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A cable back in November 2004 that appears to be originated from the US Embassy in Caracas, express the deep concerns of the US officials about the victory of Hugo Chavez in the referendum held in August of the same year.
There is a strong flavour of US anxiety about Chavez's moves inside and outside Venezuela. It seems that the US officials were deeply concerned about the possibility of Venezuela's transformation into a Socialist Republic. They were also monitoring Chavez's strategy abroad, seeking to build anti-US coalitions to minimize US influence, towards a multipolar geopolitical scenery.
Some characteristic parts:
- While most of Chavez's strategies are his usual statist policies (refs a and b), his proposal for a "new political structure" and a "multi-polar" foreign policy are particularly relevant, especially given Chavez's increased control of state and local governments and the lack of an organized political opposition.
- Internationally, Chavez has returned to his "multi-polar world" theme as a rhetorical defense against the perceived dominance of the United States. Chavez claimed that, after the recall vote, Venezuela had been "re-legitimized," not only his government but his political system, which he said had been stigmatized by the media. Since the regional elections, Chavez has visited Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba. He also recently received a state visit from Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte. He is currently on a trip to Spain, Libya, Russia, Iran, and Qatar. Chavez plans to visit China in December. In addition, newly-appointed Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez told reporters in Spain November 21 the GOV [Government Of Venezuela] will push for the "democratization" of international organizations such as the UN and OAS.
- Chavez's ten strategies are the beginnings of his campaign for the 2006 presidential election. His "new political structure" attempts to maintain the network of diverse social action groups, largely state-subsidized, that supported his successful recall referendum campaign. Integrating "mission" personnel and Cuban-trained social workers into this political structure blurs the lines between the state and pro-Chavez political organizations even more. Chavez also shows his preference for mass organizations over political parties, which are highly suspect in his leader-people model of governance.
- Feeling drenched in legitimacy from the referendum win, Chavez will continue to reach out personally to countries that might be sympathetic to his anti-U.S. rhetoric (China, Spain, Libya, etc.). He will push regional integration efforts such as Mercosur that might challenge U.S. interests. He also seems disposed to use his oil muscle to influence smaller countries, geo-politically unimportant but with votes in the OAS and other international organizations. International outreach is important to Chavez domestically as it allows him to portray the Bolivarian Revolution as gaining acceptance in the world, no matter what the reality might be.