Venezuela's Chavez Urges Lawmakers to Ban US Financing of his Opponents, Critics, Conspiracies

By Christopher Toothaker
AP/Canadian Press | November 23,2010

CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chavez urged lawmakers on Tuesday to prohibit Venezuela's political organizations, human rights groups and election watchdogs from receiving U.S. funds, accusing Washington of financing conspiracies against his government.

"How can we continue allowing political parties, non-governmental organizations and counterrevolutionary figures from being financed by the empire," said Chavez, referring to the U.S. government. "We cannot permit it."

The president called on lawmakers belonging to his ruling party to approve legislation strictly prohibiting such funding before recently elected opposition politicians take their seats in Venezuela's National Assembly. Chavez's party won a majority in September congressional elections, but it fell short of the two-thirds majority required to approve some bills. A coalition of opposition parties gained ground in the election, and Chavez's foes have vowed to block contentious legislation.

The president's allies have long accused the U.S. government of conspiring with Venezuela's opposition. Many of the accusations have come from Venezuelan-American lawyer and political activist Eva Golinger, who addressed lawmakers before Chavez. Golinger warned that plots aimed at unseating Chavez would be hatched if lawmakers don't ban foreign funds destined for government critics. She singled out the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Cedice, a conservative Caracas-based think-tank , Sumate, an elections watchdog, and the indigenous rights group Kape Kape are among more than a dozens organizations that have received foreign financing as part of a plan aimed at destabilizing Chavez's government, according to Golinger. ...

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