12 April: Globalized Capitalism has tromped on Democracy again, this time in Venezuela where President Hugo Chavez has been driven from power by a military coup. Just such a power grab was predicted in a February 2002 Narco News article, which stated that "the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Morgan Stanley have come out in support of a 'transitional government' for Venezuela, supporting Chavez's removal from office." Goldman, Sachs & Co. had also fueled the coup-fire, characterizing Venezuela as "entering a profound recession," and stating that "there is fear of a political and economic collapse, the financial situation is in chaos, petroleum prices have fallen, the country has suffered massive capital flight." Professor James Petras of the State University of New York, correspondent for the Spanish magazine, Rebelión, however, stated that "the IMF and financial institutions are fabricating a crisis. There is no economic crisis. The economic problems facing Chavez have always been there, they are problems that Chavez inherited." |
Chavez won the Venezuelan Presidency in 1998 and 2000 by the largest majorities in four decades. Using this enormous popularity, Chavez implemented an unprecedented number of reforms including: a new Constitution providing guarantees for indigenous and women's rights; free health care and education up to the university level; a restructuring of the judicial and legislative branches to reduce corruption; breakfast and lunch for schoolchildren year round, which led to an enrollment increased of over a million students; and a reinvigoration of OPEC that resulted in raising oil prices from $8 a barrel to $27 (though it has since fallen lower). Christian Perenti, professor at the New College of California believes that, under Chavez, Venezuela was "an example of a people struggling to create an alternative, attempting to reform capitalism into a more egalitarian, healthier system... In fact, perhaps Venezuela is the truest democracy in the world today."
Was, that is.
In other words, as "outside the whale" said in a comment posted to Indymedia, "Hugo pissed off the Oil Cos. The Oil Cos. conducted a coup. The Oil Cos. used media propaganda to provoke a civilian opposition. In short The Oil Cos. are in control not the people of Venezuela. Gee, Venezuela sounds kinda like America..."
UPDATE 13 April: Reports of citizen uprisings are coming from Venezuela. The majority still strongly support Chavez, and see him as a champion of the poor.report 1 | report 2
Meanwhile, the military appointed "pResident", Carmona, has called Chavez a dictator but has himself assumed dictatorial powers and taken it upon himself to dissolve the democratically elected Congress and change the name of the country, which the people selected last year.
The presidents of Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Paraguay have announced that they do not recognize the illegitimate regime of Carmona. Bush, himself an illigitimate pResident, has supported the toppling of democracy, once again revealing his and the United States' preference for dictatorial lackeys rather than democracy.
To follow this story as it unfolds, visit Argentina Indymedia (Español), Brasil Indymedia (Portuguese), and Global Indymedia (English).
[ "Coup in Venezuela: An Eyewitness Account" | Narco News: Kim Alphandary Reports on U.S. Coup Plot in Venezuela | PHOTOS (argentina indymedia) | Links to stories about Venezuela coup | More links ]