There's a bizarre rumor going 'round that the CIA is looking to overthrow Hugo Ch�vez if he beats the recall referendum scheduled for this weekend in Venezuela.
The CIA undersecretary for southern hemisphere affairs, William Spencer, has convened a conference for CIA country heads in Santiago to discuss what they are going to do about Hugo Chavez The CIA apparently regards it as a foregone conclusion that Chavez will win his recall referendum on Sunday (note: I think it�s actually pretty close [that's dsquared, not me- I've sort of tuned out the situation in .ve -ed]) The CIA believe that if Chavez wins, he will overthrow the governments of Bolivia and Colombia, then use the multiple corruption scadals in Peru as an excuse to invade and remove the current government The CIA believe that Chavez� ultimate plan is to use Venezuela and Peru as twin centres of a revolution to create a Latin American socialist superstate. In order to forestall this �domino effect�, the CIA is seriously thinking about using �military and financial pressure� to remove Chavez
The article itself (which I found via Factiva- hat tip to the token readers out there who are minions of the Dow Jones Media Empire) is a fiesta of speculation: there is only one source cited, and he's an anonymous "functionary" at the Embassy in Santiago.
And, like the game of telephone that is the internet, several facts have been distorted, substituted, or just lost in translation as they came down the pipe: turns out Spencer is supposed to be meeting with the security heads of regional governments, not CIA station chiefs. And the dire scenarios sketched out above are contingency plans based on rumors circulating in the anti-Ch�vez camp.
Finally, the one point that is sourced (however sketchily), doesn't exactly point towards g-men jumping out of black helicopters:
De acuerdo con un alto funcionario de la legaci�n norteamericana en Santiago, a la reuni�n que ha convocado Spencer asistir�an representantes de Colombia, Ecuador, Brasil y Per˙. En la capital chilena se elaborar�a un plan financiado por el Departamento de Tesoro y con el apoyo del Pent�gono en las �reas que le compete.*
* At the foot of the letter: "According to a high functionary at the US Embassy in Santiago, also attenting the meeting which Spencer has organized will be representatives of Colombia, Ecuador, Brasil and Peru. In the Chilean capital they will develop a plan financed by the Treasury Department with the support of the Pentagon in it's areas of competence."