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Excerpt: "There were numerous attempts on Chavez's life that were thwarted by Venezuelan intelligence agencies."

Venezuelan-American lawyer and author Eva Golinger poses for a portrait under a mural with a the phrase reading 'Oligarchs tremble.' (photo: teleSUR)
Venezuelan-American lawyer and author Eva Golinger poses for a portrait under a mural with a the phrase reading 'Oligarchs tremble.' (photo: teleSUR)

Eva Golinger: I Believe Chavez Was Assassinated

By Mike Whitney and Eva Golinger,

06 May 16


ugo Chavez defied the most powerful interests, and he refused to bow down….I believe there is a very strong possibility that President Chavez was assassinated.”

— Eva Golinger

MW– Do you think that Hugo Chavez was murdered and, if so, who do you think might have been involved?

Eva Golinger– I believe there is a very strong possibility that President Chavez was assassinated. There were notorious and documented assassination attempts against him throughout his presidency. Most notable was the April 11, 2002 coup d’etat, during which he was kidnapped and set to be assassinated had it not been for the unprecedented uprising of the Venezuelan people and loyal military forces that rescued him and returned him to power within 48 hours. I was able to find irrefutable evidence using the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), that the CIA and other US agencies were behind that coup and supported, financially, militarily and politically, those involved. Later on, there were other attempts against Chavez and his government, such as in 2004 when dozens of Colombian paramilitary forces were captured on a farm outside of Caracas that was owned by an anti-Chavez activist, Robert Alonso, just days before they were going to attack the presidential palace and kill Chavez.

There was another, lesser-known plot against Chavez discovered in New York City during his visit to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2006. According to information provided by his security services, during standard security reconnaissance of an event where Chavez would address the US public at a local, renowned university, high levels of radiation were detected in the chair where he would have sat. The radiation was discovered by a Geiger detector, which is a handheld radiation detection device the presidential security used to ensure the President wasn’t in danger of exposure to harmful rays. In this case, the chair was removed and subsequent tests showed it was emanating unusual amounts of radiation that could have resulted in significant harm to Chavez had it gone undiscovered. According to accounts by the presidential security at the event, an individual from the US who had been involved in the logistical support for the event and had provided the chair was shown to be acting with US intelligent agents.

There were numerous other attempts on his life that were thwarted by the Venezuelan intelligence agencies and particularly the counterintelligence unit of the Presidential Guard that was charged with discovering and impeding such threats. One other well known attempt was in July 2010 when Francisco Chavez Abarca (no relation), a criminal working with Cuban-born terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, responsible for bombing a Cuban airliner in 1976 and killing all 73 passengers on board, was detained entering Venezuela and later confessed he had been sent to assassinate Chavez. Just five months earlier, in February 2010, when President Chavez was at an event near the Colombian border, his security forces discovered a sniper set up just over a quarter of a mile away from his location, who was subsequently neutralized.

While these accounts may sound like fiction, they are amply documented and very real. Hugo Chavez defied the most powerful interests, and he refused to bow down. As head of state of the nation without the largest oil reserves on the planet, and as someone who openly and directly challenged US and Western domination, Chavez was considered an enemy of Washington and its allies.

So, who could have been involved in Chavez’s assassination, if he was assassinated? Certainly it’s no far stretch to imagine the US government involved in a political assassination of an enemy it clearly – and openly – wanted out of the picture. In 2006, the US government formed a special Mission Manager for Venezuela and Cuba under the Directorate of National Intelligence. This elite intelligence unit was charged with expanding covert operations against Chavez and led clandestine missions out of an intelligence fusion center (CIA-DEA-DIA) in Colombia. Some of the pieces that have been coming together include the discovery of several close aides to Chavez who had private, unobstructed access to him over prolonged periods, who fled the country after his death and are collaborating with the US government. If he were assassinated by some kind of exposure to high levels of radiation, or otherwise inoculated or infected by a cancer-causing virus, it would have been done by someone with close access to him, whom he trusted.

MW– Who is Leamsy Salazar and how is he connected to the US Intelligence Agencies?

Eva Golinger– Leamsy Salazar was one of Chavez’s closest aides for nearly seven years. He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Venezuelan Navy and became known to Chavez after he waved the Venezuelan flag from the roof of the presidential guard’s barracks at the presidential palace during the 2002 coup, as the rescue of Chavez was underway. He became a symbol of the loyal armed forces that helped defeat the coup and Chavez rewarded him by bringing him on as one of his assistants. Salazar was both a bodyguard and an aide to Chavez, who would bring him coffee and meals, stand by his side, travel with him around the world and protect him during public events. I knew him and interacted with him many times. He was one of the familiar faces protecting Chavez for many years. He was a key member of Chavez’s elite inner security circle, with private access to Chavez and privileged and highly confidential knowledge of Chavez’s comings and goings, daily routine, schedule and dealings.

After Chavez passed away in March 2013, because of his extended service and loyalty, Leamsy was transferred to the security detail of Diosdado Cabello, who was then president of Venezuela’s National Assembly and considered one of the most powerful political and military figures in the country. Cabello was one of Chavez’s closest allies. It should be noted that Leamsy remained with Chavez throughout most of his illness up to his death and had privileged access to him that few had, even from his security team.

Shockingly, in December 2014, news reports revealed that Leamsy had secretly been flown to the US from Spain, where he was allegedly on vacation with his family. The plane that flew him was said to be from the DEA. He was placed in witness protection and news reports have stated he is providing information to the US government about Venezuelan officials involved in a high level ring of drug trafficking. Opposition-owned media in Venezuela claim he gave details accusing Diosdado Cabello of being a drug-kingpin, but none of that information has been independently verified, nor have any court records or allegations been released, if they exist.

Another explanation for his going into the witness protection program in the US could include his involvement in the assassination of Chavez, possibly done as part of a CIA black op, or maybe even done under the auspices of CIA but carried out by corrupt elements within the Venezuelan government. Before the Panama Papers were released, I had accidentally discovered and was investigating a dangerous corrupt, high level individual within the government, who Chavez had previously dismissed, but who returned after his death and was placed in an even more influential, powerful position. This individual also appears to be collaborating with the US government. People like that, who let greed obscure their conscience, and who are involved in lucrative criminal activity, could have also played a role in his death.

For example, the Panama Papers exposed another former Chavez aide, Army Captain Adrian Velasquez, who was in charge of security for Chavez’s son Hugo. Captain Velasquez’s wife, a former Navy Officer, Claudia Patricia Diaz Guillen, was Chavez’s nurse for several years and had private, unsupervised access to him. Furthermore, Claudia administered medicines, shots and other health and food-related materials to Chavez over a period of years. Just one month before his deadly illness was discovered in 2011, Chavez named Claudia as Treasurer of Venezuela, placing her in charge of the country’s money. It’s still unclear as to why she was named to this important position, considering she had previously been his nurse and had no similar experience. She was dismissed from the position right after Chavez passed away. Both Captain Velasquez and Claudia appeared in the Panama Papers as owning a shell company with millions of dollars. They also own property in an elite area in the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana, where properties cost in the millions, and they have resided there since at least June 2015. The documents show that right after Chavez passed away and Nicolas Maduro was elected president in April 2013, Captain Velasquez opened an off-shore company on April 18, 2013 through the Panamanian firm Mossack Fonesca, called Bleckner Associates Limited. A Swiss financial investment firm, V3 Capital Partners LLC, affirmed they manage the funds of Captain Velasquez, which number in the millions. It’s impossible for an Army Captain to have earned that amount of money through legitimate means. Neither him nor his wife, Claudia, have returned to Venezuela since 2015.

Captain Velasquez was especially close with Leamsy Salazar.

MW– Can you explain the suspicious circumstances under which Salazar was flown out of Spain to the safety of the United States on a plane belonging to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)? Doesn’t that strike you as a bit strange? At the very least, this suggests that Salazar was acting as an agent for a country that is openly hostile towards Venezuela? That makes him either a collaborator or a traitor. Do you agree?

Eva Golinger– Of course it was highly suspicious that Salazar was flown out of Spain, where he was allegedly on vacation with his family, and taken to the United States on a DEA plane. There is no question that he was collaborating with the US government and betrayed his country. What remains to be seen is what his exact role was. Did he administer the murderous poison to Chavez, or was it one of his partners, such as Captain Velasquez or the nurse/treasurer Claudia?

While this all may sound very conspiracy theory-ish, these are facts that can be verified independently. It is also true, according to declassified secret US documents, that the US Army was developing an injectable radiation weapon to use for political assassinations of select enemies as far back as 1948. The Church Commission hearings into the Kennedy Assassination also uncovered the existence of an assassination weapon developed by CIA to induce heart attacks and soft-tissue cancers. Chavez died of an aggressive soft-tissue cancer. By the time it was detected it was too late. There is other information out there documenting the development of a “cancer virus” that was going to be weaponized and allegedly used to kill Fidel Castro in the 1960s. I know most of that seems like science fiction, but do your research and see what really exists. I don’t believe everything I read either. As a lawyer and investigative journalist, I need hard evidence, and multiple, verifiable sources. Even if we just go on the official US Army document from 1948, it’s a fact that the US government was in the process of a developing a radiation weapon for political assassinations. More than 60 years later we can only imagine what technological capacities exist.

MW– Can you explain why the DEA was involved in this operation and not the CIA as many would expect?

Eva Golinger– I think CIA was involved. They work together on high-profile political cases, and they were operating out of the Intelligence Fusion Center in Colombia together. Why it was DEA and not CIA that brought Leamsy Salazar to the US has not yet been revealed, but I don’t think that means the CIA wasn’t involved in the whole operation.

MW– On a personal note, Hugo Chavez was a giant among men and a real hero. Would you please tell us what his loss has meant to you personally and how his death has impacted the people of Venezuela?

Eva Golinger– The loss of Hugo Chavez has been crushing. He was my friend and I spent nearly ten years as his advisor. The void he has left is impossible to replace. Despite his human flaws, he had a huge heart and genuinely dedicated himself to build a better country for his people, and a better world for humanity. He cared deeply about all people, but especially the poor, neglected and marginalized.

There is a picture taken of Chavez by a bystander, when he had been at an event in the center of Caracas and was walking through a large plaza that had been cleared by security. All of a sudden, he saw a young man, disheveled and seemingly on drugs, barely able to keep himself upright, wearing ragged clothes. To the horror of his security guards, Chavez went over to him and lovingly put his arm around him and offered him a cup of coffee. He didn’t judge the poor guy or reprimand him, or show disgust. He treated him like a fellow human being who deserved to be seen with dignity. He stayed there with him for a while, just telling stories and chatting like old friends. When he had to go, he told one of his guards to offer the man whatever help he needed.

There were no cameras there, no TV, no public. It wasn’t a publicity stunt. It was genuine, sincere care and concern for a fellow human in need. Despite being president and a powerful head of state, Chavez always saw himself as an equal to all people.

His unexpected death has had a tragic toll on Venezuela. Sadly, those he left in charge have been unable to manage the country through this difficult times. A combination of corruption and external sabotage by opposition forces (with foreign support) has crippled the economy. Mismanagement has been widespread and destructive. US agencies and their allies in Venezuela have seized the opportunity to further destabilize and destroy all remaining remnants of chavismo. Now they are trying to tarnish and erase Chavez’s legacy, but I believe this is an impossible task. Even if the current government doesn’t survive the vicious attacks against it, Chavez’s memory in the millions of people he impacted and improved the lives of, will weather the storm. “Chavismo” has become an ideology founded on principles of social justice and human dignity. But do people miss him terribly? Yes. your social media marketing partner


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+53 # Crebbafrabitz 2016-05-06 12:16
I thought this from when the news of his death first came out. Any enemy of GREED KAPITALISM is an enemy of EMPIRE AND "PEASANT CONTROL"!!!
+3 # Capn Canard 2016-05-09 08:46
You are not alone.
+49 # Johnny 2016-05-06 17:38
The circumstantial evidence, especially the U.S. military stockpiles of biological weapons, including carcinogens, is overwhelming.
+48 # nancyw 2016-05-06 18:32
It is so devastating and horrifying that our country continues to think it has the right to murder anyone who stands In its way. History has shown we have done this many many times. It is so hard to keep my respect for my own country even tho I know many many Americans also do great things as well. I am very afraid if Trump or Clinton become president. They are both capable of continuing this kind of so called foreign policy. Their own greed is pretty evident. On the other hand, what would stop the DEA and CIA from offing one of our own. It has done it with the Kennedys and who knows who else. I fear for Bernie.
+24 # vicnada 2016-05-06 20:24
"I fear for Bernie."
That's why his choice for VP must be someone the opposition fears even more than him, say, Elizabeth Warren.
+31 # wantrealdemocracy 2016-05-06 19:21
It is indeed devastating and horrifying that the very wealthy people of the United States think it is right to murder anyone, any where, from any nation including -- the United States, who interferes in any way with their expression of insatiable greed.

I know these evil people are in control of our government and indeed we need to fear for Bernie.

I am most distressed that this evil American way of acting is infecting people in Venezuela and I fear in other nations. Is
the whole world infected with this capitalistic belief that the purpose of life is to make a lot of money? Somehow this blight must be checked. The greedy bastards are not only killing decent loving people they are killing our mother the earth.

Have the people of the earth lost any sense of good and evil? We seem to have lost all moral control in our society. It it time to develop a society that values people who are willing to share the bounty of the earth and care for one another. If we can not do this, we are doomed to extinction.
-52 # amycbobh 2016-05-06 19:39
The Golinger article on Hugo Chavez is a disgrace to RSN. "is said to have"???? These are incredible alleged so-called facts to be making without documentation. She sounds like Trump. Barf.
+21 # WPOH#1 2016-05-07 02:35
The allegations sound a hell of a lot more plausible, valid and believable than the dribble that is covered day after day in the American mainstream media. Especially the ones that have "an anonymous Pentagon source" or "an anonymous Whitehouse source" as their big source. And there have been tons of them over the last 16 years.
+30 # Sam Seaman 2016-05-06 20:02
Every poisoner has a signature style like the Medici and their arsenic. Soft tissue radiation is a suspected US style; some suggest that Osho was dispatched this way.
Radiation is invisible, and the ideal radiation situation happens in the public eye, perhaps on television, where the target victim is somehow engineered to be close enough to the radiating object long enough to get a fatal dose. This requires considerable ingenuity in disguising the radiator, not to mention the social engineering involved in getting your target positioned near to it in full public eye for long enough with no apparent coercion.
Given that Pres Chavez had a soft tissue cancer in the pelvic region I suggest that a previous ´hot´ radiating chair had made it through security at some time in the past.
0 # Jim Rocket 2016-05-08 15:07
I always thought that the idea that Bob Marley was "infected" with cancer was ridiculous but, now, not so much....
+43 # elizabethblock 2016-05-06 20:15
I have no idea whether this is true. BUT: I am old enough to remember, in the 1960s, Fidel Castro accused the US of many attempts on his life, some of them quite bizarre. They sounded like paranoid ravings. And guess what? They all turned out to be true.
+19 # WPOH#1 2016-05-07 02:01
Yes they all turned out to be true and there were probably even more attempts that they didn't speak about for Cuban national security reasons. It is historical fact that the US assassinated a whole lot of people. Read John Perkins' book Economic Hit man. These days they are much more open about a lot of it, because they found that Americans could not care any less. It's the "new normal". Torture, endless imprisonment without due process and assassinations; all the "New normal".
-31 # RNLDaWy 2016-05-06 22:15
Chavez had terminal cancer. If they assasinated him then they wasted a bullet doing so. Chavez though he did have some popularity for a short time was just another one sided dictator . he rigged two 'elections' to get the results he wanted to stay in office and jailed those who disagreed with him. Castro was his bud and were both very much alike .. he was an authoritarian Left Wing Dictator .. like most of them have been in history .. oh yeah on subject .. CIA etc .. of course covertly .. so do all the corrupt countries who 24/7 would like to harm us if they could .. so a double edged sword .. damned if you do damned if you don't ..
+23 # WPOH#1 2016-05-07 02:15
Since the late 1950's the CIA has had weaponized terminal cancer and the ways to deliver it to a victim unbeknownst to them. Chavez was fairly elected every time to office. International inspection teams (including Jimmy Carter's) monitored the Chavez elections and declared them totally fair and above board. On the other hand both of GW Bush's elections were rife with rigging and corruption. The first term he was not elected rather the supreme court stopped the vote counting and selected Bush, a totally illegal procedure not in the constitution or bill of rights. When the votes were counted later, Gore had won. That is corrupt election stealing. The 2nd election had tampered voting machines in several states, most notably in Ohio. In those scenarios votes for Kerry were lost, votes for Kerry were counted as Bush votes, closed precincts, faulty voting machines that were easily hacked and all kinds of other hell stole the election for Bush and was never investigated. International monitors said the Venezuelan elections were much more fair & valid than those US Bush elections. Chavez was not a dictator. He was a man of and for the Venezuelan people.
+17 # Anonymot 2016-05-06 23:21
What's insane isn't the story, but that intelligent people can believe the story, because the Deep State's CIA and other government agencies live in such a fantasy land that anything is possible.I remember a period during Hillary's reign when she and others were so aggressively berating Chavez that I was convinced they were going to start a "regime change" war.

I can certainly believe the CIA found a shortcut to war. I can also understand the DEA involvement, because our "friends" in South America are all involved in oil or drugs. Those who aren't are CIA/DEA enemies. I've been writing that for years.

The CIA & Co. has neither principles nor morals. Their ethics are totally corrupted. Everyone from the President down bows to them for a simple reason. They own a key to the closet with skeletons of every person in the land.
+11 # WPOH#1 2016-05-07 02:42
I knew it from the moment that I heard that President Chavez had died. Add him to the long list of victims of foul play. In my opinion, that includes Bob Marley, Malcolm X, Princess Diana, Peter Tosh, Paul Wellstone, John Lennon, JFK Jr, Abbie Hoffman, author Gary Webb, Ted Kennedy's bridge "accident", Dr David Kelly and of course MLK, JFK, RFK, and probably a whole lot of others.
+1 # Salburger 2016-05-07 04:51
Don't forget Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson and Jesus Christ.
-18 # kalpal 2016-05-07 07:53
Must have been Fidel and Raul who murdered him.
+12 # Adoregon 2016-05-07 12:43
Take a gander:

The oligarchs who control the US government are amoral and will do whatever it take to protect their interests. They are well dressed thugs who control the government that controls the military/CIA/DE A/ etc., etc..
The military does their bidding, the oligarchs profit, the taxpayers pay for the military and guess who dies?

None of this is new.

Chavez in Venezuela
Mossadegh in Iran

See also:

I'm sure you get the picture.
+4 # wayfaringobserver 2016-05-08 23:26
There is no doubt that Chavez was a threat to U.S. corporate interests and that GW Bush hated his guts, either one of these dispositions would have won him a position on a CIA hit list unfortunately he qualified for both. Chavez was a very unusual man to be involved in the political arena, his altruistic concerns for the poor and low income workers brought him a large international audience of supporters and well wishers, although his enemies were also numerous his popularity was in obvious ascendance. When Mr. Chavez began offering free shipments of heating oil to post hurricane Katrina victims he was accused of every disparaging political act imaginable by the Bush administration and rebuked as a Cuban sympathizer by both republican and democratic parties. Since the advent of the internet accusations have been flying that the CIA has been in possession of a cancer inducing technology which has become increasingly difficult to deny. Senator Frank Church uncovered evidence supporting the accusations of a CIA heart attack and cancer inducing gun that paralleled their poison dart gun and their "ice bullet" gun! Goggle this if you have doubts, it's substantiated. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to believe Chavez was assassinated by a CIA weapon capable of introducing fast acting cancer viruses, after all, political assassination is a recognized CIA tactic and just a word from Bush, who Chavez referred to as the 'devil' in his United Nations speech, would have done him in.

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