The coups d'état in Latin America and the dangers facing Venezuela

Puerto Rican attorney Alejandro Torres Rivera looks at the very real threat facing Venezuela and provides evidence that "the threat against Venezuela is certainly not a bizarre idea. It is up to all of us, as this year begins, to redouble our solidarity with the Venezuelan people and the defense of their Revolution."

 Venezuelan Vice President and Defense Minister Ramón Alonso Carrizales stated that his nation's government held objective proof of the violation by a U.S. military aircraft of Venezuelan air space. 

He said the following: “On May 17, 2009, an American war plane took off from Curaçao, violated our air space and a flight-exclusion zone, the Orchilla Air Base. We have a record of the dialogue between the control tower and the aircraft, in which the pilot was asked if he had authorization to overfly the area and what the motive for his incursion was.”

More recently, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Frías also denounced the entry into Venezuelan territory of a P-3 aircraft for about 15 minutes. The plane was escorted out of Venezuelan air space by F-16 aircraft of the Venezuelan Air Force.

The same plane that afternoon returned to pierce the Venezuelan air space for about 19 minutes and was again escorted out of Venezuelan air space by F-16 fighters of the Venezuelan Air Force.

The denunciation made by the Venezuelan minister and the one made by President Chávez again bring to public discussion the topic of the coups d'état in Latin American countries, particularly at a time when the government of Venezuela is denouncing Colombia's plans, encouraged by the United States, to create the conditions “to justify an aggression against our nation on the basis of false-positives or simulations of punishable deeds.”

Modesto Emilio Guerrero's essay “Memoirs of Coups d'État in Latin America During the 20th Century” quotes Cursio Malaparte, author of “The Technique of the Coup d'État,” as saying that the coup d'état is nothing more than a “recourse to power when there is a risk of losing power.”

The author says that, in 1968, 62 percent of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Southwest Asia were governed by military dictatorships. He also says that a study of 25 countries between 1902 and the 2002 coup against Venezuela's constitutional president, Hugo Chávez Frías, revealed that “327 coups d'état took place, counting those that stabilized as dictatorships for months or years and those that lasted a few days, like the repeated coups in Bolivia.”

In his list of coups during the 20th Century, he ranks Bolivia first, with 56; Guatemala, 36; Peru, 31; Panama, 24; Ecuador, 23; Cuba, 17; Haiti, 16 until 1995; the Dominican Republic, 16; Venezuela, 12; Brazil, 10; Chile, 9; Colombia and Argentina, 8, and Uruguay, 5.

Little more than 10 coups were staged on the Caribbean islands. In countries like Paraguay, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, the military dictatorships that usurped the political power held control of the nation for decades.

According to Guerrero, “in almost 30 percent of the cases, the coups and the dictatorships resulted from the direct intervention of United States troops, at least from the end of the Spanish-American War. If we look only at the Caribbean and Central America down to Panama, the rate would approach 70 percent.”

In an essay titled “Making Coups d'État Invisible: What the Hegemonic Theory of Political Science Refuses To See,” Atilio Borón denounced on Jan. 5 a theory about Honduras, propounded by a report by the Latinobarómetro Corporation in Santiago, Chile, that says:

“In the year 2009, Latin America suffered for the first time a coup d'état after 31 years since democracy was inaugurated in the so-called ‘third wave of democracy.’”

According to Borón, such assertion “is not only a notable error of history but also a symptom of something a lot deeper. It reveals the incurable limitations of the hegemonic concept of theory and methodology in social sciences that date back to our Anglo-Saxon inspiration.”

To document the falsity of the information provided by the Latinobarómetro Corp., Borón recreates what happened during the coups d'état in Venezuela on April 11, 2002, and establishes the participation of the United States and Spain, as well as the complicity of functionaries in the European Union and the then-existing governments of Colombia and El Salvador.

Borón also reminds us of the coups in El Salvador in 1979; Bolivia in 1978, 1979 and 1980; Paraguay in 1989; Haiti in 1988, 1990, 1991 and 2004.

To these coups, we could add those promoted by the United States in the second half of the 20th Century, to wit:

• the coup d'état in Cuba by Fulgencio Batista in 1952;

• the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954;

• the armed invasion promoted against the Cuban Revolution on Bay of Pigs in 1961;

• the coup against José María Velasco Ibarra in Ecuador in 1961;

• the coup against Brazilian President João Goulart in 1964;

• the invasion of the Dominican Republic on April 28, 1965;

• the deployment in Guatemala and Bolivia of Green Beret military advisers in 1966-67;

• the coups in Uruguay and Chile in 1973;

• the military dictatorship in Argentina, beginning in 1976;

• the intervention in the Salvadoran conflict in 1980;

• the support from Honduras of the Dirty War against the Sandinista revolution, beginning in 1980;

• the invasion of Grenada in 1983;

• the invasion of Panama in 1989;

• the intervention in Nicaragua's electoral process in the 1990 elections;

• the Plan Colombia, beginning in 2000;

• the coup d'état in Venezuela in 2002, and

• the coup d'état in Honduras in 2009.

For these events, Borón points out, palliatives are used to describe bloody and illegal deeds that lead to the overthrow of governments that were installed legitimately by the people. Thus, the Newspeak creates terminology that justifies the theory of the coup, such as “liberating revolution,” “process of national reorganization,” “government of national reconciliation,” “government of national salvation,” “solution to a power vacuum,” “transition government,” “interim government,” etc.

The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is right when it denounces its concern over the increasingly open threats posed against it by the U.S. and Colombian policies. One need only read the essay written by Wayne Madsen and Richard Bennett on April 19, 2002, titled “U.S. Returns to Bad Old Ways in Venezuela.”

“Under the cover of training exercises in the Caribbean, the U.S. Navy provided signals intelligence and communications-jamming support to the Venezuelan military,” the document says.

“For its part, the CIA provided Special Operations Group personnel under the command of a lieutenant colonel assigned by the Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, N.C. They had been in Venezuela since 2001 and belonged to the U.S. Special Operations Intelligence Support Activity. They reportedly made contact with high-ranking officers in the Venezuelan Armed Forces, including Gen. Lucas Rincón, Vice Minister of Security; Gen. Luis Camacho Kairuz; businessmen and labor union leaders from the Venezuelan Workers Federation, among others.

“The coup was also supported by Special Operations psychological warfare (PSYOPs) personnel deployed from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. They put together Spanish-language television announcements, purportedly from Venezuelan political and business leaders and aired by Venezuelan television and radio stations, saying Chavez "provoked" the crisis by ordering his supporters to fire on peaceful protesters in Caracas. U.S. electronic warfare technicians also helped to jam cell phone and radio frequencies in Caracas and other major cities in co-operation with the Intelligence Battalion Brig. Gen. Andrés Ibarra of the Venezuelan Army's high command.”

The threat against Venezuela is certainly not a bizarre idea. It is up to all of us, as this year begins, to redouble our solidarity with the Venezuelan people and the defense of their Revolution

(This article is an excerpt from an article written by Puerto Rican attorney Alejandro Torres Rivera. Originally published at Progreso Weekly)

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