Palast covers some basic points: high prices put Chavez into a position to usurp Saudi Arabia's place as the dominant player in OPEC. That's why they're so peeved with Chavez; he wants to keep Venezuelan petro dollars for Venezuela.
There are only two ways to defeat the rise of Chavez as the New Abdullah of the Americas. First, the unattractive option: Cut the price of oil below $30 a barrel. That would make Chavez’s crude worthless. Or, option two: Kill him.
Q: Your opponents are saying that you are beginning a slow-motion dictatorship. Is that what we are seeing?
Hugo Chavez: They have been saying that for a long time. When they’re short of ideas, any excuse will do as a vehicle for lies. That is totally false. I would like to invite the citizens of Great Britain and the citizens of the U.S. and the citizens of the world to come here and walk freely through the streets of Venezuela, to talk to anyone they want, to watch television, to read the papers. We are building a true democracy, with human rights for everyone, social rights, education, health care, pensions, social security, and jobs.
Q: Some of your opponents are being charged with the crime of taking money from George Bush. Will you send them to jail?
Chavez: It’s not up to me to decide that. We have the institutions that do that. These people have admitted they have received money from the government of the United States. It’s up to the prosecutors to decide what to do, but the truth is that we can’t allow the U.S. to finance the destabilization of our country. What would happen if we financed somebody in the U.S. to destabilize the government of George Bush? They would go to prison, certainly.
Q: How do you respond to Bush’s charge that you are destabilizing the region and interfering in the elections of other Latin American countries?
Chavez: Mr. Bush is an illegitimate President. In Florida, his brother Jeb deleted many black voters from the electoral registers. So this President is the result of a fraud. Not only that, he is also currently applying a dictatorship in the U.S. People can be put in jail without being charged. They tap phones without court orders. They check what books people take out of public libraries. They arrested Cindy Sheehan because of a T-shirt she was wearing demanding the return of the troops from Iraq. They abuse blacks and Latinos. And if we are going to talk about meddling in other countries, then the U.S. is the champion of meddling in other people’s affairs. They invaded Guatemala, they overthrew Salvador Allende, invaded Panama and the Dominican Republic. They were involved in the coup d’etat in Argentina thirty years ago.
Q: Is the U.S. interfering in your elections here?
Chavez: They have interfered for 200 years. They have tried to prevent us from winning the elections, they supported the coup d’etat, they gave millions of dollars to the coup plotters, they supported the media, newspapers, outlaw movements, military intervention, and espionage. But here the empire is finished, and I believe that before the end of this century, it will be finished in the rest of the world. We will see the burial of the empire of the eagle.Much more at the link. Take a good read, and then look at Noam Chomsky's book, Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance per President Chavez's recomendation.