Democracy Takes a Hit
Posted: Monday, April 29, 2002
By Mary McGrory
Sunday, April 28, 2002; Page B07
It is easy to understand why it all happened in Venezuela, although the how is not entirely clear.
You can understand, for instance, how tempted the Bush administration was to give the old heave-ho to Hugo Chavez, a motor-mouth "revolutionary" Latin American president who bragged about his friendships with Fidel, Saddam and other U.S. nemeses.
You can understand, too, the appeal of his short-term replacement, one Pedro Carmona, friend of oligarchs and captains of an oil industry that is the third-largest supplier to the United States.
But the coup didn't work in Venezuela. Democracy prevailed. The man the White House sees as a pluperfect pain in the neck, Chavez, got his job back in 48 hours. The coup collapsed after the two-day president, Carmona, declared he would cancel Congress and fire the Supreme Court. The most conspicuous casualty? America's reputation for promoting democracy, one of the stated goals of our currently confused foreign policy. MORE