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Context of 'April 25, 2006: Chavez Agrees to Sell Fuel to 51 Nicaraguan Communities on Preferential Terms'

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Hugo Chavez is elected president, beating Henrique Salas Romer, a Yale-educated former governor of Carabobo state. [CNN, 12/6/1998; CNN, 12/7/1998; New York Times, 12/9/1998]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Stanley Lucas, the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) senior program officer for Haiti, tells an audience on Radio Tropicale that there are three ways to get rid of newly elected Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide: call early elections and vote him out, charge him with corruption and let the courts imprison him, or assassinate him. With the blessing and assistance of the Bush administration, the IRI, a subsection of the US government’s National Endowment for Democracy, will step up its campaign to get rid of Aristide. The IRI, using $3 million in US taxpayer funds, will train and fund anti-Aristide candidates, help unite them into a single anti-Aristide bloc, and, according to a former US ambassador to Haiti, work to block all internationally-proposed power-sharing agreements in order to heighten Haiti’s political crisis and encourage a coup against Aristide. The IRI also will help in the Bush administration’s failed attempt to precipitate a coup against Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez (see April 12, 2002). Lucas himself is a charismatic, wealthy Haitian exile with a history of training Haitian insurgents and deep, murky ties to right-wing organizations and politicians in America, particularly longtime Aristide foe Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) and Bush’s Latin American envoy Otto Reich. [Salon, 7/16/2004]

Entity Tags: Stanley Lucas, International Republican Institute, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Radio Tropicale, Otto Juan Reich, Jesse Helms

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

Roger Noriega, a Kansas native of Mexican descent and fervent critic of Latin American leaders Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and Jean-Bertrand Aristide, is appointed US Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States. [Newsday, 3/1/2004; Inter-American Development Bank, 12/31/2005 pdf file]

Entity Tags: Roger Francisco Noriega, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Hugo Chavez Frias, Fidel Castro

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

Venezuelan Rear Admiral Carlos Molina, along with a group of dissident officers led by Air Force Colonel Pedro Soto begin planning the overthrow of President Hugo Chavez. At some point before the April 11 coup, he leaves the group to join a more powerful faction of senior navy and national guard officers. [Washington Post, 4/21/2002, pp. A01]

Entity Tags: Carlos Molina, Pedro Soto

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Rogelio Pardo-Maurer, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Western Hemisphere affairs, meets with chief of Venezuela’s military high command, General Lucas Romero Rincon. Pardo-Maurer, who served for three years as the chief of staff to the representative of the Nicaraguan contras, later tells the New York Times that he told Rincon during this meeting that the US would not support a coup against Chavez. “Nada de golpes,” he claims to have told him. [New York Times, 4/23/2002] Rincon will participate in the April 2002 coup attempt to unseat Chavez (see April 11, 2002).

Entity Tags: Lucas Romero Rincon, Rogelio Pardo-Maurer

Timeline Tags: US International Relations, US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan Air Force Colonel Pedro Soto makes a public statement calling on President Hugo Chavez to resign. [Washington Post, 4/21/2002, pp. A01] It is later learned that Soto receives $100,000 from a bank in Miami for this denouncement (see Between Late March and Early April 2002).

Entity Tags: Pedro Soto

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan Rear Admiral Carlos Molina, Chavez’s former national security adviser, appears on television to demand Chavez’s resignation. Molina is a well known figure and according to the Washington Post, “even the president’s supporters interpreted the break as an alarming sign of the depth of opposition to Chavez… .” [Washington Post, 4/21/2002, pp. A01] It is later learned that Molina receives $100,000 from a bank in Miami for this denouncement (see Between Late March and Early April 2002).

Entity Tags: Carlos Molina

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Two days after Rear Admiral Carlos Molina calls for Chavez’s resignation (see February 18, 2002), two staff members of the International Republican Institute, Michael Ferber and Elizabeth Winger Echeverri, approach Molina. Recalling the encounter, Molina later tells the Washington Post: “They wanted to talk about human rights, democracy, their operation in Washington. I can’t remember what else we discussed.” [Washington Post, 4/21/2002, pp. A01]

Entity Tags: Carlos Molina, Michael Ferber, Elizabeth Winger Echeverri

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan Vice Admiral Carlos Molina and Air Force Colonel Pedro Soto each receive $100,000 from a Miami bank account for denouncing Chavez (see February 18, 2002). [Washington Post, 4/18/2002, pp. A17]

Entity Tags: Carlos Molina, Pedro Soto

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is overthrown in a military coup. However, the coup collapses after two days, and Chavez returns to power. [BBC, 4/14/2002] Otto J. Reich, the US’s assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, is in contact with Chavez’s successor on the very day he takes over. The Bush administration claims Reich was pleading with him not to dissolve the National Assembly. [New York Times, 4/17/2002]

Entity Tags: Rogelio Pardo-Maurer, Lucas Romero Rincon, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez Frias, Otto Juan Reich, Elliott Abrams

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

George A. Folsom, president of the International Republican Institute, applauds the ouster of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. “The Venezuelan people rose up to defend democracy in their country,” he says in a statement. “Venezuelans were provoked into action as a result of systematic repression by the government of Hugo Chavez.” [New York Times, 4/25/2002]

Entity Tags: International Republican Institute

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez alleges that “a plane with US registration numbers was at an army airstrip on Venezuela’s Orchila Island, one of five places he was held in captivity during his brief removal from power,” reports the BBC. [BBC, 4/16/2002]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

An unnamed US senior administration official says, “The United States did not know that there was going to be an attempt of this kind to overthrow—or to get [Venezuelan President Hugo] Chavez out of power.” [Newsday, 11/24/2004]

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

US President Bush warns Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to draw a lesson from the unrest that his country has just experienced and insists that he commit himself to democracy. “If there’s lessons to be learned, it’s important that he learn them,” Bush says in a meeting with Colombian President Andres Pastrana. [BBC, 4/18/2002]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias, Andres Pastrana, George W. Bush

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

An official investigation by the Venezuelan government reveals that two high-ranking US officers joined the Venezuelan military commanders who backed the coup at Fort Tiuna, the largest military base in Caracas, where President Hugo Chavez was forcibly taken after being captured by soldiers supporting the overthrow of his government. [Agence France-Presse, 4/20/2002; Guardian, 5/13/2002]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claims he has proof of US military involvement in the events that took place in April, claiming “he has radar images showing a foreign military vessel, a plane and a helicopter violating the country’s waters and air space during the failed coup,” reports the BBC. [BBC, 5/14/2002; Foreign Policy in Focus, 6/2002]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claims to have foiled another coup plot to remove him from office. [BBC, 10/6/2002]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claims to have escaped an assassination attempt while returning from a trip to Europe. [BBC, 10/20/2002]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

February 3, 2003: Strike Ends in Venezuela

A strike in Venezuela (see February 3, 2003) ends after 63 days. Although some oil workers continue striking, oil output slowly returns to a level about half of pre-strike production. [BBC, 2/3/2003]

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

For the two-month duration of a strike in Venezuela (see February 3, 2003), the only commercials on Venezuelan TV are pieces by the opposition attacking President Hugo Chavez. [Adage, 2/10/2003]

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s government signs a deal with China to expand its oil market into China in search of more lucrative deals. [United Press International, 1/30/2005; Bloomberg, 2/2/2005]

Entity Tags: Scott McClellan, Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

President Hugo Chavez announces that the Venezuela controlled oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, may sell eight oil refineries owned by US companies. Four of them are owned by Citgo Corporation and are currently used to refine Venezuela’s heavy, high-sulfur crude oil for use in the US. This move is part of a strategy to reduce Venezuelan dependency on US oil markets. At his speech in Argentina, Hugo Chavez describes Venezuelan dependency: “Not one Venezuelan works at these refineries… they don’t give us one cent of profit… they don’t pay taxes in Venezuela… this is economic imperialism.” Ivan Orellana, Venezuela’s representative to OPEC says that any “contracts found to be not in the national interest would be renegotiated.” [Bloomberg, 2/2/2005] The Venezuelan oil industry currently exports half of its oil to the US. [New York Times, 1/25/2005] This latest move is an indication to the Bush administration that the Chavez government is willing to test their relationship. US officials are worried about the implications of the sale for the American economy as 15 percent of US oil imports currently come from Venezuela. White House spokesman Scott McClellan says, “we have serious concerns. We have made our concerns known when it comes to President Chavez….” [Bloomberg, 2/2/2005]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias, Scott McClellan

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela accuses the US government of planning “new aggressions” against him. The aggressions, Chavez describes, include another attempted coup and an assassination attempt. Chavez warns US president George W. Bush that if an assassination attempt was successful the people of Latin America would assume that democratic rules “no longer apply.” Chavez warns that another consequence of his assassination would be an “interruption of the flow of oil to the US.” Chavez asks that Bush consider these consequences before making a decision about his assassination. [Venezuela Analysis, 2/20/2005]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US International Relations, US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

The US State Department says that President Chavez’s allegations (see February 20, 2005) that they are planning to assassinate him are “ridiculous.” [Voice of America, 2/23/2005]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declares that the US-sponsored project, the Free Trade Agreement for the Americas (FTAA), is dead. Chavez says that a new model will be put in place to increase trade between Venezuela, Argentina, and Brazil regardless of the US government’s position. Chavez says that eventually a new organization similar to NATO will be established for the countries of South America. [VHeadline, 3/4/2005]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US International Relations, US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announces that Venezuela has moved its central bank reserves out of US banks and liquidated its US Treasury securities. The funds have been transferred to Europe and other countries, he says. [Associated Press, 9/30/2005]

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Nicaraguan presidential candidate Daniel Ortega says that if he wins the election on November 5, he will make sure that Nicaragua joins the Alternativa Bolivariana para la America (ALBA), or the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas. Initiated by Venezuelan and Cuba in 2005, ALBA is intended to counter Washington’s Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA). One of ALBA’s stated goals is to promote social and economic justice. [Christian Science Monitor, 5/5/2006]

Entity Tags: Daniel Ortega, Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, Alternativa Bolivariana para la Americas

Timeline Tags: US-Nicaragua (1979-)

Nicaraguan presidential candidate Daniel Ortega strikes a deal with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that will allow an alliance of 51 Nicaraguan mayors, many from the Sandinista party, to purchase 10 million barrels of Venezuelan fuel on preferential terms. Under the agreement, the mayors will pay 60 percent of the cost of their purchases within 90 days of shipment, with the remaining 40 percent payable over the next 25 years at one percent interest, with a two-year grace period. In Nicaragua, high oil prices have led to rolling blackouts and transportation strikes. [Xinhua News Agency (Beijing), 4/26/2006; Associated Press, 5/5/2006] Chavez says Venezuela will also donate 10,000 tons of urea to Sandinista farming organizations. [Associated Press, 5/5/2006] During Ortega’s visit to Venezuela, he also says (see April or May 2006) that if he wins the November 5 elections, he will make sure Nicaragua joins the Alternativa Bolivariana para la America (ALBA), or the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, which was initiated by Venezuela and Cuba in 2005.

Entity Tags: Hugo Chavez Frias, Daniel Ortega

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005), US-Nicaragua (1979-)

In an interview with the Financial Times, US ambassador to Nicaragua Paul Trivelli justifies his recent warnings to Nicaraguans that the country will suffer if they elect Daniel Ortega as their next president. He tells the newspaper that Ortega is “undemocratic” and that the US will likely reconsider its relations with the country if he is elected in November. He says that Ortega, who months before struck a deal with Hugo Chavez to import fuel on preferential terms (see April 25, 2006), “has made it pretty clear what kind of model he would put in place. And I think that under those conditions… [bilateral relations] would definitely be re-examined—and not only by the executive or the State Department or the White House but by the US Congress.” Trivelli makes it clear that Washington is concerned that Ortega’s election would embolden efforts by leftist Latin American leaders to counter US initiatives in the region. [Financial Times, 9/14/2006]

Entity Tags: Paul Trivelli, Daniel Ortega

Timeline Tags: US-Nicaragua (1979-)

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