Friday, January 8, 2010

PUERTO RICO: PAWN IN THE U.S. POLICY TOWARDS VENEZUELA

Folks,
Here's an interesting story from NCM Venezuela that a friend alerted me to.
MAMA


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(NCM Venezuela)

PUERTO RICO: PAWN IN THE U.S. POLICY TOWARDS VENEZUELA
Jesús Dávila – Translated by Jan Susler

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, January 7, 2010 (NCM) – The operation in which the commando group killed Macheteros commander Filiberto Ojeda in 2005 was coordinated from the office of the then U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, according to unofficial information provided by a political source connected to the agency.

The source also indicated that the Ojeda case was part of Washington’s strategy towards the South American nation and that currently there are in process political and diplomatic actions whose purpose is to confront the attempts to expand the influence of the Bolivarian revolution in Puerto Rico and the rest of the region.

Among the measures being discussed in Washington political circles is the possibility of promoting a Congressional investigation into the activities of Venezuelan diplomats in Puerto Rico, and even ordering the withdrawal of the Consul General of Venezuela in San Juan. The source assured that he had talked about the topic in the Venezuela section of the U.S. State Department led by Moisés Behar.

This affair has a trajectory that dates back to the end of the 18th century, when the U.S. and England agreed to support Latin American independence in exchange for their not challenging the empire’s supremacy over a series of islands, including Puerto Rico. A few years later, Simón Bolívar tried without success to liberate Puerto Rico, which became a U.S. colony at the end of the 19th century as a result of the Spanish American War.

In the past few years, the U.S. has been evaluating the search for a solution to the colonial case of Puerto Rico, and President Barack Obama assures that he will take definitive steps during this term.

The issue of the conduct of the U.S. State Department— according to the source’s information— also connects politicians from the state of Florida as well as Puerto Rico, including the official spokesman of the New Progressive Party in the Senate, Roberto Arango.

The legislator, an important ally of governor Luis Fortuño, has waged an intense campaign against Venezuelan diplomacy in Puerto Rico, and has sought, without success, meetings with the consular office as well as with the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Washington, to present his complaints.

In fact, during 2009, Puerto Rico was the scene of controversial news related to Venezuela, such as last January, when news emerged about a meeting in San Juan between U.S. officials and Venezuelan opposition businessmen. But the Ojeda case is the first involving a violent death.


The new chain of revelations has been the result of news published last year by the Miami Herald, revealing the supposed Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation of the then Venezuelan consul in San Juan, Vinicio Romero, and his supposed connections to radical groups in Puerto Rico between 2004 and 2005. At that time, the only known operation on this subject in the FBI San Juan field office was the one focused on the capture of Ojeda, commander of the Boricua Popular Army–Macheteros.

NCM News confronted the source with the fact that the U.S. Code provides that when this type of investigation into terrorism is to be carried out on a foreign diplomat, they must not only notify the State Department in Washington, but also the office of the Secretary of State has the legal responsibility to become the link and coordinate everything the agencies do. The source showed no surprise at all and explained that he was always aware this was the case, and he assented when told that this implied that the agency in charge of U.S. diplomacy was present at headquarters in Washington where the bloody deeds were coordinated.

The deeds took place on September 23, 2005, when an FBI commando group assaulted Ojeda’s home in a rural area of western Hormigueros, in an operation where a sharpshooter wounded the veteran military chief and left him to slowly bleed to death. According to the report of the FBI Inspector General, the order not to enter the house until the following day was given directly from headquarters in Washington.

The Inspector General’s investigation concluded that there were errors committed in the operation, but found no criminal responsibility. Similarly, although the attorney at the Justice Department of Puerto Rico determined that the investigation should be continued as a murder case, in the office of the Attorney General they eliminated that part of the report and arranged for its dismissal, having found no sustainable evidence of negligent homicide.

Currently, the only official investigation into the case is the one being handled by the Civil Rights Commission, whose draft is expected to be ready by mid January.

Ojeda’s death had the immediate effect of aborting conversations he was having with the Catholic Church, which explored the possibility of peaceful means for the U.S. to grant independence to Puerto Rico. In fact, the last of the meetings had been cancelled when the Church notified him that they couldn’t guarantee security.

Shortly after his death, U.S. security officials showed the government of Puerto Rico supposed taped evidence which showed Macheteros military training, according to confidential documents. The Macheteros, led by the mysterious “Commander Guasábara” and his Staff, have not carried out any new offensive actions.

Meanwhile, Ojeda, who supported the Bolivarian revolution and who issued a declaration denouncing the 2002 coup against president Hugo Chávez, has received several posthumous honors in Venezuela, and his widow, Doña Elma Beatriz Rosado Barbosa, was received by the Venezuelan leader.

NCM-CHI-NY-SJ-01-08-10

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