Attempted Coup And Misguided U.S. Sanctions in Venezuela

Attempted Coup And Misguided U.S. Sanctions in Venezuela

On February 11, 2015, the government of President Nicolas Maduro, along with a number of his senior officials, declared that Venezuela had faced an attempted coup. Contrarily, the mainstream media in the United States and in Europe viewed such allegations as ridiculous, opposing the arrest of alleged conspirators, calling these arrests human rights violations. However, the history of coups and attempted coups in Latin America since 2002 proves paramount, and there is significant evidence to support their reality.1 Recent diplomatic moves carried out by United States President Obama impose sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials and qualify the country as a “national security threat,” calling attention to a growing isolation of the United States within the hemisphere.2 With the exception of Canada, every other government in the region has condemned U.S. interference in Venezuela through the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Union of South American Nations (Unión de Naciones Suramericanas, UNASUR).3

History of coups in Latin America

According to Maurice Lemoine with Le Monde Diplo, as a member of the counter-hegemonic organization the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América, or ALBA), Honduras has been a laboratory for such “constitutional coup[s]”.4 This type of coup is typically tolerated by the international community and leads to the “forced resignation” of elected and legitimate authorities by eliciting the support of the private media, the military, and the corporate sector.5

Former president of Honduras Zelaya wanted to hold a non-binding consultation to convene a national constituent assembly, and pressure his political opponents into redrafting the Constitution.6 However, the political opposition to President Zelaya, consisting mostly of conservatives, claimed that the president was looking to secure his re-election, and also violating the Constitution in doing so. Thus, the opposition staged a coup against Zelaya to protect their economic and political security.

This coup enjoyed support from the Honduran Supreme Court, which had ordered to place President Zelaya under military arrest and exile him to Costa Rica, considering his decision to held a referendum un-constitutional. Romeo Vasquez, a Honduran general, subsequently took power, and immediately transferred it to the president of the country’s Congress, Roberto Micheletti. Vaquez’s actions attempted to mask the military’s participation in the coup by placing it under civilian control causing it to appear “constitutional.”7 In the meantime, the Honduran Supreme Court stated that President Zelaya was “abusing his authority” and committing “treason against the fatherland” because he could not constitutionally hold a referendum.8 However, the President maintained that he was merely trying to seek non-binding consultation and not a referendum, insinuating the hypocrisy of the Supreme Court.

Micheletti claimed its regime was a transitional government. President Zelaya enjoyed overwhelming support in his country, throughout the hemisphere, and internationally, including from the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and the European Union.9

In 2010, a situation in Ecuador mirrored the events in Honduras. On September 29, as reported by Maurice Lemoine, Galo Lara, a member of the Patriotic Society Party, appeared on Ecuadorian television criticizing the new Public Service Law, which President Correa had promoted.10 Lara stated that the law ended privileges, such as bonuses and cash payments, for civil servants, including the police, and stated that “President Correa has snatched the toys out of the hands of the policemen children […and] that’s why he is packing his bags and getting ready to flee the country.”11 This public appearance led to a protest against the new law by police in Quito the same day. President Correa chose to meet with the protestors in attempt at a personal negotiation. At the barracks, President Correa was met by an aggressive crowd of 800 policemen, organized by men in sunglasses, with radios and mobile phones in hand, shouting “communists” and “chavistas” in protest.12 President Correa’s bodyguards managed to usher him into a building to saftely, through a thick wall of insults and tear gas. The protest escalated, and “kill him” was heard amidst the crowd.13

Simultaneously, 400 soldiers took Quito’s Mariscal Sucre airport, the air base at Tacunga, the national assembly building, and the port and airport of Guayaquil, the economic capital of the country.14 Around 8:00 PM, a special operations group rescued President Correa, as tens of thousands of citizens took the streets in support of the elected president. On the police radio, a voice contested, “get Correa out and take him away before the chuspangos (military) arrive,” and aggressively advocated, “kill him, kill the president.”15 A resulting firefight broke out, and a bodyguard of Correa’s suffered a gunshot. Despite the chaos, at the end of the day Constitutional order had reestablished, at the cost of ten dead and 300 injured.16

Of greater importance to this analysis is the case of Venezuela. In 2002, a small group of military leaders kidnapped President Hugo Chavez, and administered power to the President of the Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce (Fedecamaras), Pedro Carmona.17 As stated by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), at the time, “the U.S. provided de facto recognition for a short-lived coup regime that came to power by overthrowing the democratically-elected Chávez government. During that coup, all of Venezuela’s democratic institutions were suspended, including the National Assembly, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution.”18 However, a massive popular movement backed by key sectors of the military spontaneously took the streets to return Chavez to office.19 During the days of the attempted coup, the mainstream media backed the coup against Constitutional order in Venezuela, contributing an increasingly high level of polarization in the country.20

The situation in Venezuela has maintained such polarization. The Council on Hemispheric Affairs reports, “since President Hugo Chavez’s first electoral victory in 1998, the United States has provided support for regime change in Caracas, funneling U.S. AID and National Endowment for Democracy funds to right-wing Venezuelan opposition organizations. An additional $5.5 million proposed for FY 2016.”21 In nearly every country of the world, it is illegal to receive funds from a sovereign state to finance internal policy and elections. In Venezuela, the illegality of this is enshrined in the Constitution. However, the government did not take drastic actions against illegal funding provided by the United States.

During the first months of 2014, once again the opposition political parties seemed keen to overthrow the elected government with the promotion of violent protests, which lead to the death of 46 people, most of the victims police officers and supporters of the Maduro government.22 International media also had a significant impact, and was primarily led by U.S.-based entities seeking to delegitimize the Maduro government.23

The Heavy Hands of Washington Policy Makers:

A number of searing instances have demonstrated that U.S. authorities have been involved in staging a series of Latin American coups and attempted coups. To take one example, former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton acknowledged that she played a deciding role in the prevention of former President Zelaya of returning to office in Honduras in 2009.24 As reported by Al Jazeera, Clinton wrote, “we strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot.”25 Also, one of the first moves of the plotters of the coup was to facilitate the Honduras’ exit from ALBA to promote pro-U.S. diplomacy. Furthermore, in Ecuador, the U.S. State Department had encouraged the coup, and has been considered guilty of orchestrating the operation by many.26

The New York Times found that in Venezuela, the CIA knew about the 2002 coup plot, and pointed to documents that prove this.27 A senior CIA intelligence included in brief issued on April 6, 2002, that “disgruntled senior officers and a group of radical junior officers are stepping up efforts to organize a coup against President Chávez, possibly as early as this month.”28 The same brief continued in stating that the conspirators would “exploit unrest stemming from opposition demonstrations slated for later this month.”29 On April 8, 2002, a separate brief reiterated that “disgruntled officers are planning a coup.”30 The Guardian also found that “the failed coup in Venezuela was closely tied to senior officials in the US government […which] have long histories in the ‘dirty wars’ of the 1980s, and links to death squads working in Central America at that time.”31

And there other cases of actual or threatened coups against elected governments; such as the coups against elected Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti, which occurred twice, in 1991 and in 2004, or the attempted coup against elected President Evo Morales in 2008 in Bolivia, and against Fernando Lugo in Paraguay in 2012.32 In all these cases, the responsibility of Washington is suspected, if not explicitly demonstrated.33

A New Attempted Coup in Venezuela ?

On February 11, 2015, Venezuelan officials arrested a retired Air Force general and 13 other individuals allegedly involved in a plot to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro.34 Plans for the attempted coup included an attack on the presidential palace and other government buildings.35 On February 19, the government arrested Antonio Ledezma, a member of the opposition, and the mayor of Caracas since 2008.36

On February 25, the President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, Diosdado Cabello, and the elected representative of the capital district of Caracas, Jorge Rodriguez, provided proof of the attempted coup. As reported by various media outlets, including French newspaper l’HumanitéPagina 12 of Argentina, La Jornada in Mexico, and various local media in Venezuela, Jorge Rodriguez presented a series of videos in which the retired First Deputy of Aviation Luis Hernando Lugo Calderon said he was “implicated in the [planned] bombing,” and confirmed his intention of attacking selected targets in Caracas with a Tucano, a light training attack aircraft.37 In addition, Calderon had recorded a video of himself demanding the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro.38 Air Force Captain Héctor José Noguera Figueroa, recorded alongside Jorge Rodriguez, also testified to affirm video’s authenticity.39 Figueroa reported that he did not know how to fly a Tucano, in attempt to maintain his innocence.40

As reported by L’Humanité, many of the conspirators had been in contact with the U.S. embassy in Venezuela, which promised to grant the necessary visas to leave the country, as well as payment in U.S. dollars.41 The British embassy also faces accusations of involvement, having promised visas if the coup attempt failed.42 Many military officials were also implicated, such as Air Force General Oswaldo Hernandez Sanchez, and Julio Borges, legislator and head of the political party Primero Justicia.43 Allegedly U.S.-supported conspirators include ex-military personnel that the government released after the 2002 coup attempt, such as General Maximiliano Hernandez Sanchez, Colonel José Suarez Romular, Major César Arnoldo Pérez Carrero, Captain Hector José Noguera Figueroa, and Lieutenants Peter Alexander Moreno Guevera, Carlos Esqueda and Wilfredo Castillo.44

As stated by many international newspapers, such as the French Nouvel Observateur, l’Humanité, Venezuela Analysis, La Jornada, and Pagina 12, prior to the attempted coup, Antonio Ledezma signed a statement released 24 hours prior to the coup attempt which called for the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro as part of a “national transition.”45 Other signatories to the statement include former legislator Maria Corina Machado, who was dismissed of her legislative duties after speaking on behalf of the legislative power without the Venezuelan Congress’ authorization, violating the Constitution.46 Her various NGOs have received millions in funding from the U.S. government.47 The third signatory is Leopoldo Lopez, who is currently in jail, awaiting his trial for charges related to his role in leading violent opposition protests in 2014.48

As reported by The Guardian, President Maduro stated that, “opposition radicals sought to carry out a coup in 2014, and still harbor the same ambition.”49 he high military command in Venezuela additionally denounced the military’s involvement in the attempted coup, and exhibited support of President Maduro.50 Also, on March 3, President Maduro revealed the conspirator’s 100-day plan to lead a transitional government in the post-coup environment. The planned coup was to take place in 90 days, and called for an election within 180 days after overthrowing the current elected government.51

Regional Support For Venezuelan Government

The regional reaction to this attempted coup has been diverse, but firmly supportive of the elected President Maduro. As reported by Al-Jazeera, on February 11, 2015, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which include every hemispheric country except Canada and the United States, reiterated: “its strong repudiation of the application of unilateral coercive measures that are contrary to international law.”52 Bolivian President Evo Morales and former president of Uruguay, Pedro Mujica, have both recognized and quickly condemned the attempted coup.53 The former leader denounced the hand that Washington played and the latter accused leftist military officials in the alleged coup, illustrating the confusion in the region regarding the sequence of the events.54 On February 24, the Partido Dos Trablhadores, the leading Brazilian political party, and party of President Dilma Roussef, condemned the attempted coup against President Maduro.55 However, the foreign ministry in Brazil stated that the actions of President Maduro were of concern.56 But most Latin American and Caribbean governments, continue to back the Venezuelan government.57 On March 6, 2015, the Union of South American Nations (Unión de Naciones Suramericanas, UNASUR), which congregates each country in South America (including Colombia, Paraguay and Chile, countries not exactly considered to be close allies of Venezuela,) declared, through Secretary General Ernesto Samper, that “[e]very member state of UNASUR, without exception, rejects any destabilization efforts in Venezuela,” after reviewing evidence presented by the government of Venezuela.58 Local opposition immediately rejected the UNASUR official Statement.59

Consequently, On March 9, 2015, U.S. President Obama declared that Venezuela has become a threat to the U.S. national security.60 This speech led to several critical reactions. First, Secretary General of the OAS José Miguel Insulza, an organization known for its moderate positions, said that President Obama’s statement would only further complicate the situation in Venezuela and U.S.-Venezuelan relations.61 Additionally, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa called President Obama’s announcement as a “bad joke.”62 Also, as reported by AlJazeera, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro asked “special decree powers to preserve Latin American nation’s “peace, integrity and sovereignty.””63 Nicolas Maduro obtained these powers from the Venezuelan National Assembly on March 11, 2015.64 The U.S. State Department move against the elected President and top officials ultimately resulted in a high concentration of power in Venezuela, the reverse of the U.S. government’s declared intentions.65

Human Rights, Criticism and Selective Indignation

Mainstream media has a short memory, and a majority of it considers the alleged plot to be ridiculous.66 However, considering the interventionist policy Washington has historically implemented in the hemisphere, these allegations deserve fair analysis. The media’s silence on the evidence presented by the Venezuelan government is astonishing.67 The hypothesis that the Maduro government is under attack from an attempted coup must be considered. Just because an individual may believe these allegations does not indicate support of Maduro’s policies. There is a big difference between criticizing a country for its policies and intervening in the democratic processes of other countries, which is intolerable.

In the case of Venezuela, the lack of transparency regarding the current events should serve as a reminder to read public statements with caution. It is foolish to not consider the voice of the Venezuelan elected government, and other challenging perspectives. The attempted coup could have been fabricated, but the evidence presented by the Maduro government must also be assessed. Until now, the evidence that the government of Venezuela has revealed have not been proven false. Instead, several actors, such as UNASUR, deemed the evidence to be valid, supporting the Venezuelan government.68

While it is wise to be skeptical of conspiracies, especially in such a politically charged atmosphere, the rush to ridicule the reports of a coup plot by Maduro’s adversaries should also be viewed with some suspicion. The U.S. has made real threats against Venezuela, stemming from historical proof of U.S. interference and violence in the hemisphere. Even the U.S.-based intelligence enterprise Stratfor foresaw an attempted coup in January 2015, clearly demonstrating that tension, polarization, and the dire economic situation in Venezuela could lead to violent actions aimed at overthrowing the government.69

Additionally, human rights violations against the press, social activists, political leaders, and ordinary citizens occur throughout the Americas, including Venezuela.70 Denouncing human rights violations only in Venezuela, while situations in Colombia, Mexico, and Central America pose far worse, demonstrates a selective indignation on behalf of the United States.71

The same holds true for corruption and other governmental problems, such as transparency. Venezuela is not the only country with human rights blunders, corruption and lack of transparency.72 And despite the somewhat dire situation, Venezuela is also not the only regional actor that faces difficulty in its economy and crime rate. But mainstream media does not seem to recognize the relativity of the present affair.

As many publications on the left have explained, the media distortion of reality in Venezuela is fact, not allegation.73 The ultra-right in the U.S. Congress that opposes normalization with Cuba, and supports sanctions against Venezuela, claims that reestablishing relations with Cuba opposes the Democratic Charter of the Organization of American States (signed in 2001), but at the same time, it actively supports conspirators in Venezuela, yet fails to criticize the return to one-man rule regimes in Haiti or Egypt supported by the United States.74 However, double standards apply when it comes to U.S. hegemony, distorting reality and jeopardizing the truth.

Will President Obama revise U.S. policy in order to promote new cooperation in the region?Given President Obama’s tough rhetoric toward Venezuela, and the UNASUR announcement that it will back the elected government in Venezuelan, the Summit of the Americas, planned for April 10-11 in Panama, will highlight the growing tensions in the region. The divisions in the hemisphere are deeper than ever.75

Please accept this article as a free contribution from COHA, but if re-posting, please afford authorial and institutional attribution. Exclusive rights can be negotiated. For additional news and analysis on Latin America, please go to: LatinNews.com and Rights Action.

Featured Image “Obama declara a Venezuela amenaza nacional ” by Remolacha.net , retrieved from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/remolachaoficial/16579044998/in/photolist-rg2Wtq-qZL7oE-rztmkx-rztmc6-qCG1dv-ri2nxz-rznwva-rhTYfL-rztmbz-ri2nEt-88Wpkk-ah8GL1-ah8GRh-6UUmBb-6g6N4h-aFgXmU

Reference:

1LEMOINE Maurice, “Latin American coups upgraded,” in Le Monde Diplo, on August 2014. Consulted on http://mondediplo.com/2014/08/06coups on March 3, 2015.

2WEISBROT Mark, “Obama absurdly declares Venezuela a security threat » in Al Jazeera, on March 10, 2015. Consulted on http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/3/obama-absurdly-declares-venezuela-a-national-security-threat.html on March 10, 2015. ; « Ecuador’s Correa Calls US Sanctions on Venezuela ‘a Bad Joke’ » in Telesur, on March 10, 2015. Consulted on http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Ecuadors-Correa-Calls-US-Sanctions-on-Venezuela-a-Bad-Joke-20150310-0003.html on March 10, 2015 ; .EFE, “Insulza ve complicado que EE UU declare emergencia por amenaza de Venezuela” in El Nacional, on March 9, 2015. Consulted on http://www.el-nacional.com/politica/Insulza-EE-UU-emergencia-Venezuela_0_588541353.html on March 10, 2015.

3« UNASUR Rejects US Destabilization Efforts in Venezuela » in TeleSurEnglish on March 6, 2015. Consulted on http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/UNASUR-Rejects-US-Destabilization-Efforts-in-Venezuela-20150306-0026.html on March 9, 2015. ; WEISBROT Mark, “Obama absurdly declares Venezuela a security threat » in Al Jazeera, on March 10, 2015. Consulted on http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/3/obama-absurdly-declares-venezuela-a-national-security-threat.html on March 10, 2015.

4LEMOINE Maurice, “Latin American coups upgraded,” in Le Monde Diplo, on August 2014. Consulted on http://mondediplo.com/2014/08/06coups on March 3, 2015.

5Ibid.

6Ibid.

7Ibid. ; McDERMOTT Jeremy, “Honduras supreme court ‘ordered army coup’” in the Telegraph, On June 28, 2009. Consulted on http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandthecaribbean/honduras/5677026/Honduras-supreme-court-ordered-army-coup.html on March 3, 2015.

8 “Orden de captura contra Zelaya” by Libertad Digital. Consulted on http://www.libertaddigital.com/documentos/orden-de-captura-contra-zelaya-17027313.html on March 3, 2015 ; McDERMOTT Jeremy, “Honduras supreme court ‘ordered army coup’” in the Telegraph, On June 28, 2009. Consulted on http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/centralamericaandthecaribbean/honduras/5677026/Honduras-supreme-court-ordered-army-coup.html on March 3, 2015.

9 Ibid.

10LEMOINE Maurice, “Latin American coups upgraded,” in Le Monde Diplo, on August 2014. Consulted on http://mondediplo.com/2014/08/06coups on March 3, 2015.

11Ibid.

12LEMOINE Maurice, “Latin American coups upgraded,” in Le Monde Diplo, on August 2014. Consulted on http://mondediplo.com/2014/08/06coups on March 3, 2015.

13Ibid.

14Facts reported by Le Monde Diplo and the BBC, “Ecuador declares state of emergency amid ‘coup attempt’”, BBC, September 30, 2010, Consulted on http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-11447519 onb March 3, 2015; LEMOINE Maurice, “Latin American coups upgraded,” in Le Monde Diplo, on August 2014. Consulted on http://mondediplo.com/2014/08/06coups on March 3, 2015.

15LEMOINE Maurice, “Latin American coups upgraded,” in Le Monde Diplo, on August 2014. Consulted on http://mondediplo.com/2014/08/06coups on March 3, 2015.

16Ibid.

17Ibid.

18BIRNS Larry, MILLS Frederick and PINEO Ronn, “The Council on Hemispheric Affairs Opposes U.S. Intervention in Venezuela and Calls for a Resumption of Full Diplomatic Relations with Caracas” on Council on Hemispheric Affairs, on February 26, 2015. Consulted on http://www.coha.org/the-council-on-hemispheric-affairs-opposes-u-s-intervention-in-venezuela-and-calls-for-a-resumption-of-full-diplomatic-relations-with-caracas/ on March 3, 2015.

19Ibid.

20DOLEAC Clement, “Insuficient Media Regulations in Latin America” on Council on Hemispheric Affairs, on February 19, 2015. Consulted on http://www.coha.org/insufficient-media-reforms-in-latin-america-urgency-to-go-further/ on March 3, 2015

21BIRNS Larry, MILLS Frederick and PINEO Ronn, “The Council on Hemispheric Affairs Opposes U.S. Intervention in Venezuela and Calls for a Resumption of Full Diplomatic Relations with Caracas” on Council on Hemispheric Affairs, on February 26, 2015. Consulted on http://www.coha.org/the-council-on-hemispheric-affairs-opposes-u-s-intervention-in-venezuela-and-calls-for-a-resumption-of-full-diplomatic-relations-with-caracas/ on March 3, 2015.

22WEISBROT Mark, “Venezuela’s Struggle, Widely Misrepresented, Remains a Classic Conflict Between Right and Left” in The Guardian, March 4, 2014. Consulted on http://www.cepr.net/index.php/op-eds-&-columns/op-eds-&-columns/venezuelas-struggle-widely-misrepresented-remains-a-classic-conflict-between-right-and-left on March 3, 2015. ; BHATT Keane, “U.S. Destabilization and Media Distortion in Venezuela (Interview)” on NACLA, on February 25, 2014. Consulted on https://nacla.org/news/2014/2/25/us-destabilization-and-media-distortion-venezuela-interview on March 3, 2015; PARTYKA Nicholas, “On the Recent Crisis in Venezuela: Confronting the US Media Narrative about the Crisis” The Hampton Institute, on July 2nd, 2014. Consulted on http://www.hamptoninstitution.org/us-media-and-venezuela.html#.VPXfIywnzF8 on March 3, 2015.

23Ibid.

24WEISBROT Mark, “Hard choices: Hillary Clinton admits role in Honduran coup aftermath” on AlJazeera, On Setember 14, 2014. Consulted on http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/9/hillary-clinton-honduraslatinamericaforeignpolicy.html on March 3, 2015; FRANK Dana « Hopeless in Honduras?” on Foreign Affairs, on November 22, 2013. Consulted on http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/140283/dana-frank/hopeless-in-honduras on March 3, 2015.

25WEISBROT Mark, “Hard choices: Hillary Clinton admits role in Honduran coup aftermath” on AlJazeera, On Setember 14, 2014. Consulted on http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/9/hillary-clinton-honduraslatinamericaforeignpolicy.html on March 3, 2015

26WEISBROT Mark, “Ecuador: Coup attempt encouraged by Washington” in Links, on October 1, 2010. Consulted on http://links.org.au/node/1925 on March 3, 2015.

27 FORERO Juan, “Documents Show C.I.A. Knew of a Coup Plot in Venezuela” on New York Times, on December 3, 2004. Consulted on http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/03/international/americas/03venezuela.html on March 3, 2015.

28Ibid.

29 FORERO Juan, “Documents Show C.I.A. Knew of a Coup Plot in Venezuela” on New York Times, on December 3, 2004. Consulted on http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/03/international/americas/03venezuela.html on March 3, 2015.

30 Ibid.

31The details about several of these senior officers of Bush administration can be found in details in the article fo The Guardian : VULLIAMY Ed, “Venezuela coup linked to Bush team,” The Guardian, on April 21, 2002. Consulted on http://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/apr/21/usa.venezuela on March 3, 2015.

32For the cases in Bolivia and Paraguay, see LEMOINE Maurica, “Latin American coups upgraded,” in Le Monde Diplo, on August 2014. Consulted on http://mondediplo.com/2014/08/06coups on March 3, 2015. ; For the case of Haiti, see FARMER Paul “Who removed Aristide” in the London Review of Books, Vol. 26 No. 8 · 15 April 2004 pages 28-31, on the following link: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v26/n08/paul-farmer/who-removed-aristide

33 In Bolivia, The government accused the U.S. ambassador to have been included in the plot, see FUENTES Frederico, “Bolivia: WikiLeaks expose US conspiracy » in Gree Left Weekly, on Monday, August 1, 2011. Consulted on https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/48367 on March 10, 2015 ; in Paraguay even if the evidence are not clear, secret correspondences revealed by Wikileaks tend to push forward a clear U.S. interference in the country. See more on KOZLOFF Nikolas, “WikiLeaks: Washington and Paraguay’s ‘Quasi-Coup’” in Huffington Post, on July 19, 2012. Consulted on http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nikolas-kozloff/wikileaks-washington-and-_1_b_1683568.html on March 10, 2015 ; In the case of Haiti, the U.S., French and Canadian interferences has been much more documented. See more on FARMER Paul “Who removed Aristide” in the London Review of Books, Vol. 26 No. 8 · 15 April 2004 pages 28-31, on the following link: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v26/n08/paul-farmer/who-removed-aristide ; see also FRENCH, Howard W.; Time Weiner (14 November 1993). “C.I.A. Formed Haitian Unit Later Tied to Narcotics Trade”. New York Times ; BEENTON Dan, NIENABER Georgianne, “Haiti’s Doctored Elections, Seen from the Inside: An Interview with Ricardo Seitenfus” in Dissent Magazine, on February 24, 2014. Consulted on http://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/haitis-doctored-elections-seen-from-the-inside-an-interview-with-ricardo-seitenfus on March 5, 2015.

34“Open letter: Venezuela’s coup plot must be condemned internationally” in the Guardian, on February 18, 2015. Consulted on http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/18/venezuelas-coup-plot-condemned-internationally on March 3, 2015.

35According to “Open letter: Venezuela’s coup plot must be condemned internationally” in the Guardian, on February 18, 2015. Consulted on http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/18/venezuelas-coup-plot-condemned-internationally on March 3, 2015.

36 “Sebin detuvo al alcalde Metropolitano Antonio Ledezma”. El Universal. On February 19, 2015. Consulted on http://www.eluniversal.com/nacional-y-politica/150219/sebin-detuvo-al-alcalde-metropolitano-antonio-ledezma on March 3, 2015.

37 “Presented new evidence of the attempted coup in Venezuela” on LaInfo.es on February 26, 2015. Consulted on http://lainfo.es/en/2015/02/26/presented-new-evidence-of-the-attempted-coup-in-venezuela/ on March 3, 2015 ; « Venezuelan Officials Present Evidence of Coup Plot” on TeleSur, on February 26, 2015. Consulted on http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Venezuelan-Officials-Present-Evidence-of-Coup-Plot-20150225-0041.html on March 3, 2015; “Implicados en intento de golpe de Estado han confesado” on Globovision on February 13, 2015. consulted on http://globovision.com/cabello-presentara-nuevas-pruebas-de-intento-de-golpe-de-estado/ on March 3, 2015; « Caracas difunde pruebas del intento de golpe” on Pagina 12, on February 27, 2015. Consulted on http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/elmundo/4-266980-2015-02-27.html on March 3, 2015 ; GUERRA CABRERA Angel, “EU acelera el golpe en Venezuela” on La Jornada, on February 26, 2015. Consulted on http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2015/02/26/opinion/030a1mun on March 3, 2015.

38Ibid.

39« Noguera reconoce autenticidad del video y que pedirían renuncia de Maduro » in Ultima Noticias, on March 4, 2015. Consulted on http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/politica/noguera-reconoce-autenticidad-del-video-y-que-pedi.aspx#ixzz3TcNjqvlo on March 6, 2015.

40« Noguera reconoce autenticidad del video y que pedirían renuncia de Maduro » in Ultima Noticias, on March 4, 2015. Consulted on http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/politica/noguera-reconoce-autenticidad-del-video-y-que-pedi.aspx#ixzz3TcNjqvlo on March 6, 2015.

41ORTIZ Jean, “Venezuela : La stratégie du coup d’État permanent” in L’Humanité, on February 16, 2015. Consulted on http://www.humanite.fr/venezuela-la-strategie-du-coup-detat-permanent-565647 on March 3, 2015.

42 « Caracas difunde pruebas del intento de golpe” on Pagina 12, on February 27, 2015. Consulted on http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/elmundo/4-266980-2015-02-27.html on March 3, 2015

43ORTIZ Jean, “Venezuela : La stratégie du coup d’État permanent” in L’Humanité, on February 16, 2015. Consulted on http://www.humanite.fr/venezuela-la-strategie-du-coup-detat-permanent-565647 on March 3, 2015.

44Ibid. ; « Venezuelan Officials Present Evidence of Coup Plot” on TeleSur, on February 26, 2015. Consulted on http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Venezuelan-Officials-Present-Evidence-of-Coup-Plot-20150225-0041.html on March 3, 2015; « Caracas difunde pruebas del intento de golpe” on Pagina 12, on February 27, 2015. Consulted on http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/elmundo/4-266980-2015-02-27.html on March 3, 2015 ; « Noguera reconoce autenticidad del video y que pedirían renuncia de Maduro » in Ultima Noticias, on March 4, 2015. Consulted on http://www.ultimasnoticias.com.ve/noticias/actualidad/politica/noguera-reconoce-autenticidad-del-video-y-que-pedi.aspx#ixzz3TcNjqvlo on March 6, 2015.

45[1]Ibid. ; KOERNER Lucas, “New Evidence Links Ledezma, COPEI to Thwarted Coup”, on Venezuela Analysis, on February 27, 2015. Consulted on http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/11238 on March 3, 2015; « Venezuela : le maire de Caracas accusé d’avoir tenté un coup d’Etat «  in Le Nouvel Obs, on February 20, 2015. Consulted on http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/monde/20150220.OBS2959/venezuela-le-maire-de-caracas-accuse-d-avoir-tente-un-coup-d-etat.html on March 3, 2015.

46KEJAL Vyas, “Venezuela to Charge Opposition Leader in Alleged Plot to Kill President Machado Says Allegations Are False, Government Attempt to Stifle Rivals”, in The Wall Street Journal on November 26, 2014. Consulted on http://www.wsj.com/articles/venezuela-to-charge-opposition-leader-in-alleged-plot-to-kill-president-1417050209, on March 3, 2015.

47KOERNER Lucas, “New Evidence Links Ledezma, COPEI to Thwarted Coup”, on Venezuela Analysis, on February 27, 2015. Consulted on http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/11238 on March 3, 2015; « Venezuelan Officials Present Evidence of Coup Plot” on TeleSur, on February 26, 2015. Consulted on http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Venezuelan-Officials-Present-Evidence-of-Coup-Plot-20150225-0041.html on March 3, 2015.

48Ibid.

49“Venezuelan general arrested over plot to topple president, officials say” in The Guardian, on February 13, 2015. Consulted on http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/13/venezuelan-plot-topple-president-maduro on March 3, 2015.

50“Alto Mando Militar condena “planes desestabilizadores” » on El Impuslo, onFebruary 13, 2015. Consulted on http://elimpulso.com/articulo/alto-mando-militar-condena-planes-desestabilizadores onMarch 10, 2015.

51 « Derecha golpista elaboró plan de 100 días para atentar contra el Gobierno y los venezolanos » in Correo del Orinoco, on March 4, 2015. Consulted on http://www.correodelorinoco.gob.ve/nacionales/derecha-golpista-elaboro-plan-100-dias-para-atentar-contra-gobierno-y-venezolanos/ on March 10, 2015.

52WEISBROT Mark, “Obama absurdly declares Venezuela a security threat » in Al Jazeera, on March 10, 2015. Consulted on http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/3/obama-absurdly-declares-venezuela-a-national-security-threat.html on March 10, 2015.

53“Morales y Mujica advierten de “intento de golpe de Estado” en Venezuela” in La Jornada, on February 26, 2015. Consulted on http://www.jornada.unam.mx/ultimas/2015/02/26/morales-y-mujica-advierten-de-201cintento-de-golpe-de-estado201d-en-venezuela-2945.html on March 3, 2015.

54Ibid.

55“Em nota, PT repudia tentativa de golpe contra presidente da venezuela” in Folha, on February 25, 2015. Consulted on http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/mundo/2015/02/1594635-em-nota-pt-repudia-tentativa-de-golpe-contra-presidente-da-venezuela.shtml on March 3, 2015.

56Ibid.

57 [1]GRANDIN Greg, “What is happening in Venezuela” in The Nation, on March 2, 2015. Consulted on http://www.thenation.com/blog/199681/what-happening-venezuela?utm_content=buffered824&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer on March 3, 2015.

58« UNASUR Rejects US Destabilization Efforts in Venezuela » in TeleSurEnglish on March 6, 2015. Consulted on http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/UNASUR-Rejects-US-Destabilization-Efforts-in-Venezuela-20150306-0026.html on March 9, 2015.

59Ibid.

60 RAMPTON Roberta and MASON Jeff, “U.S. declares Venezuela a national security threat, sanctions top officials” in Reuters, on March 9, 2015. Consulted on http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/09/us-usa-venezuela-idUSKBN0M51NS20150309 on March 10, 2015.

61About the moderate positions of the OAS, see BEETON Dan, “Does the OAS Support Democracy in Venezuela? » in Center for Economic and Policy Research, on March 7, 2014. Consulted on http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/does-the-oas-support-democracy-in-venezuela on March 10, 2015. About the most recent declarations of Insulza, see EFE, “Insulza ve complicado que EE UU declare emergencia por amenaza de Venezuela” in El Nacional, on March 9, 2015. Consulted on http://www.el-nacional.com/politica/Insulza-EE-UU-emergencia-Venezuela_0_588541353.html on March 10, 2015.

62 « Ecuador’s Correa Calls US Sanctions on Venezuela ‘a Bad Joke’ » in Telesur, on March 10, 2015. Consulted on http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Ecuadors-Correa-Calls-US-Sanctions-on-Venezuela-a-Bad-Joke-20150310-0003.html on March 10, 2015.

63 “Venezuela’s Maduro seeks more powers after US sanctions” in Al-Jazeera, on March 10, 2015. Consulted on http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/03/venezuela-maduro-seeks-powers-sanctions-150310181117857.html on March 10, 2015.

64 MIROFF Nick, DE YOUNG Karen, New U.S. sanctions lost in Venezuela’s translation” in Washington Post on March 11, 2015. Consulted on http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/new-us-sanctions-lost-in-venezuelas-translation/2015/03/11/f8f3af6a-c7ff-11e4-bea5-b893e7ac3fb3_story.html on March 12, 2015. ; “Venezuela congress approves president’s decree request”on AlJazeera, on March 12, 2015.

65 NEUMAN William, « Obama Hands Venezuelan Leader a Cause to Stir Support » in the New York Times, on March 11, 2015. Consulted on http://org.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=%2FedhWmkD6p38UyNLW5VdJzp5w6kP6G5Z on March 12, 2015. ; « Venezuela congress approves president’s decree request » in Al Jazeera, on March 12, 2015. Consulted on http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2015/03/venezuela-congress-approves-president-decree-request-150312071259152.html on March 12, 2015.

66Instructive interview here “Venezuelan Gov. Releases Audio of Coup Plotters » in The Real News, on February 27, 2015. Consulted on http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=13301 on March 3, 2015. ; CHOMSKY Noam, “Noam Chomsky: As Venezuela Struggles to Fix Economy, U.S. Should Stop Trying to Undermine Its Gov’t” in DemocracyNow, on March 3, 2015. Consulted on http://www.democracynow.org/2015/3/3/noam_chomsky_as_venezuela_struggles_to on March 3, 2015.

67 WEISBROT Mark, “Obama absurdly declares Venezuela a security threat » in Al Jazeera, on March 10, 2015. Consulted on http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/3/obama-absurdly-declares-venezuela-a-national-security-threat.html on March 10, 2015

68« UNASUR Rejects US Destabilization Efforts in Venezuela » in TeleSurEnglish on March 6, 2015. Consulted on http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/UNASUR-Rejects-US-Destabilization-Efforts-in-Venezuela-20150306-0026.html on March 9, 2015.

69 “Analytic Guidance: Considering a Coup in Venezuela” on Stratfor, on January 9, 2015. Consulted on https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/analytic-guidance-considering-coup-venezuela on March 6, 2015.

70You can for example look into a comparative analysis including Venezuela, Colombia and Argentina: RIOS Eugenia, “ Fundamental Rightsa in Latin America, A comparative study adressing human rights violations in Venezuela, Colombia, and Argentina” A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Honors in the Major Program in International and Global Studies in the College of Sciences and in The Burnett Honors College at the University of Central Florida, 2011.

71 For example, according to data of Reporter without Borders, well-known for its criticism against Venezuela, the Latin America’s four deadliest countries for media personnel were in 2014 Mexico, Honduras, Brazil and Colombia. See more on http://en.rsf.org/ameriques-infographic-the-deadliest-30-09-2014,47028.html ; As report by The Nation, Venezuela also still receive refugees fro Colombia, suffering of the extreme social violence in the Andean country. See GRANDIN Gregg, “Is Venezuela Really an ‘Extraordinary Threat’ to the United States?” in The Nation, on March 10, 2015. Consulted on http://www.thenation.com/blog/200889/us-preparing-start-sanctions-against-venezuela?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=email_nation&utm_campaign=Email%20Nation%20%28NEW%29%20-%20Most%20Recent%20Content%20Feed%20-%20filter%20fix%2020150310&newsletter=email_nation# on March 10, 2015.

72Ibid.

73WEISBROT Mark, “Venezuela’s Struggle, Widely Misrepresented, Remains a Classic Conflict Between Right and Left” in The Guardian, March 4, 2014. Consulted on http://www.cepr.net/index.php/op-eds-&-columns/op-eds-&-columns/venezuelas-struggle-widely-misrepresented-remains-a-classic-conflict-between-right-and-left on March 3, 2015. ; BHATT Keane, “U.S. Destabilization and Media Distortion in Venezuela (Interview)” on NACLA, on February 25, 2014. Consulted on https://nacla.org/news/2014/2/25/us-destabilization-and-media-distortion-venezuela-interview on March 3, 2015; PARTYKA Nicholas, “On the Recent Crisis in Venezuela: Confronting the US Media Narrative about the Crisis” The Hampton Institute, on July 2nd, 2014. Consulted on http://www.hamptoninstitution.org/us-media-and-venezuela.html#.VPXfIywnzF8 on March 3, 2015.

74 For Haiti, see DOLEAC Clément, “The U.S. Government Supports a Haitian Return to a One-man-rule Regime” in Council on Hemispheric Affairs on January 14, 2015. Consulted on http://www.coha.org/the-u-s-government-supports-a-haitian-return-to-a-one-man-rule-regime/ on March 3, 2015. ; for Egypt see CARLSTROM Greeg, “Egypt’s New Dictator Was Made in the USA” in Politico, on February 18, 2014. Consulted on http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/02/el-sisi-egypt-dictator-103628.html#ixzz3TLnq8Ogi on March 3, 2015.

75WEISBROT Mark, “Obama absurdly declares Venezuela a security threat » in Al Jazeera, on March 10, 2015. Consulted on http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/3/obama-absurdly-declares-venezuela-a-national-security-threat.html on March 10, 2015.

 

One thought on “Attempted Coup And Misguided U.S. Sanctions in Venezuela

  • March 13, 2015 at 2:34 pm
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    Thanks for this remarkable article. From my point of view, it is a strange coincidence that Obama had announced on December 17 officially the entry into “dialogue” with Cuba, while the last three of the Cuban Five were released, and only on December 18 he agreed to apply sanctions against Venezuela.
    It seems like tit-fortat to appease harliners in the congress.

    There seems to be a threatening atmosphere for him since he took office. As it turns out: he cannot either the US people can…

    Reply

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