News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinecoldwar-imperialism — Viewing Item

Coup coup coup { April 14 2002 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)

April 14, 2002
A Coup by Any Other Name

MEXICO CITY — When is a coup not a coup? When the United States says so, it seems — especially if the fallen leader is no friend to American interests.

What else to call the fall on Friday of Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez? An armed transition of power? By any other name, though its European and Latin American allies deplored it, it was a consummation devoutly wished for by the White House.

"The actions encouraged by the Chávez government provoked a crisis," the White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said on Friday. That sentence was spring-loaded, given the history of Latin American coups tacitly encouraged or covertly supported by the United States.

For Washington, the real crisis in Caracas was Mr. Chávez. It ended with his leaving office at gunpoint. Now 1.5 million barrels of Venezuelan oil a day will keep flowing to the United States. And none will go to Fidel Castro's Cuba — Venezuela's new leader, an oil man, immediately declared that tap shut.

In Latin America, the United States has long preferred friendly faces in presidential palaces, playing reliable roles, whether or not they are wearing uniforms. It supported authoritarian regimes throughout Central and South America during and after the cold war in defense of its economic and political interests.

In tiny Guatemala, the Central Intelligence Agency mounted a coup overthrowing the democratically elected government in 1954, and it backed subsequent right-wing governments against small leftist rebel groups for four decades. Roughly 200,000 civilians died.

In Chile, a C.I.A.-supported coup helped put Gen. Augusto Pinochet in power from 1973 to 1990. In Peru, a fragile democratic government is still unraveling the agency's role in a decade of support for the now-deposed and disgraced president, Alberto K. Fujimori, and his disreputable spy chief, Vladimiro L. Montesinos.

The United States had to invade Panama in 1989 to topple its narco-dictator, Manuel A. Noriega, who, for almost 20 years, was a valued informant for American intelligence. And the struggle to mount an armed opposition against Nicaragua's leftists in the 1980's by any means necessary, including selling arms to Iran for cold cash, led to indictments against senior Reagan administration officials.

Among those investigated back then was Otto J. Reich, a veteran of Latin American struggles. No charges were ever filed against Mr. Reich. He later became United States ambassador to Venezuela and now serves as assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs by presidential appointment. The fall of Mr. Chávez is a feather in his cap.

THERE is so far no evidence that the United States covertly undermined Mr. Chávez. He did a decent job destabilizing himself. But the open White House embrace of his overthrow will not be lost on Latin American leaders who dare thumb their noses at the United States, as did Mr. Chávez.

Yes, he was freely and democratically elected, and his starry-eyed visions of a united South America unshackled from the dominance of Washington's power did not bother the administration much. But his selling oil to Mr. Castro? His alliances with his brothers in petroleum production, Saddam Hussein and Muammar el-Qaddafi? His not-so-tacit support for the Colombian rebels? And the potential threat he posed to thousands of American gas stations?

Above all, the United States wants stability in its backyard. Mr. Chávez did not fit in with President Bush's vision of "the century of the Americas" in "a hemisphere of liberty."

The Organization of American States, the most venerable alliance in the Americas, has a new Democracy Charter, signed by every one of its members, including the United States, on Sept. 11. It requires strong action against military coups. Yet, in all likelihood, it will be ignored in Venezuela's case, because Washington wanted Mr. Chávez gone.

Today, armed dictatorships cannot flourish as easily as they did in the cold war. Ideologies have little power left in Latin America. But civil institutions have less. Laws, legislatures and legal mechanisms have been starved by strong armies and weak democracies. The promised land of political empowerment pledged by free traders still seems far away. And in Venezuela, despite its oil, more than 85 percent of the people are still dirt poor.

"Venezuela has been in and out of crises like this for 50 years, with arrogant elites overthrown by popular uprisings whose leaders become arrogant elites," said David J. Rothkopf, chairman of Intellibridge, a Washington consulting firm run by former senior intelligence and foreign policy officials. "The only cure would be to extract all the oil from Venezuela at once."

The cure for Washington was the army's extracting Mr. Chávez.

180k east timorese slaughtered with US help
1996 intelligence community congressional findings
Accidental imperialist { December 30 2002 }
Britain torture camp photos revealed { April 3 2006 }
Carter legacy { October 18 2002 }
Castro at 12 asked fdr for 10 dollars { June 18 2004 }
Century [htm]
Cia asset blew up cuban airliner in 1976
Cia crimes report
Cia to declassify illegal abuses { June 22 2007 }
Civil military apart { October 18 1999 }
Congo bush gold funds civil war { April 6 2001 }
Coup coup coup { April 14 2002 }
Dramatic drop in conflicts since the cold war
Eisenhower british suez
Fdr churchill and stalin divided europe in 1945 { May 10 2005 }
Fdr cuba batista goodneighbor policy { April 9 1952 }
Fred korematsu fought internment of japanese americans
Gamal abdel nasser smear campaign { February 25 2003 }
Global economic history 1800 { July 26 2003 }
Japanese american who fought internment dies { April 3 2005 }
Judge decides if bay of pigs is terror act { August 30 2005 }
Judge looks if 1961 bay of pigs is terrorist act
Kissinger accused
Kissinger harpers
Kissinger irresponsibility own people { September 11 1973 }
Kissinger policies in lebanon { April 8 2005 }
Laos thailand
March 35th anniversary tlatelolco massacre { October 2 2003 }
Mark twain war
Mexico dirty war
Middleeast family dictators { December 11 2002 }
Mideast history { April 9 2003 }
Military wanted to provoke war with cuba
Nazi images outlawed germany
Operation paperclip
Palestine britian 1945
Papers on 1964 brazil coup declassified { April 3 2004 }
Papers show us support of 1964 brazil coup
Paul nitze architect of cold war { October 21 2004 }
Pope helped overthrow communism
Pri party rules mexico { July 5 2000 }
Probe ties ex president to 68 massacre { October 3 2003 }
Putin says US foreign policies worse than soviet { June 23 2007 }
Red scare to mccarthyism
Report reveals 1981 kgb plan to kill pope { March 30 2005 }
Seize oil planned during 73 crisis { January 2 2004 }
Skorea in 1950 slaughtered thousands of peasants { May 19 2008 }
Smedley butler
Sri lanka { September 18 2002 }
Suez end empire { March 14 2001 }
US britain france asked reparations for east timor massacre { January 21 2006 }
US detains former cia agent cuban terrorist { May 17 2005 }
Ww2 godfather

Files Listed: 54


CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple