The comments of TV evangelist and presdintial candiadate Pat Robertson proposing the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez would be amusing if they didn't skirt so close to the real dark side of ongoing US imperialism in Latin America. The key figure behind the current adminstration's manoeuvers in the region is Otto Reich, whose shadowy legacy dates back to the Reagan era and Oliver North and strong links to the CIA. The role of the Bush administration and Otto Reich in particular in the 2002 coup against Chavez is an open secret seemingly everywhere but in the mainstream US news media. Chavez and Castro are pals, mostly bound together by their opposition to US influence in the region. The US tries to demonize Chavez, but he's done little more than be a popular socialist, wear military fatigues, and refuse to toe the US line in regional diplomacy. Venezuela has lots of oil, which makes it harder for the US to push around (indeed, their opposition to Chavez hasn't stopped them from importing about 8% of their total oil supply from Venezuela). The White House is busy distancing itself from Robertson's comments, but their own history of dirty tricks (including assasssination) in the region will make it hard for their opponents in Latin America to distinguish the rantings of a bigoted religious zealot from official foreign policy.