Venezuela's Continuous Coup
When Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma was arrested last week, charged with organizing and leading a coup, the U.S. State Department's spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: "The allegations made by the Venezuelan government that the United States is involved in coup plotting and destabilization are baseless and false. The United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means."
That remarkable quote -- denying what has been a well-known and fully documented pillar of U.S. foreign policy for the last 30 years -- tells us more truth than the lie Psaki was trying to spread. Why, at this point, would Washington make such a definitive and laughably false statement?
The evidence is overwhelming that the rich and powerful of Venezuela have followed a continuous, constantly morphing plan to de-stabilize the country and take over the government by any means necessary and that the United States government knows about that plan, supports it and, as much as it can, is assisting in it.
"There's been an ongoing effort to destabilize the government," said author Miguel Tinker Salas, a top authority on the Venezuela's situation, "to represent the government as a crisis in crisis mode, and to depict the country as if it's on the brink of a precipice."
Everything about Venezuela -- including its progress and successes, its growing status as a leader in its continent and its difficulties, stumbles and failures -- is driven by two realities. One is its government's commitment to a genuine program of fundamental political and economic change and the other is an equally committed effort to sabotage that program and overthrow this government.
Is there a coup planned in Venezuela? All the time.
As Ledezma, a virulent right-winger and participant in Venezuela's violent and aborted coup of 2002, was being dragged off to jail, people in the surrounding "barrios" of Caracas probably applauded. This is a man who made a career of initially ignoring them and, when finally forced to acknowledge their existence, insulted their work habits and intelligence. Now he was being jailed for trying to return their lives to the ones they led prior to 1999.
Back then, many of these residents had no water, sewers or electricity and very few paved streets. In fact, many of the neighborhoods that surround Venezuela's capital weren't even displayed on the map: they were unrecognized by the government so the government had no need to provide services, and they were politically powerless because people in unrecognized areas were seldom registered to vote.
Much of that was true of all the poor areas of the country and in the countryside, but all that has changed since 1999.