Title: Venezuela's President Chavez: Castro's Ideological Successor

Release Date: 2016-12-07

Document Date: 2005-03-18

Description: President Bush considers Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez a "threat to democracy in the region and a threat to U.S. interests in particular." But "from a SIGINT perspective, Venezuela poses a particularly difficult challenge. With Castro as his mentor, Chavez has learned the importance of communications security and has made sure that his subordinates understand this as well."

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(U) Venezuela's President Chavez: Castro's Ideological Successor
FROM:
SINIO for Latin America (S17)
Run Date: 03/18/2005
FROM:
SINIO for Latin America (S17)
Venezuelan leadership an intelligence target (S//REL)
(S//REL) Over the past few weeks the Bush Administration has
identified Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as a threat to
democracy in the region in general and a threat to U.S. interests in
particular. Chavez is a throwback to the Cold War Era; he is an
ardent admirer and supporter of Cold War dinosaur Fidel Castro,
whom Chavez views as his mentor.
(S//REL) Following in his mentor's footsteps, Chavez is virulently
anti-U.S. and is actively seeking to end the oil relationship
between the two countries, and to pursue any course of action he
believes will have a negative impact on the United States. The
Administration has tasked the Intelligence Community with
improving our capabilities vis-Ã -vis Venezuela to enhance
policymakers' understanding of the Chavez regime's plans and
intentions so that policymakers can develop a means for countering
them.
(S) Having centralized control over the government and military
and weakened opposition groups to the point that they are
incapable of offering a viable alternative to his regime, Chavez is
focusing his efforts on exporting his Bolivarian Revolution** to
neighboring countries, casting the United States in the role of
imperial exploiter of Latin America and seeking to create regional
trade and security blocs that would exclude the United States.
(S) Other democratic nations in Latin America are concerned that
his efforts to develop and strengthen ties to insurgent and populist
groups in the region could lead to civil unrest and that his anti-free
market policies could impact negatively on their economies. Chavez
also is reaching out to countries of enduring concern to the United
States, particularly China, Iran, and Russia, to develop ties and
further cooperation as another means of pursuing his anti-U.S.
strategy.
(S) In addition to threatening democratic institutions in the region,
Chavez is working to limit Venezuela's dependency on the United
States to purchase Venezuelan oil. The high sulphur content of the
oil requires specialized processing and most of the refineries
capable of handling this crude are in the United States. Although
there is an element of the impractical in Chavez' desire to reduce
oil deliveries to the United States, since Venezuela is the fourth
largest supplier of oil to the United States any threat to cut off that
supply is one that needs to be taken seriously.
(S//SI//REL) From a SIGINT perspective, Venezuela poses a
particularly difficult challenge. With Castro as his mentor, Chavez

SERIES:
(U//FOUO) SINIO
Council Intelligence
Issues
1. China: Modernizing
and Mobilizing Its
Strategic Strike
Capabilities
2. China: The NearTerm Potential for
Economic, Political,
and Social Crises
3. Al-Qa'ida: An
Emerging NarcoSupported Terrorist
Group?
4. Venezuela's
President Chavez:
Castro's Ideological
Successor
5. Lebanon: Domestic
Crisis Averted, for
Now, in Wake of
Prime Minister's
Resignation
6. SIGINT Monitors
Global Spread of
Avian Flu

has learned the importance of communications security and has
made sure that his subordinates understand this as well. NSA, in
conjunction with its collection partners in the Intelligence
Community, is working to improve our capabilities in the region
through a series of surveys and initiatives designed to enhance our
collection on a range of important issues related to Venezuela.
**(U) Notes:
Chavez' "Bolivarian Revolution" takes its name from 19th century
Latin American hero Simon Bolivar, who led several Andean Ridge
countries to achieve independence from Spain. The Chavez
version, however, casts the United States as the "imperial
aggressor."

"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet
without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)."

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DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108

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