Mumia Abu-Jamal on coup and counter-coup in Caracas
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Sep 1 09:49:06 MDT 2002
COUP AND COUNTER-COUP IN CARACAS
[Col. Writ. 8/7/02]
Copyright 2002 Mumia Abu-Jamal
For the people in Venezuela, and throughout Latin America, the
events of last April are of such historic magnitude, that they will
never be forgotten.
In that tumultuous month, Venezuela experienced mass protests,
police shootings of protestors, the military removal of one
president, the installation of another president by a coalition of
big business interests and military elites, and the swearing-in of
yet another candidate for the nation's highest post.
What made it most remarkable was the public and private roles played
by the United States, the world's sole superpower which preaches
democracy like a religion.
Publically, the U.S., speaking through the press spokesman for the
President, seemed to condone the removal of Venezuelan president,
Hugo Chavez, as a proper response for his government's firing upon
unarmed demonstrators (Funny, I don't recall the White House, under
Nixon, offering to resign when unarmed protestors were killed by
troops of the National Guard, at Kent State on May 4th, 1970).
Privately, reports from Venezuela indicate that the U.S. military was
in close working contact with opposition to the Chavez government.
Why, pray tell, does the U.S. *military* need "contacts" among
civilian dissentors? Mere weeks before the coup, the then-American
ambassador, Donna Hrinak, "took the unusual step of asking the
American military attache to cease contacts with the dissidents"
(perhaps because she knew a coup was coming?). [See Los Angeles
The U.S. has viewed the rise of Chavez with profound disquiet,
fearing the populist is a clone of the much-feared, much-dreaded (by
capital) Castro of Cuba.
The anti-Chavez demonstration, which was routed to the capital, and
the resultant shooting of demonstrators, led to President Chavez
being removed from office, and imprisoned on a military base. The
army heads swore in Pedro Carmona within minutes of the arrest of
Chavez. Carmona was the head of the nation's business group, the
Fedecamaras (The Chamber of Commerce). His first acts as president
sent shock waves through the nation, and were a dark harbinger of
things to come: the National Assembly was dissolved, popular reform
laws were repealed, and all the justices of the Supreme Court were
fired. The lovers of democracy in Washington, who were so critical
of Chavez, did not condemn the acts of his illegitimate business-
backed successor, Carmona.
But the people, especially the poor, of Venezuela did. The day
after Carmona's early-morning swearing-in, the people converged, in a
spontaneous mass pro-Chavez demonstration at Miraflores Palace, the
Venezuelan White House. It grew and grew, and Carmona's
quasi-government crumbled under it's weight. Carmona ruled Venezuela
for 36 hours. In the interim, another faction tried to swear-in
Chavez's vice-president, Diosdado Cabella. For a few hours,
Venezuela had 3 presidents, Chavez, Carmona and Cabello!
Big Business tried a military-backed coup in a Latin American
democracy, but the people didn't buy it. Of all the nations in the
region, only *one* (the U.S.!) dared to support the Carmona
dictatorship. When they next try to preach "democracy" to their
Latin American neighbors, they'll know, from bitter experience, what
"democracy" means = the dictatorship of big business.
Copyright '02 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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