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Fears Of Second Coup Against Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez
national | miscellaneous | news report Friday December 06, 2002 19:53 by Donnacha O Briain - Venezuela-Watch donnachao at hotmail dot com 3 Brighton Tce, Sandycove, Dublin +353-1-2845345
A background piece to the current crisis in Venezuela, explaining it as a struggle over country's oil industry, and calling on our government to make sure the EU does not welcome another coup as it did last April.
Within 48 hours Chavez was spectacularly returned to office due to massive popular protests. Nevertheless, the country has remained in a state of high tension since. The managerial elite who run the state oil company PDVSA have continued their opposition to Chavez's oil policy - which aims to stamp out corruption in Latin America's largest state enterprise and to redirect the company's revenues to fund progressive social programmes (state budgets for health, education and housing have tripled since 1998 - this in a country where 80% live in poverty).
For the anti-Chavez elite the ultimate ambition is to see the state oil company privatised, a policy that sits well with the Bush Administration in Washington. However, Chavez has vowed never to allow this to happen, going so far as to insert a clause forbidding PDVSA's privatisation into the new Venezuelan Constitution, which was voted in by a majority in a Referendum in 1999. It is this struggle over oil that lies at the root of the current conflict in Venezuela.
Today, as the Venezuelan elite are attempting to paralyze the oil industry and destabilize the country, we urge Irish citizens to contact the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowen, urging him to ensure that Ireland and the EU confirm their commitment to democratic and constitutional rule in Venezuela, making it explicitly clear that any attempt at a coup d'etat should be denounced in the most uncompromising terms.
You can phone the Minister's Office, and explain briefly to the official who answers the reason for your call. Remember, your call will be noted and brought to the Minister's attention. This is a situation you can influence!. You can also send a fax, or an e-mail (see below)
Minister Brian Cowen
Tel: +353-1- 4082141 / 4082139