Argh. IE crashed with my supremely brilliant reply. Anyway, here I go again:
- Others are reporting that the snipers were not the only ones shooting... do with that what you will.
Do you have a link to that information? I would definitely be interested into reading/hearing about that. It happens to be my country we're talking about.
- I'd say that the whole "refuses to support bloodshed" thing is a very well put together PR campagin. Who knows what the real reasons are?
I'd say that too, but that's because I'm a cynical bastard.
This is my cynical speculation on their reasons:
The high command was composed of military personnel loyal to Chavez, many of them involved with the original insurrection. If the government falls, they would be held accountable to the same criminal charges the President faces, both for the deaths during the coup and for the misuse of government funds related to social projects under control of the military.
The military institution would also lose all the power it gained during the recent reforms. During the last half of the 20th century, they were severely limited in political influence (military personnel basically had no political life) in fear of the power they represented and the history of military dictatorships we have had. If it had not joined the opposition, that situation would definitely have been reinstated at once.
Now I expect the blame for anything and everything that happened will be promptly shifted to those who didn't switch sides quickly enough. The high command will be held blameless, and there will be no serious investigation that could affect them. The military institution will probably still play a large role in the political life of the country.
- It seems like "letters of support", etc., are used to condemn people who we've aleady decided to condemn. See the other poster who decided to rip this Chavez guy a new one because he was "getting cozy with the Chi-coms"..
I mentioned the "letter of support" as a characteristic example of the political history of Chavez, since I thought it was more relevant than just the Afghanistan issue. In the context of this particular President, his criticism of the war had a different tone than "bombing children on Afghanistan is bad".
Perhaps more relevant is Chavez's relationship with the Colombian guerrilla. There is more than enough unproven speculation (training camps, weapon deals, Cuban trainers, etc), but it is a fact that he allowed the guerrilla to use Caracas as their diplomatic headquarters, and the media released a video which implied a formal agreement between the Army and the FARC (the government claimed it was an "undercover operation", though).
On the "getting cozy" thread, I must admit I ignored that one. It sounded too silly to read. Chavez relationship with China, although part of his pattern of controversial partners (he was the first and only democratic leader to officially visit Iraq since the Gulf War), was probably a good idea. It is no US, but it is a pretty big market for our products, after all.
- You can get foreign investment without kow-towing to the IMF ... except that foreign investment will hold off because with IMF policies in place their ability to profit would skyrocket; thus I imagine that to some extent or another they are complicit in any IMF pressure.
You imagine wrong.
Foreign investors will go to any country that promises profits, IMF policies or not. They will hold off only if the anti-IMF attitude makes them doubt seriously the country's economy.
Oil is one hell of an economic band-aid, and the Venezuelan economy (with oil prices on the rise) was strong enough to attract foreign investors with or without IMF. Particularly with promises of participation in oil projects.
Chavez was quite proud of the numbers during his first years of government, actually. It was not foreign money that was getting away, it was the local's. Local private companies being sold on the cheap also do wonders to attract foreign money.
If you don't believe me about the foreign investors, check who owns the banking and telecommunication infrastructure now, and who did before, among other things.
- About the IMF tacitly endorsing a coup -- I got that from a link by greenrd, take it as you will. It is safe to say that the IMF/World Bank/etc etc etc will be much happier with the new, interim leader.
Read the interview. As far as the comment on the Venezuelan situation is concerned: pure garbage. The guy's only claimed source is Chavez himself, which is not only quite biased, but not the best analysis you can get from the situation. From what he said, it seems Chavez told him the IMF was conspiring against him and he took it at face value.
I have news: Chavez has been saying "my enemies conspire against me" long before he took power, and continually ever since. It's also a long Latin American tradition that the President he tried to overthrow, Carlos Andres Perez, also shared.
You can check how much in touch with the situation (and reality) Chavez was in the transcription of his TV/Radio show at:
The Official Site (not yet replaced by the new government
Then again, I guess I'm biased. I don't subscribe to the idea that the IMF is a plot by the Illuminati and the Rockefellers to take over the world, although it is a popular theory back home. It reminds me too much of the delirium of certain occultists, or in the current context of the ramblings of a pro-Chavez Argentinian intellectual by the name of Ceresole.
They seem to me just incompetent bankers with too much power, unable to realize countries do not magically become politically mature, stable capitalist economies without a middle-class and an educated population, and that just money does not an educated middle-class make. Sort of like Americans thinking that by having elections a democracy has been established.
- Tackling social problems didn't work, yes. Question becomes: Didn't work because he was ineffective or evil, or didn't work because he was opposed by powerful interests?
Didn't work because it was ineffective. According to some it was evil too, I just think it was supremely incompetent and politicized.
In 1999 Venezuela faced a crisis as sudden floods killed thousands (hundreds of thousands, according to some estimates) all over the country. This happened during a referendum.
According to certain members of the National Guard, emergency measures were not taken because the elections were a priority.
After the elections, the Army is deployed to deal with the crisis, and an international cry for help is made. The US answers the call by sending the Engineer Corps to rebuild the roads in the coast and help to reconstruct, free of charge. The Army officials in charge of the rescue operations agree, as this could potentially save a lot of lives (without roads you can't get water and food to the survivors).
Chavez answered by sending the American Corps (already on their way) back. He's happy Cuban troops will help the rescue efforts, but he will not suffer Americans trying to help. Apparently political pride is more important.
Meanwhile, the Venezuelan communities in the US and Europe organize to collect food, medicine and money to send back home to the victims. The collected goods arrived to Venezuela and apparently disappeared. The victims received goods, however, signed "in the name of the President and the Bolivarian movement".
- As far as this "interim leader" goes; he was installed, not chosen. Given Chavez's landslide victory a while back, I'd say that there are probably plenty of non-business civilian leaders around. The question is how many of them are in a position of agreement with the military and foreign business interests?
Well, of course the "interim" leader was not chosen. It's impossible to have general elections in the middle of a general strike!
The one surprising thing with Chavez, and you'll find plenty of information about this if you do your research, is that he started with a solid 60-70% of support, which got to 80% at its peak (first year of government), and yet his support went down to less than 30% this year.
There are rather few non-business civilian leaders around not linked with the government, as far as I know. Most of them, the most promising ones, are rather young and lack experience, which for cultural (and sometimes legal) reasons means they cannot take the presidency.
The old guard of leaders were delegitimized, or joined the ranks of the Bolivarian revolution. It has taken some time for the opposition to organize themselves under a new leadership, so no, there are most definitely not "plenty" of leaders available.
One thing I feel I have to repeat ad nauseam: Chavez's government was a military government, and the military were with Chavez mostly because of that. The old military were relegated to the lower ranks and/or decomissioned to the point were, this year, those with the opposition had to resign or potentially face court martial. If the military had been interested in a coup d'etat, they would have done that, but they WERE the government.
- I said organized and led by the "elites"; they are certainly in a position (media control, direct control of workers, access, etc.) to whip up a frenzy in almost everyone if they wanted to, right? And it seems like those striking were all from the oil company.... Hmm.
NO. The oil company is the government and the government is the oil company, literally. PDVSA is not a private company, and all of the top management is government officials (recently military colleagues close to Chavez).
Please, before saying something like that, at least do some research on the role and nature of PDVSA.
The "elite" does not have the power to get the population in a frenzy. They tried during the referendum for the new Constitution and they utterly failed (Chavez popularity actually increased). Chavez won the elections by getting the public into a frenzy against the "elite", as a matter of fact. You might want to do some research on what "elite" we're talking about here too, and who's in control of the workers, who's the main employer, etc.
- It has also been said that Mr. President shut down the television stations because they were repeatedly broadcasting the same footage, over and over, and essentially inciting riot. I can't say I have much faith in this explanation, though...
I think I'll just refer readers back to the link I gave above, where they can judge that claim in the context of Chavez's discourse.
- Anyway, time to go about my day. Just a bit o' devils advocacy to point out that this situation is a mess and any simplistic right/wrong explanation is bunk.
And I can only say I can thank you for that. It surprised me how easily the Kuro5hin forum jumped to a simplistic interpretation that satisfied their personal biases.
The original story was simplistic and misinformed, but not terribly misinformed. I was pleased when I saw the post in spite of that, because I thought it could spark a more interesting, objective discussion than in groups populated mostly by my fellow countrymen.
Yet among the posters the degree of misinformation and bias was even worse. I knew there was going to be bias, it's unavoidable and I'm as guilty as anyone, but I expected it to be informed bias. Apparently few people were willing to do a google search before talking about CIA conspiracies against peaceful democracies.
This was one of the few threads that actually tried to analyze both sides and make sense out of the issue.
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]