put in place to increase trade between Venezuela, Argentina, and Brazil regardless of the US government’s position. Chavez says that eventually a new organization similar to NATO will be established for the countries of South America. [VHeadline, 3/4/2005]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US International Relations, US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announces that Venezuela has moved its central bank reserves out of US banks and liquidated its US Treasury securities. The funds have been transferred to Europe and other countries, he says. [Associated Press, 9/30/2005]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

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