Tags: Maduro | coup | Venezuela | United States

US-Backed Coup Against Venezuela's Maduro Out of the Question

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Tuesday, 08 Aug 2017 12:32 AM Current | Bio | Archive

In the last month, the eyes of the Western Hemisphere have been focused on Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro. The successor to the late Marxist President Hugo Chavez is tightening his control over Venezuela and is now poised to convene a "constituent assembly" likely to give him near-dictatorial powers.

For its part, the Trump administration has been announcing a string of sanctions and its intention of cooperating with the Organization of American States (OAS) on the growing Venezuelan situation.

"Our objective is not to do anything that hurts the people of Venezuela," Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin told reporters at the White House July 31, "But let me just say, we will continue to monitor all of our specific options."

There is one "specific option" that has been speculated on in the press but will almost surely not come about: a U.S.-sponsored coup to overthrow Maduro.

Before 2001, U.S. intelligence did work covertly in several Latin American countries to depose leaders who were considered hostile to the U.S. In 1954, for example, the CIA crafted and executed "Operation PBSUCCESS" to overthrow Guatemala's leftist President Jacobo Arbenz in favor of a pro-U.S. regime headed by Col. Carlos Castilo Armas.

The U.S. was involved in successful coups in Bolivia and Brazil in 1964, in another Bolivian coup in 1971, and in the unsuccessful efforts of the anti-Communist "contras" in Nicaragua against Marxist ruler Daniel Ortega in the 1980s.

Although the CIA has never confirmed it was involved in the overthrow (and execution) of Chile's Marxist President Salvador Allende in 1973, American intellligence operatives did try to thwart his election in 1970 and supported demonstrations against the Allende regime for three years.

Such activities by the U.S. were ended on the memorable date of September 11, 2001.

That is when then-Secretary of State Colin Powell signed the Inter-American Democratic Charter at the General Assembly of the OAS in Lima, Peru. Under the Charter, all 34 OAS members agreed that "The peoples of the Americas have a right to democracy and their governments have an obligation to promote and defend it."

That means no coups against elected governments, or as the charter characterized them, "an unconstitutional interruption of the democratic order or an unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime that seriously impairs the democratic order in a member state."

Article 19 of the charter further condemns a coup as "an insurmountable obstacle to its government's participation in sessions of the General Assembly, the Meeting of Consultation, the Councils of the Organization, the specialized conferences, the commissions, working groups, and other bodies of the Organization."

"In the long run, it always hurts the United States to promote the overthrow of Latin American governments," Stephen Kinzer, former New York Times bureau chief in Central America, told Newsmax, "The new regimes are always tainted by the fact that they were helped to power by Americans."

Kinzer pointed out that "in many cases — most recently Honduras — they turn brutal or corrupt, and the U.S. gets the blame. Upheaval in Venezuela does not affect any of our vital interests. The blowback from more than a century of U.S. involvement in Latin American coups should have taught us by now that we're usually better off letting countries sort out their own problems."

On July 31, Newsmax cited the Democratic Charter of 2001 and asked Secretary Mnuchin whether the U.S. would flatly rule out supporting a coup against Maduro.

"We are focused on the democratic process," he told us, "and that’s what we’re focused on right now."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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In the last month, the eyes of the Western Hemisphere have been focused on Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro. The successor to the late Marxist President Hugo Chavez is tightening his control over Venezuela and is now poised to convene a "constituent assembly" likely to...
Maduro, coup, Venezuela, United States
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2017-32-08
Tuesday, 08 Aug 2017 12:32 AM
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