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Palast: But doesn't it worry you that Otto Reich is in charge of Latin American affairs for the Bush government? He spoke to Carmona, he spoke to other people who may be involved in the coup, he was previously involved in trying to overthrow a government when he worked for Bush the father. Doesn't it worry you that the man in charge of Latin American operations for the United States has made ties to your enemies and has a history of overthrowing governments?

Chávez: We are assessing all this behaviour, but more than concern me, I believe that this man that you mention has been very concerned himself and has been making a lot of effort to explain his behaviour to the world. And also for the image of the US government around the world, they should be concerned to clarify this to the world, for example to the European Union, Latin American countries, to the whole world. I believe the United States must be very concerned to clarify their real position on this coup, this assault on democracy.

I don't want to believe, not even for an instant, that the US actually supported this coup. This would be dreadful for the whole world, that a government that talks so much about democracy and spreads the words of democracy and human rights, would support this humungous atrocity. It would be like the negation of all their moral ethics and truths, their own words would be compromised as well as their credibility, a country as important as the United States.

I think they should be a lot more concerned than me, because of the opinions of the individual you already mentioned. What I have said is that I don't want to believe anything like that, but there is an ongoing process of investigation here, and also in the US. There is a commission of the Senate investigating the facts, I think they are coming here, and we have another process of investigation here as well.

I have, for example, proof, the written proof, I have the time of the entries and exits of the two military officers from the United States into the headquarters of the coup-plotters. I have their names, who they met with, what they said, proof on video and on still photographs. This is being investigated, what those officers from the US military were doing here. I have in my hands a radar image of a military vessel that came into Venezuelan waters, near the Paraguana peninsula, on midday the 13th of April. I have radar images of a helicopter that takes off from that ship, and flies over Venezuela, and of other planes that violated Venezuelan airspace. Again, all this is being currently investigated.

I don't know if it was a US military ship yet, it could be from another country. In any case, I cannot give you any insights, it's a very serious investigation. I repeat what I already said, I am very interested in a fast resolution of all this, and I hope that the name and the democratic image of the United States government, that represents a people who love democracy, Abraham Lincoln's people, George Washington's people, Martin Luther King's people, the people of great poets, the American people who are brothers of the Venezuelan people, that's why I repeat -

Palast: Well who was it that the military men from the United States spoke to, you said that you know who they spoke to?

Chávez: I cannot give details, please understand that I am Head of State and there is a process of investigation currently in the Court Martial of the Republic, and if I did this I would be violating national secrets which would compromise the investigation. I beg for your understanding in this, Greg, I have more information but it belongs to a military trial that is currently open in Venezuela.