In 2002 a new round of elections in the country saw him re-elected to the presidency. Then, even as they were waging war in Afghanistan, it appears that the US attempted to overthrow him by fostering a coup within the country. Internal unrest over his wish to nationalise the booming oil industry was capitalised upon and striking oil workers and other related business people began protesting against him. At the height of this unrest rioting broke out between pro and anti Chavez elements. Protestors were killed by sniper fire in the confusion. It is unclear who was responsible for the shootings but in the chaos members of the military loyal to the US staged their coup.
There is now much evidence to suggest that this coup was financed by the US government and may even have had CIA operatives assisting it. It was short lived however, and lasted a mere 48 hours. Large sections of the army were still loyal to Chavez and the coup quickly collapsed. Chavez was released from imprisonment and some of the coup plotters were captured and arrested. This was the last straw and since then Chavez has worked on fostering relations with as many of the US’s enemies as possible. He has also consolidated much more power within his country so the chances of a future coup from within are less. He does however, still sell oil to the US as part of his countries economic wellbeing. Since this failed coup he has been accusing the US of potentially planning a full scale invasion of his nation, although the US deny this publicly.
In 2005 the well known Christian Evangelist Pat Robertson, who is a close friend of George Bush, appeared on American television calling for Hugo Chavez’s assassination. He made the astonishing claim that Chavez would not only spread Communism in the region but also Muslim extremism. One wonders how a Socialist from staunchly Catholic South America was going to spread Islamofacism in any form. However this was Robertson’s contention, so he called for operatives to be sent in to assassinate him. Again a new low was reached in the relationship between the nations because of this.
Back in July 2006, at the height of the Lebanon crisis with Iran squarely in US crosshairs, Chavez travelled to Iran and began to forge new ties with that nation. Given their combined oil power this was not a pleasant outcome for the US. Both he and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seemed to hit it off well. Indeed, they have a similar irreverent style of world leadership. Chavez even withdrew the Venezuelan ambassador from Israel over the war in Lebanon, thus cementing which side he would stand on in the ensuing world war.
This new connection has essentially meant that an Iranian ally now exists right in the US’s back yard. To combat this, the US announced that they were going to enforce an arms embargo against Venezuela. However there has been a steady build up of weapons and military might inside the nation despite this. The Russians have even defied the embargo and built an AK-47 factory in the country. And they are shipping numerous weapons to the Venezuelans as well. Chavez has claimed they will soon be ready to defend “every street, every hill, every corner.” Again this indicates a massive military build up in another of the theatres this madness will engulf. And it also suggests a broader US versus Russia and China showdown is growing.
The diplomatic sparring came to a head in September 2006 when both Chavez and Ahmadinejad visited the UN, as part of a major conference taking place there. Both men gave impassioned speeches before the UN assembly. They then did a whistle stop tour of the US itself, giving interviews and otherwise embarrassing the Neo-Cons on their own turf. The crowning glory of all this was when Chavez, in front of the entire UN assembly, blatantly called George Bush the Devil and said that he had left behind a “smell of sulphur.” This was actually met with some applause. Chavez also made mention of the possibility that 9/11 was engineered by the Neo-Cons themselves -- the first time a world leader had blatantly echoed the assertions made by the 9/11 Truth Movement. Both Chavez and Ahmadinejad also reiterated their support for each other.
All this adds up to leaving Venezuela at great risk of being sucked into the war once the assault on Iran begins. Chavez will likely begin by attempting to cut off his flow of oil to the US. Depending how deranged they are at this point, the US could choose to then attack on this front as well, either directly or through a proxy. Any such attack on Venezuela will definitely then see Cuba becoming embroiled in the war. And it runs the risk of pulling other South American countries into the fray, creating a much broader theatre in this region for the world war.