Venezuelan Democracy Survives, In Spite of Washington
Posted: Monday, April 15, 2002
by Mark Weisbrot
A joke that was once popular in Latin America has become relevant again: Why has there never been a military coup in the United States? Answer: because there's no U.S. embassy here.
Latin Americans would not be surprised to read that the military coup which ousted President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela for nearly two days was well-orchestrated and planned for at least six months, according to the Washington Post. And that the plotters visited the US embassy in Caracas, seeking support.
Washington denies having anything to do with the coup, and we probably won't know for some time what role, if any, was played by the US government. It took a couple of years and a Congressional investigation to declassify the details of the United States' massive involvement in the overthrow of Chile's elected government in 1973.
But the Bush Administration's support for the Venezuelan coup was unqualified-in fact it tried to deny that this was a military coup at all. This was a ridiculous position: the country's elected President was arrested and replaced by the military, and his replacement dissolved the elected National Assembly and Supreme Court. If that is not a military coup, then there is no such thing. More