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Backing a Coup in Venezuela Would Be a Mistake

Jose Cardenas urges [1] the U.S. and other governments in the region to encourage a military coup in Venezuela:

That leaves the United States and democracy’s allies abroad to convince those uncorrupted elements of the Venezuelan military that they bear a unique responsibility to rescue their country from the abyss, uphold constitutional order, fulfill their oaths to defend the lives of every Venezuelan, and open a path to their country’s political, economic, and social reconstruction.

Certainly, expecting a faction of the military to depose the current regime and restore democracy entails risk — but it is a measure of the desperate straits in which Venezuela finds itself.Certainly, expecting a faction of the military to depose the current regime and restore democracy entails risk — but it is a measure of the desperate straits in which Venezuela finds itself.

There is no question that Maduro and his allies have driven Venezuela into a ditch, and both Chavez and Maduro have governed Venezuela with disastrous results over the last 16 years. Granting all that, it seems to me to be a terrible mistake to urge the military overthrow of the Venezuelan government. A coup runs the risk of considerable bloodshed and possibly even civil war, which will only compound Venezuela’s very serious economic and political problems. A post-coup government would not be recognized or accepted by most other regional governments. Insofar as any coup is perceived to be backed by the U.S. or the product of U.S. encouragement, it is likely to run into broad popular resistance. Following Trump’s ill-advised and half-baked threats of military intervention last year, talk of backing a coup makes the same mistake Trump made in suggesting that a violent change of government is an acceptable solution to Venezuela’s political turmoil.

The U.S. acquiesced in a coup in Egypt, and it has led to the creation of a much more repressive dictatorship than the governments that preceded it. Backing a coup in Venezuela runs the risk of putting even more lives in danger out of a desire for regime change. The U.S. has too often indulged and supported military coups in our own hemisphere for dubious and self-serving reasons, and it is a habit that our government should not resume if there is any chance of pursuing another option.

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12 Comments To "Backing a Coup in Venezuela Would Be a Mistake"

#1 Comment By cka2nd On June 6, 2018 @ 12:46 am

“There is no question that Maduro and his allies have driven Venezuela into a ditch, and both Chavez and Maduro have governed Venezuela with disastrous results over the last 16 years. Granting all that,”

No, I will not grant you “all that.” I am no fan of Chavez or Maduro, but you’re just gliding over the unremitting hostility of the Venezuelan ruling class and the U.S. establishment. If anything, Chavez should have taken a much harder line against the swine who backed the 2002 attempted coup, especially those who owned the TV channels. Improved health care and housing for millions matter not at all to you, Mr. Larison?

“A post-coup government would not be recognized or accepted by most other regional governments.”

It’s taken a while, a number of non-military coups in places like Brazil, and a boatload of Uncle Sam’s dollars “promoting democracy,” but the utterly illegitimate government of Honduras seems to be doing okay, ditto the regime in Brazil that came out of a parliamentary “coup.”

“Insofar as any coup is perceived to be backed by the U.S. or the product of U.S. encouragement, it is likely to run into broad popular resistance.”

You got that right, and hopefully anyone who participated in such a coup would end up either hanging from a lamppost or squatting on a boat heading into exile with nothing but the clothes on their back. You know, just like how the Americans who remained loyal to the British King were treated after their side lost.

#2 Comment By DR On June 6, 2018 @ 4:29 am

Wasn’t there an attempt to organize an anti-Chavez coup in 2002?

Neocons never learn.

#3 Comment By Fran Macadam On June 6, 2018 @ 6:17 am

Overthrowing foreign governments due to the seeming intractability of their domestic problems is a useful distraction from dealing with your own seemingly intractable problems.

#4 Comment By SteveM On June 6, 2018 @ 9:06 am

Daniel, related to this, see this June 3rd article in National Interest by Congressman Paul Cook:

“China Is Challenging America’s Dominance in the Western Hemisphere”

[2]

The first thing to note is Cook’s statement:

“With a new Secretary of State and a president focused on solving the Venezuela crisis, the United States is looking at the many opportunities for investment and stronger partnerships.”

Who says it’s the responsibility of the United States to “solve” the Venezuela crisis? The U.S. Global Cop Gorilla wrecks everything that it touches. As you opine, why would Venezuela be any different?

The dominate theme that Congressman Cook represents in his essay is the delusional assumption of the Washington Nomenklatura that it has both the insights and the resources to control the Western Hemisphere. The level of arrogance in Cook’s essay is overwhelming. What he is saying is that the countries of Central and South America should take their marching orders from the U.S. on what is in their economic national interest. I’m sure there are few in Washington who disagree with him.

And as I had mentioned in previous comments, China is engaged in non-belligerent economic activity globally, including in Central and South America. The U.S. response is to claim that economic activity in and of itself is a threat to U.S. national security. Which bypasses a measured strategy of competing economically with China in the global marketplace. Rather the U.S. default is to front its foreign policy with military intimidation and CIA subversion.

Given the updated National Security Strategy that claims unbounded global threats as defined by the Militarists to include economic activity, the taxpayers are looking at significant risks of war in domains that do not threaten the United States and a perpetual escalation of tax dollars shoveled into the maw of the insatiable National Security State.

#5 Comment By Youknowho On June 6, 2018 @ 12:04 pm

So it would be a mistake.

Has that ever stopped the State Department and the Itelligenge community?

#6 Comment By On June 6, 2018 @ 12:14 pm

“A post-coup government would not be recognized or accepted by most other regional governments.”

This doesn’t seem obvious: could you elaborate?

#7 Comment By Dread On June 6, 2018 @ 12:22 pm

I keep waiting for Central and South American countries to ironically suggest the same for our own government.

#8 Comment By snapper On June 6, 2018 @ 12:29 pm

I disagree that supporting the Sisi coup in Egypt was a mistake. The Muslim brotherhood was on the road to a much more repressive regime, with open persecution of secularists, women, and Copts.

The mistake was supporting the ouster of Mubarek.

#9 Comment By DR On June 7, 2018 @ 5:33 am

@snapper

Morsi was certainly no vegetarian, but his ouster wasn’t done in the name of human rights and religious freedom (look as Saudi Arabia, the US’s #1 ally), but due to his affiliation with Hamas and other Palestinian ‘radicals’.

#10 Comment By Miguel On June 7, 2018 @ 9:42 pm

@ cka2nd and DR:

Very well said. part of the neocon tactic is allways to say the same, until they convince everyone aruond.

I am convinced there is indeed an economic war on Venezuela, since it depends more on lends of money than oil itself.

As much as I am convinced, too, that if Chavez was sort of lenient was because the CIA et. al. were already behind the coup organizers, and a harder persecution could have been used as a pretext for a military invasion.

#11 Comment By John On June 8, 2018 @ 8:42 am

And as I had mentioned in previous comments, China is engaged in non-belligerent economic activity globally, including in Central and South America.

This is the height of naïveté.

Everything that China does can is linked to the PLA.

But the big bad US of A is always wrong so we must ignore when countries devolve into socialist dictatorships, murder their own people and become vassal states of the Chicoms….

Is this the Noam Chomsky school of international diplomacy?

#12 Comment By Randall Parker On June 10, 2018 @ 8:14 pm

If the food supply improved quickly post-coup then I am guessing the resistance would not be broad. Not advocating for supporting a coup. But it is a government far more deserving to be overthrown than the last few we overthrew.

What I am finding amazing about Venezuela is just how bad it can get without triggering a popular uprising that overthrows the government. The people seem so passive in the face if appalling decay. Is there a level of badness that will cause a mass revolt? Or will they just leave at a faster rate?