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[P]
Bush Administration 'Agreed With' Venezuelan Coup Plotters

By greenrd in Op-Ed
Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 01:15:00 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

The New York Times reports today that the Bush administration met with the Venezuelan anti-Chavez coup plotters and agreed that they should oust Chavez [shortened registration-free copy]

A Defense Department official said: "We were not discouraging people. We were sending informal, subtle signals that we don't like this guy. We didn't say, `No, don't you dare,' and we weren't advocates saying, `Here's some arms; we'll help you overthrow this guy.' We were not doing that."


In other words, the administration admitted to not disapproving of ousting a democratically-elected president.

Interestingly, the administration also admits to passing on claims that Chavez resigned voluntarily, without any evidence:

One Democratic foreign policy aide complained that the administration, in phone calls to Congress on Friday, reported that Mr. Chávez had resigned, even though officials now concede that they had no evidence of that.
Finally, and most embarrassingly, the US, after enthusiastically endorsing the new right-wing regime almost as soon as it appeared, decided to do a 180 degree reversal after Chavez came back into power:

"We'll be guided by the Inter-American Democratic Charter," said State Department spokesman Philip Reeker, referring to the Organization of American States' seven-month-old agreement to condemn and investigate the overthrow of any democratically elected OAS member government and, if necessary, suspend the offender's membership.

But much of the rest of the hemisphere saw the administration's response to the last five days in Venezuela in a somewhat different light. In the view of a number of Latin American governments, they were the ones who rose to defend democracy, while the United States came limping along only when it became clear late Saturday that the Friday morning coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had only temporarily succeeded

From the NYT article:

One official said political hard-liners in the administration might have "gone overboard" in proclaiming Mr. Chávez's ouster before the dust settled.
This might be seen as more like a case of hypocrisy by some ungenerous souls.

White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer remarked that Chávez should heed the message of his opponents and reach out to "all the democratic forces in Venezuela." Although seemingly innocuous, this leaves a bad taste in the mouth, when you consider that:

(a) Chavez is a democratically-elected leader, whose only alleged crime against democracy seems to be an unsubstantiated report of him ordering protestors to be fired upon. If you look more closely into these protests, you will find that more pro-Chavez demonstrators have been killed than anti-Chavez demonstrators - including in the original anti-Chavez protest, but the disparity is even wider when you include the numbers killed when the abortive coup government was in power.

(b) Double standards: When Italian police fired directly at anti-capitalist protestors at Genoa (as one of my friends can attest), and assaulted, abused and humiliated1 prisoners, causing a number of serious injuries, Bush did not condemn Silvio Berlusconi as an "undemocratic" leader. When Italian police sneaked into a building at night to beat up sleeping protestors in a planned, ruthless operation, Bush did not ask for anyone to resign - let alone Berlusconi.

[1] (e.g. deprived of basic civil rights, beaten up, allegedly tortured, forced to shout the Italian analogue of "Hail Hitler!", etc.)

(c) More double standards (I'm sorry, but this is all too glaring for me to pass up!): Chavez's family has never been accused, with hard evidence, of racistly rigging a presidential election.

(d) The actual outcome of the abortive Venezuelan coup was a shockingly right-wing government that - as the Washington Post article confirms - tried to dissolve the Supreme Court, the elected legislature, and the constitution! Although, to be scrupulously fair, Washington may not have anticipated this kind of extreme outcome, it is hardly a secret that Washington was incensed at Chavez's democratic huge landslide win on a socialist program of land reform, free education, and increasing oil taxes.

Unsurprisingly, mainstream news reports on this matter have tended to be silent on Washington's record of supporting repressive regimes ("direct complicity" in "the methods of Heinrich Himmler's extermination squads," as described by Charles Maechling, who led US counterinsurgency and internal defense planning from 1961 to 1966.) and right-wing coups.

Although leftist reports of US crimes are often criticised for not including enough context, the mainstream media's pervasive lack of historical context - as if this US support for the Venezuelan coup is something new and unheard of - may be a far more insiduous problem.

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Poll
Is it plausible that the US could have "encouraged" the Venezuelan coup?
o Yes 79%
o Yes, although they probably did not expect it to be anti-democratic 7%
o No, the US only supports coups against dictators like Hussain and Castro 1%
o No, it would have been too politically risky to overtly support it 10%

Votes: 128
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o met with the Venezuelan anti-Chavez coup plotters
o shortened registration-free copy
o enthusiast ically endorsing
o 180 degree reversal
o assaulted, abused and humiliated1 prisoners
o beat up sleeping protestors
o racistly rigging a presidential election
o supporting repressive regimes
o right-wing coups
o Also by greenrd


Display: Sort:
Bush Administration 'Agreed With' Venezuelan Coup Plotters | 204 comments (200 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
So, more evidence of a rudderless White House (2.88 / 9) (#2)
by georgeha on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:56:30 AM EST

guided by a vague pro-capitalistic ideology, with little substance or depth? And this is news?

Rudderless? (4.50 / 6) (#3)
by kuran42 on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:01:19 AM EST

Incompetent, perhaps. Illegal, yes. Corrupt, almost certainly. Rudderless, no. A desire for money, power, and attention drives the current administration. Anything, including withdrawing from or violating outright treaties, stomping out democracies, and and lying baldface to the people it supposedly represents is considered a fair move in reaching those ends.

This is the latest in a series of unjustafiable actions, and I doubt it will be the last.

--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]

Rudderless? Maybe spineless? (3.60 / 5) (#6)
by georgeha on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:04:40 AM EST

Okay Israel, out of Palestine.

Now this time I mean it, out!

Sharon, I'm warning you!

Okay Sharon, I'm counting to ten, if you're not out of the West Bank at the count of ten.

Unless of course, you think that is all public posturing while tacitly endoring Sharon's actions.

[ Parent ]

Yes, let's go there :P (2.60 / 5) (#12)
by kuran42 on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:34:59 AM EST

Honestly, the Israel/Palestine problem is a non-trivial one. We all know this. Even if Bush was an intelligent, thoughtful man, I'm not sure he could resolve it. Has anyone else in the world come up with a plan to resolve the issue? I don't think so. So Bush does what he can, which is what you suggest, public posturing, and nothing more.

I think the best chance for resolution the Bush White House has is if there is a sudden, massive oil crisis, and Israeli soil is needed to launch strikes against OPEC nations. Then we will go in, trash Palestine, set up military bases, and take over the Middle East, probably inciting several more WTO-level (or higher) terrorist incidents on American and Israeli soil. This is obvious not the best resolution, and it depends on a sudden oil crisis, which seems unlikely, but I don't see that the current administration could think up anything more intelligent, balanced, or peaceful.

Bush needs to be impeached and removed from office for allowing the United States to break with the spirit, if not the letter, of the OAS (How many people died as a result of this? How many people died as a result of Clinton's blowjobs? Fuck, this country is messes up). Cheney probably needs the same for his involvement in Enron, but that's a different issue. The only problem is that this would leave Donald Rumsfield in charge of a substantial portion of the armed forces (and he'd likely go blow up the world on a lark), and, let's face it, things only get worse from there.

I guess we should count ourselves lucky the democrats are too spineless to bother with any of this.

--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]

Pointless nitpick (4.00 / 2) (#15)
by greenrd on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:40:52 AM EST

Has anyone else in the world come up with a plan to resolve the issue?

Plans are easy to draw up. Workable solutions are that elusive quantity - especially when one or both sides refuses to negotiate.


"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 ]

Yes that was pointless (3.00 / 1) (#16)
by kuran42 on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:43:38 AM EST

But you're right, when I say "plans" I mean things that can actually be implemented, assuming no major shifts in the ideology of either side.

--
kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]
tarbaby (4.50 / 4) (#21)
by wiredog on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:08:23 PM EST

The Israeli/Palestinian problem is nothing but trouble for any US politician. That's why Bush tried to avoid getting involved with it.

Now the right wing of the Republican party is beginning to turn on him because of it.

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

Resolution? (none / 0) (#196)
by SporranBoy on Fri Apr 19, 2002 at 11:00:33 PM EST

How is the U.S. trashing Palestine supposed to be a "resolution"? A development maybe, more likely an escalation, but never a resolution.

I think the same muslims who got bent out of shape over the presence of infidel forces in Saudi Arabia would have a raving fit if the "Holy Land" were to be turned into a military base for attacking an arab country.

It seems inconceivable that things could get as out of hand as you conjecture but then I suppose people were writing letters to the Times in 1913 poo-pooing talk of war in Europe.

[ Parent ]
The loose cannons are rolling (4.50 / 2) (#32)
by jolly st nick on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 02:06:54 PM EST

Interpreting Bush foreign policy is like interpreting a Rorsach test.

Example: North Korea is declared part of the "Axis of Evil". Our allies, including North Korea freak out -- they've been trying to improve the situation by having talks. Next day -- the clarification. Being a member of the "axis of evil" doesn't mean we're against negotiations with them.

The official's comment about "not winking" seems like another example of the kind of mixed messages the administration is sending. They couldn't decide whether a coup was a good thing that should be encouraged but they weren't willing to discourage it either. In absence of clear decision, they simply let things take their course so they could make up their minds when the events actually took place. This is not, in my mind, necessarily a bad approach, except that I don't think it was really possible for them to tread this fine line between encouragement and discouragement. Given that this was their posture, the coup plotters naturally and correctly assumed that they would get US support once the deed was done.

From the outside, it looks like you have a president who is fond of "straight talk", but has a contradictory instinct for following his adisors' more cautious consensus. Again, this instinct isn't a bad thing, except that it seems to kick in after the fact. It's the same on the middle east policy. It's absolutely clear from a straight talk perspective that Isreal has a right to defend itself. On the other hand from a policy perspective, the prospects for a good outcome from excercising this right to its fullest are bleak.



[ Parent ]

Bush's instincts (none / 0) (#198)
by Boronx on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 02:45:57 PM EST

Bush's instincts aren't bad.

His operating mostly on instict is bad.
Subspace
[ Parent ]

"And this is news?" (5.00 / 3) (#7)
by alge on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:10:46 AM EST

Well, it's not in the "news" section, is it? (=

vi er ikke lenger elsket her

[ Parent ]
Yes, it is news (4.00 / 3) (#8)
by TheGreenLantern on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:13:43 AM EST

Even if it is not unexpected.

It hurts when I pee.
[ Parent ]
No (4.00 / 7) (#9)
by wiredog on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:23:14 AM EST

This is op-ed.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Surprising? I think not. (3.25 / 8) (#4)
by paxus on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:02:30 AM EST

The Prez of Venezuela was screwing with the oil that supplies us. Of course the U.S. President wouldn't disagree with a coup. It's in his own best interests. I don't see how this could surprise anyone. Politicians and the media work, for the most part, for their own best interests. I doubt the mainstream media would necessarily try "rippling the waves" with the current administration considering our current "war against terror." It would seem anti-patriotic. Wait until it's over, then we'll hear about different behind-the-scenes things.





"...I am terrible time, the destroyer of all beings in all worlds, engaged to destroy all beings in this world... " - Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita
So, what you're saying is... (4.42 / 7) (#11)
by greenrd on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:33:56 AM EST

Of course the U.S. President wouldn't disagree with a coup. It's in his own best interests.

I notice a distinct lack of "outside America" in that sentence. Perhaps that was just a lapse.

So you're saying that any US president would be fine with overthrowing democracies (presumably not their own homeland's democracy - although Bush did say "Things would be so much easier if I was a dictator". No doubt, no doubt.) This despite all their public relations talk of "supporting human rights and democratic principles". In other words, all their talk of "upholding democracy" is, to put it bluntly, a steaming pile of bullshit to be sacrificed to the altar of American elite interests whenever convenient?

Is that what you're saying?

Thanks for making my point for me so clearly! :-) I wouldn't be quite so cynical, though - I think that some US presidents have had moral scruples. Bush doesn't give me much confidence in that department, however.

Personally I was not at all surprised that this meeting happened the way it allegedly did - I am only mildly surprised that the news got out in the mainstream media so soon. Again, I am not quite so cynical and one-dimensional about the mainstream media as the archetypical blindly-ideological leftists (who are a tiny minority, in reality, even though rightists on k5 try to paint us all with the same broad brush).


"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 ]

principles and policy (3.50 / 2) (#35)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 02:25:06 PM EST

Generally speaking, high minded principles make for great slogans, but terrible foreign policy. America's relations with other nations should reflect its strategic interests. Likewise, this holds true for every nation's relations with its neighbors. I'm not saying all is permissable, every nation needs to hold some principles inviolate, but what exactly those limits are is now, as always, a matter of much debate. That American actions differ from the public pronouncements is to be expected. Take for example America's strategic relationionship with Pakistan. Immediately after denouncing any nation that aids or gives comfort to terrorists the US partnered up with a nation whose official support of terrorits operating in Kashmir in beyond dispute. Hypocrisy? Sure, if you insist, but it was an absolutely necessary strategic relationship if the US wanted to accomplish its goals in Afghanistan. I appluad my government's principled rejection of terrorist tactic's, but I applaud even more its acknowledgement that the problem is far too complex to be constrained in its associations by a commendable, if nieve, sentiment.

As for America's giving the OK to the coup in Venezuela, I really don't see what your gripe is. Chavez's government was openly hostile to US interests, of course the US wasn't going to oppose his removal.


---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
unsweetened condensed bilk (4.00 / 2) (#48)
by killmepleez on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:06:27 PM EST

To summarize the parent post: Terrorism is absolutely unsupportable and unacceptable unless we are using it to combat Terrorism.

__
"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "Jumpers" in The New Yorker, October 13, 2003.
[ Parent ]
Piss Poor Summary (none / 0) (#56)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:39:10 PM EST

An accurate summary would be something more along the lines of "choose your battles carefully".

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
more explicit explication (none / 0) (#104)
by killmepleez on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 08:00:40 PM EST

Immediately after denouncing any nation that aids or gives comfort to terrorists the US partnered up with a nation whose official support of terrorits operating in Kashmir in beyond dispute. Hypocrisy? Sure, if you insist...
those last five words seem to be a rhetorical device intended to divert the weight of the "hypocrisy" label from the hypocrites to those who try to point out the hypocrisy. the connotation of the phrase implying that the former are just going about their business innocently while the latter are hounding them, mercilessly, unwarrantedly insisting on calling them hypocrites. to be blunt, that's rather cheap.
then you continue:
...but it was an absolutely necessary strategic relationship if the US wanted to accomplish its goals in Afghanistan. I appluad my government's principled rejection of terrorist tactic's, but I applaud even more its acknowledgement that the problem is far too complex to be constrained in its associations by a commendable, if nieve, sentiment.
again, let's break down what you've said, which is really a simple A-B-C syllogistic implication:
  • the [A] united states is [B] opposing people and nations who support and encourage terrorism.
  • [B] pakistan is [C] funding/assisting people/actions in Kashmir that are terrorist.
  • therefore, the united states, in order "accomplish their goals in afghanistan" [read: oppose terrorism], will support pakistan, i.e., terrorism. [[A is B] + [B is C]] = A is C.
  • to claim otherwise, and to employ covering euphemisms such as "choose your battles" seems willfully deceptive.

    __
    "I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
    --from "Jumpers" in The New Yorker, October 13, 2003.
    [ Parent ]
    counterpoint (none / 0) (#117)
    by cr8dle2grave on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:21:58 PM EST

    First off, thanks for the reasoned and intelligent response; it demonstrates a degree of respect not warrented given my previous subject line.

    those last five words seem to be a rhetorical device intended to divert the weight of the "hypocrisy" label from the hypocrites to those who try to point out the hypocrisy

    Whether due to a communicative failure on my part or an interpretive error on yours, you have misconstrued what I intended, if not what I wrote. The rhetorical device was deployed to suggest that a re-evaluation of the charge of hypocrisy is in order. I concede the hypocrisy, but I find it to be of little interest. Idealists will always find pragmatists to be hypocrits.

    the [A] united states is [B] opposing people and nations who support and encourage terrorism

    This is the public position, which espouses an understandable and commendable sentiment. The problem is that it is at odds with what the real foreign policy goal is: threat reduction and management. Rigid adherence to what has become known as the Bush doctrine does not allow for the effective implementation of a realistic strategy to combat the current threat to America. The governments of both Pakistan and Afghanistan supported groups using terrorist tactics, but only the government of Afghanistan presented an immediate threat to the US. Additionally, the best method of eradicating terrorist groups will differ from country to country. The Bush administration adjudged the Pakistani government susceptible to coercion and has pursued a policy of encouraging reform (at the point of a very big gun). The Afghani government was written off as a lost cause which needed to be removed from power immediately. I concur.


    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    practicing practicality (none / 0) (#162)
    by killmepleez on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 01:30:55 AM EST

    pragmatism itself wholly sidesteps the issue of hypocrisy. hypocrisy is a stated position [or a position which can be deduced from a set of actions] which is in contradiction to another position or action performed by the same person or group. the charge of hypocrisy does not stick to forthright pragmatism; the pragmatist is ipso facto never contradictory of her Moral Code, summed up by "That which best succeeds is the preferred course of action". what happens is that the pragmatist's methods in situation A may be interpreted by others as being derived from a spiritual or humanistic moral code, and then when situation B arises, these others may pounce upon the pragmatist's new method of success as being contradictory to the previously assumed values. insofar as this was the motive behind your dismissal of the charge of hypocrisy, you are quite correct.

    the problem, then, is again one of hidden meanings. for when we say "That which best succeeds is the preferred course of action", we must be very careful to define "success". This otherwise neutral statement may be benificial, benign, or bellicose depending upon what moral concerns underly our notion of Success. Some possible components of a definition of Success might include the following:
  • immediate monetary cost
  • duration
  • short-term military effect[s]
  • long-term military effect[s]
  • number of Our deaths
  • number of Their deaths
  • fomenting democracy
  • reviving the economy
  • generating goodwill among neighbors
  • distracting the media
  • spurring national pride
  • electoral victory

    looking back over your comment history, i see that your intent is to promote a pragmatic, ethically neutral foreign policy, and not to justify the bush administration's actions on an ethical basis. [i apologize in advance for that phrase; i know it sounds accusative but i do not intend it to be -- "ethics" and "morals" seem to be unsalvageably loaded words with few appropriate substitutes]. for the discussion at hand, you are probably right that it would be instructive to separate the two main points of contention [and perhaps also the two subpoints within the second] as follows :
    1) The Bush/Cheney Administration's statements and actions are hypocritical.
    2a) The Bush/Cheney Administration's statements and actions are effective for some given definition of "success".
    2b) The Bush/Cheney Administration's statements and actions are what ethically should be done.

    as to your opening comment -- when i [rarely] want to be childish, knee-jerk, and belligerent i go to slashdot.org; when i want to be humanistic, snide, and occasionally insightful i go to plastic.com; when i want to read and participate in a [mostly] reasoned forum, i visit k5. i respect what goes on here, and so i respond with a level of "dialectic charity" i do not often exhibit in my immediate physical environment. thank you for taking the time to do likewise, by clarifying your assertions.


    __
    "I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
    --from "Jumpers" in The New Yorker, October 13, 2003.
    [ Parent ]
  • Ah.. I get it now.. (2.50 / 2) (#60)
    by Kwil on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:56:08 PM EST

    So basically, say anything you want, but do what gets the job done.

    Might as well extend that to treaties, hm? Sign it to shut people up, then just go on with whatever you were doing in the first place.

    Let's move this down to a more personal level. Businesses can promise you the world, but why bother delivering a product when that costs you money? Just keep the dough and move on..

    Heck, sounds like a great way to live to me..

    Here's a better idea: Say what you mean. If you don't really mean it, then don't go around swearing that you do.

    That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


    [ Parent ]
    nope (none / 0) (#77)
    by cr8dle2grave on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 06:00:22 PM EST

    If a nation's stated policy and its "actual" policy differ too greatly its credibility will suffer which is decidedly not in its best interest. Remember, self interest is what I'm talking about here. Personally, I'd love it if governments eschewed the use of jingoistic rhetoric and instead presented the public with honest account of foreign policy objectives and strategies, but it ain't gonna happen. A slogan such as "zero tolerance for terrorists and the states which support them" is something the public can run with, whereas coming clean and discussing the need for strategic relationships in the pursuit of an achievable threat reduction policy is ethically murky, complex, and, most damning of all, its boring. Keeping the hoi polloi happy and content requires keeping it simple and, if possible, catchy and memorable.

    As for your analogy, its misleading. Nation states are not like people or businesses. The ethical constraints rightly put upon individuals differ from those placed upon businesses which differ again from the those placed upon nations. It might be useful, in some cases, to scale a personal ethic up to the level of nation states, but it can be misleading and inappropriate in other cases. As for your example of treaties, I'd say don't enter into a treaty you can't or don't intend to keep. If a nation can no longer uphold a treaty then it should officially withdraw if at all possible. To do otherwise is to threaten its credibility, which as I mentioned above is not in its interest. Credibility is what constrains businesses from engaging in the out and out fraud you speak of, which should be painfully obvious. I'm not advocating a policy of "do whaterever you feel like," I'm pointing out that the first principle of any rational foreign policy is self interest.


    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    Credibility and Rhetoric (4.00 / 1) (#152)
    by Kwil on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:55:53 PM EST

    The problem then is when does not behaving according to your stated rhetoric not damage credibility? Is it when you say "Any state that harbours terrorists is our enemy" and then make strategic alliances with such a state for fighting a more serious terrorist state? Is it when you say "We support democratic states", but then recognize the results of a coup of a democratically elected leader to be the official government on the same day as the coup takes place? Is it when the rhetoric is saying "We will boycott trade with a country where the people are not free" (eg Cuba) but then turn around and start negotiating trade deals with China?

    By your own argument, when a government's actions work against its rhetoric, it damages credibility. I think it's pretty simple, really. If you aren't going to follow through with what you're saying, don't say it. If you do otherwise, no matter how you want to spin it, it boils down to one thing.

    You're lying.

    It doesn't matter whether you're a government, a business, or an individual - if you do this, you're lying.

    And if you're doing something that requires you to lie to keep the "hoi polloi" happy and content, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place?

    That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


    [ Parent ]
    What? (5.00 / 4) (#18)
    by streetlawyer on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:54:55 AM EST

    The Prez of Venezuela was screwing with the oil that supplies us

    No he wasn't. He was acting in line with his OPEC quota and not even intimating he might do anything different. Whatever conspiracy theory you are working on, this ain't the right one.

    --
    Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
    [ Parent ]

    We've seen this before... (3.20 / 5) (#5)
    by boxed on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:03:47 AM EST

    ..in Chile. Fortunately this coup failed.

    But (3.66 / 9) (#10)
    by wiredog on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:25:01 AM EST

    Should the US have interfered in Venezuela's internal politics to stop the coup? Or would that be US imperialism?

    Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
    Not all intervention is necessarily imperialism (3.66 / 6) (#13)
    by greenrd on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:36:08 AM EST

    Yes, they should have. They could have said something like "We will not support a coup. You will get no money from the IMF." or something like that.


    "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 ]

    Additionally (4.50 / 4) (#17)
    by kuran42 on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:47:02 AM EST

    As a democratic state and a member of the OAS, we're supposed to be all for the existing government. If Chavez had asked the United States for military aid in preventing the coup (In his place, I would not have done this, but still, it is an option), we should have given it, but I doubt we would have.

    --
    kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
    [ Parent ]
    That's a good question (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by aphrael on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:06:18 PM EST

    Should we have sent troops to prevent the coup? Probably not, and the Venezuelans would probably have not accepted them anyhow. However we could have said, when queried by the people planning the coup, that we supported the legitimate government and that we were opposed to any attempts to subvert democracy and the will of the people; our ambassador could have made it clear that we were not in favor of coups and would look poorly upon such a thing.

    Instead, we said that we thought it would be a good idea. That's what I have a problem with; our leadership can talk all it wants about how evil Chavez was, and how he was destroying the economy and aggrandizing power, but it's still not ethical for us to not at least *pretend* to support democracy.

    [ Parent ]

    But... (3.00 / 2) (#53)
    by valeko on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:19:08 PM EST

    Given Chavez's acting independent of American (and particularly the Bush oligarchy's) policy and the relations resulting from this, the US would never act to stop such a coup. I think the spirit of this is evident in their haste to recognise the new right-wing government.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    The Italian connection ? (4.00 / 6) (#19)
    by alfadir on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:04:35 PM EST

    Although you have a friend who can attest that the Italian police did not play nice with the protestors in Genoa, the information seems a bit misplaced. If my memory serves me right the Genoa incident has already thuroughly been discussed here in different articles.

    On the other hand the information about the US strange reaction to the Venezuela coup was interesting and something I have not heard about. I do not have enough background in the Venezuela politics and what Mr Chávez have been doing since he was elected. Maybe he has not been the best democratically elected president either? Or do you think the US policy is to support as many rightwing military coups as possible? I think the US administration was glad to see him go for different reasons, but not very thrilled when the replacement was a military dictatorship. There has after all been strikes etc in Venezuela protesting Chávez. Venezuela's Industrial Council reported 80 percent of industry shut down. 80% of the industry, it seems that a lot of people (maybe 50+% of the population) were protesting. Is there anyone from Venezuela here to enlighten us?



    Some errors... (4.92 / 13) (#20)
    by bodrius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:06:57 PM EST

    Here are some facts you're free to interpret as you like, but I think should at least be taken into consideration:

    a) Chavez alleged crimes against democracy are not exclusive to the events during the general strike. The strike was supported by so many different opposition groups because of Chavez's alleged crimes against democracy through the full 3.x years of government.
    Official complaints have been filed with international bodies concerning threats to freedom of speech, human rights (during the floods crisis of 1999), fraudulent elections (irregularities in almost every referendum), etc. Other non-official complaints are also common, such as politizicing education.
    Some of these accusations have merit. Some do not. But the "alleged" crimes, as you can see, are actually many. The last alleged crime was the one the military high command used as an excuse to oust Chavez, not the only source of distrust's for Chavez's brnad of democracy.

    c) Maybe not racistly, but Chavez's family has been accused of rigging elections, specifically in Barinas where Chavez's father became governor. There has been evidence; whether it's "hard" or not, is up to interpretation, but since the CNE (the institution that handles elections) basically refused to investigate most complaints (some with much better evidence than that one), it doesn't seem to matter.

    d) Not only was Washington unable to predict that, but so was most of the opposition. Apparently a lot of the opposition leaders effectively rejected positions in the "interim government" after being surprised by the decree that dissolved all the Bolivarian institutions, while others (labor unions, for example) weren't even offered participation even though they were a fundamental part of the effort.
    Basicly there was unilateral action on the part of a faction within the opposition. Some say it was involuntary, others say it was a coup within a coup within a coup. Whatever happened, it destroyed any chances the "interim government" might have had.

    The mainstream US media does have a lack of pervasive historical context for everything they report. I agree with you that it is a very serious problem, as it provides at best snippets of pre-interpreted information.

    But it is a known and identified problem, at least among a certain population which usually includes those willing to waste time discussing political issues in a forum.

    It is alarming, however, that those who pride themselves for being better informed than the mainstream media often are not, and operate under the same assumptions that their information is first-rate, but with different sources.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    You mean Venezuela or USA here? (3.16 / 6) (#43)
    by peace on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 03:12:35 PM EST

    Complaints about threats to freedom of speech and fraudulent elections? I thought you were talking about the USA and George Bush for a minute. Luckily I read your post further to find out that it was in fact Chavez's father in Barinas and not his brother in Florida who is accused of rigging elections. That cleared things up.

    Send in the troops and oust the jerk!

    Kind Regards

    [ Parent ]

    Yeah, oust the jerk! (3.25 / 4) (#50)
    by fn0rd on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:12:55 PM EST

    Wait... which jerk are we talking about again?

    This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
    [ Parent ]

    Beside the point (none / 0) (#76)
    by the womble on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:59:52 PM EST

    Even if it a corrupt or otehrwise flawed democracy, it will hardly be improved by a coup that replaces it with a dictatorship or oligarchy.

    [ Parent ]
    You mean like... (4.00 / 1) (#96)
    by bodrius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:29:10 PM EST

    You mean like the 1992 coup authored by Chavez, which was the ideological basis for his government platform when he finally became elected?

    Against the corrupt and flawed democracies that were the reason behind the Constitutional reform, the dissolution of Congress and the Supreme Court, and the "relegitimization of powers" in the first year (or first mini-period) of the Chavez government?

    Of course you're right. Breaking the legal principle ("estado de derecho") hardly improves any political situation, and it's a really bad and costly Latin American habit.

    The problem is that elections do not a democracy make. The argument of the opposition was that the government was degenerating into something that was not a democracy anymore, and the brand-new Constitution was being violated.

    Now once again, this may be interpreted however you like and you may consider it is entirely wrong. But it is very much to the point.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    For the record, so did I. (2.00 / 3) (#22)
    by Apuleius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:19:29 PM EST

    After the Beijing Olympics, there may or may not be a nasty confrontation between the US and China. Chavez's apparent willingness to let China open a second front in his country is enough reason for anyone to support a coup against him. His antidemocratic behavior since getting elected, and the cult of personality around him also make me wonder if he could be unseated without a coup.


    There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
    More info? (none / 0) (#30)
    by nowan on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 01:34:04 PM EST

    I've been trying to understand the US administrations' position against Chavez, and I'd love it if you could provide more info.

    I'm aware that Chavez has diplomatic relations with places like Cuba, Iraq, Libya, etc., and the US is none too thrilled about that. Personaly, that doesn't bother me much (should it? Educate me....).

    I've also heard that he isn't terribly respectful of the constitution, which is a bit more worrisome. But I haven't heard any specifics at all, it's just a vague allegation. Anyone have any pointers on this?

    Thanks for any info.

    [ Parent ]

    Chavez summary (4.00 / 1) (#31)
    by jasonab on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 02:03:31 PM EST

    Here's a summary of "Chavez' legacy" from the Washington Post, from before he came back. I think it illuciates your points.

    --
    America is a great country. One of the freest in the world. -- greenrd
    [ Parent ]
    Here you go. (4.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Apuleius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 02:23:02 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 ]
    Rupture of the Constitution (none / 0) (#173)
    by bodrius on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 07:59:07 AM EST

    I posted some information about a particular case of Chavez's lack of respect for his own Constitution in <a href="http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2002/4/14/134529/658/72#72"this comment</a>. There's a lot more, but frankly I think that's more than enough.
    <br><br>

    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    Rupture of the Constitution (none / 0) (#174)
    by bodrius on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 07:59:38 AM EST

    I posted some information about a particular case of Chavez's lack of respect for his own Constitution in this comment. There's a lot more, but frankly I think that's more than enough.


    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    Thanks. (none / 0) (#180)
    by nowan on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 12:49:07 PM EST

    Thanks -- reading your post was very helpful.

    I still think I'm inclined to be more in favor of Chavez than against him, simply because he *is* democraticaly elected, whatever the irregularities. A coup, especialy a coup the US takes no strong stand against, can only be a destabilizing factor.

    And I'm cynical enough to think that anyone who might replace him is likely to be just as bad, or worse.

    [ Parent ]

    Godwin (3.50 / 10) (#24)
    by MrAcheson on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:22:14 PM EST

    Frankly the Bush administration is in a lose-lose situation here and it did the right thing by not getting involved. If the US intervened on either side of the coup then it would be called the evil American imperialist interfering with the internal political processes of other nations for its own ends. Instead the administration said, "We don't care and we will not get involved either way." A far more enlightened and frankly inexpensive position to take.

    As for not aiding a "democratically elected leader" frankly thats bunk. I do not know whether this is the case in Venezuela nor do I really care. The US should not be the world's policeman enforcing the status quo at the potential expense of foreign peoples freedoms and rights.

    I know enough about third world politics in general to know that there are plenty of "democratically elected leaders" who are actively oppressing all the disenting minority groups within their own countries in order to further their own ends. I have several friends who are Nigerian Ibos and they are thankful when the military takes over because it means the "democratically elected" Hausi president (because the Hausis have the popular majority in a nation with 3 ethnic groups) can't force Islamic law on them any longer.

    To conclude, frankly the Administration made a tough but good decision by butting out.

    As an aside, I was wondering why there wasn't very much conversation going on when I realized that the post Godwins itself in the second to last paragraph.


    These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.


    Strategic mistake as well as moral. (none / 0) (#93)
    by Boronx on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:24:49 PM EST

    No. Chavez was the winner, the coup leaders were the losers, Bush sided with the losers. On top of that he made our whole country look like hipocrites by not condemning the ouster of a democratically elected president.

    All Bush had to do was immedietly issue a statement against the coup, make sure his boys towed the line, do nothing else, and in two days the story disappears. No embarrassment.
    Subspace
    [ Parent ]

    How does doing nothing side with anyone?(nt) (none / 0) (#126)
    by MrAcheson on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:52:17 PM EST


    These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.


    [ Parent ]
    Even if all he did was nothing... (none / 0) (#204)
    by Boronx on Tue Apr 30, 2002 at 07:10:38 PM EST

    ...he reneged on the commitment the U.S. has made to Democracy in Central and South America.

    But they didn't do nothing. The administration lied about the situation during the coup and immedietly recognized the coup as the government of Venezuela. The administration has had close contact with the plotters for some time. They didn't do "nothing" even if only diplomatically.

    As for other, more shady actions, I haven't seen any evidence. On the other hand, it's hard for me to imagine that guys like Otto Reich and Elliot Abrams could resist getting their hands dirty over Hugo Chavez. I'll believe it when I see it though.
    Subspace
    [ Parent ]

    No conspiracy (4.08 / 12) (#25)
    by jasonab on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:42:15 PM EST

    First, note that the Washington Post article says that no one in Latin America thinks the US helped the coup (your previous, reactionary conspiracy theory):
    A senior administration official yesterday repeated denials of allegations by Chavez supporters that the United States had encouraged the coup, although he acknowledged that U.S. officials had met with a number of Chavez opponents. "They came here . . . to complain and to inform us and to tell us about the situation," he said. "We said we can't tell you to remove a president or not to remove a president . . . we did not wink, not even wink at anyone."

    Few Latin American officials appeared to believe the United States was involved.

    Second, Chavez is not a democratic leader. While he was elected, he has taken several steps since he was elected to consolidate his power, including changing the Constitution to his benefit and extending his own term. Those are not the actions of someone interested in democracy.

    The Washington Post article makes is clear that Bush did not see Chavez as a democratic leader, and did not support or oppose the coup:

    When the OAS meeting began Saturday morning, a Caracas businessman was occupying the presidential palace. Roger Noriega, the U.S. ambassador to the OAS, took the floor to chastise member states for being less concerned about Chavez's anti-democratic behavior over the past 24 months than events of the last 24 hours.

    But as the day wore on, Venezuela's new president started taking some anti-democratic actions of his own, dissolving the National Assembly, shutting the Supreme Court and voiding the constitution. Chavez supporters flooded the streets.

    "As it started to unravel," a diplomat said, "the United States became less and less eager to try to lead" the debate.

    (c) More double standards (I'm sorry, but this is all too glaring for me to pass up!): Chavez's family has never been accused, with hard evidence, of racistly rigging a presidential election.
    A complete non-sequitor. Chavez did more to damage Venezuela's democracy than Bush ever could. Once again, green, you seem to be looking at the facts that are convenient, and ignoring the unpleasant truths. Chavez is not a hero, and you and your populist friends who support him do so because you like his socialist and demagogic policies while maintaining a veneer of democracy.

    --
    America is a great country. One of the freest in the world. -- greenrd
    constitutional referendum (3.40 / 5) (#38)
    by ooch on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 02:39:57 PM EST

    Second, Chavez is not a democratic leader. While he was elected, he has taken several steps since he was elected to consolidate his power, including changing the Constitution to his benefit and extending his own term. Those are not the actions of someone interested in democracy.

    Didn't Chavez hold a referendum, as constitutionally required, to install the new constitution? If the demos decides that someone in power should have more power, that doesn't make him undemocratic, does it? Otherwise G. Washington would be anti-democratic as well. Chavez was elected with 80% support, and re-elected with 60%. That is more then a certain president in the Western Hemisphere that I can remember.

    So, unless you regard any delegation of power from the populace to a politician as undemocratic, clearly Chavez is a "democratic president". Cheers

    [ Parent ]

    Demagogue (2.50 / 4) (#40)
    by jasonab on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 02:43:33 PM EST

    So, unless you regard any delegation of power from the populace to a politician as undemocratic, clearly Chavez is a "democratic president". Cheers
    There's a difference between democracy and demagoguery. Washington did not attempt to give himself a third term, change the Constitution to give himself longer terms, or attempt to undermine the institutions of the country.

    See my other comment for an article with details.

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

    No, and you're still very uninformed. (5.00 / 4) (#61)
    by Juan Rojo on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:02:49 PM EST

    From the venezuelan constitution, they can, while he is on power, make a referendum (plebiscito like we call it here) where the people, every some years, can vote to decide if he continues in power or not. without having to wait for elections. Chavez said this before and after the coup, that if they want to LEGALLY AND LEGITIMALLY take him out of power they can do it this way. BUT since most venezuela still support chavez and specially the lower classes, carmona & company knew that the only way to take him out of power was using private media & the army.

    [ Parent ]
    Don't you think they tried. (4.00 / 1) (#172)
    by bodrius on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 07:52:45 AM EST

    The referendum was requested. The opposition has been collecting signatures for the referendum and has introduced the request, among other things. The government, however, doesn't recognize the request.

    The civilian opposition has been asking for months for two things: resignation of the President or a new referendum. That was at least the official plan.

    Remember that the ones that took Chavez off power were the officers of his high command. And then those same officers delivered the power back to Chavez.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    He's opposed by about 75%... (none / 0) (#72)
    by Demiurge on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:51:13 PM EST

    of the legislative assembly, along with what's probably a corresponding number of general Venezuelans. He tried to become a despot. Admittedly, Carmona showed himself to rule as well, which is why the coup failed. He began to take actions that had not been endorsed by the center-right coalition that backed him.

    [ Parent ]
    Yes conspirancy. (4.20 / 5) (#59)
    by Juan Rojo on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:51:01 PM EST

    >First, note that the Washington Post article says
    >that no one in Latin America thinks the US helped<bt> >the coup

    So? do you live in latin america? I do believe US helped, everyone I know does, and the local media does, only the governments may formerly deny it to avoid acussing US and generating unnecesary trouble. Thinking that what government officials say allways represents what the rest of the country thinks is a very wrong assumption from your part.

    > Second, Chavez is not a democratic leader. While
    > he was elected, he has taken several steps since
    > he was elected to consolidate his power,
    > including changing the Constitution to his
    > benefit and extending his own term. Those are
    > not >the actions of someone interested in
    > democracy.

    Chavez was elected democratically, and he changed the constituion democratically, he has never attacked the opposing groups beyond just voicing his opinion, in every way you want to see it, he is a democratic leader. Also, you say "to his benefit". Since you seem to know so much, I'd like you to explain us what is his personal benefit in changing the constitution.


    >The Washington Post article makes is clear that
    >Bush did not see Chavez as a democratic leader,
    >and did not support or oppose the coup:

    This is stupid, sorry, the same country that financed dictatorships in south america doesnt consider chavez government democratic? Clearly many governments in south america, including argentina are much less democratic than venezuela at this moment and US hasnt said a word. Also i find it even more stupid that they WOULD consider carmona's government democratic when the guy who wasnt a legit president wanted to disolve the congress and impose an politic economic plan by force during a year. And yes, Carmona and helpers met with the IMF in US, where he was promised economic support if he took over the government. A self dictatorship and a coup needs financing, allways did, and do you think a financial group would even attempt to take the power without having US and the IMF support for it?. From everywhere you look at it, US and the IMF supported the coup just because they didnt like chavez politis. This is now new and has been seen in south america for decades, with Peron, Allende and others. Chavez also achieved something that no other political leader in south america has, which is the support of the lowest social classes in the country (which make up the majority of the population). Maybe since you live in a rich country you think the poor are a few lazy marginal people, but the real thruth is that they make the biggest part of the population in the major south american countries. This has nothing to do with socialism. It has to be with a position where liberal capitalism (and since definitions of this seem to very so much, i'll just define it in this case as when the government does not interfere in the country economy and puts the institutions,production and services into private hands)which couldnt be sustained when the population is so poor that cant participate into it. Chavez strategy included re-statizing the oil , avoid the people with very low income from paying taxes, etc. This of course outrages the higher social classes (the minority with power) which has been trying to kick chavez out since then. What happened in venezuela is much more complex than what you or the washington post may describe.

    [ Parent ]
    No evidence (3.50 / 4) (#64)
    by jasonab on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:06:39 PM EST

    So? do you live in latin america?
    Actually, my parents live in Coro, Venezuela. Their Venezulano friends have always been split in their feelings on Chavez.
    I do believe US helped, everyone I know does, and the local media does, only the governments may formerly deny it to avoid acussing US and generating unnecesary trouble. Thinking that what government officials say allways represents what the rest of the country thinks is a very wrong assumption from your part.
    Apparently, your fellow SA governments don't think the US participated. In fact, the US was approached, and said they did not want this coup. You seem to be the only one who thinks the US was involved.
    Since you seem to know so much, I'd like you to explain us what is his personal benefit in changing the constitution.
    He lenghthened his term in office and added power to the presidency. I would call this changing the constitution to his benefit.
    Also i find it even more stupid that they WOULD consider carmona's government democratic when the guy who wasnt a legit president wanted to disolve the congress and impose an politic economic plan by force during a year.
    Actually, the US did not consider that government democratic.
    From everywhere you look at it, US and the IMF supported the coup just because they didnt like chavez politis.
    And again, all the South American governments have said the US was not involved. Why are you so desperate to involve the US? Do you enjoy hating the US that much?
    This is now new and has been seen in south america for decades, with Peron, Allende and others.
    Those were all several decades ago. You cannot cite a contemporary example.
    Chavez also achieved something that no other political leader in south america has, which is the support of the lowest social classes in the country
    That's pretty easy! Promise them the sky, regardless of its impact, and you get instant votes! The trick is actually improving the situation, which Chavez has failed to do.
    Maybe since you live in a rich country you think the poor are a few lazy marginal people
    Impressive strawman, but in fact I have visited Venezuela, including the shack towns on the hills outside Caracas.
    What happened in venezuela is much more complex than what you or the washington post may describe.
    And more complex than what you describe as well. Chavez can talk a good line, but he has failed to deliver for Venezuela. He is a demagogue, not a leader. He has manipulated the poor for his own benefit without doing anything for them. We've been through this cycle of nationalization for fifty years now, with no end or benefit in sight. I have no reason to believe it will work this time.

    --
    America is a great country. One of the freest in the world. -- greenrd
    [ Parent ]
    Yes evidence. (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by Juan Rojo on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:45:48 PM EST

    >Apparently, your fellow SA governments don't think
    >the US participated. In fact, the US was
    >approached, and said they did not want this coup.
    >You seem to be the only one who thinks the US was
    >involved.

    Read better before answering, as I said, taking from your part that what a government says is what the rest of the people in the country thinks is beyond stupid.

    > He lenghthened his term in office and added
    > power to the presidency. I would call this
    >changing the constitution to his benefit.

    And as i said before, everyone is now free to go vote if he wants him to continue in the power or not via public poll. Yes, very much to his benefit dont you think so? A lot more DEMOCRATIC than in a lot of other countries I can think of.

    >That's pretty easy! Promise them the sky,
    >regardless of its impact, and you get instant
    >votes! The trick is actually improving the
    >situation, which Chavez has failed to do


    No sir, read before answering. I didnt say it was electoral promises, he DID benefit the lower social classes which make up the majority of the population.Besides, Venezuela's political condition has historically been proportional to the price of the oil, it is the currently very low price what led Venezuela (went from i think more than $25 to around $10 per gallon) to have economic problems, not "Chavez politics".

    >He has manipulated the poor for his own benefit
    >without doing anything for them.


    What?? besides that he recovered a huge lot of oscious land to give to the poor, and that he didnt requiere them anymore to pay taxes they cant really afford is doing nothing for them or manipulating them? Or that he took companies from private hands to generate more job positions and revenue? He is a perfectly democratic president.

    [ Parent ]
    Evidence (2.75 / 4) (#79)
    by jasonab on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 06:06:50 PM EST

    Apparently, your fellow SA governments don't think the US participated. In fact, the US was approached, and said they did not want this coup. You seem to be the only one who thinks the US was involved.
    Read better before answering, as I said, taking from your part that what a government says is what the rest of the people in the country thinks is beyond stupid.
    What you said was, you and all your friends were absolutely convinced that the US and IMF engineered this coup. I replied that no other government in South America, the ones who should be jumping on the US, agree with you. If the US denied taking part in the face of the evidence, I would be skeptical. There is no evidence the US caused this, and lots that they did not. I do not understand your continued belief to the contrary.
    Or that he took companies from private hands to generate more job positions and revenue? He is a perfectly democratic president.
    I think this shows your position perfectly. If your idea of democracy is forced redistribution of property, I think I'll leave it at that.

    --
    America is a great country. One of the freest in the world. -- greenrd
    [ Parent ]
    And the conspiracies follow... (none / 0) (#140)
    by bodrius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:38:45 PM EST

    - Chavez has attacked the opposition in the same way the opposition has attacked him, but there are two crucial difference: he attacks with the full authority and power of the Presidential Chair, putting his personal role over his institutional role, and he uses their means (their media networks, at their expense) to do it.

    - He changed the Constitution democratically, yet the democratically constructed Constitution is not the same that was democratically approved, and the democratically approved Constitution is not the same that was officially approved and published... before version 2, which is also different. You might want to read the different versions, some changes are ideological rethoric (cosmetics) but others are of substance, and interestingly ommited were the dissenting votes.
    I say the Bolivarian Constitution is legitimate and we better stick to it as we have no better options, but the process was not clean in any way.

    - Currently the only base for a "state of the law" in Venezuela is the Bolivarian Constitution. Yet Chavez has undermined the Constitution not only by being very "flexible" with its interpretation ("true information" duty), but by violating it in his use of the Enabling Law. This is a clearly undemocratic action.

    - Chavez did not re-statize the oil or free poor people from paying taxes. Oil has been of the state for decades, and it has never abandoned government hands. Chavez increased taxes for the rich people, and depending on how you play the numbers for the poor people too (although not as badly).

    - Carmona was not promised support if he took over the government. The opposition coalition was promised support if somehow Chavez left power. Since the popular referendum to remove the President is contemplated in the Constitution (Chavez actually made a big deal of this when he was popular), the IMF can deny supporting a coup. But the point is that Carmona (who apparently wasn't the first choice) was not promised support: the coalition, which included a number of political forces, was. Carmona's decree betrayed most factions within the coalition.

    - Liberal capitalism was never even attempted in Venezuela. Every economy has been keynesian at the most, so far. Even the most "neo-liberal" experiments (second presidency of Carlos Andres Perez) depended on a strong State as the main motor of the economy.

    - The situation in Venezuela is very complex indeed.

    - The US did, officially, screw up.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    People here who hate democracy (1.00 / 1) (#27)
    by BlackTriangle on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 01:15:31 PM EST

    Some of them also seem to be reiterating their "I hate fixed-term democracy" position in this article, as well.

    Anyways, here's my diary entry which has links to the democracy haters' comments.



    Moo.


    A commentry (2.50 / 4) (#28)
    by Hopfrog on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 01:26:09 PM EST

    OK, we hear all this talk of the decades of U.S imperialism. WHO exactly is responsible for this? Are you saying that all the presidents all believed in exactly the same thing?

    Every president that comes wants to control latin America, and do bad stuff in the middle East?

    Or is it that there is cabal behind the president, who are actually responsible for these decisions, and who have kept making ht esame decisions over the years?

    I don't know. But if such a thing existed, it wouldn't be very democratic, innit?

    Hop.

    LoL (3.00 / 7) (#29)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 01:33:25 PM EST

    OK, we hear all this talk of the decades of U.S imperialism. WHO exactly is responsible for this?

    Greenrd, mostly.


    --
    Uhhh.... Where did I drop that clue?
    I know I had one just a minute ago!


    [ Parent ]
    ohmygod (2.66 / 3) (#36)
    by wiredog on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 02:32:02 PM EST

    greenrd is responsible for US imperialism? That explains everything!!!

    Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
    [ Parent ]
    The USA once again ridiculed (2.50 / 8) (#33)
    by elshafti on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 02:10:23 PM EST

    If seems that the US government has once again been humilliated, first of all the 11/09 attacks, where a bunch of loonies shat on USA's backyard, then Ariel Sharon's blatant disregard for whatever Dubya has got to say, and now there caught with their pants down backing a coup de force, hey it seems the bully has to actually *learn* some politics and stop using force because it no longer works.


    I think I am learning to give up on the tragedy of not attaining perfection. -Persimmon

    Re: (3.50 / 2) (#37)
    by rde on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 02:32:04 PM EST

    I wouldn't say the US was 'humiliated' by Sharon's attitude; it implies that the correct response to Bush's request to jump is 'how high?' And given the massive support Sharon has for his oppressive policies in the US, then a "we were trying to be even-handed" quote from Bush is all that's necessary for him to go back to unconditional support for Israel.
    Now, if Tony Blair, Governer of the fifty-first state, were to tell bush to go and shite, it'd be interesting.

    It seems the bully has to actually *learn* some politics and stop using force because it no longer works.
    I really hope I live to see the day when governments abandon policies because they don't work. But I don't think I will.

    [ Parent ]
    ultimatum (none / 0) (#91)
    by felixrayman on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:06:02 PM EST

    I wouldn't say the US was 'humiliated' by Sharon's attitude

    I would say the standing of the US has been diminished by Bush's toothless ultimata. He said 'Do this now, without delay, immediately.' and said it repeatedly. Sharon, by ignoring him, said 'Or else what?'. And Bush's answer was 'Oh nothing.'. This is where people get the idea of the US as a paper tiger, all talk and nothing to back it up. Don't give an ultimatum unless there is a severe policy response in the wings to respond with if it is ignored.

    Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

    [ Parent ]
    Are you surprised? (4.50 / 6) (#39)
    by aracauna on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 02:41:14 PM EST

    This doesn't surprise me in the least. The US government has in the past "not supported" a poorer nations democratically elected leader just because they didn't like his politics. I'm not sure if there is a lack of respect in the electorates of these countries or a lack of respect for democracy (one almost requires the other) by our leaders. Either way, it's still a disturbing trend. Even a bad leader or wrong-headed one is better than a military dictatorship that took over by force. If you really want the guy out of office, use your influence to try to get him removed democratically. Either that or just come out and say that you don't really believe in democracy anyway.

    Ari to the rescue (4.40 / 5) (#42)
    by myshka on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 03:08:54 PM EST

    Either that or just come out and say that you don't really believe in democracy anyway.

    Questioned about the administration's controversial response to last week's events in Venezuela, Mr. Fleischer said: "Well, the White House strongly believes in responsible democracy."

    [ Parent ]

    Definitions... (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by kaemaril on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 08:12:54 PM EST

    Responsible democracy: People we like.
    Irresponsible democracy: People we don't like.


    Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


    [ Parent ]
    interesting phrase, from this administration (none / 0) (#130)
    by ethereal on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:05:35 PM EST

    So, not to pick at a sore spot or anything, but if Americans overturned their government by taking to the streets in support of the candidate that the plurality of them voted for, would that be "responsible" or "irresponsible" democracy? Is it irresponsible to have a popular uprising, or is it in fact irresponsible to sit on your hands when you feel that the democratic process has been subverted? Is a revolution against a democracy ever really "responsible"?

    Fleischer should have just admitted to a belief in center-right constitutional democratic republics, preferably ones with nudity and drug taboos that can be swayed by a little U.S. aid :)

    --

    Every time you read this, God wishes k5 had a "hide sigs" option. Please, think of the
    [
    Parent ]

    lazy sunbathers eating democracy alfredo (3.66 / 3) (#62)
    by killmepleez on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:04:40 PM EST

    Even a bad leader or wrong-headed one is better than a military dictatorship that took over by force.

    globally, historicaly, this is not always the case. not when unemployment skyrockets; not when food supplies disappear; not when droughts decimate entire populations; not when foreign businesses have their own police to oppress local workers; and, especially, not when these types of things happen under the upturned palace-living nose of the leader, however democratically elected. comfort leads to complacency, and well-fed people generally cannot be bothered with challenging their governments, let alone overthrowing them by force. when the person you and your compatriots elect leads your nation into sickness and poverty while enriching themselves at your expense, you begin to reconsider your ideology.

    democracy, after all, is inedible.

    __
    "I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
    --from "Jumpers" in The New Yorker, October 13, 2003.
    [ Parent ]
    Um... (4.00 / 5) (#41)
    by mindstrm on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 03:06:44 PM EST

    Given that the US does not appear to have helped nor hindered this attempted coup in any way, is this not simple political posturing?

    Commenting on what gose on in a foreign place?

    Oh. Wait. The world revolves around the US. I forgot.


    Put yourself in their shoes (4.80 / 5) (#54)
    by kuran42 on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:21:30 PM EST

    You talk with high-level officials of the super power in the world. They don't indicate that they are opposed to your clearly illegal action. In fact, they tell you they agree with your goal, if not necessarily your means. Gee, that's a little more than posturing, doesn't it? It has nothing to with the fact that "the world revolves around the US" and everything to do with the fact that the world's most militarily powerful nation essentially said, "Go ahead, we're on your side."

    --
    kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
    [ Parent ]
    Well (2.00 / 1) (#178)
    by mindstrm on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 12:31:41 PM EST

    They said "Go ahead, we won't oppose you" which is a little different.

    As for a clearly illegal action.. are you an expert in venezuelan law?

    Democracy is great, but not once a system becomes corrupt to the point where democracy just becomes a facade for something else entirely. Chavez is screwing with the country, changing the rules as he goes. If the people want him gone, the US should stay out of it. (and they did)



    [ Parent ]
    OAS (4.80 / 5) (#84)
    by KilljoyAZ on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 06:27:55 PM EST

    The problem is that the US has an obligation as a member of the Organization of American States to oppose an overthrow of any member's democratically elected government. Every other member besides the US did so. Bush let his distate for Chavez and his policies trump the recent American commitment to democracy in the region. Even though they might be right about Chavez, he's still the democratically elected leader of Venezuela and it should be up to the people to decide when he should lead office, not the military. The Bush Administration's refusal to condemn the coup cost us credibility in the region that we had only just begun to win back. It sends the message to the Western Hemisphere that the US is less a supporter of the democratic process than all nations besides Cuba, and it's disgusting.

    ===
    Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
    [ Parent ]
    everyone else commented, why not us? (2.00 / 2) (#165)
    by startled on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 03:26:49 AM EST

    Oh. Wait. The world revolves around the US. I forgot.

    Tell us what you really think: that the world revolves around you. Get a grip. Foreign policy is exactly that-- how a country deals with foreign nations. Statements regarding U.S. intentions towards foreign governments, and their intention to recognize or not recognize a new government, are important politics. The attempts to patch things up after the U.S. fucks up horribly are also significant. It's time to realize you don't automatically know everything about politics. Try reading the linked editorial for starters; then, try thinking before you post the same tired anti-U.S. crap. Educate yourself, and think for yourself-- is that too much to ask?

    [ Parent ]
    blah... (4.00 / 2) (#168)
    by startled on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 03:56:42 AM EST

    wtf, did I actually post that? Hmm, apologies if anyone actually read it. Breathe first, then post....

    My statement that countries are supposed to comment on their stances towards other countries stands. The holier-than-thou drivel afterward doesn't. How embarrassing.

    [ Parent ]
    Well (2.00 / 1) (#177)
    by mindstrm on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 12:29:00 PM EST

    The point is, what's the big news, and how is it a big fuckup that the US simply had a couple of different opinions over what went on. They did not help nor hinder it.

    Poeople talk of this like the US had some obligation to interfere one way or the other, either to help the coup suceed, or to protect Chavez. They had neither.



    [ Parent ]
    Willful Denial (3.58 / 12) (#44)
    by Demiurge on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 03:30:06 PM EST

    Chavez was kicked out by Venezuelas because he had unarmed protestors fired upon, and had begun to make it obvious that despite the fact his term was coming to an end, he had plans to stay on longer.

    You disagree with the US endorsing the people that overthrew him? Fine. But you still can't ignore the fact that Chavez has no real moral right to rule, after what he's done.

    Have you actually read (3.50 / 4) (#45)
    by linca on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 03:50:40 PM EST

    the article?

    Chavez's term was going on to 2006, as he has been electedin 2000. Quite far to the end of his term. The US began to endorse his overthrow SEVERAL months ago, not "last weekend", when he is supposed to have ordered demonstrators to be shot. (note that is still unproved).

    [ Parent ]
    Double-standards (4.50 / 4) (#46)
    by aphrael on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:01:21 PM EST

    Chavez has no real moral right to rule

    But greenrd has a good point --- if you think that Chavez now has no moral high ground, why does Berlusconi? They both seem to have the same claim; they were the legitimate, popularly elected heads of state at the time during which protestors were fired upon. If one has lost his legitimacy, so has the other.

    [ Parent ]

    That's a load of turd. (4.33 / 3) (#51)
    by valeko on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:15:32 PM EST

    Chavez was kicked out by Venezuelas because he had unarmed protestors fired upon,

    Nowhere has this been substantiated, except by the army commanders and their right-wing associates that invented it as a justification for Chavez's removal.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Ridiculous (2.50 / 4) (#71)
    by Demiurge on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:48:42 PM EST

    Dozens of reputable news organizations, from CNN to the BBC, have substantiated these reports.

    The ONLY people I've seen denying it are a few nutjobs on K5 who seem to think the whole thing is an American fabrication, which I think says a lot about how far some people will go to delude themselves if they don't want to see the truth.

    [ Parent ]
    links? (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by lucid on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:32:11 PM EST

    I've hunted around a few news sites for more information about this topic, but have come up a little short. This is the closest I've come. It contains quotes like:

    The end of Mr Chavez's three years in power came after a three-day general strike ended in a violent demonstration on Thursday in which 11 people died.

    Nowhere have I found information directly stating that Chavez ordered people to shoot at the crowd, or whatever. Where did you see it?



    [ Parent ]

    You got it all wrong (3.85 / 7) (#49)
    by freddie on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:11:01 PM EST

    The United States was NOT involved in the coup. They didn't discourage it, but the didn't back it either. The clearest proof their is, is that the coup didn't succeed.

    The U.S. Embassy sits like a large fort in the middle of Caracas (the capital city of Venezuela), the size of the vast embassy compound, makes it clear that there must be some major activities (CIA-related) going on there. If they US had wanted the coup to succeed it would have.

    But the sad fact is that there must be some agreement between Washington and Chavez, that as long as the oil keeps pumping, the US isn't going to do anything.

    I have to take some issue with your other comments as well.

    (a) Chavez is a democratically-elected leader, whose only alleged crime against democracy seems to be an unsubstantiated report of him ordering protestors to be fired upon.

    Unsubstantiated, just how? Maybe you should try reading some of the Venezuelan newspapers (such as www.eluniversal.com) before making these kinds of assertions. Chavez's henchmen threatened in advance to shoot the demonstrators.
    (b) Double standards: When Italian police fired directly at anti-capitalist protestors at Genoa (as one of my friends can attest), and assaulted, abused and humiliated1 prisoners, causing a number of serious injuries

    Comparing the professional agitators of the genoa protests, who engaged in violence, and hoped that they would be shot with the peaceful families and responsible workers who went to protest Chavez's dictatorship is simply not appropiate.



    Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein
    Substantiate them, then (3.33 / 3) (#52)
    by kuran42 on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:17:00 PM EST

    Unsubstantiated, just how? Maybe you should try reading some of the Venezuelan newspapers (such as www.eluniversal.com) before making these kinds of assertions. Chavez's henchmen threatened in advance to shoot the demonstrators.

    Ever heard the saying "Don't believe everything you read"? Just because you see it on the internet or read it in a newspaper doesn't make it true. A credible source is what we're looking for here. How about a deposition by the general who supposedly received the order? Or a transcript of testimony given under oath? Unless you can cite something on that level, you can't say these rumors are substantiated.

    --
    kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
    [ Parent ]

    Reminiscent of Holocaust deniers (2.80 / 5) (#74)
    by Demiurge on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:55:52 PM EST

    Despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, you persist in unfounded denial of the truth, simply because it doesn't fit your own worldview.

    EVERY legitimate international and South American news source I've seen states that Chavez had the protestors fired upon. The burden of proof is on you if you want to prove that it was all smoke and mirrors.

    [ Parent ]
    Fine, why don't you list just one then (4.00 / 1) (#95)
    by kuran42 on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:27:25 PM EST

    I am not denying anything except that fact that no one has yet listed a single credible source of information in the course of this discussion. I don't know either way about Chavez. I'm trying to get someone to contribute a credible source. If someone can do so, I'll gladly change my mind, but until someone does, don't expect me to believe wild rumor and speculation.

    --
    kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
    [ Parent ]
    What is a credible source? (4.00 / 1) (#129)
    by bodrius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:04:45 PM EST

    Since you don't consider the local media credible, nor do you consider international media credible, what do you consider a credible source?

    An investigation is underway, but it will take some time before results are published. Will you consider it credible? As a Venezuelan, I will not. Nor would I consider an investigation by the "interim government" credible either. The environment is too politically charged to trust whatever conclusion they make.

    The local media, however, did publish film showing members of Chavez's government (politicians, not troops) shooting the anti-Chavez unarmed demonstrators. This is proof that their party, as a political entity, has to take responsability and act against those who shoot innocent people in defense of their government.

    In other words, there is evidence that Chavez's supporters shot unarmed civilians, just as they threatened to. There is no evidence that other non-Chavez forces (local police) or the army or anti-Chavez activists initiated the violence... there is the accusation, but there is no proof.

    We have proof on one side and lack of proof on another side. As biased as the publication of said proof was, unless you show that it was fake (and no one is even making the suggestion), the burden of proof is on Chavez's side.

    Now, whether this was Chavez's direct order or not is indeed unsubstantiated. But as both President and leader of his party, he has some responsability to deal with.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    eyewitness account (4.50 / 2) (#186)
    by jmc on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 06:05:19 PM EST

    Here's a story from an eyewitness to the protests, a former (U.S.) Fulbright scholar living there: reprint from Z Magazine. He had the following to say about the local media coverage:

    The media never addressed the repeated doubts that members of Chavez' cabinet raised about his resignation. Also, the media did not release the names of those who were shot, probably because this would have shown that most of the dead were pro-Chavez demonstrators. Finally, the media edited the video footage of the shootings in such a way as to avoid showing where the Chavez supporters were shooting-namely, as eyewitnesses reported, at police and individuals who were shooting back while hidden in doorways. Also, they did not show the pro-Chavez crowd repeatedly pointing at the snipers who were firing at them from the rooftop of a nearby building.

    This seems more credible than other sources I've read, most of which seem to be repeating each other's wild rumors.

    [ Parent ]

    The problem is... (4.00 / 1) (#188)
    by bodrius on Thu Apr 18, 2002 at 12:34:52 AM EST

    Would you consider an article quoting an eyewitness report on the Venezuelan media credible, or would you reject it because the media is not credible?

    You trust the article on Z Magazine as credible. Would this happen to be because its bias is different than the "non credible media"?

    As a matter of fact, I do consider that report more credible than most. That's because it shows remarkable objectivity and a very good analysis of the situation, even if I partially disagree with it.

    Being in ZNet doesn't help (I didn't find the other articles in that site neither credible reports nor interesting analysis nor informed opinions), but it happens to be one of the clearest accounts I have found on the subject and I hope he continues reporting on the topic.

    Would you care to read and accept a credible account even if it was buried among misinformed reports, and analyses that are little more than projections of political paranoia? Because the situation is sufficiently complex that that's exactly what needs to be done to find any kind of accounts, credible or not.

    In other words, do you accept the credible report because the report is credible, or do you make it credible because the "credible" news source happens to agree with you in unrelated events?

    I ask because that's what seems to happen frequently in this forum. I just want to know whether it would be worth it posting a link if I find any decent information or I shouldn't bother with it unless the words "progressive activism", "New World Order" and "imperialism" are prominent on the site.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    If you don't want to believe the newspapers.... (none / 0) (#87)
    by freddie on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 06:53:55 PM EST

    then look at his actions. It's obvious by Chavez's actions that he was responsible. Before the shooting they said it was dangerous for people to walk by because "there are armed guards". During the shooting he made all the TV stations stop the broadcasting.


    Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein
    [ Parent ]
    HEARSAY (4.00 / 1) (#94)
    by kuran42 on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:25:42 PM EST

    "they" said, whoopidy do, now I believe. Which part of my post was confusing, I'll try and rephrase it so you can understand.

    --
    kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
    [ Parent ]
    What about Teheran? (4.25 / 4) (#66)
    by annenk38 on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:18:46 PM EST

    The clearest proof their is, is that the coup didn't succeed.
    The coup in Iran didn't succeed either. The measure of success of a clandestine operation is not in any way indicative of the authorship of such an operation. In case of Venezuela, it is simply unthinkable that there is no presence of the US intelligence services in the country that supplies 15% of imported oil.

    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 ]
    Tehran is not Venezuela (none / 0) (#100)
    by freddie on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:32:30 PM EST




    Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein
    [ Parent ]
    The unthinkable. (4.00 / 2) (#128)
    by bodrius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:56:04 PM EST

    For a certain segment of the Venezuelan population, it was unthinkable that the US would let Chavez win the election.

    Then it was unthinkable that they would let him change the Constitution.

    Then it was unthinkable they would let him make a deal with Cuba.

    Then it was unthinkable they would let him be after visiting Iraq.

    Then it was unthinkable they would let him decree land reforms.

    Then they realized the US was not going to take down the government to protect their interests. Oops.

    It's the same logic which made it unthinkable for anti-Castro Cubans that the US would allow the isle to become Communist. Or that they would not support them on their anti-Castro endeavor. Or that they would retract their real support after the only thing they cared about (nukes) was solved.

    Fortunately, unless it's an outrageous situation, the US really doesn't care that much. It has bigger things to deal with. The only measure they seemed to be taking was to decrease their dependence on Venezuelan oil: another good excuse to drill in Alaska.

    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    Which coup? (1.00 / 1) (#185)
    by otis wildflower on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 05:15:08 PM EST

    The coup in Iran didn't succeed either. Are you sarcastically referring to the 1980 coup during the Carter administration?

    You can't really compare them...

    Carter (wa|i)s a puckin fussy...


    [root@usmc.mil /]# chmod a+x /bin/laden
    [ Parent ]
    Ah, the times when things fall apart! (4.50 / 2) (#142)
    by valeko on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:57:05 PM EST

    If they US had wanted the coup to succeed it would have.

    That's true. If the US had orchestrated the overthrow of Chavez from the inside out, Chavez wouldn't be here right now. The CIA doesn't do a bad job of overthrowing leaders.

    On the other hand, we have to consider places throughout history where the US proved unable to hold its ground in foreign policy. There aren't very many. I suppose that Iran/1979 immediately comes to min. However, risking going off on a tagent, I seem to recall one of my favourite aborted coups in Cold War time; Syria in the mid-late 1950s in mind. I don't know if too many people in the US have even heard of that attempted coup.

    Basically, despite the fact that Syria had been ruled by a relatively conservative government at the time that did not do anything to spark western anger (such as the nationalisation of American economic properties), it had categorically refused all American economic or military aid -- nobody wanted the associated diplomatic implications (presence of American military advisers, agreements in defense of capitalism, etc.). However, American attempts to install former right-wing Syrian dictator Adib Shishakly into place failed miserably; officers of the Syrian military charged with vital roles in the coup-to-come turned in their CIA bribe money to Syrian intelligence and identified the CIA agents who had paid them. Needless to say, American agents and associates were all promptly ejected. Of course, the American press continued with the perfunctory lies trying to illuminate a Soviet connection to all this, when in fact there was none whatsoever. The idea that people were ambivalent toward leftist movements in Syria was simply incomprehensible to the US, or at least, difficult to reconcile with the mandatory Cold War dichotomy imposed upon the Third World. The New York Times spouted BS like this1:

    There are numerous theories about why the Syrians struck at the United States. One is that they acted at the instigation of the Soviet Union. Another is that the Government manufactured an anti-U.S. spy story to distract public attention from the significance of Syria's negotiations with Moscow.

    Certainly this underscores that American covert operations are not immune to problems by any stretch.

    On a more secular level, that's just hilarious - the Syrian coup that is. ;-)

    1 New York Times, 17 August 1957, page 3.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Well. (3.00 / 6) (#55)
    by valeko on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:29:25 PM EST

    Although this is tangentially related: As I mentioned before, accusations that Chavez was an "undemocratic" leader follow the same old rigid, dogmatic, and circular logic. Around and 'round and 'round and 'round. Same old carousel.

    Surely we must understand that if a leftist regime in Latin America trying its best to act independently of American political coercion ("guidance"), it has to take some measures to protect itself. If it were to take on the facets of genuine "freedom and democracy" to an impeccable level, it would quickly be infiltrated by American intelligence and tumbled. If our memory of Cold War history serves us well, that's exactly what they did to every progressive regime. So, the only way to hang on is to clamp down on certain freedoms unfortunately, for otherwise the order would be susceptible to infiltration and removal by American interests.

    I'm not trying to romanticise Chavez's "progressiveness" here, which seems quite dubious to me. However, it seems self-evident to me that he is the more pleasant alternative to a right-wing, virulently pro-American plutocracy. The installation of such a government would obviously be in the interest of the American leadership, for reasons centered around the desire to stabilise oil supply.

    At any rate, it's cruel that the US forces regimes acting independently of its stewardship to go on the defensive and create various unpleasant repressive measures because of this, and then turns around and blames them for taking on the characteristics of a totalitarian and "undemocratic" government -- they made it that way! Any self-respecting person versed in the basics of American imperialism knows this quite well. To an extent, this can be applied all over the socialist continuum during the Cold War -- it's called circular logic in propaganda, and it's what the western imperialist powers have always done best.

    So at least think about why things are the way they are, instead of seizing on their superficial appearance as an item of propaganda and failing to look into their origins.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart

    Well indeed ... (4.66 / 3) (#73)
    by Simon Kinahan on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:53:12 PM EST

    It is not clear to me how the somewhat undemocratic things Chavez has done protect him from hypothetical American agitation. He's weakened parliament and the judiciary, enabled his own term of office to be prolonged, and had some of his military former allies arrested (this last arguably being justifiable). None of this is completely destructive (we're not talking about Zimbabwe here), but it does seem centred on increasing his personal power. Its not clear how that protects his country from American intervention.


    Simon

    If you disagree, post, don't moderate
    [ Parent ]
    Dismantling of Institutions (none / 0) (#181)
    by SporranBoy on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 03:45:23 PM EST

    This is a knotty problem.

    Using Ecuador as my frame of reference, I surmise that most of these institutions in Venezuela are on sale to the highest bidder.

    Following their recent sell out to the Bush camp, I guess even U.S. citizens can at least begin to imagine that Supreme Court Judges are not incorruptible.

    I guess that for democracy to work there has to be a certain inherent level of decency among the main participants. In a country like Venezuela, this decency has probably never existed. It is rapidly disappearing in the U.S. as well ( it may well have been nothing more than restraint and discretion anyway ).

    My point is that I can understand why Chavez might have done what he did for legitimate and well intentioned motives. No political representative or public servant in Venezuela is there to serve anyone other than themselves. The same goes for union leaders. Living in a country like this actual makes you more aware of the disgusting behaviour of the rich and powerful, and relaiza that the same stuff goes on everywhere, though perhaps with a tad more class and discretion.

    By the way - what would George W. have to do in order to make it acceptable to oust him in a political coup. Drop to below a 50% approval rating and piss a few rich guys off?

    [ Parent ]
    Chavez is not your friend (3.16 / 6) (#88)
    by jasonab on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 06:55:46 PM EST

    I'm not trying to romanticise Chavez's "progressiveness" here, which seems quite dubious to me. However, it seems self-evident to me that he is the more pleasant alternative to a right-wing, virulently pro-American plutocracy. The installation of such a government would obviously be in the interest of the American leadership, for reasons centered around the desire to stabilise oil supply.
    It would seem, valeko, that you are supporting Chavez not because he's done anything, but because you like the fact that he thumbs his nose at the US, the IMF, and everyone in general. Those policies are in the interests of no one. If you like what Chavez has done, say that. Supporting him simply because he's against what you are against undermines your argument. Chavez does not do you credit.

    --
    America is a great country. One of the freest in the world. -- greenrd
    [ Parent ]
    Kung-Pao Chicken. (5.00 / 1) (#123)
    by valeko on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:45:47 PM EST

    It would seem, valeko, that you are supporting Chavez not because he's done anything, but because you like the fact that he thumbs his nose at the US, the IMF, and everyone in general. Those policies are in the interests of no one. If you like what Chavez has done, say that. Supporting him simply because he's against what you are against undermines your argument. Chavez does not do you credit.

    Well, I never claimed to be particularly educated about Chavez's reforms. From what I've read, he's certainly done something in the interest of the working class -- he has increased social spending, blocked IMF intrusions, excercised independence in determining his country's oil export policy (even if that independence means simply following OPEC quotas), and et cetera. I imagine, however, that western news services doing their research on the impact of his reforms on the life of the average Venezulean certainly exaggerate his uselessness, as this BBC article seems to do. I only conjecture that from reading the same thing there about other regimes about which I _do_ know to some degree of depth.

    I support Chavez because of the spirit of what he has done. However ineffective it may in practise be as far as remedying the condition of the poor, he has taken steps to defend the sovereignty of his country from interests with the designs to exploit and has done so much as to act very independently of these same interests in the area of foreign polcy. In other words, I support Chavez because I don't support the apparent alternative -- a glimpse of which we saw last weekend.

    Things aren't always what they seem, either. What may seem like incompetent rule and stagnation on the part of a leader may actually mean fierce infighting within the government. Many progressive leaders throughout history have declined into unpopularity and bit the dust simply because conservative elements in the government staunchly, stubbornly, and cruely defeat anything good that they try to do. Trying to re-organise government bureaucracies or even hold a constitutional referendum, in the case of Chavez, may in reality have been an attempt to work around that somehow.

    Who knows? All I know is, we certainly don't. But on the surface, he seems to have the right idea ideologically, and for this reason I support him.


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Doing it's best defending what? (5.00 / 5) (#108)
    by bodrius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 08:50:17 PM EST

    Is the leftist government supposed to do its best for what it was elected for, or its best for being leftist?

    Chavez was elected, supposedly, to "revitalize and religitimize democracy", because the population considered the previous 30 years of democracy "a fraud" (even though they did vote in the same massive quantities, they were just taken for fools by the politicians).

    By undermining democracy, a leftist government may be defending its leftism, but its betraying its Constitutional duty and the reason it was elected for. By defending itself as a political ideology, it is attacking the country's core itself.

    The "Bolivarian Revolution" was not elected as a communist or socialist regime; in order to get elected Chavez himself had to deny that "unfounded rumour". They were elected as a social democracy or, in Chavez's terms a "humanist democracy". They have a duty to defend and strengthen the democratic institutions they themselves helped create, even if (specially if) that undermines the power of any unique party line.

    The fact that it seems self-evident to you that the only option is a radical right-wing, virulently pro-American regime, indicates you're grossly misinformed. Specially worrying is the term "self-evident", which indicates you don't see the need to check that conclusion against actual information.

    I'm sorry to inform you that one of the reasons the coup failed was because the "interim government" lost support of most of the opposition factions, factions which still exist and are willing to propose alternatives of various political leanings, left and right. You might want to check on that.

    Not every progressive regime has been infiltrated and undermined by the US. Venezuela actually enacted some relatively progressive measures during Carlos Andres Perez's first government in the 70s, which shares more with Chavez's than he would care to admit (Chavez considers him the pinnacle of corruption and attempted a coup against his second term).

    Sure, they didn't work, but they could all have been seen as dangerously progressive by "imperialist right-wing Americans". Nationalization of oil, free universal education, massive scholarships and social help, universal employment, government subsidies and protective tariffs to replace imports with national production ,radically strenghtening the OPEC and using it directly against American interests raising oil prices...

    Yet the Americans stood by them, and previous progressive governments in the country, simply because they categorically rejected the Soviets and had cold diplomatic relations with Cuba. As long as the "progressives" were not "reds", the US allowed the democratic governments do what they would. They were terrified of the Soviet menace, not the progressives. These progressives didn't like the soviets and promised the US (expensive) oil, so they were political allies.

    So I don't see why undermining democratic institutions is a legitimate defense for the democratically elected left. They don't have the right to do that, and it is incredibly dangerous.

    Any self-respecting person versed in the basics of Latin American politics knows that Presidents in these young democracies love to undermine democratic institutions in defense of their political ideology and/or personal power. And any self-respecting person versed in world history knows the results (one of them, by the way, is weak institutions easily infiltrated and undermined by foreign entities).

    So, please," at least think about why things are the way they are, instead of seizing on their superficial appearance as an item of propaganda and failing to look into their origins. "

    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    Great idealism. Otherwise, I agree. (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by valeko on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:29:14 PM EST

    By undermining democracy, a leftist government may be defending its leftism, but its betraying its Constitutional duty and the reason it was elected for. By defending itself as a political ideology, it is attacking the country's core itself.

    Yes, that's great, thanks for giving us the orthodox scoop on leftist governments. Let me tell you one thing that can be gleaned from American foreign policy throughout the entire Twentiety Century: the moment you carry out your Constitutional duty and stay true to the purpose of your election, you will be toppled.

    hey have a duty to defend and strengthen the democratic institutions they themselves helped create, even if (specially if) that undermines the power of any unique party line.

    Aside from the fact that your priorities and notion of democratic institutions may not necessarily be equal to those of the regime, that's pretty much true. But, again, if you bring in some "real" democracy (to the extent that it's irrefutable by even the scheming American press without having to invent pure lies), you probably are doing more than hurting the power of the party line -- you may be hurting your power to do anything useful, period.

    Sure, they didn't work, but they could all have been seen as dangerously progressive by "imperialist right-wing Americans". Nationalization of oil, free universal education, massive scholarships and social help, universal employment, government subsidies and protective tariffs to replace imports with national production ,radically strenghtening the OPEC and using it directly against American interests raising oil prices...

    Aye, Venezuela is certainly one with which they didn't tamper too much, to my knowledge. However, I think matters get pretty sensitive when you tamper with your number one oil provider, which I believe Venezuela was around that time. Maybe not. It's certainly slipped down a few notches since then on the oil importer chart.

    My guess is that as long as the oil is a-flowing in some shape or form, the US couldn't give a rats' about nationalisation or social reforms. Furthermore, it's obvious that there weren't the kind of US corporate interests in Venezuela that there were in countries like Chile, Cuba, and Guatemala (dictatorship by United Fruit). Incidentally, these same countries happen to be the scenes of the most bloodstained coups, all organised by the US.

    They were terrified of the Soviet menace, not the progressives. These progressives didn't like the soviets and promised the US (expensive) oil, so they were political allies.

    I seriously doubt that this had a whole lot to do with it. I suppose they could've courted favour with the US by openly denouncing the Soviets, but almost anybody knows that the International Communist Conspiracy is a fabrication. Guatemala inthe 1950s, for example, had absolutely no relationship whatsoever with the Soviet Union, yet Arbenz's regime went down in a hailstorm of CIA-invented lies about "Communist infiltration", "Soviet beach-heads", etc.

    Any self-respecting person versed in the basics of Latin American politics knows that Presidents in these young democracies love to undermine democratic institutions in defense of their political ideology and/or personal power.

    Yes, I never denied that this is true, and I'm sure that this applies to Chavez as much as anyone else. It also applies to the American leadership, just less overtly (but then, why bother with more? a population systematically cultivated with ignorance and apathy and indoctrinated with the belief that "Democrats and Republicans" are a "democratic" dichotomy - it's a dictator's dream).


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    How does a non-corrupt President govern (5.00 / 1) (#179)
    by SporranBoy on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 12:39:23 PM EST

    I guess I am something of a left leaning dreamer and would love to believe that Chavez was everything he claims to be - of course he is not but he has his work cut out to compete with the typical scum who occupy the President's chair in countries like Venezuela. He probably won't make it to the Political Low Life Hall of Fame.

    Some points I would like to make.

    If Chavez was honest and genuinely looking out for the best interests of the majority of Venezuelans, things would look pretty much how they look right now.

    The high ranking military would be against him because they have their snouts in the trough along with the other members of the "elite". The way things tend to work in Latin America is that the military are like the mafia. As long as they get a piece of the action they will tolerate and even encourage wholesale corruption ( in Ecuador the military skims off 35% of oil revenue and military owned businesses enjoy advantageous conditions in multiple business sectors ). Please don't fall into the trap of thinking that retired generals are some kind of latino Jimmy Carter types - think Tony Soprano instead.

    The media is owned by vested interests and can be relied upon to misrepresent every action which is not in the interests of their owners ( which is probably almost every decent action aimed at rooting out corruption and ending exploitation ).

    Almost all major businesses are used to cosy relationships with the various ministries wherein there is no true tendering for contracts, every thing is overpriced to provide generous kickbacks to civil servants and politicians. The state is a many teated monster and the milk has a distinctly oily flavour. The teats are drying up and these chubby piglets are fighting to get their share.

    Chavez and his team, assuming they were honest would be the mortal enemies of this system. They would be hated by the civil servants and business owners. They would also be hated by corrupt union leaders who make fortunes from selling their membership down the river.

    The U.S. would be desperate to oust him because he isn't willing to sell out OPEC and his country to satisfy the limitless thirst for cheap oil.

    Finally, where are the concrete examples of his corruption - the entire latino media is desperately struggling to discredit him so I would have thought we could have chapter and verse on his shady deals and offshore bank accounts.

    [ Parent ]
    Then again... (4.50 / 2) (#57)
    by Skywise on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:44:31 PM EST

    If the coup was orchestrated in anyway by the US, Chavez would've never come back.

    As you can see from the spins below, I think what you're seeing is that the administration had no political preference for either side (it seems to me from my light reading that both sides are equally troubled...) and was happy to support whomever ended up in power so that the flow of oil would continue...

    The White House would've signed the condemnation of the coup regardless of what finally transpired... But in the end nobody was going to send in troops to reverse the action...

    Unless the oil got blocked...

    The spice must flow...

    http://www.msnbc.com/news/735910.asp

    "UNITED STATES officials have met with a broad spectrum of Venezuelans over several months," press secretary Ari Fleischer said of diplomats' efforts. "These have included business association representatives, to include the chamber of commerce president, interim President [Pedro] Carmona as well as pro-Chavez legislators."
    "Our message has been consistent: The political situation in Venezuela is one for the Venezuelans to resolve peacefully, democratically and constitutionally, which I said on Friday. We explicitly told opposition leaders the United States would not support a coup," he said, responding to question following a report in the New York Times that disclosed details of meetings.
    One unidentified senior official quoted by the Times insisted the Venezuelans use constitutional means to remove Chavez while a Defense Department official said the message was less categorical, saying U.S. officials sent "informal, subtle signals" that the Bush administration did not like Chavez.
    Fleischer said he did not know of even an implicit suggestion that a coup be attempted."

    Asked if the U.S. military gave logistical or intelligence support for the failed coup, Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said she was "not aware of that."
    Advertisement

    "I can say emphatically that we had somebody ... who met recently with the chief of staff and made it very, very clear that the United States intent was to support democracy, human rights -- that we in no way would support any coups or unconstitutional activity," Clarke told a news conference Tuesday.
    She said the message was delivered by Roger Pardo-Maurer, assistant defense secretary for the hemisphere, in a meeting with Venezuelan Gen. Lucas Rincon. She said she didn't know the purpose of the meeting or how the subject of coups came up."
    >snip<
    On Monday, both Chavez and the U.S. government seemed to try to discourage speculation about any U.S. role in the coup. When a reporter in Caracas asked Chavez whether the United States may have been involved, he responded: "The root is here."
    He spoke well of the United States, saying he saluted the U.S. government with "love and affection."


    Another take on this ... (4.50 / 2) (#58)
    by Simon Kinahan on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:48:21 PM EST

    From the vaguely left wing Guardian. Amazing how many different ways their are to interpret masterly inactivity.

    Simon

    If you disagree, post, don't moderate
    AP (3.00 / 2) (#63)
    by linca on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:04:50 PM EST

    American Press wrote the story. So it has noting to do with the Guardian line.

    [ Parent ]
    That's right [AP link] (none / 0) (#67)
    by karjala on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:30:42 PM EST

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20020416/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe /us_venezuela_64

    [ Parent ]
    Except .. (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Simon Kinahan on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:43:43 PM EST

    That the Guardian gets to choose *which* AP stories to print. Presumably they wouldn't print something they believed to be a misrepresentation.

    Simon

    If you disagree, post, don't moderate
    [ Parent ]
    Strange phenomenon (none / 0) (#164)
    by karjala on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 03:17:27 AM EST

    Observe how the AP story that The Guardian refers to has it title changed. Both on Guardian and on Yahoo.

    First it was "U.S. met Venezuelans who briefly ousted Chavez", which in fact is a misrepresentation of "U.S. had met with Venezuelans who briefly ousted Chavez.

    Now it's "US Warned Chavez Opposition On Coup", and the story has changed.

    [ Parent ]

    Sorry... (none / 0) (#166)
    by karjala on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 03:27:40 AM EST

    I got confused. My mistake.

    [ Parent ]
    That's ASSOCIATED PRESS... (3.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Skywise on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:57:25 PM EST

    Although probably based in America, AP goes to great pains to be independent of any country.

    Just as Reuters (A British company) is...

    [ Parent ]
    You just keep believing that. [n/t] (4.00 / 1) (#139)
    by valeko on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:38:38 PM EST


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    Yes I will... (none / 0) (#160)
    by Skywise on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 01:14:26 AM EST

    The AP long ago ceased having any resemblence to American idealism and have instead taken up the mantle of newspeak of the U.N. World Order.

    That SAME U.N., I'd point out that hasn't said diddly about the coup...

    [ Parent ]
    Why this matters (3.92 / 13) (#65)
    by Rand Race on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:09:21 PM EST

    An editorial from the Manilla Times shows exactly why this non-action by Bush is a foreign policy disaster. By forgoing our obligations under the Democracy Charter of the Organization of American States we have let the world know that our word is less than worthless.

    At a time when we are attempting to drum up support for expanding the war on terrorism by casting it as a battle to protect freedom and democracy it is unthinkably moronic to show even tepid support for a coup against an elected leader. Now everyone knows exactly what the Bush administration cares about and is willing to fight for, and it is most certainly not democracy and freedom... it is oil.

    The simple fact is that this administration's foreign policy is a joke. Bush and his cronies are spoiled arrogant brats who think the world exists to tounge polish their asses. Time to grow up boys, this ain't no DUI pappy can get you out of.


    "Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson

    Who's democracy? (none / 0) (#89)
    by freddie on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 06:56:29 PM EST

    Chavez or his opponents? Neither has made much of a commitment to democracy.


    Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein
    [ Parent ]
    Why this doesn't matter (2.50 / 2) (#90)
    by IriseLenoir on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 06:57:22 PM EST

    we have let the world know that our word is less than worthless

    It's not like we didn't know that already...
    "liberty is the mother of order, not its daughter" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
    [ Parent ]

    Some things about Chavez (4.75 / 16) (#68)
    by Simon Kinahan on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:40:44 PM EST

    I get the impression a lot of commentary is coming from people who only heard of Hugo Chavez last Thursday. Here are a few points people might like to note ...

    1. His own democratic credentials are dubious. He is a former paratrooper (still wears his uniformm occasionally to make a point), and led a military coup in 1992, which was defeated, before going on to win the election in 1998.

    2. To call him left wing seems a bit clearer than he really deserves. "Populist" is probably a better description. He was elected largely out of frustration on the part of the populace with the 2-party oligarchy that previously ran Venezuela, but on unrealistic promises of wealth redistribution, and anti-elite rhetoric. Peron seems a better comparison than Castro.

    3. His style has been more than a little autocratic. Many of his fellow "Bolivarian" former coup-plotters have deserted him, and Venezuela's real socialist party, the MAS, has been considering leaving his coalition. Some of his critics in the millitary have been arrested. The new constitution has a unicameral, and very weak, parliament and gives the president considerable executive powers, including powers to intervene personally in commercial activity. The new board of the state oil company is packed with Chavez supporters, many of the them formerly very junior, and led by a left-wing academic with no experience of commmercial management.

    4. His foreign policy has been principally about rejuvinating OPEC, which before he started lobbying for its reactivation had been practically moribund. Little known fact: Chavez is the principle reason for the rising oil prices over the last few years. He seems to get a big kick out of annoying the USA, but its not immediately clear why. He visited Iraq after the gulf war, and has been buddying up with Castro. There've been rumours about attempts to undermine the governments of Ecuador and Bolivia.

    5. His actual domestic policy has been redistributive. There has been land-reform legislation, which enables the government to confiscate and redistribute unused land, but this does not seem to have impacted most people's lives. Recently, legislation was introduced to increase the royalties paid by oil producers. This is probably connected to the fuss at the state oil company that led to the coup.

    Simon

    If you disagree, post, don't moderate
    Shnoogins! (5.00 / 3) (#138)
    by HarmoniousFist on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:37:08 PM EST

    frustration on the part of the populace with the 2-party oligarchy that previously ran Venezuela

    A two-party oligarchy! Doesn't that sound familiar?

    At least the Venezulean people had the sense to be frustrated with theirs!


    --
    IN GOD WE TRUST, UNITED WE STAND! GOD BLESS AMERICA!
    [ Parent ]

    I disagree (2.20 / 10) (#144)
    by medham on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:11:07 PM EST

    0. The first thing I'd like to hear about you're democratic credentials. What is this phrase supposed to mean, anyhow? Of course, Chavez is a populist tyrant, in the best Gulag Gus tradition. Was he not elected? Who else was elected, with our support? Andropov, that's right. Do I have to paint you a picture here?

    1. Bibi Netanyahu was a paratrooper on several Uruguyan secret missions in the 1970s, and he made a perfectly democratic PM. Are you suggesting that military membership, particularly in an elite unit, automatically confers autocratic tendencies? Jumping w/ the gun a spot, are we?

    2. The MAS is closely aligned with the luculent Sendero Oscuroso of Peruvia, a Trotskyite organization that maintains close ties with the Japanese Government.

    3. OPEC stands for "Oriental Petroleum Exporting Countries," so Venezuelia, by definition, cannot and has not been a member.

    4. Do you deny the proven effects of income redistribution? Look at the public school system in the U.S., for example.

    The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
    [ Parent ]

    WTF? (4.00 / 2) (#147)
    by bodrius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:37:25 PM EST

    If it weren't so serious, I would probably find this nonsense funny:

    0 and 1. He was a military official THAT STAGED A COUP D'ETAT against the government he was sworn to defend. That's not a strong democratic credential.

    2. False. I don't even like the MAS party, but this is nonsense. Provide evidence.

    3. OPEC stands for Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Not only is Venezuela part of the OPEC, it was partially (according to our version, fundamentally) responsible for its creation. The OPEC would not exist without Venezuelan participation, and currently Chavez has actually strenghtened the country's involvement with the OPEC.

    4. You should look at Venezuelan public school system. It was a joke before, it still is. If that's the place to look at, the poster is correct in saying Chavez' redistributing policies do not make a difference in Venezuela.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    "Evidence of absence" (2.00 / 5) (#148)
    by medham on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:44:02 PM EST

    "Is not absence of evidence," as the man says. The, in English, Maoist Armed Spackle party, has always maintained close ties with rightist elements in Peru and in Japan--demonstrated quite conclusively by the frosty relationships that Chavez's government has maintained with the FARC-controlled Columbian government over rebel-sheltering and border incursions.

    His coup was not successful, and he was elected democratically. I think that's more than could be said for a certain U.S. leader, "The Burning ____," as I call him.

    I was talking about the U.S. public school system, envy of the world.

    I think you're relying on a mistranslation of OPEC, which seems likely given your lack of language skills.

    The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
    [ Parent ]

    envy of the world? (none / 0) (#154)
    by tiger on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 12:15:49 AM EST

    I was talking about the U.S. public school system, envy of the world.

    I went thru that envy of the world, and my article about its wonders made the K5 Front Page a few weeks ago: Unschooling: An Alternative to Public Schools

    --
    Americans :— Say no to male genital mutilation. In Memory of the Sexually Mutilated Child



    [ Parent ]
    Jeez (3.66 / 3) (#158)
    by phatboy on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 01:06:47 AM EST

    Nice combination of arrogance and ignorance: OPEC.

    [ Parent ]
    Troll. (2.00 / 3) (#167)
    by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 03:49:18 AM EST


    ---
    I am trolling today. I apologize for the inconvenience this may cause you.
    [ Parent ]
    comment rating system (1.28 / 14) (#78)
    by squee on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 06:03:21 PM EST

    Editorial, meta whatever

    i dont have a scoop account
    i have no intention of registering

    i think the ratings should be clearer
    and at the very least
    there should be

    1 (Worst)
    2
    3
    4
    5 (Best)

    otherwise it is not clear
    i guess everyone else is to familiar with the system to notice this glaring usability flaw.


    FAQ (none / 0) (#80)
    by DarkZero on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 06:07:25 PM EST

    If you're having a problem understanding a site, you should always try looking at the FAQ. One of the major reasons for an FAQ is so that the instructions can be put in one place, instead of repeated hundreds of times across the entire site for the idiots that are too stupid to read the FAQ.

    [ Parent ]
    having a bad day? (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by cicero on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 06:38:45 PM EST

    from the trusted user guidlines (think of it as our faq)
    Please use your "zero" rating with care! It is *only* for use on comments that are wholly content-free. If you think the poster is clueless, or an idiot, or you just don't agree with them, that is *not* grounds for a zero rating. Zero is for comments that are offensive, script-generated, or otherwise content-free and intended solely to annoy and/or abuse other readers.
    emphasis mine

    From this portion of your comment
    instead of repeated hundreds of times across the entire site for the idiots that are too stupid to read the FAQ.
    I make the leap of faith that you assume (not necesarily incorrectly) that the user is clueless, or as you put it, "to stupid to read the FAQ".

    So, according to the guidelines, you should probably just yell at them, rate them 1, or yell at them and rate them 1, whatever you do, you most certainly shouldn't rate them "0".


    --
    I am sorry Cisco, for Microsoft has found a new RPC flaw - tonight your e0 shall be stretched wide like goatse.
    [ Parent ]
    he always abuses zero ratings [nt] (none / 0) (#86)
    by infinitera on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 06:48:11 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Doesn't this deserve it? (1.00 / 1) (#155)
    by DarkZero on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 12:37:21 AM EST

    The post that I originally replied to was complaining about the rating system and that they could not understand it. Seeing as how this has no relevance to the topic of the Bush Administration's reaction to the plan for a coup in Venezuela, or even the coup in Venezuela at all, I believe it easily fits the criteria of "...or otherwise content-free and intended solely to annoy and/or abuse other readers". Because it is a completely off topic post that does not add to the discussion and instead hinders it by filling it with off topic spam/bullshit, I believed that it should be hidden. However, I decided to respond to it anyway because the entire thread would still be visible in the "Your Comments" section of squee's member area (I can't think of a better word for it, but I mean the list of links that replaces the login form when you're logged in), and therefore he might come across it later and learn to check the FAQ next time instead of making off topic posts.

    Other than being somewhat nicer about it, what would you have done differently, especially in respect to the rating? Does a critique of a "glaring usability flaw" in the K5 ratings somehow comment upon the Bush Administration's response to the coup in Venezuela and its eventual reversal in a way that I'm not aware of?

    [ Parent ]
    two problems with that (none / 0) (#161)
    by infinitera on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 01:22:53 AM EST

    One: People can't see their own hidden comments, AFAIK. (Ken, back me up on this? ;) Or someone else from the page of evil?)
    Two: "If you think the poster is clueless, or an idiot, or you just don't agree with them, that is *not* grounds for a zero rating." - The FAQ.

    I don't really think it's constructive to just make the comment disappear and hence explanatory replies to it. Besides, who is to say we have to stay on topic? I have had plenty of interesesting conversations that were of on tangents, and yet kept other people interested as well. So I don't think that's a relevant issue. He does appear to be clueless, and as such, the link you posted to the FAQ is useful, but the moderating of the comment to zero is not.

    [ Parent ]
    Not exactly. (4.00 / 1) (#163)
    by DarkZero on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 03:02:40 AM EST

    One: I'm not sure, either, because I've never had a comment of mine hidden and I've never had access to anyone else's "Your Comments" section. I guess we're at a draw on that point until someone that's had some actual experience with it replies.
    Two: Since we're talking about the comments section in specific articles with specific topics, and other parts of the Trusted User Guidelines say that zeroes are for posts that are (among other things) "content-free and intended solely to annoy and/or abuse other readers", I'd read "clueless or an idiot" there as someone saying, "Well, isn't this all just in retaliation for Venezuela using the atomic bomb on the United States in 1978?" or similar stupid, but on topic bullshit. Maybe you don't see completely off topic complaints about K5's rating system placed as a comment in an article about US relations with Venezuela as "content free", but I do (and yes, for the smart asses out there, the irony here has occurred to me). It adds nothing at all to the discussion and instead just clutters it up with meaningless crap.

    And personally, I see it as VERY constructive to make the comment disappear, regardless of whether explanatory replies disappear with it. The idea of the zero ratings, from what I've read in the Trusted User Guidelines and seen in action among other trusted users, is to get rid of trolls, spam, and people generally messing with the comments and the other users. In my opinion, a critique of K5's rating system that has the grammatical accuracy of a kindergarten fingerpainting fits that criteria. Maybe I'm wrong, but if I am, then the only possible criteria for "content free" is a message which is completely blank, which I doubt was the original intention of the guidelines.

    [ Parent ]
    How to Hate the U.S. for its Foregn Policy (3.91 / 23) (#81)
    by epepke on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 06:11:03 PM EST

    Here's a simple, handy guide.

    1. If the U.S. supports somebody
      1. If it's somebody you like
        Say, "Yeah, well maybe they're coming around. It must have been that 9/11 attack. But still, it pales in comparison to Vietnam and the United Fruit company." Then wait until people forget.
      2. If it's somebody you don't like
        This one's easy; just conclude that the U.S. is bad. Speak of Yankee pig-dog imperialism, how they should learn to keep their noses out of other people's business.
    2. If the U.S. doesn't support somebody
      1. If it's somebody you like
        Well, then, they should, because they're the biggest power in the world, and it's their responsibility to stick their noses into other people's business! And they're hypocrites. And by their "non-support," they are tacitly supporting the opponent, who is bad.
      2. If it's somebody you don't like
        Say they are not doing enough to oppose them. Then change the subject.

    This is handy and simple and always works. Using this, you can prove that anything bad that happens in the world is the fault of the U.S., no matter what actually happens. A lifetime of justified outrage will be yours.


    The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


    Alternative : (5.00 / 4) (#169)
    by Betcour on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 04:13:55 AM EST

    Or think about :
    • The refusal to sign the land-mines ban treaty
    • The break of the treaty banning counter-ICBMs with Russia
    • The refusal to sign the Kyoto protocol
    • The fight against a permanent international court of justice for war crimes
    • The decision to dril in protected national park in Alaska
    • The support of Israel, Pinochet and other countries, groups and dictators known for their love of freedom and human rights
    • The embargo against Cuba and Iraq, depriving millions of people from adequate health care with no result but strengthening the local dictator
    • The tarifs on imported steel, while insisting that other country must open their market to American products
    • The 25% of world pollution the US produce (without much feeling of guilt, see "Kyoto protocol" above)
    • The "we are #1" brainwashing message played over and over in American movie (see "Independance day", "Air Force One", "U-571", "The patriot" to see how Americans glorify themselves up to the point of rewriting history for their own profit)
    • The little respect of USA for human rights (see "death penalty" or "Gantanamo prisoners" for examples)
    • All the crap that comes out of the country : McDonalds, Hollywood (see above), Britney Spears, Coke (or Pepsi : no favoritism here), Disney, etc.
    • The shared idea by 90% of American population that the rest of the world is a third-world socialist-sewer where everybody dreams of being American and enjoying the so called "American freedom"
    My point is : if you want other people to love you, at least do some efforts.

    [ Parent ]
    Thank you! (4.00 / 2) (#183)
    by epepke on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 04:01:01 PM EST

    Those are very good! I'll supplement tha algorithm with some helpful hints:

    1. If the U.S. policy you don't like is domestic, don't despair! You can treat it as foreign policy anyway. If challenged, just wave your hands about what an economic power America is.
    2. While it is, of course, always wrong for the U.S. to impose its laws on other countries, U.S. is also always compelled to accept imposition of other countries' laws. It's only fair.
    3. When in doubt, act like you are unable to distinguish between fiction and reality. That way, even popular culture can be foreign policy.
    4. Never admit that someone outside the U.S. might actually want to buy an American product. That would raise questions about their taste or their intelligence. Always say that the U.S. is at fault for exporting it.
    5. Similarly, the U.S. is obligated to purchase anything and everything exported to the U.S. Exporting to the U.S. is a right.
    6. Remember, if you are challeneged about any point, never acknowledge it at all. That could lead to thought. Instead, immediately accuse your opponent of not believing that the U.S. could ever possibly be wrong. Remember: it's America's job to consider what you have to say, never the other way around.
    7. If all else fails, talk about The American Attitude. Remember--it's always OK to stereotype Americans.

    There, I think that's been covered. Now, anybody want to write a Perl script to simulate about 90% of the reflexive U.S.-bashing that appears here? Or has it already been done? And how would we tell?

    But seriously, folks. "The U.S. supports Israel" or even, as I've seen, "Israel is a U.S. colony" is merely mindlessly simplistic. The whole situation is more complex than that and includes a very long U.S. embargo against arms shipments to Israel. (Anybody remember the Uzi? The very first AWACS shipments? No, I didn't think so.) Talking about sanctions against Iraq conveniently overlooks the fact that the sanctions got to be there because U.S.-bashers got their way. Of course, it's impossible to have any such discussion here. Mindlessly simplistic arguments are one thing, but when people seem to believe that Disney is sucking out their brains, and it's all part of the American conspiracy, well, there just isn't enough Haldol in the world.


    The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


    [ Parent ]
    You've forgotten one thing (5.00 / 2) (#184)
    by KilljoyAZ on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 04:18:34 PM EST

    American sources like CNN, NY Times, and Washington Post can all be considered tools of the overarching U.S. government's propoganda machine, much like Pravda in the USSR. Any article from them might as well have been written by Donald Rumsfeld.

    ===
    Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
    [ Parent ]
    Alternative: Understand NeoRealism (none / 0) (#200)
    by opendna on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 01:10:00 PM EST

    Use NeoRealism to explain the logic of U.S. foreign policy.

    Apply NeoRealism internally to define the "national interest".

    Critique the motives, tactics or results with any form of humanist or compassionate moral system and bash to your heart's delight.

    HOW TO DEFEND US FOREIGN POLICY:

    "Why do you hate America so much?"



    [ Parent ]

    From a person who lives in Caracas,Venezuela... (4.88 / 27) (#82)
    by el tito on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 06:22:43 PM EST

    The media,specially CNN in spanish (for latin america) has been treating this as a coup against a democratically elected leader by right wing fascist groups.Nothing farther from the truth. Chavez may have been popular in 1998 when he won the elections.He was elected by people who are tired of the same old political parties who have only lied to them during 40 years of democracy.This is no longer true.
    I took part in the HUGE march on the 11 of april (last thursday) when me and around 700,000 other people marched for something we believe in.We never thought we would be met with gunfire by 3000 of his advocates,and trained snipers who are organized in groups known as circulos bolivarianos (bolivarian circles,look for Simon Bolivar on google)who are just a facade for armed groups to support his decaying regime and terrorize the media in to portraying nice views of this pseudo-democratic regime.Bullets against a march that only had flags .And to cover this he ordered the TV stations to stop transmitting and transmit his message to the nation instead,talking about peace and unity while we were being massacred in the streets.
    In these 4 days,56 of my fellow venezuelans have died.And these are only numbers that the government lets us know.Im sure there are more to come.
    In our constitution it says that a president may resign voluntarily or if the people that elected him choose to remove him.Thats what we did on the 11th of april.And thats why we where shot at.Thats why I had to dodge tear gas canisters with my dad and thats why we saw so many dead people that day.All that to have him come back the next day in what is deemed as a coup d čtat similar to what Fujimori did in Peru,to have a justistification to come back with an iron fist.
    I for one do not believe his words in the press conference yesterday. 24 million venezuelans no longer have a reason to.
    Chavez`s good relations with Fidel Castro,Iran,Lybia ,the colombian guerrilla are well known.He keeps giving away our oil to Cuba.He keeps brutalizing the media and the civil society.He keeps covering acts of corruption in his government.He keeps giving weapons to the circulos bolivarianos,he keeps dividing venezuela in to social classes,rich and poor and he keeps trying to implement a communist government in our country
    To put it simply we are tired of him.
    Sorry any mistakes in my english.Any questions I can answer I will.
    Some pictures
    More
    Click on Siguiente


    Just a minor point (3.00 / 2) (#92)
    by medham on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:20:28 PM EST

    Chavez isn't really the one dividing your country into classes, rich and poor. That's shockingly ill-informed, in fact.

    The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
    [ Parent ]

    Relax (1.16 / 6) (#99)
    by BlackTriangle on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:31:01 PM EST

    It's an entirely new user, so it's probably just Demiurge - he has a habit of creating new accounts to spread misinformation around.

    Wouldn't be surprised if he was the guy that ratted on Lee, actually.



    Moo.


    [ Parent ]
    Why do you think that? (5.00 / 4) (#102)
    by bodrius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:54:35 PM EST

    The guy seems to be expressing pretty much the standard argument of the Venezuelan opposition.

    His links are to Venezuelan media in Spanish.

    His report seems to follow pretty much what everyone else who was there is reporting, taking into account his own political bias.

    Why would you accuse someone who might be a new arrival to Kuro5hin of being an impostor for replying to a political post? You have any particular reasons?
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    Yes (2.50 / 2) (#103)
    by BlackTriangle on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:56:35 PM EST

    His comments about CNN are the tip off. He has the same opinion as Demiurge on CNN,an opinion that just about noone else in the world shares.



    Moo.


    [ Parent ]
    In addition (3.00 / 2) (#106)
    by BlackTriangle on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 08:35:54 PM EST

    His throw-away reference to Iran.

    IRAN??!! The only relationship Iran has to Venezuela is that they're both countries fighting against corrupt oil companies and a very powerful Capitalism Pusher(the US) that wants to use their oil as a way to export profits.

    Other than that... well, hopefully you can use your critical thinking skills, and I don't have to analyze the original comment some more. OK, I will...nothing the original "Venezuelen" is any deeper than what has been said on this Kuro5hin site in the last few days . There is no real insight, only parroting. There haven been real Venezuelans posting, and they are long time users of this site, not throw-away accounts.

    Anyways, you say you're from Venezuela, so tell us what your relatives feel about the whole thing, I think you're not happy that he is the leader again but what are your reasons?



    Moo.


    [ Parent ]
    OK I`ll bite (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by el tito on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:12:32 PM EST

    Get your facts straight.He has been to Iran and Irak. I`m from the middle class so my opinion and most of my family`s and friends opinions are the same as mine. Would you be happy with a leader that promotes racial and class hatred? Have you,from your comfortable position ever been under fire,stoned or simply called oligarca (oligarq or rich) or escualido (dont know what it means in english) or insulted in the street by people who dont share your same political opinion? Have you ever seen you fellow countrymen shot in the head by snipers? Have you ever been afraid that one day you might wake up to find tanks in the street because "its for your safety"? Didnt think so.

    [ Parent ]
    Oh, now it's Iraq too! Not just Iran? (1.50 / 2) (#115)
    by BlackTriangle on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:19:01 PM EST

    Geez, you must hate my guts for having gone out with a Persian girl.

    Guess that throws my chances of ever being elected to public office right out the window, eh?

    BTW you're in the 'middle class'? Being a worldly individual, I know just what that means for countries with small 'middle class'es. Geez, I'll be crying crocodile tears when you can no longer afford to pay for all your servants.



    Moo.


    [ Parent ]
    Iran issue (4.00 / 1) (#122)
    by bodrius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:44:20 PM EST

    When Chavez went to Iran he went in an official visit as the President to express official support of Venezuela for the Iranian government in a bunch of things. That's a foreign policy issue.

    When Nixon supported Pinochet, I guess his critics didn't accept the excuse that he was just expressing his friendship for the Chilean people. It's a foreign policity issue.

    Venezuela used to have a big middle-class, the result of the good oil days. Now it has a relatively small, impoverished middle-class. We're talking about professionals who can't afford to own their own homes so they have to live with their parents (out of need, not choice).

    As traditional as the "servant" is in some Third-World countries among middle-class families, the fact is that non-upper-class Venezuelans cannot afford "cleaning ladies". This has been true for some time.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    An informative link (3.00 / 2) (#116)
    by medham on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:19:31 PM EST

    To help you get straight on a few things is here (I'm playing along with the Venezuelan joke...)

    The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
    [ Parent ]

    Iran is an issue, actually (5.00 / 5) (#120)
    by bodrius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:36:37 PM EST

    As has been Cuba, his visit to Iraq, China, his expressed support for terrorists (the Venezuelan terrorist Carlos "El Chacal" specifically), etc.

    In general, a great part of the middle-class who see Venezuela as a capitalist democracy are unhappy with Chavez's close relationships with countries we never had close relationships with, for no other reason than an ideological sympathy most of the population does not share with the President.

    While a great part of the Venezuelan population has been sympathetic to Cuba for a while (although now that Cuba has a presence in the country there is a lot of tension), the support Chavez has publicly expressed for Iran, Iraq and other countries are not supported by the population (most of which had barely heard of Iran before).

    They see this as a dangerous game played by the President where he tries to "stick to the Americans" at the risk of the national economy (which depends on America, because you're the ones with the SUVs and the insane consumption of oil), with nothing to gain.

    I would like to know where do you get the idea that Venezuela is fighthing corrupt oil companies. American companies are competitors with PDVSA (our government-owned company), true, but it's not like we're in a position of inferiority, PDVSA is very successful in its market. Nor has PDVSA been linked to real scandals of corruption: Chavez arguments have been just that their salaries are too high, and they abuse private jets.

    My relatives have diverse ethnic, economic and political backgrounds. Suffice to say that they hold political opinions all over the spectrum.

    About the reasons I'm not happy with Chavez: specifics are too complicated to explain in a single post, but you can find a lot of the arguments in my previous comments, just a click away.

    But I think I can put it in general in this way:

    Chavez represents the immaturity of the Venezuelan democracy, which confuses democracy with populism and easily degenarates into fascism. He's a "caudillo", a personal political figure that is seen above the law, a Messiah that will magically save the country from external evils that are responsible for our problems.

    He allows us to shift the blame to his enemies and the political responsability to himself. He delivers promises, dreams, myth; he's the rag-to-riches hero, the paternal figure, and the soap-opera protagonist; as Gabriel Garcia Marquez said, he is magic-realism itself.

    His "innovative" political and economical platform is a return to the beginnings of the system he criticized as corrupt and flawed, but he fails to see that corruption is a consequence of the flawed system, not the cause. Destroying the institutions and starting from scratch under the cry of "death to the corrupt oligarchy" is not a new idea in Latin American, it's exactly how new corrupt oligarchies are born in the first place.

    When Chavez was elected, the old political parties were political corpses. They lacked the trust and support of the people who kept them in power for 30 years. The population had the choice of recognizing it was them, through their votes, who made the mistake of giving these people power, and making a mature choice on their future politics based on the qualifications of the candidates and their plans for the future instead of moral promises.

    But when they elected Chavez, they did not elect him for his economic plan or his personal qualifications. They elected him out of rage, based on promises of revenge against the old democratic parties, they elected because they needed change, any kind of change, and they needed to be told it was not their fault. Given the choice at adolescence of facing reality or going back into a fantasy world, they opted for an entertaining schizophrenia.

    They elected the "Bolivarian Revolution" and opted for the dissolution of the democratic institutions they had with no real understanding of the process, for emotional rather than rational reasons. They formed new institutions that centralize the power even more on the Executive Office and dissolve most of the independence different branches of government had earned through decades of democratic evolution. Then they allowed the "Revolution" to disrespect these institutions when they didn't go their way by invoking the higher authority of the "sovereign", and to give even more special powers to the President so as to make the other powers nothing but a joke.

    In other words, I think Chavez was a serious mistake, and a mistake that the Venezuelan population has to correct before it is too late. Chavez is just an instance of a self-perpetuating mistake with a long history in the country, but its an instance at a crucial time where we had the chance and needed to avoid it.

    It's a particularly virulent brand of the mistake, though. By bringing back the military into political power in such overwhelming numbers, it ensures they will play a dominant role in politics for decades to come, and a cursory review of Latin American history can show the results of that. By conveniently reinterpreting the Constitution so as to extend his presidential term, he sets a dangerous precedent of a practice that had very bad results before as well.

    We still have the chance to wake up and (democratically) repair the mistake before we have another 40 years of different Chavezes and I think we must.

    I also happen to think it's a really bad government too, as corrupt and abusive as any it has tried to condemn, and as unlikely to deliver on what it promised. Whether it is in purpose or out of incompetence, I think it can do a lot of damage in the short-term too.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    Another idiot equates capitalism with democracy (2.33 / 3) (#121)
    by BlackTriangle on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:41:02 PM EST

    They elected the "Bolivarian Revolution" and opted for the dissolution of the democratic institutions they had with no real understanding of the process, for emotional rather than rational reasons.

    You mean they dissolved capitalist institutions, liar.

    You can get rid of him - in 2006.

    Until then, quit your bitching. I guess you really don't understand democracy - fixed terms are the only way to make it work. Otherwise, people would stay in power for their entire lives before holding elections.



    Moo.


    [ Parent ]
    No, I do not. (5.00 / 2) (#132)
    by bodrius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:16:48 PM EST

    I meant the following democratic institutions:

    - Congress
    - Supreme Court
    - Constitution
    - Regional governments
    - Labor Unions

    etc.

    None of them happened to be a capitalist institution.

    If you really consider fixed terms so important to democracy, you might want to check when did Chavez start his rule officially, when he plans to leave power, and how many different versions of the new Constitution were published (and "corrected") and where the changes are.

    Changing fixed terms are not fixed terms at all.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    I apologize for my outburst (4.00 / 1) (#133)
    by BlackTriangle on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:21:21 PM EST

    At the start, I thought you were one of the extreme right radicals on this website, like Demiurge and Apuleius.

    It seems I was mistaken. Do you have any links I could read to learn more about what Chavez has done while he has been in office (for both terms, preferably seperate information for each and not combined)



    Moo.


    [ Parent ]
    No prob.. (none / 0) (#143)
    by el tito on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:58:07 PM EST

    As you know Im new on kuro5hin.I got my account because Im a regular /. reader and saw on one of my slashboxes the news on kuro5hin about Venezuela. And I felt I needed to express my opinion.I`m far from being a right wing radical and far from being one of the middle class privileged. For info you can search google for hugo chavez. He`s only had one term ,the thing is he was elected in 1998 and then since he made a new constitution we had new elections to re-elect new officials and he was re-elected. It depends how you look at it.I look at it as one term really. Im sorry I cant provide you with any info on the web in english since I havent really felt the need to look for any info on the web about his government apart from the daily news on the web.

    [ Parent ]
    Thanks (none / 0) (#145)
    by BlackTriangle on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:16:58 PM EST

    We're all a little worked up politically over here on Kuro5hin because of all the negative news... hopefully things will settle down in a few weeks. I don't mean to scare you away.

    Moo.


    [ Parent ]
    On a sidenote: (none / 0) (#159)
    by valeko on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 01:09:24 AM EST

    Demiurge is a troll. Insufficient legitimacy and substance behind opinions to be genuine. Of course, if it were genuine, it'd just be promoted to status of "right-wing BS".


    "Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
    [ Parent ]

    I suspected as much (none / 0) (#175)
    by BlackTriangle on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 10:34:14 AM EST

    Well, not that he's a troll, but that he's not sincere. I wouldn't go so far as to call anyone a troll - life is too short to be second guessing the masks people wear.

    Moo.


    [ Parent ]
    One more thing (1.00 / 1) (#110)
    by BlackTriangle on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 08:55:27 PM EST

    This has been done but ignored by a government that admits it will rule until 2021.

    The "Venezuelan" just said this. What a poseur.



    Moo.


    [ Parent ]
    Actually, (none / 0) (#150)
    by bodrius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:50:53 PM EST

    It's true. Chavez has said this a couple of times: "Chavez hasta el 2020!" is the phrase, which implies elections in 2020 and releasing power in 2021.
    <br><br>
    It could be found somewhere <a href="http://www.venezuela.gov.ve/ns/aloc.asp">here</a>, on his own official archive of transcriptions.
    <br>
    I'm sorry if I cannot point you directly to one of the various speeches/TV-shows where he used the phrase, but as you can probably see on that page the amount of material is just humonguous.
    <br><br>
    It is not clear whether he is serious when he says that or he's just displaying bravado. But the fact that he displays bravado about such things as the President of the Republic make a lot of people take it seriously.
    <br><br>The controversy about when exactly did his period start and when does it end, and that some of his supporters are far too happy to take it seriously too doesn't help the opposition trust him either.
    <br><br>
    The fact that the poster knew that fact and that date, which have not been reported as far as I know by the international media (which just does not take that seriously), indicates to me he is indeed Venezuelan.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    Actually, (none / 0) (#151)
    by bodrius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:51:20 PM EST

    It's true. Chavez has said this a couple of times: "Chavez hasta el 2020!" is the phrase, which implies elections in 2020 and releasing power in 2021.

    It could be found somewhere here, on his own official archive of transcriptions.
    I'm sorry if I cannot point you directly to one of the various speeches/TV-shows where he used the phrase, but as you can probably see on that page the amount of material is just humonguous.

    It is not clear whether he is serious when he says that or he's just displaying bravado. But the fact that he displays bravado about such things as the President of the Republic make a lot of people take it seriously.

    The controversy about when exactly did his period start and when does it end, and that some of his supporters are far too happy to take it seriously too doesn't help the opposition trust him either.

    The fact that the poster knew that fact and that date, which have not been reported as far as I know by the international media (which just does not take that seriously), indicates to me he is indeed Venezuelan.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    Actually.. (4.50 / 2) (#112)
    by el tito on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:05:16 PM EST

    Yes I am a new user.Yes I might be considered biased since I have lived for 21 years in a democracy and I dont want to lose it to this tirant.But Im not any other guy spreading misinformation.Think what you want.Just telling you the story from this side.

    [ Parent ]
    Could you clarify? (4.33 / 3) (#101)
    by bodrius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:50:02 PM EST

    I'm not entirely sure whether I agree with you there or not. It depends on what you mean by "he's not the one dividing the country into classes".

    The classes obviously have existed for a long time. And upward mobility, although much better than most Latin American countries, is still a problem in Venezuela (downward mobility, though, it's right there with the Argentinians).

    But there was no hostility between classes before Chavez, and he was the first to use inflammatory class-war rethoric in many decades. The political division was not there before Chavez, and although it didn't come out from nowhere, he is responsible for widening the political gap to the point were they just throw insults at each other.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    Fool (4.28 / 7) (#118)
    by medham on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:24:46 PM EST

    But there was no hostility between classes before Chavez
    We are intelligent people here, trying to have an intelligent conversation about world events. You can't just wade in tossing ignorance bombs.

    Hostility between classes is a fundamental structural property of capitalism.

    The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
    [ Parent ]

    Uh, no... (4.66 / 3) (#124)
    by cr8dle2grave on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:45:55 PM EST

    It's a fundamental component of anti-capatalist propoganda.

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    R U L33t HAx0r? (2.80 / 5) (#125)
    by medham on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:50:38 PM EST

    No, the spelling's too good. All propaganda is capitalist propaganda, by definition. Capitalism has permeated every fleck of social consciousnes in the world, and the only way in which we can achieve the standpoint objectivity necessary for ideological critique is by accepting the invariant structure of human information-processing systems. In short, Jerry Fodor is the prophet of the Noveau Left. Get with it.

    The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
    [ Parent ]

    rofl (3.00 / 2) (#127)
    by BlackTriangle on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:56:03 PM EST

    Capitalism has permeated every fleck of social consciousnes in the world, and the only way in which we can achieve the standpoint objectivity necessary for ideological critique is by accepting the invariant structure of human information-processing systems.In short, Jerry Fodor is the prophet of the Noveau Left.

    Say what?



    Moo.


    [ Parent ]
    I'll see your false consciousness... (5.00 / 3) (#135)
    by cr8dle2grave on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:30:51 PM EST

    and raise with a will to power!

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    Bullshit, you know nothing about capitalism (1.33 / 3) (#136)
    by VitaminSupplementarian on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:31:13 PM EST

    Hostility between classes is a fundamental structural property of capitalism

    Then why is it that in the US the majority of the each class don't care about one another. I have friends from all classes of society here. Lower class, middle class, upper class and none of them are anything close to the hardcore utopian socialists that constantly repeat, like good little parrots, lines like the one above.

    Welcome to your glorious socialist state, where everyone gets the exact same free clothes, food, state er.. community-approved books, movies and music and the only reason that someone is an asshole is because he doesn't have every one of his material desires met.


    "A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy" --F.A. Hayek
    [ Parent ]
    You know why (5.00 / 1) (#141)
    by medham on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:48:09 PM EST

    The majority of the "each class" don't care about one another? Care to take a stab?

    Did Hayek ever meet a state power structure whose boots he didn't lick? Austria--now there's a country with a rich tradition of freedom and free thought.

    The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
    [ Parent ]

    You missed..... (none / 0) (#182)
    by VitaminSupplementarian on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 03:49:50 PM EST

    Russia, Cuba, China (hmmm western devils/japanese barbarians?), Vietnam and Cambodia.
    "A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy" --F.A. Hayek
    [ Parent ]
    Capitalism = Class War. Disprove pls. (none / 0) (#203)
    by opendna on Fri Apr 26, 2002 at 03:21:42 PM EST

    • Hostility between classes is a fundamental structural property of capitalism
    • Then why is it that in the US the majority of the each class don't care about one another.

    Hm? How do you support that assertion?

    I see "welfare queens", "the poor are lazy", "the greedy rich", "yuppie", "white trash" etc as evidence of class animosity. Add in all the hate for homeless people and their oppression by police. Throw in 90% unemployment rates in some districts of major cities, a drug war which treats the poor harsher than the rich, police brutality based on race and class, etc.

    It's an institutionalized class war and it is very real in the U.S. Maybe you don't see it because you live a sheltered life.

    I have friends from all classes of society here. Lower class, middle class, upper class and none of them are anything close to the hardcore utopian socialists that constantly repeat, like good little parrots, lines like the one above.

    Which does nothing to discredit the statement. "Hardcore utopian socialists" do not have a lock on class conflict, they just got to it first.

    Why don't you stop red-baiting, consult Hayek, and see if you can form an argument to discredit the assertion that class antagonism is a property of capitalism?


    [ Parent ]

    Uh? (2.66 / 6) (#146)
    by bodrius on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:29:23 PM EST

    I hope it's a troll... you call me a fool for saying not every capitalist society has hostility between classes?

    How often do you see violent class manifestations in the US? How often do you see class-based political parties? (From what I see, all US political parties have rich people financing them, everyone else voting for them). How often do you see hostile war-class rethoric permeating the political debate?

    The closest you ever get is having conflicts on whom to tax a little bit more or less, and it never seems to get hostile.

    You don't seem to understand the difference between hostility and tension, war and conflict.

    If you're a marxist, you probably believe the conflict between classes is a fundamental nature of capitalistic society. That's you're prerogative: I don't agree with you, but I can say there was tension between classes in pre-Chavez Venezuela, there was some conflict of classes.

    There is a big difference between that and hostility, though.

    It's the difference between, say, French and British culture mocking each other, and Bush and Saddam exchaning epithets on the "Axis of Evil" and "Great Satan" level.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    There's a difference (5.00 / 2) (#149)
    by medham on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:50:53 PM EST

    Between structural hostility, which has to be repressed via ideology, and manifest hostility, which has to be repressed with tanks.

    The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
    [ Parent ]

    L.A. Riots? Rodney King? (n/t) (2.66 / 3) (#153)
    by Kwil on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:57:45 PM EST


    That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


    [ Parent ]
    Income Inequality => Class Hostility (none / 0) (#202)
    by opendna on Fri Apr 26, 2002 at 03:01:16 PM EST

    But there was no hostility between classes before Chavez, and he was the first to use inflammatory class-war rethoric in many decades.

    First of all, there is a HUGE difference between class-war rhetoric being used by political elites and tension caused by income inequalities.

    You may not think there was any class hostility but I'll wager the the millions of poor have a different memory. From the coca farmers to the street kids, shanty towns to share-croppers, millions of people in Venezuela struggled to survive while you lived in luxury. You didn't feel the hostility because you didn't care about thier plight and the police kept them in their place. That's what the police do: crack the heads of poor people.

    If you'd given the matter any thought you would have realized that the millions of landless poor have very different interests than yourself and the rest of the distinguished class. Mistakes were made when the franchise was given to all Venezuelans, when effort were made to have free and fair elections, when a populist was allowed to run. You lost control of the state to the poor because you didn't care to think before imitating the United States' electoral democracy.

    "Modernism" claims another victim.


    [ Parent ]

    re (4.00 / 3) (#109)
    by el tito on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 08:51:42 PM EST

    What i mean is that he is inciting hate between classes.In his speeches he calls the middle and high classes "corrupt thieves who have raped this country for forty years".He encourages invasion of land owned by people who have owned it for ages and work it and contribute to the economy of venezuela. Venezuela has never been a country where this kind of hatred has ever existed.Now it is.

    [ Parent ]
    Gomez, Jimenez (4.00 / 4) (#114)
    by medham on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:15:46 PM EST

    And let's not forget the golden age of Perez (I didn't feel like adding the accents).

    A long and vibrant history of democracy in the best South American tradition, yes. I'd be upset about the rabble-rousing if I were a wealthy Venezuelan too, though it's pretty obvious that you're a North American high school student (and a poor one at that).

    The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
    [ Parent ]

    unbelievable (none / 0) (#119)
    by infinitera on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:29:13 PM EST

    medham has been imbued with new purpose? troll-spotter?

    [ Parent ]
    spoke too soon (none / 0) (#131)
    by infinitera on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:08:53 PM EST

    Darn diaries.

    [ Parent ]
    Rich & Poor (4.66 / 3) (#176)
    by SporranBoy on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 11:42:21 AM EST

    I lived for a few years in Ecuador which pretty closely parallels Venzuela.

    There is an "elite" ( has to be quoted ) which basically has the attitude "I rather be on top of a dung heap than on the middle rung of the ladder to national prosperity" ( excuse the mixed metaphors ). They make it their business to deny basic education to the majority, and to allow education to a small middle class so that they can work their asses off for $400 a month as an employee ( which approximates to indentured labourer ).

    In Ecuador, as in Venezuela, the passivity of the masses is shocking. When the "elite" of Venezuela are looking around for someone to blame for the rise of a Chavez, they need to stop in front of a mirror.

    For the great majority of Venezuelans, I am sure that life is no worse under Chavez than it has been under the long succession of shameless scoundrels who preceded him.

    BTW - things in the U.S. are starting to resemble Venezuela, with George and co. pandering to their oil and gas cronies in much the same way as their latino analogues.

    [ Parent ]
    When was the next election? (4.00 / 1) (#97)
    by roystgnr on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:29:13 PM EST

    Or was there a scheduled next election? Perhaps I'm misunderstanding things. What is the constitutional procedure by which the people "may choose to remove" a president?

    [ Parent ]
    next election (5.00 / 2) (#107)
    by el tito on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 08:44:34 PM EST

    THis is mentioned in the 1998 constitution,and it says that the the president maybe removed by the people who elected him if they are the majority. Of course no mention is made of public demonstrations but we have been pushing for a referendum to call for new elections.To acomplish this we need 1.000.000 signatures.This has been done but ignored by a government that admits it will rule until 2021.Dont know where he gets this year.He was elected in 1998 then again in 1999.He is supposed to be on until 2006.And then in the iunlikely event that he gets elected again he gets 6 more years.Thats 2012.

    [ Parent ]
    Was Carmona better? (5.00 / 1) (#170)
    by svampa on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 05:04:34 AM EST

    Chavez`s good relations with Fidel Castro, Iran, Lybia ,the colombian guerrilla are well known.He keeps giving away our oil to Cuba.

    That isn't bad nor good. That's just politic. Specially I don't understand why selling Oil to Cuba is a proof that he is a bad president, it's just a politic attitude. You may agree or disagree. You may vote him or not.

    He keeps dividing venezuela in to social classes,rich and poor and he keeps trying to implement a communist government in our country

    Once again, don't vote him, I'm not communist, but a lot of people voted him, Every one should wonder what is the renta per capita of people that votes this kind of leaders. That's a clear message that something must change to change this, in Spain, communist party gets less tha an 15% of votes. If poor have nothing, and are a lot, it is not difficult to create such divisions.

    He keeps brutalizing the media and the civil society.He keeps covering acts of corruption in his government.He keeps giving weapons to the circulos bolivarianos

    That's the point.

    Are you going to change him by the leader of bussiness men association, brought by militians nobody knows why? Will it help to stop division between rich and poors? or just will get silent poor people?

    As far as I know Carmona closed courts and parlament.

    I can understand that Chávez is anything but a democratic guy, but this coup is only a milician/bussiness coup. It has got to make Hugo Chávez stronger. Perhaps next election should had changed things, now it's even more difficult.



    [ Parent ]
    Geez, talking about impartial government (none / 0) (#189)
    by darthaya on Thu Apr 18, 2002 at 12:10:33 PM EST

    The world responsed fiercely when Chinese government cracked down to the protesters on Tiananmen square in Beijing, and US government from time to time, brings up this matter to humiliate the Chinese government. Now look at its attitude toward a massacre in a "democratically elected country".

    I am not saying any type of "firing toward civilians from their own armed troops" is right. It is just US government disgusts me by its international behaviors.



    [ Parent ]
    Just heard on BBC news (4.33 / 3) (#83)
    by imrdkl on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 06:24:00 PM EST

    the US is withdrawing all non-essential personell from the embassy in Venezuela, in an indirect confirmation of the actions alledged in this article. (And confirmed by the BBC broadcast)

    No links that I can find yet. This was just on an BBC news update. Watch their website.

    For the sake of completeness (none / 0) (#193)
    by imrdkl on Fri Apr 19, 2002 at 04:51:58 AM EST

    Here's a link to an AP story which confirms my original comment.

    [ Parent ]
    A dark day for press (4.22 / 9) (#98)
    by svampa on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:29:36 PM EST

    A dark day for press this is the conclusion of an article published in El mundo , Spanish newspaper, about how acurate was venezuelan and foreing press, specially TV.

    While the supporters of Hugo Chavez were coming from hills to demmand the return of Hugo Chávez, RCTV (Radio Caracas TV) asked people in the market, "Is everything all right? can you go shopping as usual?" People suprised by micro in front their mouth, used to smile and say "Sure" and didn't show a single image about battles in the borders of the cities, nor facts like people hidden in their house after 20:00.

    "Mass media which show every demonstration against Hugo Chávez, didn't show any demonstrations to support them while the coup was on".

    Foreign press did similar things, "While demonstrations pro-Chávez were crushed and there were vandalism etc, foreign press show a lovely and pacefull country, happy with its new president." No foreign press asked were the new president came from. He wasn't the lider of a party, nort a polician.

    Only Colombian TV was the exception. "Colombian TV (Telemundo internacional) was the only light were Venezuelans citizen could see what was going on, its reporter seem to be every place, and CNN was the worst. In short: a dark day for impartial press"

    I don't know who is worse Hugo Chávez or Carmona, but I wonder were has all reporters pride gone.



    A few facts... (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by el tito on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 08:58:35 PM EST

    What you say is partly true.We spent most of that day ill informed.What you dont know is that Chavez`s "Circulos Bolivarianos" (armed groups) terrorize the media here everyday.A reporter was shot in the head on the 11th while doing his job and many others were stoned.On the 12th those same groups destroyed a TV station and terrorized many others.They have thrown pipe bombs at the newspaper centers.To put it simply reporters cant do their job here in Venezuela since they are terrorized by these groups financed by the government.That day groups of armed people camped outside the TV stations.Would you go out and try to report what is happening under this conditions?

    [ Parent ]
    NarcoNews calls you a liar (none / 0) (#199)
    by opendna on Wed Apr 24, 2002 at 12:59:00 PM EST

    NarcoNews' reports state that none of the things you allege occur and that Chavez has protected freedom of speech and press. They write that media groups attempting to attack him for suppression of the press have to rely on his public denouncements of the corrupt Venezuelan media because physical attacks and oppression do not occur.

    NarcoNews.com has proven more reliable than the NYT, so I'd love to see some citations.



    [ Parent ]

    Papa Bush was in Venezuela before the coup (4.00 / 4) (#156)
    by jacunix on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 12:39:05 AM EST

    Don't foget that Papa Bush came to Venezuela several months ago and met Mr. Cisneros, a T.V. station owner who backed the coup! They were fishing in the Caribean!

    Comment of the Bush Administration (4.53 / 13) (#157)
    by Miggle on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 12:48:27 AM EST

    from the article:

    "Legitimacy is something that is conferred not just by a majority of the voters, however."

    Telling. So telling....

    --



    --
    Dammit, I wish I made this up: Why the Jews has to do with genetics. [sic]
    Well... (5.00 / 4) (#171)
    by AWalker on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 05:19:01 AM EST

    I would adjust that slightly and add that it isn't conferred by a minority of the electorate, either ::coughs @ Bush::

    [ Parent ]
    Ummm... (none / 0) (#187)
    by DarkZero on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 08:41:51 PM EST

    Yes, that would be the joke. ;)

    [ Parent ]
    then what? (none / 0) (#190)
    by svampa on Thu Apr 18, 2002 at 03:57:11 PM EST

    Democracy is not a good system, it is just the less bad (Churchill?)

    What are the alternatives? The strength of weapons?

    Or perhaps an external objective opinion?
    UN? EEUU government?



    [ Parent ]
    Elections do not a democracy make (none / 0) (#192)
    by bodrius on Thu Apr 18, 2002 at 10:14:24 PM EST

    The are a requirement.

    However, besides voters choosing by majority your leader you need:

    - A system of checks and balances with multiple political powers.
    - A "state of the law", which ensures the permanence of this system of checks and balances.
    - Legal protection for people's right to disagree with both the government the current majority.
    - Legal protection to express that disagreement and to organize for the sake of expressing that disagreement.
    - A professional and ethical judicial power that protects and enacts these legal systems.
    - A professional and ethical legislative power that perfects these legal systems.
    - Participation of the citizens on the legislative process through public input and debate.



    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    US? (none / 0) (#195)
    by infinitera on Fri Apr 19, 2002 at 10:54:46 PM EST

    Participation of the citizens on the legislative process through public input and debate.
    So, by your definition, the US is not a democratic state? ;)

    [ Parent ]
    Yes. (3.00 / 1) (#197)
    by bodrius on Sat Apr 20, 2002 at 01:31:53 AM EST

    Although you do have more participation of the citizens on the debate (at the very least during elections), it is degenerating into a less democratic state as participation decreases among big segments of the population. And when the citizens do participate, they take the pre-packaged positions that other people have constructed for them in their absence.

    But even when(if?) the US had debate, it was not technically a democratic state. I remember at the peak of the elections scandal that only a Republican Senator said on TV what should have been obvious: "Yes, but the United States's political system is not a democracy. It's a republic. Deal with it." (or something to that effect, but very close).

    This is not necessarily bad. I believe democracies should develop from republican governments if they are to avoid populism that threatens to become fascism. Immature democracies in a media-centered world devolve into popularity contests that are easily manipulated, instead of elections based on the effective qualities of the candidates and their government plans.

    In other words, I believe that in order for a democracy to get those other qualitites, a long political procedure has to prepare the birth of that democracy. If we assume that there are democracies by the virtue of elections, we ignore the whole point of democracy and why it was supposed to be a good idea in the first place, and we guarantee it will be really hard for it to mature into an actual democracy.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]
    Beating a dead horse (none / 0) (#191)
    by X3nocide on Thu Apr 18, 2002 at 09:56:10 PM EST

    Asked whether the administration now recognizes Mr. Chávez as Venezuela's legitimate president, one administration official replied, "He was democratically elected," then added, "Legitimacy is something that is conferred not just by a majority of the voters, however."

    As we've all learned, whats important is not the majority of the voters, but which way the Electoral College votes.

    pwnguin.net

    This is not US (none / 0) (#194)
    by apow on Fri Apr 19, 2002 at 08:53:58 AM EST

    There is no such thing as a EC in Venezuela, people choose their representatives directly, by simple majority.

    [ Parent ]
    However (none / 0) (#201)
    by X3nocide on Thu Apr 25, 2002 at 04:25:22 PM EST

    The official speaking was a member of the Bush administration, which was part of the US last time I reviewed the current political system.

    pwnguin.net
    [ Parent ]
    Bush Administration 'Agreed With' Venezuelan Coup Plotters | 204 comments (200 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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