Venezuela's Chavez deposed
April 11, 2002 10:51 PM   Subscribe

Venezuela's Chavez deposed with the military claiming control for now. The end of a sometimes cringe-inducingly entertaining era. What next? Civilian constitutional rule restored by lunchtime, or not? Will the strike end, allowing oil exports to resume?
posted by dhartung (11 comments total)
Well, I can assure you that all the Venezuelans I know here in Miami are elated that he's out, but concerned about what may happen in the aftermath. I hope that this ends peacefully.
posted by groundhog at 7:29 AM on April 12, 2002

It's interesting that Chavez's fall came shortly after evidence began to grow that he was supporting Colombian narco-terrorists. See this article from the BBC. See also this article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about the latest evidence that Chavez was harboring FARC troops. It may be that the US green-lighted the coup after finally deciding that Chavez had to go before he completely turned himself into a mainland Castro.
posted by nobodyknowsimadog at 9:17 AM on April 12, 2002

There's also the small matter of Chavez wanting to rein in the execs at the state-owned oil company, which was being run rather like a Saudi enterprise: executive jets, Rolls Royces, etc. Yeah, his sense of timing was shocking, but it's interesting that Greg Palast was predicting just this outcome last month: saying 'no' to the IMF just isn't done in South America these days. Anyway, the generals and the businessmen are back in charge, so the oil prices are stable and the IMF is feeling just tickety-boo about the prospect of yet another coffer-draining privatisation. (Remember Argentina, anyone? It wasn't too long ago...)
posted by riviera at 12:43 PM on April 12, 2002

I don't know all the details here, but I also read something a little while ago about the military warning it might have to do something. It just kind of smells funny, media articles linking him to drug lords, then his guards start shooting protesters. It wouldn't be the first time pretexts were engineered to get a more business friendly regime back in power.
posted by chrismc at 1:17 PM on April 12, 2002

Well, one thing that's been emphasised in all the reports coming out of Caracas is that you can't say 'Chavez shot the protestors'. The line is 'protestors were shot', and no-one really knows who was doing it. Also, 19 other Latin American governments have refused to recognise the transitional government.

Chavez fucked up big-style. But had he not tried to take on the state oil corp, which has apparently ruled itself as an independent fiefdom for years, he'd probably still be around to fuck up some more. The oil unions are, from what I've been getting, a bastion of the middle-class white middle-class, and the poorer blacks and indigenous in Venezuela, who loved Chavez's populism, appear to be holding their own protests on the streets of Caracas. Business as usual, then.

And when both the Bush administration and the loons at the Heritage Foundation are licking their chops, I know that I smell a rat.
posted by riviera at 12:22 AM on April 13, 2002

Agreed. Fucked up or not it clearly is a coup against a democratically elected constitutional government and the Bush administration is all for it.
posted by chrismc at 12:08 PM on April 13, 2002

Heh, looks as if the real popular protests are just beginning. We may not have seen the last of Chavez.
posted by riviera at 6:21 PM on April 13, 2002

You can tell this coup is not all it wants to be if the junta can't take down the old website (1, 2).
posted by rschram at 9:10 PM on April 13, 2002

Yeah, the gang that couldn't coup straight... NYT: yada yada
posted by y2karl at 9:40 PM on April 13, 2002

riviera and chrismc

I have to agree with both of you. I cannot help but find the official US response to the ouster of Chavez last week as just a tad disingenuous.
posted by tdca at 1:55 AM on April 14, 2002

damn, rschram, I should clicked on your #1 link along with #2--moot point now anyway... Well, they must be shedding tears now over there at the Heritage Foundation.
posted by y2karl at 7:25 AM on April 14, 2002

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