'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Threat of a Good Example 

The Narcosphere's Al Giordano just posted a great piece about recent events at the Organization of American States's general assembly in Florida.

To summarize, stung by the OAS shooting down the US's plan to ratify the demonization of Chavez and by the current crisis in Bolivia, Roger Noriega threw a temper tantrum and blamed Venezuelan meddling for the situation in Bolivia. The Chavez administration shot back denying the charges and stating that if the US is going to make wild accusations it should offer some proof, leading to the US State Department distributing a press release that cited an interview in a rightwing magazine in which Bolivian leftist Evo Morales expressed admiration for Chavez and wire reports about Morales inviting Chavez to Bolivia.

It's hard to express the hypocrisy of the state department's apparent notion of what constitutes fomenting dissent in a sovereign nation: maintaining a warm relationship with a Bolivian political activist is out of bounds but actively backing a coup attempt on the democratically elected Venezuelan government is just fine.

Here's Giordano:

That said, I think Roger Noriega has a point, although his logic is convoluted. Let me explain:

According to well placed sources in La Paz, yesterday, prior to the resignation of Bolivia's president, heir apparent to the Bolivian throne, Congressional leader Hormando Vaca Diez, had gone to Bolivia's military brass with a plan already written for how the military will declare martial law and ruthlessly stamp out the social movements when Vaca Diez becomes president. (Who wrote that plan, Mr. Noriega?).

But the Bolivian generals told Vaca Diez to pound sand: They said, according to our sources, that they were tired of being the villains of history, causing coup after coup, massacring their own people. (This - and perhaps copious amounts of alcohol - explains Vaca Diez's crestfallen voice during his Monday night press conference, heard around the world via Radio Erbol.)

US Ambassador Roger Noriega is red-faced angry that the Bolivian military won't get to work assassinating Evo Morales, Felipe Quispe, Oscar Olivera, the entire city of El Alto, and Authentic Journalists who are covering the story. And Noriega blames Chavez!

Noriega blames Chavez because Chavez - a military soldier admired by many just like him across the hemisphere - has set the gold standard of how to put an Armed Forces to work on behalf of the people instead of against them. And simply by surviving the coup attempts against him, and by continuing his kinder-gentler non-repressive military model, Chavez has showed by example that Latin American military organizations need not be repressors as they have historically been.

That is why, kind readers, Noriega and Washington blame Chavez: not because of any evidence of direct involvement, but because the Bolivian military is balking (so far) at murdering its own people. Damn Chavez! Let one Latin American president reform his military and before ya know it, others are gonna wanna do the same! And then democracy breaks out all over the place, and what is a decaying Empire to do?

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