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Profile: Otto Juan Reich

 
  

Positions that Otto Juan Reich has held:

  • US special envoy to Latin America under the administration of George W. Bush


 

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Otto Juan Reich actively participated in the following events:

 
  

2001-2003      Haiti Coup

       According to Haiti expert Robert Maguire of Trinity College, the permanent US representative to the Organization of American States Roger Noriega and US Special Envoy to Latin America Otto Reich lead a “relatively small group of people” who develop strategies toward Haiti. [Dollars and Sense, 9/2003]
People and organizations involved: Roger Francisco Noriega, Otto Juan Reich
          

January 11, 2002      Haiti Coup

       The White House appoints Otto Juan Reich as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. [US Department of State, 1/11/2002] His nomination will never be approved by the Senate. [Knight Ridder, 1/9/2003]
People and organizations involved: Otto Juan Reich
          

Apr 11, 2002      Venezuela

       Chavez is overthrown in a military coup reminiscent of previous CIA-coups in Guatemala, Chile, Brazil etc. The US welcomes the coup and congratulates the military, while denying involvement. The coup collapses after two days, however, and Chavez returns to power. The BBC notes: “Since his election, President Chavez has been a thorn in the side of the United States—which gets much of its oil from Venezuela. In particular, US officials were angered because Mr Chavez was selling cheap oil to Fidel Castro in Cuba. Mr. Chavez had also condemned US bombing of civilians in Afghanistan.” [BBC, 4/14/2002] Otto J. Reich, the US' assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs, is in contact with Mr. Chavez's successor on the very day he takes over. The Bush administration claims Reich was pleading with him not to dissolve the National Assembly. [New York Times, 4/17/02] The Pentagon also admits that Rogelio Pardo-Maurer, the Defense Department official responsible for Latin America, discussed the proposed coup in Washington with Gen. Lucas Romero Rincon, chief of the Venezuelan military command. Maurer spent the 1980s working in Washington as the chief spokesman for the Nicaraguan Contras. [World Policy Institute, 4/9/2001; The Guardian, 11/28/2001; Columbian Journal, 6/10/2002; National Catholic Reporter, 8/10/2001; Yellow Times, 5/7/2002] It is revealed that senior Bush administration aides, including Assistant Secretary of State Otto Reich and White House advisor Elliott Abrams (both key players in the Reagan administrations covert network for supporting the contra terrorist war on Nicaragua in the 1980s), had met repeatedly in Washington with the coup's organizers. [The Observer, 4/21/2002] Elliott Abrams is also known for his role in the 1973 coup in Chile, as well as his sponsorship of death squads in Argentina, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. [Yellow Times, 5/7/2002] The Washington Post reports: “Members of the country's diverse opposition had been visiting the U.S. Embassy here in recent weeks, hoping to enlist U.S. help in toppling Chavez. The visitors included active and retired members of the military, media leaders and opposition politicians.” Administration spokesmen insist however that these officials repeatedly urged the coup plotters not to take extra-constitutional action. [The Washington Post, 4/13/2002; Monthly Review, 9/2002; CounterPunch, 4/14/2002] A Defense Department official claims the administration's message was less categorical.“We were not discouraging people,” the official said. “We were sending informal, subtle signals that we don't like this guy. We didn't say, ‘No, don't you dare,’ and we weren't advocates saying, ‘Here's some arms; we'll help you overthrow this guy.’ We were not doing that.” [BBC, 4/16/2002; Foreign Policy in Focus, 6/2002]
People and organizations involved: Hugo Chavez Frias, Otto Juan Reich, Fidel Castro, Rogelio Pardo-Maurer, Elliott Abrams, Lucas Romero Rinconh
          

November 25, 2002      Haiti Coup

       Otto Juan Reich is named US Special Envoy to the Western Hemisphere for the Secretary of State. He had previously served as Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs (see January 11, 2002), but never received a confirmation from the Senate. [US Department of State, 1/9/2003; US Embassy in Israel, 11/25/2002]
People and organizations involved: Otto Juan Reich
          

January 9, 2003      Haiti Coup

       The White House announces the nomination of Roger F. Noriega, the current US Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States, to the position of Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. [US Department of State, 1/09/03; The White House, 1/09/03] Otto Reich, who was originally named to the position, but whose nomination was never confirmed by the Senate, is instead appointed by Bush to the White House position of Special Envoy for Western Hemisphere Initiatives, which does not have to be approved by the Senate (see January 11, 2002) (see November 25, 2002). [US Department of State, 1/09/03; Knight Ridder, 1/9/2003]
People and organizations involved: Otto Juan Reich, Roger Francisco Noriega
          

February 28, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       US special envoy to Latin America Otto Reich meets with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos of Santiago to discuss Chile's position on the US-British-Spanish UN draft resolution declaring Iraq in further material breach of past UN resolutions. Prior to the meeting, Chile had been openly against the passing of another resolution. But after Reich's visit, the president says that force should be used against Iraq if it does not comply with the UN, but “by a broad coalition of countries.” [The Washington Post, 3/1/03]
People and organizations involved: Ricardo Lagos, Otto Juan Reich
          

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