Venezuelan Democracy Under Siege
Posted: Friday, October 18, 2002
by MARK WEISBROT, www.counterpunch.org
Twelve years ago a populist priest named Jean-Bertrand Aristide became President of Haiti, in the country's first democratic elections. A businessman summed up the attitude of Haiti's small but stubborn elite: "Everybody who is anybody is against Aristide -- except for the people!"
The upper classes of Venezuela have adopted a similar attitude as they seek to overthrow their own populist president -- Hugo Chavez. They refuse to respect the results of democratic elections, and have little regard for the majority of their (mostly poor) compatriots. On Monday the nation's largest business federation, joined by some leaders of organized labor, will once again attempt a general strike with the stated purpose of ousting the president.
The similarities do not end there: Aristide was overthrown in a military coup led by officers who were later discovered to be on the payroll of the CIA. MORE