The defenders of democracy ignore Venezuela.

Funny, I was two weeks ago writing a reply to one book called the “Idiots Guide to Latin America” and after seeing a realist magazine review one thing (among many) was really peculiar: the theme that Latin America was really not important economically so there is no oily reason to assume that the US has other intensions rather that advancing democracy in Latin America. On that aborted post I was going to say to look for the Venezuelan president to be the exhibit A of the real power Latin America has to “think differently” I had only less than a month to wait. . .
Many of our American “defenders” of democracy realize that local Latino well to do are the key to subvert the will of the people and yet, the local extremists could be dead in the water if the US and the IMF says so (Ecuador had a similar cue 2 years ago and the Clinton administration did tell to the plotters about the consequences of their actions, the military backed down.) Bush comment of Venezuela now: that Chaves is at fault for firing on his people. The problem to me is that using history I do not trust at all the even more conservative media in Venezuela to tell the truth and, doesn’t raise any red flags to anyone that the source for all the early information is coming from the Venezuelan military? There is already a report in common dreams contradicting many key aspects of the “resignation” of Chaves.

It is a dogma of many neo economists of Latin America that the left did not see how evil populists like Peron were (the connection here is that the Venezuelan president was also a populist) but this lesson was learned many decades ago by intellectuals in Latin America, this is the reason why the extreme left was also willing to go against the Venezuelan president. They are assuming a more and true leftist leadership will appear after this chaos. I think they shot themselves in the foot. As for the Right it shows that they also do not have patience for democracy either.

Many important Latin American nations are protesting the Cue, as a thinking leftist I do agree that the Chaves was not really helping the Venezuelan people, but the disaster is that another generation in south America is learning that the powers that be can not have patience for democracy. I have concluded that just like in Allende’s Chile the fasistic millitary can not wait for the next election cycle to remove the “bad” guy from office. They can’t afford the possibility that the elected troublemaker can show that he remains popular. As a believer in democracy first and then a leftist, I think what happened in Venezuela is one of the worst things that could happen democracy as a whole, and I am ashamed that America is virtually doing nothing, why is this?

We could do something about Ecuador but not in this case?

One more related topic: The Arizona Republic published this beauty of a lower column headline: “Venezuelan regime ousted” nice double speak from the “liberal” media describing the toppling of an ELECTED government.

>> the fasistic millitary can not wait for the next election cycle to remove the “bad” guy from office

it seems he was the bad guy to quite a few other groups as he had managed to antagonise pretty much everybody: labor unions, the wealthy, the media, the church, Colombia (as he was providing aid to the FARC). He was pretty “fasistic” himself as he threatened the media and anyone who criticised him. In international relations he was drifting away from democratic countries and establishing closer ties with Cuba, Libya and other dictatorships. Good riddance.

sailor, part of me agrees with you: good riddance to him, on the other hand democracy will grant us lousy leaders but we have to wait until election time to get rid of him/her or have the congress do something (Incidentally other reports I see point out that the military is dissolving many of the congressional bodies in Venezuela so good riddance to them too?) in other words: I am making the point to defend this silly little thing called democracy. Because just as we want the other side to follow the rules, we become a bunch of hypocrites when we can’t see beyond the politics when we defend democracy. My criticism of the whole thing goes not only to Chavez, but also all the extreme groups bunching against the democratic system, yes I do know Chavez himself comes from that Cue ridden environment, but the fact remains: he was elected.

To more directly answer the OP - the main reason no one is interfering is that this is an internal struggle. We don’t tend to invade countries that go through military coups (not ‘cue’) or other uprisings, unless there are serious humanitarian concerns. If the military started shooting thousands of people, or the country broke down into warring factions and as a result the people started to starve, then the world would probably step in.

Not everything is about oil, you know. The U.S. has supported military actions in lots of countries that had no oil, even after the fall of the Soviet Union when there was no ‘policy of containment’ to worry about.

If we were to invade every country that had a democratic government overturned in a coup, we’d be invading countries constantly.

Unfortunately, I’ve heard the backers of the interim president are grads of the School of the Americas, which doesn’t have the greatest track record, to put it lightly. I’ll check out the e-mail I got from the SOA watch mailing list.

GIGO, Venezuela does have oil. Lots of it. It’s close and therefore cheaper to bring here than Middle Eastern oil. Venezuela is even a member of OPEC.

US foreign policy generally does follow principles - just not necessarily the stated ones about democracy.

Sam we did not need to invade Ecuador to pressure the military to do the right thing. The biggest problem I see for the right is that they ignore that pressure not only comes from the barrel of a gun.

(dam cue, I mean coup :))

Hugo Chavez was intervening in the affairs of other countries…his policies stupidly exacerbated the Colombian war by legitimizing the narco-terrorist scum who are making that fine country a miserable place to live.

The only “important Latin American leaders” that are so far protesting the coup are Argentina’s Duhalde and Cuba’s Castro. And I figure at the moment there’s more than a little self interest involved in Argentina’s predinedt’s objections to a popular uprising and military coup. The rest have understandable reservations about really encouraging a coup d’etat - but aren’t exactly mourning Chavez either.

Anyway…Chavez might still pull off a return. If he does, heads will really start rolling.

For those of you who haven’t caught the news, the dictator-for-a-day Carmona has left power. Chavez’s VP is President for the time being.

With regard to the accusations that Chavez was behind the shootings Thursday, I received the following report from Venezuela. (The mediocre translation is mine.)

hmmm, actually I saw that the Rio group (18 Latin nations) did condemn the undemocratic action, but they also did throw potshots at Chavez.

One of those countries was Peru:

My US leaders are dropping the ball on this one IMO.

This Washington Post article shows possible involvement of the US government in the failed coup.

The Post is also beginning to ackowledge that its previous reports about the shootings at Thursday’s protests may have been inaccurate.

Will the US condemn the murders of pro-Chavez protesters during the brief military dictatorship? I’m not holding my breath.

Someone else’s interpretation is the US government’s possible involvement? You can’t be serious, can you?

it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise if the US was involved in this coup attempt. The administration certainly didn’t condemn it and had no love for Chavez. I think we will be hearing quite a bit more about this.

A Coup by Any Other Name

Well, seeing as Chavez is back in power, it would appear that the U.S. involvement angle was a non-starter.

Not sure what you mean Sam. Are you saying a coup sanctioned by the U.S. would invariably be successful?

The United States did the same in Iran in 1953. Dr. Muhammad Mussadegh, the elected prime minister, was ousted and imprisoned and Muhammad Reza Pahlavi (The Sha) who had fled the country was brought back. I have seen documentaries even in America’s PBS were it was recently acknowledged that the USA was involved.

The formula for the coup was shown: (from memory):

The American intelligence operators hired groups of people (one of them a popular big and tall group of TV performers) and hijacked a small antigovernment protest, because of the popularity of the group leaders, more and more crowds came to follow on the way to the minister’s palace. Once there, violence ensued and even the crowd that was not in the plot joined the violence. The government’s palace was taken and the prime minister arrested. Then, like now the media again is coming into play: the documentary showed the Movie Tone News film of the day, and the narrator was condemning (and mocking !) the deposed prime minister and talking like if ALL the accusations that the new regime was launching at him in the sham of his trial were the truth!

It was the saddest day in the history of democracy.

And Sam, Ned is right, not all the plots to overthrow governments are successful. The original plotters of the Iranian coup were expecting mostly to rattle the prime minister into changing his tune regarding the oil in Iran. That the whole thing turned into a successful coup was a bonus.

Point taken. I didn’t mean to suggest that the coup must be successful if the U.S. in involved, but… Ah hell. Chalk it up to fuzzy thinking. Having Chavez come back into power doesn’t say anything at all about whether or not the U.S. was involved.

I know little to nothing about SA or Venezuela (other than visiting as a tourist).

But looking at this through MENA eyes what can be said?

(a) Seems likely that Venezuelan military brass have American relationships. Training at very least.

(b) One might guess that coup plotters from the anti-Chavez end of the spectrum would want to check possible American reaction, regardless of American involvement – America is the 800 pound gorilla. Even if posed as ‘hypothetical.’
(sub-part, I would assume that American intelligence was aware of the events unfolding, I bloody would hope so.)

© One can infer from the fact it happened and the post-facto reaction from the Bush Admin that
(i) Americans raised no opposition to the idea (neutrality)
(ii) might have given ‘blessing’ (moral support)
(iii) could have added something more (actual support, e.g. intelligence)

Of the parts of © I would hazard a guess that (i) is 100% certain (in the context of hopefully knowing it was brewing at least), (ii) gets somewhat better than even odds (predicate on there not being an intelligence failure - I hope not), (iii) not likely but possible, depending on what one means by actual support. Passing some infos I would guess is not utterly unlikely given American admin feelings in re Chavez. More meaty support, I don’t think so, giving low probability, but on the other hand our band of neo-cons in Defense et al are not contra of this idea of toppling “bad” governments so can not categorically exclude.

Regardless of this analysis, the diplomatic reaction was moronic:

(A) Given Chavez is a disaster for Venezuela, he is still elected and in elections that pass the smell test. No perfect, but not all that bad to my understanding.

(B) Given our stated, loudly proclaimed even, policy is to support democratic change and values, openly --and the Admin was about as open as one gets-- supporting a coup d’etat is not good PR.

Oddly the LA countries had a better spin: condemning the coup d’etat while speaking less-than-fondly of Chavez.

Regardless, then, of the truth, to the outside world Bush Ibn Bush is going to look guilty – and frankly with some real possibility. At the very least, we looked hypocritical --without good reason. Effectively welcoming a military coup d’etat without the pro forma (in the press accounts I read, which one has to admit may have missed things in the rapid developments) condemnation of undemocratic change doesn’t mesh well with our desired image.

This sort of unnecessary diplomatic clumsiness if becoming emblamatic of this Administration. I fully support welcoming the regime change in a properly diplomatic way consistent with the message and image the US wants to get out-- and utilizing influence to ensure democratic moves. On first reports (again presuming they are correct), the Admin did not do that.

I’m hoping that they’re going to start learning lessons else the incompetence in international relations is going to really start creating utterly unnecessary problems.

Ay ay ay, my dear Collounsbury, your analysis passes the smell test.

Me, unlike you, I have very direct connections to Venezuela. I am getting regular reports. Solo expresar mi solaridad con los los venezolanos… y gracias a todos que han expesado su solidaridad aun sin querer! El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido.