Vendetta against Venezuela

by John Q on September 20, 2004

For those trying to work out whether the Bush Administration’s stated commitment to democracy in the Middle East reflects Wilsonian idealism or just a tactical choice, reflecting the fact that the Administration’s enemies in the region are mostly not democrats, Venezuela provides a useful data point.



Jeremy Osner 09.20.04 at 1:31 pm

Should this post be longer than one paragraph?


John Quiggin 09.20.04 at 1:39 pm

No, that’s all. The continuation link was a bug, fixed now I hope.


Matthew2 09.20.04 at 2:50 pm

The “democracy” truncheon having been rendered unusable, they have switched to the “sexually exploited kids” stick.
Surely no one supports kids being exploited??


Randy Paul 09.20.04 at 2:57 pm

What, among other things, is so thoroughly stupid about this is that the Bush administration tried this with Cuba as well and was proved wrong, especially after it was disclosed they had cribbed much of his claims from a student paper. Apparently he thinks that the world’s hens can supply an endless stream of eggs for him to wash off his face.


Giles 09.20.04 at 3:32 pm

.I don’t think that 1 follows from the 2 – but its the insinuation that counts.

Chavez is firmly anti American and so there is no reason why they should lend him money – even if he was democratically elected (insert obligatory but tenuous Hitler/Nazi analogy). Second, there is another very good reason not to lend Venezuela money – it’s unlikely that it will repay it if it continues to pursue current trends policies.

What would be more relevant would be some sort of reference to Monroe doctrine and how South America is treated “differently” by the US – but these days it’s obligatory but tenuous Iraq reference that’s on auto insert.


spencer 09.20.04 at 3:46 pm

If the enemies in the Middle East are not democracies, where are the democracies in the Middle East to make friends with?


Antoni Jaume 09.20.04 at 3:59 pm

Giles, Chávez is American. What he is not is a USA citizen. And why should any non-USA (foreign to you, since you seem to be an USA citizen) governing politicians put ahead USA interests to their own countries? (Unless they’re traitors, that is.)

Mind that I never liked Chávez, since I distrust too much militaries to like any of them.



MQ 09.20.04 at 4:25 pm

I am still waiting for someone to demonstrate that Chavez is worse than (or even as bad as) other leaders we have supported in Latin America. I am not expert enough to say just how imperfect his democratic record is, but surely it is no worse than numerous other Latin American leaders and probably previous Venezuelan presidents as well. And at least Chavez redistributes oil money toward the poor, which is a good thing IMO.

Americans have no standing to pose as wise, impartial realists when it comes to Latin American politics.


Giles 09.20.04 at 4:28 pm

No one objects to Chavez putting Venuzuela’s own interests first – and by the same token theres no reason why the US shouldnt put its interests first and block these loans.

And ultimately I thinks that this is probably in Chaviez’ interest as


Rob 09.20.04 at 5:28 pm

Lets put this simply. Chavez is disliked because he moved Venezuala from being a cheater on to a strong proponent of OPEC.


john b 09.20.04 at 7:01 pm

No one objects to Chavez putting Venuzuela’s own interests first – and by the same token theres no reason why the US shouldnt put its interests first and block these loans.

Some might argue that the developed world has a responsibility to set a good example to everyone else.

Of course, said ‘some’ are Evil Librul Traitors and should probably be strung up right away.


Giles 09.20.04 at 7:12 pm

and some argue that by making loans to third world countries, the developed world enslaves them.

Which is why I’m surpirsed Chaviez sought them and why I think, overall this refusal is a good thing.

Chavez stands for, inter alia, for develping world independence. Not relying on foreign handouts should be a plank of that philopshy. On the other hand he has to act in Venuzuala’s interests by requesting the loans. the refusal then keeps him honest.

I think the real problem is the reason given since a) loans should not be tied to domestic social policies b) its clearly bull that dicredits the system.


John Quiggin 09.20.04 at 8:48 pm

Giles, the US is not refusing to lend its own money, it’s opposing a routine request to borrow money from international agencies.

But if you’re going to defend the Administration on Venezuela, let’s hear your how supporting coups against democratically elected governments fits with the Admin’s rhetoric on the Middle East.

The recent episode is merely a reminder that this wasn’t an isolated aberration.


Giles 09.20.04 at 11:09 pm

The money comes through an international agencies which are part backed by the US. Thats why it gets a vote and why, as the article explains it’s just a vote and not a right to block. And this is a right conferred on most contirbutors so I dont see why the US should be singled out for exercising that right.

And supporting coups, unsuccesfully, is just a sign of stupidity. On very much the same level as the “world leaders” who are openly endorsing Kerry!


Matt Weiner 09.21.04 at 12:08 am

Giles, endorsing a candidate who is running in an election is more compatible with democracy than supporting a coup against an elected leader, nicht wahr?


Giles 09.21.04 at 12:53 am

yes, but the test I am running here is the simple good sense test – more specifically that weak support that had no effect one way or the other (and nor was likely to) a) has bolstered Chavez’s credibilty internationally and at home b) hasn’t done much to bolster US credibilty in Latin America. i.e. it has failed on both accounts.

The best polical analogy is John Major who wierdly endorsed Dole(?) against Clinton.

Why was that stupid? – a) because it was never likely to have any effect on the US eloctorate and b) because it went against the reality on the ground.

So from the Bay of Pigs to Schroder, it seems that leaders never learn. Just one of those things.


rea 09.21.04 at 3:08 pm

Ironic to mention “Wilsonian idealism” in this context, given Wilson’s record of military intervention in Latin America . . .

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