Venezuela: The Coup

 [Translated by José Luna – Znet Espanol]

Whatever opinion one might have of his performance, an overwhelming majority elected president Hugo Chávez. Venezuela had National Magistrates, a National Assembly, law and institutions. Thanks to a military coup from those who have the power of money and control the media, supported by the high command and the Head of the Catholic Church, those who could not win either in the polls or in the parliamentary institutions have now established a de facto government led by the business community boss.  No one knows who appointed him as president.

Hugo Chávez did not resign and therefore, continues to be constitutional president despite being held in custody. The supposed “re-establishers of democracy” violated the Constitution and resorted to force after committing all sorts of crimes. It is a crime to weaken a country exporting capital illegally as fugitive Venezuelan bankers in Miami do; it is a crime to sabotage the measures of a constitutional government; it is crime to utilize State concessions such as licences for radio and TV to provoke, organise and unchain a coup d’état; and it is a crime to incite military chiefs who must preserve legality, to break it and jail the commander in chief, the president.

Chavez was not overthrown by a general strike but a business lockout that led, as predicted, to the military coup prepared for so long. Now the business president imposed by force has dissolved the National Assembly and the Magistrates, thereby calling off laws legally approved by a constitutional government. He has started a wave of persecutions politically illegal and vengeful, and is stepping up repression.

His power is illegitimate and against the Constitution. The Rio Group does not recognise him and condemns the military coup. So far, this de facto government only has the recognition of José María Aznar’s government in Spain, who also supports repressive candidates in Argentina and believes that Latin America continues to be a peninsular colony. Other coups such as Fujimori’s in Peru or that that overthrew president Aristide in Haiti led their authors to a Pan-American isolation. The least the Organisation of American States (OAS) could do is to repudiate the coup perpetrators and to suspend Venezuela’s belonging to the agreements between nations until the previous status quo is re-established. Moreover, agitate for the illegally deposed government to be reinstated so it can call a free and democratic election within the current constitutional framework. It has to, in other words, ensure that the people of Venezuela, and not a handful of fat cats and uniformed killers, decide who should govern them.

It cannot be tolerated that the will of people expressed in voting polls be ignored by the State Department, the big corporations and the media they control. Because Chávez was not overthrown by popular struggle. It was a privileged minority that sought social revenge and the defense of its privileges, which in fact were tenuously attacked by the government. This bunch is the one, who by attacking the Cuban embassy wants to bring the relationships of that country back to the times of Rómulo Betancourt and the corrupt Democratic Action, when Venezuela served as the base for those who prepared the invasion of the island. Whilst the pots and pans in Argentina overthrew the emergency state and several presidents opening the way to democracy and popular action, uniting the poorest sectors of the middle classes with workers, in Venezuela, the pots and pans of the wealthy neighbourhoods greeted the imposition of a business-military-clerical government product of a coup against the popular redemption and conquests. 

Democracy and defence of peaceful and constitutional means to resolve the political problems must be upheld against a business-military-clerical government, so openly antinational that the first thing it does is to hold void social laws and suspend economic agreements with Cuba, following Washington dictates. Now the people of Venezuela face repression, the U.S. can dispose of even more of Venezuela’s oil and will have a blank cheque to intervene in Colombia and Cuba, to threaten Brazil and to attempt to impose the FTAA.

In summary, Latin America has just lost an important battle. It was a battle not only to defend Chavez’s life and presidential dignity (we noted and criticised some of his errors), but also to defend legality, the Constitution approved by Venezuelans, the rule of law, and the prevention of the regression of our continent to the era of military juntas sponsored by the business and finance oligarchies. It is also time to worry about the future of our countries and the world’s peace, as by controlling even more of Venezuela’s oil, Washington will worry less about OPEC and Arab countries and therefore it could insist on its war plans.

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