WikiLeaks released a State Department cable from 2006 detailing the efforts of former president George W. Bush's administration to aid opposition to Venezuela's now-deceased president Hugo Chávez.
According to the WikiLeaks website, the cable was originally published in 2011, but The Hill reported the cable was leaked Friday afternoon. From The Hill's report:
The cable, signed by then-Ambassador William Brownfield, outlines a five-point strategy that includes “penetrating Chavez's political base,” “dividing Chavismo,” “protecting vital U.S. business” and “isolating Chavez internationally.” Those goals are to be obtained by strengthening “democratic institutions,” according to the cable.
The cable goes on to address a wide range of social projects in Venezuela led by the USAID Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), from training women to lobby city government for better working conditions to improving local garbage collection.
The 2006 cable ends with this prediction about its efforts to unseat the socialist leader: "Should Chavez win the December 3rd presidential elections, OTI expects the atmosphere for our work in Venezuela to become more complicated."
Venezuela will hold elections on April 14 to elect a new president. Acting President Nicolás Maduro, who was vice president under Chávez, is expected to win handily.
You can read Slate's obituary about Chávez, who died on March 5 after battling cancer, or read what the late Christopher Hitchens learned about Chávez's mental health when he visited Venezuela with the actor Sean Penn in 2010.
Correction, April 6, 2013: This post's headline originally said the cable disclosed plans to "topple" Hugo Chávez's rule. As readers helpfully point out, that wording was too strong. The headline and story have been revised to reflect that.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Democrats’ War at Home
How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?
An Iranian Woman Was Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist. Can Activists Save Her?
Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing
Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10
We Need to Talk: A Terrible Name for a Good Women’s Sports Show
Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.
How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.
How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully
On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.