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Roger Pardo-Maurer, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's top advisor on Latin America, in July told the Heritage Institute, a conservative think tank, that Cuba and Venezuela had a deliberate plan to make Bolivia a ``Marxist, radical, anti-U.S., pro-Cuba, drug-production state.''
Rumsfeld said last month that Cuba and Venezuela have been involved in Bolivia ``in unhelpful ways.''
Bush administration officials have said Venezuela provided cash and other assistance to radical groups. But the administration has declined to go into details, citing concerns that doing so would reveal intelligence-gathering sources.
The result is that U.S. statements have sounded mostly empty, analysts said.
Chávez has dismissed most U.S. allegations against his government as lies or intrusions into the sovereign affairs of a state. He has also gone on the offensive.
He dismisses Bush's push for free trade in the hemisphere as a self-serving ''neo-liberal'' ploy to further impoverish Latin Americans. He has increased his influence in the region by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on bonds from Ecuador and Argentina, and has offered cheap oil to Caribbean nations.