Tuesday, December 24, 2002

There appear to be two countries called 'Venezuela'. In the Venezuela in the real world, an extremely tiny number of racist rich people, who, not coincidentally, happen to be of European rather than Indian descent, and who completely control the Venezuelan media and run the oil companies, are attempting to stage a coup by making it appear that the government of Hugo Chavez is unpopular, and by trying to force U. S. involvement in removing Chavez by threatening U. S. access to the Venezuelan oil supply (as an aside, the current relatively diplomatic American positions on Iraq probably relate to this uncertainty about the Venezuelan oil supply). The form the protest is taking is to call for early elections, which isn't what the rich really want, as they know that Chavez would probably win again. What they are really trying to do is to stall the implementation of some of Chavez's reforms which are to come into effect in the new year, and presumably use the time to replace Chavez in an unconstitutional way (presumably with the help of the United States). Their efforts are failing, and Chavez remains popular with the poor people who voted for him and in all ranks of the Venezuelan military. The 'strikes' of the workers that we keep hearing about are actually lock-outs and managerial sabotage with the aid of a corrupted union, and Chavez is gradually using the military to regain control of the oil supply lines (he's eventually going to have to fire much of the upper management involved in oil production and transport). The other Venezuela is the Venezuela reported on in the American press, where the coup supporters have rallies of hundreds of thousands of people, or even one million (or was it perhaps tens of thousands?). The plotters had to shift from rallies to attempting to stop oil production as the rallies were starting to peter out. One of the reasons that the plotters can't consistently get out the big crowds is that they fired on a large rally in the last coup attempt, in a failed attempt to create support for the coup by blaming Chavez for the killings. Similar killings have occurred in this attempt, again blamed on Chavez, but the issue is extremely murky and it makes no sense for Chavez to encourage the coup by firing on the plotters' mob. In this phony Venezuela created by the American press (no doubt with the aid of the U. S. government), Chavez is extremely unpopular, acts like a dictator, and is constantly on the brink of being deposed. It's funny that American commentators, even when they deplore the American support for the plotters, can't help but say nasty things about Chavez, when in actual fact he has been a very moderate leader and a model of restraint (as an example, not one of the April coup leaders is in jail, although the leader of the attempt is under house arrest). It is difficult not to think back to the last attempted coup, where the same group of rich people, aided by a few generals and much advice and money and probably actual military and intelligence assistance by the U. S. government, tried to perform the same sort of stunt. In that fiasco, the military and the majority of the population stayed loyal to Chavez, and the whole thing ended in embarrassment. The most striking thing about that attempted coup is that the American media reported that Chavez had resigned and the coup had succeeded, information that was utterly false but was fed back to the Venezuelans as being the truth being reported in the United States (I've already complained about this). This was an attempt to create a fait accompli in the minds of the supporters of Chavez, with the hopes that they would fall into despair and allow themselves to be ruled under a dictatorship of the rich (i. e., go back to the way things were before Chavez). It was completely obvious that the American media was allowing itself to be used by the U. S. State Department in this unsuccessful trick, and unfortunately exactly the same thing is happening now (as an example of how ridiculous it has become, read the last paragraph in this article!). Fortunately, the utter stupidity of the Bush Administration in calling for unconstitutional elections in Venezuela has actually helped Chavez's position (the Bush Administration's ineptitude at foreign relations has now helped anti-American politicians get elected in Brazil, Germany, and South Korea). The Bush Administration's stupidity may have also finally allowed the Organization of American States, which unanimously rejected Bush's call for elections, to act independently of the United States. Despite all these psy-ops in the American media, Chavez appears to be gradually gaining the upper hand, and has been greatly assisted by the support of his neighbors (but he's not out of the woods yet, especially as an actual covert military attack by the U. S. is always possible). The American journalists who have been used in these attempts to damage Venezuela by false reporting should be ashamed of themselves.