An Ounce of Coup Prevention Is Worth $1.2 Million

"The blame for all those deaths [in Iraq] has a name: George W. Bush," declared Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday. An employee of the Patton Boggs lobbying and legal firm said such statements make their work "difficult but not impossible." Chavez is paying Patton Boggs more than $1 million to improve the Venezuelan government's image in America through media work, government and grassroots lobbying. According to O'Dwyer's PR Daily, the Venezuela Information Office has been established in Washington DC to "prevent the U.S. Government from intervening in the democratic process in Venezuela." A leaked Patton Boggs memo advises Chavez "to demonstrate his commitment to combating drug trafficking and his cooperation with Colombia in order to neutralize" criticisms from the U.S. State Department.