Bush Trips Over Democracy In Venezuela

There's an old saying in Chicago politics: Before you dance on someone's grave, be sure he's dead.

George W. and the global corporate empire builders in his administration forgot this basic rule when they exultantly tried to dance on the political grave of Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez. On April 11, a cabal of wealthy Venezuelan elites and the military staged a coup against Chavez, putting him in an island prison and installing the head of Venezuela's chamber of commerce as their hand-picked president.

Whatever you think of Chavez, he was the duly-elected president, and it's considered bad manners and totally anti-democratic to impose an unelected oligarchy on the country. But the Bushites hate Chavez, who won't go along with their model of a world run by corporate power, so they had been meeting with the coup plotters and now cheered his demise. At first, they claimed that he had resigned because no one in Venezuela supported him any more. Neither was true -- indeed, an explosion of popular protest swept the country within hours of the coup.

Worse, the business elites who took over had delusions of grandeur -- they dissolved the congress, fired the supreme court and all state governors, and suspended the constitution, declaring that they would rule by popular decree. But they were not at all popular with the great majority of Venezuelans who live in grinding poverty. To its credit, the military decided to back the people in a counter-coup ... and Chavez was returned to the presidency only 48-hours after being deposed.

Meanwhile, Bush & Company were caught completely on the wrong side of democracy. While all Latin American countries had immediately condemned the coup, our nation did not join in the condemnation and publicly gloated about Chavez's ouster by the business oligarchy. Now, Chavez has more support than ever, and Bush looks like an arrogant bully.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... For George W., supporting democracy is strictly a matter of political convenience ... not of political commitment.


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