Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez did not attend the swearing in ceremony of new left wing president of El Salvador, Mauricio Funes on Monday, because of suspected assassination plans.
Chavez was to travel to the ceremony with Bolivian president Evo Morales, from Venezuela. Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega first announced the assassination plan during his speech at the ceremony when he said both presidents couldn’t make it for “security reasons”. At that stage he said it was better not to enter into details.
Later, the Venezuelan minister for foreign affairs, Nicolas Maduro spoke at the ceremony. He said that the Venezuelan government hadn’t provided information about their suspicions earlier in order to safeguard the investigations. However, he said it was known that “ultra right wing assassination groups ‘in Venezuela’linked to ultra conservative coup sectors, together with the international ultra right'” were involved in “the possibility of an assassination.”
Talking to press later, Maduro said that Alejandro Esclusa could be involved in the plans. Esclusa is a right wing Venezuelan who, according to Maduro, has worked with the CIA on numerous occasions, and was in El Salvador advising the opposition party Arena in its campaign against Funes.
Maduro said they would look at rescheduling Chavez’s visit to El Salvador, and that the Venezuelan delegation attending the ceremony brought its support, solidarity and commitment to the El Salvadorian people.
After being absent from the public light since Saturday, Chavez spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon while he was inspecting the construction of 1,100 government houses in Vargas state. He explained that he had received a message warning about the assignation plans from Ortega and “it was information with a lot of weight that motivated the suspension of our travels.”
“In this case the information was very precise, [it indicated] that they were going to launch one or several rockets at the Cubana airline plane that was already ready to leave from Maiquetia [airport in Venezuela],” he said, and explained that the Venezuelan presidential plane was being repaired at the time and that Cuba had lent him one of its planes for his travels. Chavez and Morales were going to travel to El Salvador together in the plane.
Chavez blamed “Luis Posada Carriles’ people” for the assignation plan. Carriles is an ex-CIA agent and Cuban-born Venezuelan who was involved in the 1976 attack on a Cubana plane, which saw 73 people die. He was charged with the bombing but escaped from prison in 1985, before he going on trial and Venezuela has sought his extradition from the U.S. since 2005.
“We have to remember that there, in El Salvador [Carriles] lived and did what ever he felt like’ and they were preparing this attack against us’ when we were to be arriving or leaving [Salvadoran capital] San Salvador,” said Chavez.
“I accuse Luis Posada Carriles and I demand that [US] President Barack Obama brings about justice and complies with the law’ send us this terrorist’ to put him where he should be, in prison.”
Chavez said other Venezuelan ex-military personnel were also involved in the assassination plans, “Daniel Ortega knows the details’ some Venezuelan coup plotters entered San Salvador two weeks ago. And I know them’ they have sworn to me that they were going to kill me, because they say its my fault that they lost their jobs and didn’t reach the highest military ranks.”
“The government of the United States is behind all of this. And I’m not accusing Obama. No. As Fidel [Castro] has said, I think Obama has good intentions, but beyond Obama there is a whole empire: The CIA and all its tentacles, is alive and kicking’ President Obama its time to dismantle all this machinery of terror.”
Regarding his three days of unaccounted absence, from Saturday through to Monday, and the “wave of rumours” in the mainstream press, as he put it, Chavez commented that in 10 years of governing he hadn’t had a single vacation, “I’m glad [the opposition] miss me so much!” he joked.
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This post was written by Tamara Pearson