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Coup in Venezuela

By winthrop in News
Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:49:05 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Following weeks of anticipation, there has been a coup in Venezuela. At the behest of the Venezuelan military, President Hugo Chavez has resigned and is being held at a military barracks in the capital city Caracas, awaiting word on his fate. Pedro Carmona, the head of the Venezuelan business association Fedecamaras, has accepted the military's invitation to lead a transitional government


The coup follows a major strike at the state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela. Initially, the strike was led by management and executives, angered by Chavez' appointments to the board of directors, calling them politically motivated. Later, the one-million member Venezuelan Workers Confederation, along with Fedecameras, joined the strike. Chavez vowed to replace striking managers with military personnel.

On April 11, one week after the strikes began, between 100,000 and 200,000 people attended an anti-Chavez demonstration in the streets of Caracas, while approximately 5,000 people attended a counterdemonstration. When the two sides met, with the Chavez-controlled National Guard and the opposition-controlled local police between them, violence broke out, with both sides sustaining injuries and 13 people althogether killed. Chavez ordered newsmedia to stop coverage of the demonstrations, claiming that they were inciting the violence.

Chavez, himself a member of a failed 1992 coup and winner of a landslide election in 1998, had pursued policies which have put himself in frequent opposition with many elite elements of Venezuelan society. He has implemented land reform and increased social spending, including spending on education, ecology, and aid for the poor. He had reversed the trend toward privatization of state-owned assets (including Petroleos de Venezuela), and spoken out against neolibaral policies across Latin America.

He has also found himself in opposition with the Bush administration in America numerous times: by opposing the US' Plan Colombia, establishing diplomatic and trade ties with Cuba, and speaking out against the United States bombing in Afghanistan. Venezuela supplies about 15% of the United States' oil.

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Coup in Venezuela | 131 comments (124 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
Lesson learnt: (4.12 / 25) (#2)
by Ken Pompadour on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 11:58:21 AM EST

He had reversed the trend toward privatization of state-owned assets

Don't fuck with the Americans.



...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
Good ol' Ken. (2.33 / 3) (#90)
by Demiurge on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 10:51:51 PM EST

He's brave enough to reject any use of cohesive arguments or evidence, and simply spout inane anti-American, anti-semitic rhetoric.

[ Parent ]
All the same (5.00 / 1) (#103)
by myshka on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 09:15:36 AM EST

The original comment is spectacular: it summarizes in one concise line the hundred or so comments that follow, before the fact. A well-deserved five rating.

[ Parent ]
Ya know (4.47 / 17) (#3)
by wiredog on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 11:58:41 AM EST

It takes real talent to piss off management and labor simultaneously. What is this guy, the bastard love child of Bush and Nader?

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
labor or labor unions? (4.40 / 5) (#15)
by linca on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:28:40 PM EST

Though he might have angered the labor only through bad economic management, it also depends on how much the Unions are leftist ; the Teamsters Union, for exemple, isn't necessarily "labor"

[ Parent ]
labor in the sense of "workers" (4.50 / 4) (#29)
by Delirium on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:06:51 PM EST

This couldn't have just been opposition from the labor unions as political organizations unrepresentative of their membership, because there were up to 200,000 anti-Chavez protestors, meaning quite a few of the unions' rank-and-file members were there (i.e. your average laborers).

And it's somewhat impressive because in general it's pretty difficult to simultaneously piss off both the rich elite of a country and the poor laborers.

[ Parent ]

demonstrations numbers (4.60 / 5) (#31)
by linca on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:15:37 PM EST

I think that the last demonstration of May 68 in France had about a million people in the street. none laborers, since it was the demonstration of those resenting the whole idea of not liking De Gaulle. 200 000 people need not be "poor" laborers ; plus, I'd guess those laborers working in oil production would not be the poorest part of the population, in an oil producing country. Say, if Chavez had decided to double the taxes on oil production, so tha more of those benefits would go to the whole country, both oil managers and laborers would be unhappy. It even sounds it was something like that.

[ Parent ]
Wow (none / 0) (#43)
by linca on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:35:21 PM EST

I swear I hadn't read greenrd's comments down below. You can remove the if's in my last sentence.

[ Parent ]
"It was the Sun Wot Won It" (5.00 / 4) (#32)
by greenrd on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:18:12 PM EST

Sorry, only the Brits will get that subject line. (And some of them will be too young to remember.)

It's possible that the fact that Chavez opponents are represented by something like 90% of the media, might have something to do with it. That is to say, he might be a good guy, but if he gets demonised enough and inaccurately blamed for the country's problems... well, let's just say dissent can be manufactured just as consent can be.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

that's certainly possible (5.00 / 4) (#34)
by Delirium on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:25:30 PM EST

Yeah, I can see the average person being convinced that Chavez is bad for laborers if exposed to enough such rhetoric. I'm sure there's something he did that might be bad for at least some segment of labor (for example, if social programs and wage equalization ended up reducing average oil industry worker wages), and if the media is against him they'll play that up.

As for the reference, I'm neither British nor very old and I remember it. Early 90s sometime I believe, The Sun tabloid boasting about how they're the ones that won the election for John Major.

[ Parent ]

Maybe it's the water (4.37 / 8) (#7)
by Nikau on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:17:52 PM EST

Something I have been wondering about for some time is why Central and South American countries seem so prone to coup attempts. (And many African countries too, it seems, but that's sort of unrelated)

A while ago I spent some time reading brief histories of different countries and it seemed like most of the Central & South American nations have been witness to at least one coup, usually military-led.

I can't seem to see why this keeps happening. Is it that difficult to find and keep a stable working government south of the equator? One thing that's different about this coup is that the military isn't placing one of their own in a dictatorial role, and that's a refreshing change...

So, can anyone explain?

---
I have a zero-tolerance policy for zero-tolerance policies, and this policy itself is the exception to itself which allows me to have it without being contradictory. - Happy Monkey

CIA (3.77 / 9) (#9)
by BlackTriangle on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:23:49 PM EST

Whenever a country threatens to cut the Oil supply - not the actual commodity mind you, but the Oil profits - the US steps in and shows them who's the boss.

Moo.


[ Parent ]
Look North (4.37 / 8) (#11)
by linca on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:24:31 PM EST

First thing to notice is that Venezuela is actually north of the Equator.

Second thing to remember is the Monroe doctrine and the fight against communism ; in the second half of the last century, a fair amount of the coup d'etat had CIA written all over them

Lastly, it has to do with a "Latine" way of governing, by revolt rather than by vote, that concerns most countries south of France (which is included), like Italy, or Spain ; where when you don't agree with the government, you will faster try to change it by force than by votes.

[ Parent ]
"Latine" way of governing (5.00 / 1) (#77)
by ElMiguel on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 05:50:31 PM EST

You know, as a Spaniard I am frankly interested in your comment about a "Latine" way of governing. It's also interesting that you include France in the group of undemocratic countries, it being one of the oldest democracies in the world.

Do you have any reasons to back up your comment, or is it the usual anti-Latin racism which for some reason does not seem to be politically incorrect in the USA (think about a white person talking about "a black way of governing")?

[ Parent ]

I'm French (5.00 / 1) (#105)
by linca on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 01:17:05 PM EST

And, we too have a history of more-or-less democratic putsches : Indeed we invented the whole concept of "important general taking power", with Napoleon. We had more violent revolutions than can be counted ; the last coup being General de Gaulle's, in 1958, which took a quite similar form as all those often seen in Latin America. That DeGaulle turned out to be a Democrat, was only luck. (note Chavez often referred to him, If I remember correctly). Spain, with the quite violent policies of the 30's, and even the attempted coup in 1981 or 1982, also takes part of that tradition ; Franco and Pinochet, for example, seemed to have similar motivations and characters. Then yo've got Portugal and Salazar, Italy and Mussolini... (Need I talk about Machiavel?).

Oh, and the "latin" world has got more to do with language than with race ; and Southern Europe has as much in common with the Maghreb as with Scandinavia. One of our faults (if it is one), is to care enough about politics a to regularly get violent about it, something apparently less predominant in Northern Europe.

About France been one of the oldest democracies in the world, it is only since 1870 that we've had any kind of stable democracy ; before that the concept was still more or less revolutionary ; and as I've said, de Gaulle could have been a Franco-like person and destroyed the French democracy, very easily.

[ Parent ]
Still racist (4.00 / 2) (#108)
by ElMiguel on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 03:24:41 PM EST

Oh, and the "latin" world has got more to do with language than with race.

Then I'm afraid your comment does not make a whole lot of sense. Do you think talking about an "anglophone way of governing" would be reasonable?

Indeed we invented the whole concept of "important general taking power", with Napoleon.

I don't think so. For one, Oliver Cromwell did it earlier, and probably there are examples at any historic age you care to look at (Julius Caesar?).

About the whole of your comment: that you consider yourself a Latin certainly makes your affirmation a lot less offensive, but it is still fairly racist (or should I say culturally discriminatory). Saying that black people are inferior is racist, even if it's a black person who says it.

In addition, the whole concept of modern democracy is quite recent historically. Even if some countries have had less internal attacks to their democracies, you can't imply that their culture is somehow superior or "more democratic". They already tend to assume it without us devaluating our culture.

[ Parent ]

Language and culture (5.00 / 2) (#109)
by linca on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 03:40:24 PM EST

I'm referring to the idea that, indeed, ways of thinking, and thus culture, are indeed influenced by Language, and in this way it is not absurd to talk about an Anglophone way of governing. ore specifically, I'd say there is a scandinavian way of governing, one that involves much less controversy than a hypothetical latin way.

I don't consider Latin people as any kind of race but rather as a Culture, one that shapes a society, because of language. (note that the Caesar example would indeed prove my point ; Napoleon certainly saw Caesar as an example ; Caesars where, quite clearly, latin).

I'd say Napoleon has more to do with how it is usually done in the last two centuries. Cromwell was the head of something like a revolution. Napoleon actually did a coup d'etat, very similar to what happened in Venezuela or in Chile in 1973.

And what I am saying is that latin cultures put less emphasis on consensus than some others. And indeed care a bit more about politics than English-speaking ones, for example. It has positive aspects, in my mind, as much as it has negative aspects. It makes it easier to enable changes in society, for example.

[ Parent ]
Many of them (4.71 / 7) (#12)
by wiredog on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:24:51 PM EST

Got caght in the cold war crossfire. If the CIA wasn't backing right wing paramilitaries, the KGB was backing left wing revolutionaries.

Africa had the same problem, plus anti-colonial fights.

Mexico and Brazil have been coup free.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]

sounds like an idea for a new label (4.00 / 6) (#16)
by infinitera on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:33:42 PM EST

Yes, our coffee is Coup-free (TM).

[ Parent ]
KGB, Brazil (4.50 / 2) (#18)
by winthrop on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:40:33 PM EST

Got caght in the cold war crossfire. If the CIA wasn't backing right wing paramilitaries, the KGB was backing left wing revolutionaries.

Are you referring to any countries in particular? Where did the KGB back left-wing revolutionaries? Got any links?

Mexico and Brazil have been coup free.

In 1964, Brazil had a CIA-backed coup that led to a brutal military dictatorship.

[ Parent ]

Nicaragua, El Salvador (4.60 / 5) (#21)
by wiredog on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:44:12 PM EST

The left wing movements there were Soviet backed. FARC in Columbia was, now they survive by taxing the druggies.

Columbia is looking like a real mess. One that, unfortunately, the US may be getting more involved in.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]

Mexico (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by linca on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:31:21 PM EST

Mexico has had more coup and revolutions than one may dare count ; and if it didn't have one in recent history, it is because the PRI's government was dictatorial enough and pleased the US, mostle. BTW, a party called revolutionary institutional either has a good sense of humor or isn't anymore even trying to convince the electors before fixing the elections....

[ Parent ]
Coups (none / 0) (#97)
by Banjonardo on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 12:46:22 AM EST

Actually, speaking as a Brazilian, we did have the coup that started the military dictatorship, and the ARENA party, and whatever.

The Americans supported it, but none of that covert CIA crap; you don't fuck with a country as big as Brazil. (Then again, Mexico probably thought that too before the Americans took California.)
I like Muffins. MOLDY muffins.
[ Parent ]

I was just talking about this... (3.66 / 3) (#13)
by codespace on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:25:40 PM EST

...with some of my friends. Perhaps it has something to do with the third-world nature of the economies involved? The same kind of thing has happened in various eastern-bloc countries, as well, which are just as bad-off, economically.

_____
today on how it's made: kitchen knives, mannequins, socks and hypodermic needles.
[ Parent ]
other than US intervention... (4.00 / 3) (#24)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:57:00 PM EST

i think it may have something to do with when the neighboring state finds how easy it is to lead a revolution of the people....(or military, or corporation, or whatever)...your states (military, people, corporation or whatever)s realize its easy and are tempted to try it. it may not always happen but as you've pointed out it might have happened a few times.
of course i'm no expert...
and the US's hands are covered in the blood of this~
"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
That reminds me! (none / 0) (#37)
by greenrd on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:28:09 PM EST

I have read somewhere that the US actually encouraged some right-wing regime (perhaps it was Pinochet's?) to foment repression in neighbouring Latin American countries. Can't remember where I read that. Could someone help me out here?


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

No links (4.33 / 3) (#42)
by wiredog on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:35:07 PM EST

But I've heard that too. It wouldn't surprise me. I know that the US operated against Nicaragua from Honduras.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
A link (4.66 / 3) (#56)
by xav on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:03:35 PM EST

Here you can find some articles about that.

[ Parent ]
Pinochet (4.00 / 2) (#98)
by Banjonardo on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 12:47:05 AM EST

The U.S. put Pinochet in power.
I like Muffins. MOLDY muffins.
[ Parent ]
Colonial heritage. (5.00 / 2) (#41)
by Cerebus on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:34:19 PM EST

There's no established tradition of constitutional self-government. Let me explain. The Spanish and the Portugese colonies in Central and South America were allowed no real form of self-government. No general education in civic affairs was available to the population. Government was taken on from afar, or imposed through the appointment and staffing of an elite social class from the motherland. Where this form of colonial government held sway, there arises a legacy of goevernmental instability. This is true of former colonies of most European nations: where even limited self-government was allowed, stable governments developed in the post-colonial era; where self-government was prohibited, unstable governments proliferated.
-- Cerebus
[ Parent ]
Government flow in SA (5.00 / 2) (#59)
by xav on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:01:23 PM EST

Indeed, it is sad to find that most south american countries have had oscillating forms of government: Democracy -> Revolution -> Dictatorship -> Revolution -> Democracy, with optional Revolution periods.

[ Parent ]
the cold war (5.00 / 2) (#62)
by turmeric on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:16:15 PM EST

duh. just as these people (Africa too) are trying to throw off colonialism (which the US did in 1776) the cold war breaks out, and all of a sudden you have people like Kissinger in the USgovernment saying 'we cant let those people go to the communists' so he hires some thugs to stage a coup and hires people from the university of chicago to go ruin (oh i meant to say run, sorry) the country.

of course in africa it is people from the university of london, or oxford, who go back to ruin the country, but the US is still there, backing people like Mobutu to overthrow Zaire to 'stave off the communists'

Of course, there were plenty of communists who decided 'we cant lose cuba to the capitalists' so they kill a bunch of people and have a coup. Same with other countries. The USSR backed them. Oh, and that almost happened in South Africa, where China was supplying arms to Nelson Mandela's Umkonto We Sizwe , the terrorist arm of the ANC (its in his autobiography, im not making this shit up)... but ANC was very much full of people who knew that negotitation was going to be much longer lasting than any violent coup and so, ... well..

what can I say. war leads to problems. We are still dealing with the ramifications of hitler and world war ii in israel today. it is not like israel and palestine started up in the 60s, there was a chain of events that led to our current state, and we must sit and wait patiently for the wounds of history to play themselves out like a violent storm or an especially harsh winter... in africa and south america we just have to wait for these people to recover from the emotional and cultural damage they suffered during the cold war, for their homes and countries were where the hot wars of this superpower conflict were actually fought.

[ Parent ]

The Evil USian Empire's fault, no doubt. (3.50 / 2) (#64)
by Demiurge on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:22:53 PM EST

Remember, all the ails of every nation on earth(past or present) can be linked in some insane, convoluted way to the evil United States. Political instability in South America? CIA-backed coups. War in Afghanistan? Going after an oil pipeline. Comet crashes into Jupiter? Evil American mind-control beams.

[ Parent ]
Oddly (none / 0) (#66)
by aphrael on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:50:49 PM EST

while I think the oil pipeline through afghanistan theory is a bunch of malarky (on economic grounds if nothing else; a pipeline through iran would be *much* cheaper), i find it harder to dismiss claims of US involvement in this one. Granted, I see no evidence of it, so I can't accept it as fact --- but it strikes me as being a perfectly valid working theory. Maybe this is because the US has been known to do such things in South America before; maybe it's because I know we're much more involved in Colombia than we should be; I don't know. *shrug*

[ Parent ]
Actually the pipeline... (ot) (1.00 / 1) (#125)
by thePositron on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 11:39:09 PM EST

The pipeline idea was not a "theory." as you put it . Unocal had definite plans to build a pipeline through Afghanistan. This would be so that oil could be delivered more easily to the fast growing markets of Asia from the Caspian Basin. Which, would probably be very economical for Unocal

Another interesting thing to note is that Karzai the current leader of Afghanistan was once an advisor to Unocal.



[ Parent ]
This has major significance (2.54 / 11) (#17)
by wji on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:35:11 PM EST

Venezuela is America's largest oil source and a key element in the global imperial system. Wouldn't surprise me if CIA were behind this in some way. Too damn bad for the Venezuelans. World' s awfully depressing sometimes.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
Nah (4.33 / 3) (#19)
by wiredog on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:41:16 PM EST

Various Venezuelans have been pissed off at him for a year or so.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Hmm (4.00 / 2) (#20)
by wji on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:43:30 PM EST

Yeah, this article seems to paint the Chavez government as a fountain of goodness... but anytime a leftist president gets replaced with a business head in Latin America, you can pretty much figure out what's going to happen. What did he do a year ago, anyway?

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
He was elected on a populist platform (none / 0) (#60)
by aphrael on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:09:57 PM EST

under which he was going to cure the suffering of the common people, etc, etc. Only he didn't; and the longer he stayed in office and things didn't get better, the more restless people became.

[ Parent ]
Indeed (none / 0) (#55)
by bob6 on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:55:45 PM EST

Venezuela is a rich country which had a weak leader. Current countries in the same situation include North Korea, Irak, Iran...
Rings a bell ?

Cheers.
[ Parent ]
Huh (none / 0) (#74)
by delmoi on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 04:34:15 PM EST

I wouldn't really call North Korea 'rich'....
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Venezuela is America's 3rd Source (3.00 / 2) (#76)
by overtoke on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 04:44:06 PM EST

Before the 90's Venezuela was our largest supplier. After that they adhered to OPEC output restrictions and produced much less.

According to CNN on April 11, 2002
"Venezuela, the world's fourth-largest oil exporter and the No. 3 supplier to the United States." http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/americas/04/11/venezuela.oilp.ap/index.html


The GDP of Venezuela is $110 Billion - 80percent from oil exports. (Notice how the US neglected to help them even the tiniest amount, even though $110 Billion is like a Air Tour through Afghanistan to us. People are literally starving in the streets there. We do zero.)


Chavez is a former army paratrooper who staged a failed coup in 1992. He was elected i 1998. His term was supposed to last to 2006.

[ Parent ]
CIA (5.00 / 1) (#93)
by bodrius on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 11:42:15 PM EST

If the CIA had been behind this, it would have happened sooner and more drastically, and the people in charge would not have been the people taking charge now. There were certainly some people clamoring for that.

The fact is that Chavez, with all his anti-American rethoric and his political Liveracism, was as willing to sell oil to the US as any other Latin American president. Since he's not the first populist Presidente the US has had to deal with, they could care less what he told the people, as long as he let them buy oil and invest in new oil exploitation projects (which he did).

There were more than enough Venezuelans angry at Chavez to do this by themselves.

In particular, the "land reforms" he proposed would have destroyed the lower middle-class, whose main assets happen to be modest parcels of land outside of the cities, by making it illegal to develop on any land within some distance from a "water source or coast" (most of the usable land in the country) unless you're the government.
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]
On possible US involvement (none / 0) (#99)
by winthrop on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 12:59:10 AM EST

If the CIA had been behind this, it would have happened sooner and more drastically, and the people in charge would not have been the people taking charge now.

Could you elaborate? You sound like you have something interesting to say.

Also, do you think that the coup-leaders got a tacit or explicit okay from the US before they went ahead with it? Do you think they figured the US would be okay with it? I find it difficult to believe they wouldn't even consider the US' reaction.

[ Parent ]

US involvement (5.00 / 2) (#111)
by bodrius on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 05:18:46 PM EST

The coup-leaders obviously got the tacit okay from the US before going ahead with it. It was implied in the recent criticism from the international community towards Chavez's supression of the media and general "caudillo" attitude.

During Chavez's first years of government there were a lot of rumors about possible coups and US interventions, etc. among the segments of the upper classes that were not too happy about him (because they were not politically involved with his party). These people were in panic, thinking Chavez's close relationship with Cuba and the local communist parties meant he would try to turn the country into a Leninist republic.

But the fact was that the US supported Chavez because he was popularly elected, promised to end corruption (which happens to cost a lot to the US companies and government both in money and political stability in the region), and said he was open to foreign investors and trade. They were skeptical to the idea that Chavez would turn Venezuela into another Cuba.

His anti-american rethoric was constant within the country, but whenever he went out he adapted the discourse to the local target. This was the focus of critics, analysts and humorists alike: in one of his world tours he called himself Jeffersonian (in the US), Islamic (in the Middle East), Maoist (in China), and of course, Bolivarian, whithin a couple of weeks. The US had good reason to think it was all pretense.

With time, the US grew displeased with Chavez precisely because he was all pretense and no government. Foreign trade did not stop because he refused it, it stopped because the economy was crushed.

The money that left the economy in the first years was Venezuelan money: Chavez would make a great show of saying they were corrupt traitors, and showing the foreign investment figures to say that the economy was actually improving. The money that left the economy in the last two years was foreign, as investors lost the high hopes they had for the new government.

If the CIA wanted to organize a coup d'etat, they would have found plenty groups willing to go along with it both in the upper classes, the political parties and the conservative military, possibly with the Miami Venezuelan community acting as a liason. Seeing as this was a controversial government from the beginning, in constant political reconstruction (change of Constitution, dissolution of the Congress, dissolution of the Supreme Court, etc), and a great part of the military actually fought against the President's attempted coup d'etat in 1992, they would have found both political and militar support.

But if you analyze the information on what happened, you'll be surprised at how few "old players" were involved. Most of the exiled Venezuelans had been disconnected for a while from the situation and were rather surprised (and happy), the old parties were not involved, and the military dissidents acted as civilians and were mostly as much part of the Chavez's establishment as of the old. The military high command that actually deposed the President were his closest allies, recently put in their positions precisely because of their "loyalty to the cause".

My impression, and the impression of almost every other Venezuelan I know, is that the US took a very hands-off approach to this matter and left the country to deal with the mess itself. I think that's fortunate, but not all agree about that.

So, my impression is that the opposition interpreted the tacit OK from the US reaction to the recent development. They were public enough that the US could have condemned them before (they have talked about a "government without Chavez" and demanded his resignation for some time), but they did nothing besides civil protests and strikes until these last days. It seems clear to me that they didn't get the explicit US support until, perhaps, when they negotiated the President's resignation (with a phone call that established whom did the US officially support).
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]
I was dismissed as a crank... (4.46 / 15) (#22)
by greenrd on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:47:05 PM EST

... when I posted this prediction from ZNet that Venezuela would fall prey to a military coup or US military intervention in short order. It happened even faster than I anticipated.

Click the link for a very interesting analysis of the situation. Note that when a general business strike is called by the employers organisations, that doesn't say anything about the ordinary person's antipathy or lack of it towards the government - because workers cannot enter the workplace to work even if they wanted to.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes

In addition (4.71 / 14) (#23)
by greenrd on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:54:07 PM EST

ZNet was hardly the only one to predict this ahead of time. Here are Greg Palast's prophetic comments on Venezuela, from over a month ago: (the entire interview is worth reading in full, as is Greg's book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy):

Now pay attention:

AJ: This is just amazing. And so, drive the whole world down, blow out their economies and then buy the rest of it up for pennies on the dollar. What's Part 4 of the IMF/World Bank Plan?

GP: Well, in Part 4, you end up again with the taking apart of the government. And by the way, the real Part 4 is the coup d'etat. That's what they are not telling you. And I'm just finding that out in Venezuela. I just got a call from the President of Venezuela.

AJ: And they install their own corporate government.

GP: What they said was here you've got an elected president of the government and the IMF has announced, listen to this, that they would support a transition government if the president were removed. They are not saying that they are going to get involved in politics - they would just support a transition government. What that effectively is saying is we will pay for the coup d'etat, if the military overthrows the current president, because the current president of Venezuela has said no to the IMF. He told those guys to go packing. They brought their teams in and said you have to do this and that. And he said, I don't have to do nothing. He said what I'm going to do is, I'm going to double the taxes on oil corporations because we have a whole lot of oil in Venezuela. And I'm going to double the taxes on oil corporations and then I will have all the money I need for social programs and the government - and we will be a very rich nation. Well, as soon as they did that, they started fomenting trouble with the military and I'm telling you watch this space: the President of Venezuela will be out of office in three months or shot dead. They are not going to allow him to raise taxes on the oil companies.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]
Your words will fall on deaf ears (4.00 / 7) (#25)
by BlackTriangle on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:59:20 PM EST

They go deaf whenever someone points out that the IMF, or the CIA, or whatever, has done something evil.

Moo.


[ Parent ]
Fortunately deaf (3.00 / 11) (#26)
by jasonab on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:01:39 PM EST

They go deaf whenever someone points out that the IMF, or the CIA, or whatever, has done something evil.
Those who cry wolf too often are quickly ignored....

--
America is a great country. One of the freest in the world. -- greenrd
[ Parent ]
As I was saying (NT) (3.00 / 4) (#27)
by BlackTriangle on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:02:57 PM EST

That will be all. If you are confused, I suggest you refer to Greenrd's links. But I will not be communicating with you further, as you are clearly a possessor of selective hearing.

Moo.


[ Parent ]
luckily (2.66 / 3) (#28)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:03:06 PM EST

no one ever paid attention to me in the first place :)
"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
Crankiness (3.66 / 6) (#30)
by jasonab on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:08:26 PM EST

... when I posted this prediction from ZNet that Venezuela would fall prey to a military coup or US military intervention in short order. It happened even faster than I anticipated.
Actually, you weren't called a crank, but the prospect of the US throwing Chavez out was quickly dismissed. I don't see any reason to change that theory now. Chavez' troops killed protestors, and the military got fet up with him. Unless you're prepared to claim that the CIA planted operatives in the military to intentionally kill protestors to force Chavez' overthrow, I'm not sure how the US could be involved.

--
America is a great country. One of the freest in the world. -- greenrd
[ Parent ]
Come on, man! Is that your idea of an explanation? (4.57 / 7) (#33)
by greenrd on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:21:45 PM EST

Chavez' troops killed protestors, and the military got fet up with him.

"Oh no, poor iddle protestors! We must stage a coup!"

I'm sorry to break your rosy view of the world. The real world doesn't work like that.

Unless you're prepared to claim that the CIA planted operatives in the military to intentionally kill protestors to force Chavez' overthrow, I'm not sure how the US could be involved.

The killing of protestors had very little to do with why this coup happened. Chavez's determination to tax oil, and the IMF's determination to force him down, may well have done.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

that's the "official" explanation (5.00 / 4) (#36)
by Delirium on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:27:51 PM EST

The head of the military claims that despite opposing Chavez's policies he was "completely loyal" up until yesterday, but now has to turn against him because he can't stand by while his countrymen are being shot.

Of course that could also be translated as "I couldn't find an excuse to turn against him until yesterday."

[ Parent ]

Excuses were there (1.00 / 1) (#94)
by bodrius on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 11:50:07 PM EST

Military dissidence became popular in Venezuela recently. If you can read Spanish, <a href="http://www.globovision.com/eltema/2002.02/disidentes/index.shtml">this is a good synopsis</a>. If the high command had decided to turn against him, they would have had both excuses and support from other sectors and from part of the military itself.
<br>
<br>
If you want to interpret that statement cynically, try "I had no choice but to turn against him in order to save my neck". The military had a lot to lose if they went down with Chavez, either because the strike got out of control or someone way lower in the line of command decided to join them. This way, they get to keep the political power they have acquired, and the high command avoids criminal charges. <br>
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]
Excuses were there (4.50 / 2) (#95)
by bodrius on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 11:51:01 PM EST

Military dissidence became popular in Venezuela recently. If you can read Spanish, this is a good synopsis. If the high command had decided to turn against him, they would have had both excuses and support from other sectors and from part of the military itself.

If you want to interpret that statement cynically, try "I had no choice but to turn against him in order to save my neck". The military had a lot to lose if they went down with Chavez, either because the strike got out of control or someone way lower in the line of command decided to join them. This way, they get to keep the political power they have acquired, and the high command avoids criminal charges.

Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]
Yes, actually it is (3.12 / 8) (#44)
by jasonab on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:35:41 PM EST

I'm sorry to break your rosy view of the world. The real world doesn't work like that.
Why not?

Ok, I agree my explanation was simplistic (as a contrast to the conspiracy theory), but why are you compelled to believe the most convoluted, conspiratorial theory possible? I get the impression that you are satisfied until you figure out how to blame everything on either the IMF, CIA or some other shadowy organization. Is the Trilateral Commission next?

Look, the military got fet up with Chavez. Why? I don't know. The protestor killings obviously didn't start it, but I suspect they made the military's support untenable. There's no reason to think the IMF's military strike force had anything to do with it.

--
America is a great country. One of the freest in the world. -- greenrd
[ Parent ]

I'm not sure which of us is more gullible (4.75 / 4) (#52)
by greenrd on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:45:21 PM EST

why are you compelled to believe the most convoluted, conspiratorial theory possible?

I'll be honest here. Because people and organisations I respect and trust, advocate it. I'm no expert on Venezuela (or on much else political for that matter).


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Gullible (4.75 / 4) (#63)
by jasonab on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:21:05 PM EST

Remember, it's not in the dictionary.... :-)

I don't think either of us is "gullible." We are predisposed to different perspectives. The important thing is to remeber that neither of us is "stupid" because we disagree, and we both have points to make.

--
America is a great country. One of the freest in the world. -- greenrd
[ Parent ]

And you trust them because? (4.33 / 3) (#72)
by delmoi on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 04:30:08 PM EST

Why exactly. The new arangement probably benifits the US, but that dosn't mean we wern't involved. 100k protestors against a guy who tries to control the media dosn't sound like someone I would stand, even without US cajoling.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Fair enough (5.00 / 3) (#79)
by jmzero on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 06:06:50 PM EST

I believe that "IMF disapproval"/"general failure to go along with our economic plan" was probably factor in Chavez's fate - the powers that be can create some really economic havoc for a misbehaving country.

But I think this action was probably one factor in many.

It's hard to see things from the Venezualan perspective, because even if we know the history (which I don't very well) we don't really know how it has been to live there. From news reports, it seems clear at least that many people there weren't too fond of Chavez's government.

I'll be honest here. Because people and organisations I respect and trust, advocate it. I'm no expert on Venezuela (or on much else political for that matter).

We're all in that boat, I think. How many conflicts are there in the world right now? How many things are there to know? Far too many. We have to be careful who we trust, but in the end we have to trust in some combination of people/sources - because there's only so many hours in a day.

Trawling through the articles and comments here, I think I get a good sampling of what's being said.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]
US/Venezuela military ties (5.00 / 5) (#40)
by winthrop on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:33:02 PM EST

Unless you're prepared to claim that the CIA planted operatives in the military to intentionally kill protestors to force Chavez' overthrow, I'm not sure how the US could be involved.

First, according to the one eyewitness report I've read (linked in the story), there were deaths on all sides and we have no idea who shot the protesters, nor who started the violence, and probably never will.

Second, your scenario is not outside the realm of possibility. The US has been cultivating ties with the Venezuelan military for many years now. From CIP Online:

...Ten Special Forces teams visited Venezuela in 1998 to provide counter-drug training to 803 military personnel. Each of these deployments is described in U.S. documents as "in support of [the] National Security Strategy to reduce [the] flow of drugs to the U.S."7 Training was provided to several military units, including the National Guard Counterdrug Forces, the Rural Commandos, the Naval Special Forces and the Cazadores, and took place in Tucupita, Barquisimeto, Maturín, Maracao, San Cristobal, Maracay, Machiques, Caracas, Guri, Guayabo, and La Morracolla.

During the same year, two Special Forces Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) deployments trained 195 military personnel. One JCET, which trained with 144 Venezuelan Air Force personnel, is described as practicing "foreign internal defense/unconventional warfare," among other skills. The other JCET, which trained with the Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services, focused on marksmanship and close-quarters battle skills.

Venezuelans were trained through other funding categories as well. About ninety students' training was funded through the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, and 163 more were funded through other sources, mostly counternarcotics programs. Combining all programs yields a total of at least 1,250 Venezuelan security personnel trained by the United States in 1998.

This is not even close to a smoking gun, a cautious reading of history would tell you that when there's a military coup in Latin America, followed by a business president, it's a good idea to check whether the US was involved (cf. Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Nicaragua). Certainly there's no evidence to rule out US involvement.

[ Parent ]
More on ties between US and Venezuelan militaries. (4.80 / 5) (#65)
by winthrop on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:40:55 PM EST

Some more from CIP Online:
U.S. military relations with the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez have been mixed. Venezuela continues to prohibit use of its airspace by U.S. counter-drug surveillance aircraft, and the State Department has criticized Venezuela's own interdiction efforts as "largely unsuccessful." In August 2001, Venezuela revoked the fifty-year-old agreement granting the U.S. Military Group a rent-free presence in the Fuerte Tiuna military headquarters in Caracas. Venezuelan Defense Minister José Vicente Rangel criticized the agreement as "a museum piece of the Cold War." On the other hand, U.S. collaboration with Venezuela's National Guard continues to be close, particularly on counter-narcotics matters, and Venezuela's security forces will see a significant increase in U.S. funding in 2002 as part of the Andean Regional Initiative.
Again, this is only tangential evidence of US complicity, but it is consistent with that theory: the US has reason to be upset with the Chavez government, so it therefore increases direct ties between the US and the Venezuelan military. At $13 million/year in military aid, that would be a real bargain for a guaranteed stable oil flow.

[ Parent ]
It did not. (4.00 / 3) (#92)
by bodrius on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 11:32:10 PM EST

Venezuela did not fall prey to a military coup, nor to US military intervention. Venezuela just had a civilian coup that forced the military to force the President to resign.

A segment of the population had been daydreaming about a US military intervention for years, as well as an organized military coup. But neither of these materialized because the US had no interest in going through all that trouble without an extremely good reason (and it did not have it), and the military had never had that much power in decades as with the Chavez regime.

This was a general strike that forced the military to jump along or face losing everything. A military coup would have been very different and, if the military had that intention, not difficult to attempt (as the failed 1992 coup, in a much more stable political environment, shows). But the military had too much vested interest in the political establishment and dissidents were forced to take the path of civilian politics.

If you doubt the general discontent with the regime, you have not seen the footage. If you had been in Venezuela recently, you wouldn't have to, either. The tension in the civilian population was already great, and I mean the lower middle-classes, not the "elite".

On the general "business" strike: it seems you don't know much about the economic structure of that country. The main employer is the government, and almost every private business of magnitude is dependent on the government.

A general business strike formed by the middle management of PDVSA (the government-controlled oil company) does not stop workers from entering the workplace, simply because high-management is the government, therefore against the strike, therefore very willing to let them work. The same applies to the great majority of the economical activity. Chavez himself appeared on TV trying to convince people that everyone was actually working, but chose to shut down the media after being unsuccessful.

Even if the workers had been forced to stop working, they couldn't have been forced to go out to the streets and protest their way to the Presidential Palace.
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]
Getting chummy with the chi-coms. (2.15 / 13) (#35)
by Apuleius on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:25:53 PM EST

One of the things that was getting the Yanks fuming was Chavez's rapproachment with the People's Republic of China. For a head of state along the Caribbean coast to do that is nothing short of insane. My opinion: Good riddance. Anyone who chums up with commies in the year 2001 cannot plead ignorance, and is thus simply depraved. Good luck to the Venezuelan people in replacing him with a sensible leader.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
Bush the Commie-Lover (5.00 / 6) (#39)
by greenrd on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:31:52 PM EST

One rule for us and one rule for them, eh?

That well-known commie-lover President George W. Bush recently granted China Permanent Normal Trade Status with the USA. Insane, you say?


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Chavez is even more insane. (3.50 / 2) (#46)
by Apuleius on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:37:02 PM EST

After the Beijing Olympics, all bets are off regarding the US-Chinese encounter. If a hot or cold war forms afterwards, the US would be most displeased to see a front form anywhere except the Pacific Ocean. Chavez's decision to chum with the chi-coms should be seen in that light.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Pardon me for my Ignorance (4.75 / 4) (#45)
by BlackTriangle on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:36:25 PM EST

But wasn't Hugo Chavez elected by the people? What's the point of democracy if the people can't elect their representatives?

In a democracy, in some small way, the elected are suppoed to represent the will of the electees. That's not a bad thing.



Moo.


[ Parent ]
Elected? So what? (5.00 / 1) (#47)
by Apuleius on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:38:36 PM EST

Dictators can come to power democratically too. (No, I haven't checked all the stories here just yet.)


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the link (5.00 / 2) (#49)
by BlackTriangle on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:41:39 PM EST

However, I'll note that you're being unnecessarily hostile. Please calm down.

The link is still loading, but the words "For the past few years, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has been meeting with the enemies of the United States." are on the screen - last time I checked, associating with the "enemies" of the US doesn't make you a dictator.

The only link that's of any interest there is the Venezuela jails are worst in world link. As I said above, associating with Cuba and China doesn't make you a dictator.



Moo.


[ Parent ]
Yeah, I need to cool it. (5.00 / 1) (#50)
by Apuleius on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:42:49 PM EST

I'm a tad cantancterous at times.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Hitler would be the prototype here (4.00 / 1) (#68)
by delmoi on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 04:07:14 PM EST

Elected dictator.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
So you advocate (none / 0) (#78)
by BlackTriangle on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 05:51:29 PM EST

We throw Sharon out on his ass, because while his people support him, he's a violent madman?

I didn't think so.

Democracy sometimes sucks. But it doesn't work if you're inconsistent.



Moo.


[ Parent ]
Do the people support Chavez? (5.00 / 1) (#80)
by Apuleius on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 06:19:19 PM EST

Doesn't seem so. A demonstration of 100,000 versus 5,000 ought to tell you something. Also, Sharon is far from a madman, and could easily be removed by a vote of no confidence in parliament if he does go nuts. (Venezuela seems to lack this provision.)


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Ah (5.00 / 1) (#85)
by BlackTriangle on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 07:46:28 PM EST

A demonstration of 100,000 versus 5,000 ought to tell you something.

That sounds like the people talking ;) I didn't read about that, but it's good to know the facts, but don't forget that I'm biased by my left-leaning and sometimes am threatened by the right, unless the facts speak for themselves.



Moo.


[ Parent ]
..and saying stupid things. (4.00 / 1) (#48)
by Apuleius on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:40:50 PM EST

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez donned his uniform today to attend a military ceremony where he said the birth of the new Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela demonstrated that his aborted February 1992 coup "was worth the trouble."


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
While muzzling the press. (4.50 / 2) (#53)
by Apuleius on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:50:54 PM EST

[... ...] Chávez has even threatened to expel foreigners who insult Venezuela, his government, or himself. "We are not going to accept them doing it any more right here in our own house," he said in radio and TV broadcasts in June 2001. "Everything has its limits, countries deserve respect."


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
That is, militarily chummy. (none / 0) (#51)
by Apuleius on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:43:43 PM EST

[LatelineNews: 2001-9-1] CARACAS, Venezuela - China is donating $1 million of non-lethal military equipment to Venezuela in a gesture marking increased cooperation between the two countries' armies, Venezuelan Defense Minister Jose Vicente Rangel said on Friday. ... ...


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
intolerance as in... (1.00 / 2) (#89)
by KiTaSuMbA on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 10:47:56 PM EST

"dickhead".

"Anyone who chums up with commies in the year
2001 cannot plead ignorance, and is thus simply
depraved"

Kill him! He said that "C" word! So you DO live in the 50's and your last name IS McArthy!
Blindly discriminating upon ideologies (that is political, philosophical or religious opinions) is the actual thing unacceptable in 2001 and current 2002 and for the millenia past.

In case you wondered, no, I'm not a communist and no, I did not rate you down (though I must admit I was tempted).
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
Realism. (none / 0) (#112)
by Apuleius on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 05:25:05 PM EST

Back in the 1950s, people had an excuse for leaning toward communism -- ignorance. It's 2002. 100,000,000 people have died because of communism. All excuses are past the use-by dates.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
details...ASAP (none / 0) (#126)
by KiTaSuMbA on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:38:00 AM EST

do I feel this right? You confuse an ideology with Stalin's dictatorship right?


PS.: calling people ignorant at no basis is rather insulting don't you think?

There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
Details? Sure. (1.00 / 1) (#127)
by Apuleius on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:17:08 PM EST

Paul Johnson, Modern Times. The megadeaths were predicted and accepted by the idealogues, so there is no point making a useless distinction.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
didn't see any... (1.00 / 1) (#129)
by KiTaSuMbA on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 08:09:43 PM EST

of those details other than a non linked reference and no discussion...
EOF
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
RTFB. (none / 0) (#130)
by Apuleius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 08:17:29 PM EST

'nuff said.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Damn propaganda.... (4.66 / 15) (#54)
by spcmanspiff on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:55:00 PM EST

In one corner, wearing the red, white, blue, and yellow, Mainstream Media:

  • Chavez-backed snipers firing on innocent protestors!
  • President takes over independent media stations, broadcasts only his point of view!
  • Military rebels against the bloodshed, refuses to support rabid wannabe dictator!
  • Chavez had a history of hangin' with: Iraq, Cuba, China, and various violent leftist revolutionaries!
  • Oil industry -- world's fourth largest -- crippled!
  • He criticized the US actions in Afghanistan!

    In the other, wearing tattered pinko shorts, champions of anti-globalization:

  • He stood up to the IMF and the World Bank, telling them where to shove their privitazation reforms!
  • He tried to tackle the nasty wealth divide by taxing oil and spending it on addressing social issues!
  • The IMF tacitly endorsed a coup!
  • The new interim leader is a Corporate Pig!
  • Strikes against him were by management (at first), not workers, and organized by the elite of Venezuelan society!

    etc, etc, etc.

    I generally lean more towards the anti-globalization side of things, but jesus h. christ. Will an objective account ever come out in the wash?



  • historians usually stick to things in the past (4.00 / 1) (#61)
    by turmeric on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:10:09 PM EST

    journalists can sometimes do the present pretty well. would you like to pay for journalists to go cover it 'objectively'?

    [ Parent ]
    Smear campaign (3.75 / 4) (#67)
    by annenk38 on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 03:53:05 PM EST

    I remember when the smear campaign has started a couple of years ago. I was expecting something similar to the Bay of Pigs, but it looks like they've found a better way. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the CIA had a hand in this.

    And if my left hand causes me to stumble as well -- what do I cut it off with? -- Harry, Prince of Wales (The Blackadder)
    [ Parent ]
    Q: (4.66 / 3) (#69)
    by spcmanspiff on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 04:10:41 PM EST

    How do you distinguish a smear campaign from legitimate criticism?

    I imagine that there's some of both involved here...

    As for the CIA's involvement, well, they are an All Powerful Subsersive Force, as Fidel Castro well knows! I don't see any evidence either way, and pointing fingers at the CIA simply diminishes the credibility of those attempting to refute the official line. As does this "pure as the driven snow" hogwash...



    [ Parent ]

    legitimate criticism (4.75 / 4) (#73)
    by Delirium on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 04:30:19 PM EST

    I agree; Chavez was certainly far from perfect. He ran on essentially a populist platform of ending poverty and so on, and like most populists failed to actually deliver, so many people were getting fed up. Of course you could argue that the established interests were preventing his reforms from succeeding, but it's unclear that they would have even without opposition; most populists are good demagogues but not very good leaders.

    [ Parent ]
    CIA v Fidel (none / 0) (#87)
    by sasseriansection on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 08:53:33 PM EST

    As for the CIA's involvement, well, they are an All Powerful Subsersive Force, as Fidel Castro well knows!

    If the CIA was an All Powerful Subversive Force, Fidel would not be around to agree with you:).
    ------------ ------------
    [ Parent ]

    What, you mean... (none / 0) (#104)
    by spcmanspiff on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 01:01:29 PM EST

    that the Poison Cigar Plot --- or the Explosive Cigar Plot (aborted) -- or the Acid Trip Cigar Plot -- didn't have him quaking in his boots?

    Hahah... it's even funnier than I thought. Choice quote:

    And in the grandest vision of all, Vankin and Whalen describe a false prophet: "Perhaps the most visionary proposal came from the fertile mind of General Edward Lansdale, who supervised the Kennedy Administration's covert war on Castro. The general hoped to spark a counterrevolution by spreading the word to devout Cuban Catholics that the Second Coming was imminent and that Castro was none other than the anti-Christ. At the appointed hour, Christ, Himself, would surface off the shores of Cuba aboard an American submarine as star shell flares illuminated the heavens. In a pique of Cold War rapture, it was hoped, the Cubans would rise up and spontaneously overthrow their satanic leader."



    [ Parent ]

    A: (none / 0) (#113)
    by annenk38 on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 07:06:03 PM EST

    One can usually distinguish the smear campaign rhetoric from legitimate criticism by the nature of the criticism. Who is doing the criticising? What are the potential conflicts of interst, and most importantly, just what is the crime here? Here's a headline from today's New York Times op-ed:
    With yesterday's resignation of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator.
    A "would-be" dictator? But not an actual dictator? For some reason, I've always thought that the punishment should come after the crime. So what do we have now after this pre-emptive strike? The military leaders that chose to enforce democracy via coup d'etat!

    And if my left hand causes me to stumble as well -- what do I cut it off with? -- Harry, Prince of Wales (The Blackadder)
    [ Parent ]
    you already have it (4.50 / 2) (#88)
    by KiTaSuMbA on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 10:36:02 PM EST

    ...or kind of: yourself. You list both sides of the story and criticize both. Then truth must be somewhere in the middle.
    Chavez is no holy man. Actually he is pretty much authoritarian. Wether he really cared for his people benefit or just for power we don't know, but one thing is sure: he failed and people are fed up with him. Another thing is certain: he stood up for his policy and sent the international economic and strategic peers you-know-where.
    His opposers are no holy men either. A strike of managers? Elite society? They will trade over their people, but they can get a better price. Venezuelans will kiss ass but watch themselves do it in a brand new TV set and stereo.
    The irony of this story is standing before us: this might be the first PHBs' revolution!
    There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
    [ Parent ]
    Propaganda or Fact (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by bodrius on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 11:06:45 PM EST

    Let me try to clear up a little, although I must say I'm biased against the guy (as it happens to be my country) I'll try to be objective:

    - Chavez-backed snipers firing on innocent protestors!

    Apparently true. The snipers shot unarmed protestors from the Presidential Palace, killing some, injuring (directly and indirectly) a lot. The Chavez government tried to pin this in an extremist group that happens to support Chavez ("Bandera Roja", a leftist group with a history of violence in universities), but the media claimed they could identify official functionaries.
    It is unclear whether the snipers acted on direct orders of the government, but that they acted from the Presidential HQ, with the support of the National Guard (which was restricting the protestor's movement, but not acting against the snipers) is an objective fact. It is generally agreed that the Chavez government is at least responsible by inaction for the events.
    Some links:
    El Nacional
    El Universal


    - President takes over independent media stations, broadcasts only his point of view!

    Definitely true. Not only during the crisis, but ever since he took power. It was an habit of the President to arrive unannouced at a TV network for a forced, improvised interview in order to express his point of view. If he ran out of time, he forced the TV network to suspend their normal programming until he was finished.
    When the protests got out of control, the President forced the TV networks to let him take control of the programming to do damage control and deny that anything was happening. The media opted for civil disobedience and divided the screens to show the President's speech, and the live footage contradicting him.
    The President then forced the media off the air, under the argument that "a TV network cannot use the concessions [of sprectum] given by the Government to attack the Government".

    - Military rebels against the bloodshed, refuses to support rabid wannabe dictator!

    Already a number of military leaders had expressed their opposition to the President and resigned from their roles in the Army in protest. Whether the high commnand decided not to support Chavez because of disgust for the bloodshed, or whether they feared the insurrection would turn violent against them is not entirely clear. Most people prefer to think the first.

    - Chavez had a history of hangin' with: Iraq, Cuba, China, and various violent leftist revolutionaries!

    Objective fact. Whether that's good or bad is something else. But he did send, as a President, a letter of support to "Carlos El Chacal", the Venezuelan terrorist currently imprisoned in Paris, calling him a "fellow revolutionary" and other disturbingly nice things. This can be seen as not a very diplomatic act.

    - Oil industry -- world's fourth largest -- crippled!

    It is an objective fact that the industry was in a crisis. And it is an objective fact that the national economy was doing very badly in spite of abnormally high oil prices. Whether it was "crippled" or not is matter of degrees, in great part the conflict with PDVSA was due to the perception some had that politizicing the company as Chavez was doing would permanently cripple it.

    - He criticized the US actions in Afghanistan!

    Yup he did. Whether that was good or not, it's another matter. I don't think it's relevant to this, however.

    - He stood up to the IMF and the World Bank, telling them where to shove their privitazation reforms!

    Yup, he did, at some point.

    Then he also went all over the world begging for investors. Then he told them to go to hell. Then he went over the world, begging for investors.
    Really, if rejecting the IMF and the World Bank had defined his economic policy, the state of the Venezuelan economy would be a good case for not doing that. But it is my impression that there was no such consistency.

    - He tried to tackle the nasty wealth divide by taxing oil and spending it on addressing social issues!

    He tackled the wealth divide by demonizing the middle and upper classes, enforcing new, more strict taxing policies, and spending it on populist social programs under the direct control of the military.
    Currently the wealth divide in Venezuela is greater than it was, simply because the middle class has shrunk, the private industry suffered greatly, and the social programs did not magically solve the social problems. So the tackling did not work.

    - The IMF tacitly endorsed a coup!

    WTF?!

    - The new interim leader is a Corporate Pig!

    Yup. Blame that on the lack of non-Corporate-Pig civilian leaders in the country.

    - Strikes against him were by management (at first), not workers, and organized by the elite of Venezuelan society!

    Really, you can't have even 1/10th of the people on the streets if you don't have the lower classes with you. Just watch the footage.

    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    Just to confuse things... (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by spcmanspiff on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 01:19:22 PM EST

  • Others are reporting that the snipers were not the only ones shooting... do with that what you will.

  • 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?

  • 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"..

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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...

    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.



    [ Parent ]

  • More Confusion... (5.00 / 3) (#114)
    by bodrius on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 07:45:50 PM EST

    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.
    Example:
    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 ]
    Saw that coming (3.50 / 6) (#57)
    by moeffju on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:13:01 PM EST

    If you have not seen that coming since ages, well, then you surely don't know a Venezuelan.

    Situation is now getting hot and heavy over there. It has been noted already that Venezuela is a big source of oil. Conspiracy theorists, your go.

    At least Fidel will be happy, I hope. Maybe the US can now invade Cuba and get two evilings at once.

    hmmm.... Venezuelans? (4.25 / 8) (#58)
    by Ender Ryan on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:28:49 PM EST

    Can we please have some evidence of Venezuelan opinions? I see a lot of people pretending they know what the Venezuelan people really want, but not a lot of evidence of anything.

    The only things that really strike me as being very relevent are the following facts...

    1. between 100,000 and 200,000 people attended an anti-Chavez demonstration in the streets of Caracas, while approximately 5,000 people attended a counterdemonstration

    Over 100,000 anti-Chavez protestors, and only 5,000 people show up in support of Chavez? Even considering that many of the anti-Chavez may be influenced by special interests, 100,000 to 5,000 is still remarkably one sided.

    2. Chavez ordered newsmedia to stop coverage of the demonstrations, claiming that they were inciting the violence

    If the people weren't displeased, why would media attention of the demonstrations incite people to violence? Sounds more like he was attempting to do damage control.

    3. At the behest of the Venezuelan military

    What is the military's interest in this, other than removing someone they think is an unfit leader?


    -
    Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

    We are Kuro5hin!


    Jonathan Walther (3.33 / 3) (#82)
    by Ender Ryan on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 06:47:29 PM EST

    I am curious, Jonathan Walther, why the 1? I realize you probably rated intead of responding because you didn't want to take the time, but I'm requesting it, if it's not too much trouble ;-)


    -
    Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

    We are Kuro5hin!


    [ Parent ]

    Shallow analysis (none / 0) (#96)
    by Jonathan Walther on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 12:17:39 AM EST

    I got the sense from your comment that you haven't read Noam Chomsky's book "Manufacturing Consent". I'd much rather recommend you read that book than spend a long time typing up something polite and nonconfrontational that would give you a good idea why your comments seem a bit off-kilter. It's nothing against you personally, I have incipient carpal-tunnel syndrome. It's much easier just to rate your comment low for well-meaning lack of clue.

    (Luke '22:36 '19:13) => ("Sell your coat and buy a gun." . "Occupy until I come.")


    [ Parent ]
    Noam Chomsky (2.66 / 3) (#100)
    by Ender Ryan on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 01:26:59 AM EST

    Noam Chomsky is not exactly someone I would want to read to get and understanding of anything, being that he is far from a non-biased individual and everything he writes is colored with silly rhetoric.

    I regret asking for your opinion, no offense.


    -
    Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

    We are Kuro5hin!


    [ Parent ]

    Life is short. (none / 0) (#107)
    by Apuleius on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 03:22:48 PM EST

    Far too short to spend reading Chomsky.


    There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
    [ Parent ]
    question... (none / 0) (#101)
    by Ender Ryan on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 01:32:30 AM EST

    Was it really necessary to moderate the parent post?

    Just seems rather silly to me...


    -
    Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

    We are Kuro5hin!


    [ Parent ]

    Shooting on civilians (5.00 / 3) (#86)
    by Lugh on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 08:27:40 PM EST

    3. At the behest of the Venezuelan military What is the military's interest in this, other than removing someone they think is an unfit leader?

    Based on my understanding of what I heard on the BBC and NPR today, the military basically got fed up with Chavez after he issued orders for the national guard and his own civilian gunment to fire on the protestors with live ammunition. The generals claim that he is being held until he is chargedand brought to trial for these orders. I have no idea whether or not this is the real reason, but this is the party line that's been issued.

    Remove the obvious falsehood to e-mail me.
    [ Parent ]

    I'm surprised. (4.00 / 4) (#70)
    by /dev/trash on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 04:25:09 PM EST

    Why haven't we sent troops in, to stabilize the situation( ie oil).

    ---
    Updated 02/20/2004
    New Site
    because (4.00 / 4) (#71)
    by Delirium on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 04:28:30 PM EST

    We're happy with the job the Venezuelan troops are doing.

    [ Parent ]
    State Department (5.00 / 3) (#75)
    by winthrop on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 04:35:41 PM EST

    The State Department has put out two statements: This one commended the military for "refusing to fire on peaceful protesters", while criticizing and blaming Chavez. This statement, put out jointly with Spain, states that "only the consolidation of a stable democratic framework can offer a future of freedom and progress to the Venezuelan people" (emphasis added), apparently implying that Chavez was undemocratic.

    [ Parent ]
    why should 'we' do it? (1.00 / 2) (#81)
    by drini on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 06:43:55 PM EST

    assuming by 'we' you mean US population.

    yeah, you don't like anyone messing with your country, you don't like anyone messing with your goverment

    then why is that insistence on behave like world cops assuming you can get into any country problem?
    ahh
    Iforgot

    since you're so good
    Math is the weapon
    [ Parent ]
    Missing the sarcasm? (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by rusty on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 06:55:00 PM EST

    I think the original was more like "It's just the kind of stupid thing the Bush adm. would do." Not an actual call for US troops to invade.

    ____
    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]
    sarcasm... (3.00 / 1) (#84)
    by /dev/trash on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 07:08:44 PM EST

    Plus I misread...Oil prices actually fell today...we certianly can't send troops in now!

    ---
    Updated 02/20/2004
    New Site
    [ Parent ]
    I´m sorry but FUCK U (1.50 / 2) (#123)
    by freevenezuela on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 01:58:17 AM EST

    WE THE PEOPLE OF VENEZUELA ARE FREE AND DON´T NEED YOUR F...ING TROOPS OVER HERE

    [ Parent ]
    Hello CIA (3.75 / 4) (#102)
    by Betcour on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 05:47:26 AM EST

    Knowing how the CIA loves to make coups in central and south-America, and knowing how Chavez was a threat to cheap oil supply for the US, I would be surprised if the CIA wasn't pulling the strings again. I guess one Pinochet wasn't enough :-(

    I'm Venezuelean (5.00 / 9) (#110)
    by freevenezuela on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 04:21:16 PM EST

    Now the situation is getting even worse. It is not true that Chavez resigned, he is prisioner of the military, now the poor people is protesting over the whole country and the new military backed goverment is shooting at then i have seen this on the streets, in Maracay the home of the Venezuelean Air Force a General is against the new government and is in rebellion. We don´t know the whereabouts of Chavez and i have information from loyal military sources that if something goes wrong they will kill him. The Coup was organized by elite sectors of the Business, Military and the Catholic Church ("Opus Dei") all of them backed by the media. The Venezuelean Media, TV and websites, isn´t saying anything now and is not reporting the shoots against pro-chavez demostrators. The Presindent of the JUNTA suspended democratically elected congress and is bringing to jail almost all of the prochavez congressmen. Now the radio is transmitting that the people is taking the presidential palace and that the not oficially elected president is in the Fort Tiuna protected by the military. Please turn around your face to the venezuelan people and help us defend our democracy.

    Where is Chavez (none / 0) (#115)
    by bodrius on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 07:58:11 PM EST

    Well, of course Chavez "resigned" non-voluntarily. It's a coup, I doubt they gave him a choice, "you resign or we resign you", that's a non-issue.

    According to the information I have, Chavez is the one officially imprisoned in Fort Tiuna.

    The media released this photographic sequence. The picture doesn't seem to be too clear (8-bit color) but according to people who have seen it in all its flashy glory, yes, it is him.

    Any reason on why this might not be true? Or was that a typo?

    If you don't know the whereabouts of Chavez, how do you know they have plans to kill him? I would think that's a great point of negotiation if something goes wrong.

    Can you give us some information on where exactly the shootings against pro-Chavez activists are happening? Is it only in Maracay? Which part exactly of Maracay (I have family there)?
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    Answer (none / 0) (#116)
    by freevenezuela on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 10:22:20 PM EST

    Chavez didn´t resigned, it was obviously a coup. Now things are still a bit problematic the constitutional powers brought back the state television channel and the people took over other channels. The vicepresident assumed the goverment till Chavez is back and the people (a lot of them) is protecting Miraflores the presidential palace, the media, but 2 channels, are transmiting movies. Chavez is in La Orchila and island pretty far in a navy base, they wanted to take him from the country but they couldn´t get a resignation from him. The shooting were in Caracas, and the Caracas major said there were 9 dead people, and tens of wounded. Maracay is completely taken by the people and the army and suposedly they are waiting for Chavez to make a statement. I hope this answer your questions, and excuse my english. I haven´t sleeped in 2 days.

    [ Parent ]
    Venezuelan (and other) media distorting truth (4.50 / 2) (#124)
    by greenrd on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 02:20:57 PM EST

    Coup in Venezuela: An Eyewitness Account
    By Gregory Wilpert

    The orchestration of the coup was impeccable and, in all likelihood, planned a long time ago. Hugo Chavez, the fascist communist dictator of Venezuela could not stand the truth and thus censored the media relentlessly. For his own personal gain and that of his henchmen (and henchwomen, since his cabinet had more women than any previous Venezuelan government's), he drove the country to the brink of economic ruin. In the end he proceeded to murder those who opposed him. So as to reestablish democracy, liberty, justice, and prosperity in Venezuela and so as to avoid more bloodshed, the chamber of commerce, the union federation, the church, the media, and the management of Venezuela's oil company, in short: civil society and the military decided that enough is enough-that Chavez had his chance and that his experiment of a "peaceful democratic Bolivarian revolution" had to come to an immediate end.

    This is, of course, the version of events that the officials now in charge and thus also of the media, would like everyone to believe. So what really happened? Of course I don't know, but I'll try to represent the facts as I witnessed them.

    First of all, the military is saying that the main reason for the coup is what happened today, April 11. "Civil society," as the opposition here refers to itself, organized a massive demonstration of perhaps 100,000 to 200,000 people to march to the headquarters of Venezuela's oil company, PDVSA, in defense of its fired management. The day leading up to the march all private television stations broadcast advertisements for the demonstration, approximately once every ten minutes. It was a successful march, peaceful, and without government interference of any kind, even though the march illegally blocked the entire freeway, which is Caracas' main artery of transportation, for several hours.

    Supposedly at the spur of the moment, the organizers decided to re-route the march to Miraflores, the president's office building, so as to confront the pro-government demonstration, which was called in the last minute. About 5,000 Chavez-supporters had gathered there by the time the anti-government demonstrators got there. In-between the two demonstrations were the city police, under the control of the oppositional mayor of Caracas, and the National Guard, under control of the president. All sides claim that they were there peacefully and did not want to provoke anyone. I got there just when the opposition demonstration and the National Guard began fighting each other. Who started the fight, which involved mostly stones and tear gas, is, as is so often the case in such situations, nearly impossible to tell. A little later, shots were fired into the crowds and I clearly saw that there were three parties involved in the shooting, the city police, Chavez supporters, and snipers from buildings above. Again, who shot first has become a moot and probably impossible to resolve question. At least ten people were killed and nearly 100 wounded in this gun battle-almost all of them demonstrators.

    One of the Television stations managed to film one of the three sides in this battle and broadcast the footage over and over again, making it look like the only ones shooting were Chavez supporters from within the demonstration at people beyond the view of the camera. The media over and over again showed the footage of the Chavez supporters and implied that they were shooting at an unarmed crowd. As it turns out, and as will probably never be reported by the media, most of the dead are Chavez supporters. Also, as will probably never be told, the snipers were members of an extreme opposition party, known as Bandera Roja.

    These last two facts, crucial as they are, will not be known because they do not fit with the new mythology, which is that Chavez armed and then ordered his supporters to shoot at the opposition demonstration. Perhaps my information is incorrect, but what is certain is that the local media here will never bother to investigate this information. And the international media will probably simply ape what the local media reports (which they are already doing).

    Chavez' biggest and perhaps only mistake of the day, which provided the last remaining proof his opposition needed for his anti-democratic credentials, was to order the black-out of the private television stations. They had been broadcasting the confrontations all afternoon and Chavez argued that these broadcasts were exacerbating the situation and should, in the name of public safety, be temporarily shut-down.

    Now, all of "civil society," the media, and the military are saying that Chavez has to go because he turned against his own people. Aside from the lie this is, what is conveniently forgotten are all of the achievements of the Chavez administration: a new democratic constitution which broke the power monopoly of the two hopelessly corrupt and discredited main parties and put Venezuela at the forefront in terms of progressive constitutions; introduced fundamental land reform; financed numerous progressive ecological community development projects; cracked-down on corruption; promoted educational reform which schooled over 1 million children for the first time and doubled investment in education; regulated the informal economy so as to reduce the insecurity of the poor; achieved a fairer price for oil through OPEC and which significantly increased government income; internationally campaigned tirelessly against neo-liberalism; reduced official unemployment from 18% to 13%; introduced a large-scale micro-credit program for the poor and for women; reformed the tax system which dramatically reduced tax evasion and increased government revenue; lowered infant mortality from 21% to 17%; tripled literacy courses; modernized the legal system, etc., etc.

    Chavez' opposition, which primarily consisted of Venezuela's old guard in the media, the union federation, the business sector, the church, and the traditionally conservative military, never cared about any of these achievements. Instead, they took advantage of their media monopoly to turn public opinion against him and managed to turn his biggest liability, his autocratic and inflammatory style, against him. Progressive civil society had either been silenced or demonized as violent Chavez fanatics.

    At this point, it is impossible to know what will happen to Chavez' "Bolivarian Revolution"-whether it will be completely abandoned and whether things will return to Venezuela's 40-year tradition of patronage, corruption, and rentierism for the rich. What one can say without a doubt, is that by abandoning constitutional democracy, no matter how unpopular and supposedly inept the elected president, Venezuela's ruling class and its military show just how politically immature they are and deal a tremendous blow to political culture throughout Latin America, just as the coup against Salvador Allende did in 1973. This coup shows once again that democracy in Latin America is a matter of ruling class preference, not a matter of law.

    If the United States and the democratic international community have the courage to practice what they preach, then they should not recognize this new government. Democrats around the world should pressure their governments to deny recognition to Venezuela's new military junta or any president they happen to choose. According to the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS), this would mean expelling Venezuela from the OAS, as a U.S. state department official recently threatened to do. Please call the U.S. state department or your foreign ministry and tell them to withdraw their ambassadors from Venezuela.


    "Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
    [ Parent ]
    Detail about Opus Dei's participation? (none / 0) (#131)
    by ari on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 02:40:22 PM EST

    Dear freevenezuela, Can you provide any links to more information on Opus Dei's involvement in the coup, or names of people who are known to have been involved? Thanks!! Ari

    [ Parent ]
    a venezuelian point of view (4.20 / 5) (#117)
    by jacunix on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 10:38:09 PM EST

    Venezuela is a rich country where most people is poor and have no education. The people who are now controlling the country are people interested in maintaining very poor people poor and uneducated with help of a T.V. brain wash. Is that the use of technology we, the inhabitants of the world, want?

    Question? (none / 0) (#122)
    by freevenezuela on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 01:54:52 AM EST

    Which goverment do you mean? If you mean the short dictatorship that didn't lasted 24 hours, I agree with you If you mean the elected goverment, I think you should rethink who is really brainwashed

    [ Parent ]
    Recoup d'etat (4.25 / 4) (#118)
    by bodrius on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 11:50:16 PM EST

    Government forces loyalist to Chavez have taken over the government again.

    The private media institutions (TV stations, radio, newspapers) have been forcibly closed and/or taken over by Chavez's supporters. Journalists are being lynched and the few newspapers that were holding out had to be evacuated for the personnel's safety.

    Apparently the interim leader has been arrested and is held at Fort Tiuna. The former vicepresident of Chavez's government has become the new interim president. Chavez seems to be in the isle of La Orchata.

    That's all the information I have clear right now, but rumors and speculation abound.

    I'll post something more clear when I get an idea of what the hell is going on.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    Good Luck (1.00 / 1) (#119)
    by linca on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 12:51:55 AM EST

    <p>It seems your country will need it. I can just picture right-wing paramilitary Columbians joining in, because of the alledged support of the FARC... I hope you won't get a full fledged civil war (though it sounds your army is actually democratic). Best report I found yet is the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A44867-2002Apr13.html"> Washington Post</a>, if that helps. </p><p>
    You know, it is not because Venezuela is in Latin America that it has to act in such a cliched way, though...</p>

    [ Parent ]
    Good Luck (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by linca on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 12:52:53 AM EST

    It seems your country will need it. I can just picture right-wing paramilitary Columbians joining in, because of the alledged support of the FARC... I hope you won't get a full fledged civil war (though it sounds your army is actually supporting democracy...). Best report I found yet is the Washington Post, if that helps.

    You know, it is not because Venezuela is in Latin America that it has to act in such a cliched way, though...



    [ Parent ]
    Chavez is coming back (4.50 / 4) (#121)
    by freevenezuela on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 01:50:32 AM EST

    After amazing demonstration by the people of The "República Bolivariana de Venezuela" who took over the military forts and after the military leaders backed the elected and constitutional goverment of our president, the fascist leader of the coup is deposed and is being held prisioner in the Fort Tiuna. The media proved what Ignacio Ramonet, director of ´Le Monde Diplomatique´, said: "When the media assumes a political position, they lost their objetivity and risk lossing their credibility", they treasoned the people by not showing what was hapenning and the people pacifically without hurting anyone took over 1 television channel to make them show what was really happening. As our constitution says the vicepresident is assuming the role of president until Chavez returns in almost one hour from now. Finally Democracy won, the people protected it. I´m happy but i will not rest until our President is back, and so will the Venezuelean people. LONG LIVE DEMOCRACY!!

    Venezuelan coup (4.00 / 1) (#128)
    by kpeerless on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 04:17:38 PM EST

    It's official. Hugo's back. Condoleesa Rice shakes her finger at him. Dubya is right for almost the first time in his life when he said, jumping the gun just a tad, that "tranquility and democracy will rule in Venezuela now". The Shrub must be using a few of Daddy's old speechwriters... the ones who wrote the "We congratulate you, our strong right arm for democracy in Asia." speech in praise of Marcos after he stole the 'Snap Elections' which preceded the 'People Power' revolt. The same kind of revolt that now seems to have put Hugo back in hte saddle. Check out "What's That Sound" on my website, News from the Edge at <www.qcislands.net/peerless/> for my take.

    Coup in Venezuela | 131 comments (124 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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