Read decades of State Department cables regarding Hugo Chavez

Documents reflect three administration’s worth of South American policy

Written by JPat Brown
Edited by JPat Brown

Shortly after Hugo Chavez’s death a year and a half ago, MuckRock’s Shawn Musgrave requested the state department’s files on the Venezuelan president. Those docs have just started to come in, and unsurprisingly, they make for interesting reading.  

Made up of cables, memos, and transcripts dating from Chavez’s inauguration in 1999 onward, the files span the Clinton, Bush and Obama presidencies.

The docs jump back and forth between administrations, so on one page there’ll be Rep. Connie Mack seeking Bush’s condemnation on Chavez’s “economic war on the United States,”

and the next, a downright pleasant phonecall between Clinton and Chavez:

Despite the erratic tone, Hugo Chavez’s “colorful” personality and even more colorful language remains consistent, at one point referring to the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse as “a sexual witche’s Sabbath.”

Redactions come hard and fast as we get closer and closer to the the present …

And a cover letter confirms that reams of addition interdepartmental communication with the CIA exist, but is sadly exempt from disclosure.  

Read the full release below, or on the request page.


Image by Victor Soares via Wikimedia Commons and is licensed under CC BY 3.0 BR