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The United States is refusing to recognize the outcome of the recent presidential election in Venezuela, which Chavez ally Nicholas Maduro won with 50.7% of the vote. Washington, virtually alone in the world in its refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of this election, is demanding a recount. On entirely selfless grounds, of course: White House spokesman Jay Carney lamented that this "rush to a decision" would be "inconsistent with the expectations of Venezuelans for a clear and democratic outcome." This despite Maduro's victory being acknowledged by the secretary general of the Organization of American States and by all non-left governments in the region. The opposition representative on the national electoral council has said that he has "no doubt" that the count was accurate. David Rosnick of The Guardian estimates that the probability of a recount changing the outcome is roughly 1 in 25 trillion. The U.S. will not be deterred by facts, though, in its altruistic campaign on behalf of the democratic rights of the good people of Venezuela.

This is high comedy.

First of all, it's common knowledge that the United States enthusiastically supports many dictators around the world who rule without even a pretense of democracy. Isn't it odd that Washington can simultaneously support absolute monarchy in Saudi Arabia while expressing deep concern over precise electoral nuances in Venezuela? It's almost as if all the glowing advocacy for democracy is just a front for what Washington is really concerned about, namely, conformity to U.S. corporate interests.

Second of all, can anyone argue with a straight face that the U.S. would hold the same position if Maduro had lost and a government more accommodating to Washington had been implemented?

I realize that it's almost platitudinous to highlight U.S. government hypocrisy at this point. But to stop calling it out is to invite even more of it. This "contempt" for democracy in Venezuela, indeed in all of Latin America, is, of course, nothing new. The U.S. has, for centuries, viewed Latin Americans as nothing more than "naughty children" who require a "stiff hand, an authoritative hand." It has been official U.S. policy, from the Monroe Doctrine (and its straightforwardly imperialist Roosevelt Corollary) to the present, to intervene at will in the domestic affairs of any Latin American country that it perceives to be misbehaving. Even just last week, Secretary of State John Kerry condescendingly and contemptuously referred to Latin America as the U.S.'s "backyard." One wonders how Americans would react if some Latin American leader referred to the United States as his or her country's "backyard."

It's vitally important for American citizens to understand the simple truth that the U.S. government, like any other government, is not a moral actor in foreign affairs. The U.S. government pursues what it perceives to be U.S. interests. That is it. Democracy, peace, human rights, these ideas are all incidental. A dictatorship that supports U.S. policy is preferable to an elected government that does not. Repression is welcomed if the victims are seen as some sort of potential threat to U.S. interests.

In a functioning democratic culture with an adversarial press, when a White House spokesman proclaims with a straight face that the U.S. has suddenly become irrationally scrupulous about the integrity of a particular foreign election (in which, coincidentally, its preferred candidate happened to lose), the reporters in the room would fall out of their chairs laughing. It's a claim that would be summarily dismissed and mocked by anyone with even a cursory knowledge of U.S. history and foreign policy. The U.S. cares not one iota about Venezuelan democracy and has, in fact, repeatedly demonized it and tried to undermine it. The U.S. cares about itself, as Secretary of State Robert Lansing helpfully explained in 1915, when discussing U.S. intervention in Latin America:

In its advocacy of the Monroe Doctrine the United States considers its own interests. The integrity of other American nations is an incident, not an end. While this may seem based on selfishness alone, the author of the Doctrine had no higher or more generous motive in its declaration. To assert for it a nobler purpose is to proclaim a new doctrine.
Then, as now, U.S. foreign policy was sold to the masses as being purely selfless and benevolent. By this point, though, we should know better.

Originally posted to Crimethink on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 07:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Who is Representing "Washington" Here? nt (6+ / 0-)

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 07:33:47 PM PDT

    •  The better question is who is "Washington" (9+ / 0-)

      Representing?  Sadly it's all too obvious.  

      Extending the Blessings of Civilization to our Brother who Sits in Darkness has been a good trade and has paid well, on the whole; and there is money in it yet, if carefully worked -- but not enough, in my judgement, to make any considerable risk advisable. The People that Sit in Darkness are getting to be too scarce -- too scarce and too shy. And such darkness as is now left is really of but an indifferent quality, and not dark enough for the game. The most of those People that Sit in Darkness have been furnished with more light than was good for them or profitable for us. We have been injudicious.
      Injudicious indeed.

      Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

      by No Exit on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:14:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is Barack Obama (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sitting Jack Flash

        You are accusing of carrying the White Mans burden here.  Thoughts you needs the reminder

        Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion

        by Mindful Nature on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:55:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not sure what your point is... (11+ / 0-)

          Are you suggesting that because Barack Obama is black he cannot be engaged in representing the interests of plutocrats interested in exploiting Latin America at the expense of Latin Americans?

          President Obama seems perfectly willing to take up the white man's burden in exactly the sense you mean; ie. willing to sacrifice the interests of the native population to commercial us interests as defined by the .01%.

          In all fairness, providing the .01% military backing has long been part of the POTUS.  One might almost say it has always been with minor fluctuation in intensity given the presidents personal preferences.

          Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

          by No Exit on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:28:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Who is Washington? Good question. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nada Lemming, prishannah, JesseCW, slatsg

        The more I look at the US in Latin America, the less I believe that the civilian government is running things. We saw this in Haiti, when President Clinton was publicly supporting President Aristide and the CIA was trying to bring him down--including staging violent demonstrations against a US naval vessel.

        Again in the 2009 Honduras coup, President Obama said he was against it and the Ambassador, Hugo Llorens was calling it a military coup, other US forces were propping up the dictatorship.

        Who is Washington? Is it President Obama? Or is it the Pentagon and the CIA?  

  •  1.6% difference = recount. (20+ / 0-)

    537 votes out of 5.9 million? Time to move on and certify the result!

    Double standards, what do you mean double standards?

    Repeal the 2nd amendment.

    by Calouste on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 07:40:00 PM PDT

    •  Check your Math (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RJDixon74135, NanaoKnows, cpresley

      Decimal points can be very embarrassing. For example a 1.6% difference on 5.9 million = 53,700

      Normally elections that are fixed show the winner with something like 100%. 50.7% sounds  legit especially since Karl Rove wasn't involved (I'm guessing here)

      “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

      by Dburn on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:11:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Florida, 2000/ (6+ / 0-)
        Normally elections that are fixed show the winner with something like 100%. 50.7% sounds  legit especially since Karl Rove wasn't involved (I'm guessing here)
        100% means the election was for show. We've had one election, not too long ago, where it only took a margin of 537 out of 6 million to fix it.

        As for Karl Rove, I caught an article by Greg Palast on a NationofChange feed.

        Palast wrote:

        According to this once-secret FBI memo, ChoicePoint Corp – under a no-bid contract – had shoplifted Venezuela's voter rolls, as well as the voter rolls of Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua, Mexico and Honduras, all of whom were on the verge of electing presidents from the political left...

        In November 2000, working for the Observer and BBC Newsnight, I discovered that a subsidiary of ChoicePoint had, for Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, obtained his state's voter rolls and "purged" more than 56,000 voters, the vast majority black and poor, illegally denying them their vote. And that was how Jeb's brother, George W, won the US presidency by just 537 ballots.

        And now ChoicePoint had the data to allow Homeland Security to do a Florida on Venezuela – and Honduras and the others. (In 2006, the candidate of the left, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, won the election but lost the Mexican presidency through gross ballot-box finagling.)...

        Secretary of State Kerry's challenge to Maduro's 270,000-vote victory margin struck me as particularly poignant. Because in 2004, besides Chávez, I gave another presidential candidate evidence of the Bush gang's ballot banditry: Senator John Kerry. Kerry lost to Bush by a slim 119,000 ballots in Ohio, blatantly stolen, but Kerry refused to call for a recount. It took him two years to publicly acknowledge our findings

        I view Chavez as an authoritarian who happens to be a leftist. I think the media domination is a legitimate target for criticism. However, the evidence that ChoicePoint was involved in Venezuela's election is a thumb on the scale of the actual vote count,

        The furor over Friday's [10.5] job report revealed a political movement that is rooting for American failure, so obsessed with taking down Obama that good news drives its members into a blind rage. -Paul Krugman

        by Judge Moonbox on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:41:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Depends. If fixing is not done everywhere (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SoCalSal

        but rather involves sporadic ballot stuffing, the result could be close to 50%. For example, a lot of people say that Mexican Presidential election in 2006 was fixed although Calderon won by about 0.6%.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        First two rounds of Ukrainian Presidential election in 2004 are commonly believed to have been fixed.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        None of these examples means that Venezuelian election has been fixed. But the point is that close election doesn't necessarily mean a fair one.

    •  Are you saying (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      prishannah

      Obama supported Bush?  Wow

      Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion

      by Mindful Nature on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:56:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Remember, of course, that Bush beat Kerry (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slatsg

      with 50.7% of the vote.

      He wasn't asking for re-counts then, and that election wasn't monitored by hundreds of international observers.

      "Paid Activist" is an oxymoron.

      by JesseCW on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 03:46:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe (29+ / 0-)

    They can get Scalia to make a ruling. I think he has experience with that sort of thing.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 07:44:29 PM PDT

    •  Venezuela has its own "Scalia". (0+ / 0-)

      According to this LA Times article, A supreme court justice wanted to settle the election before it was held:

      Luisa Estela Morales, president of the Venezuela Supreme Court, said during a news conference Wednesday that it was impossible to conduct a ballot-by-ballot recount because the voting system is automated. "Those who have been thinking this could happen were fooling themselves," she said.

      She made her comments even though the opposition had not formally filed a petition for a recount.

      It was Morales who issued a perplexing ruling last month that allowed Maduro to assume the presidency immediately upon Chavez's death, a controversial decision that critics said sidestepped the constitution and was aimed at making his election a fait accompli.

      Capriles has listed what he claims are numerous irregularities that could affect a million votes. According to the official count, Maduro won by about 262,000 votes of 14.9 million cast, or 1.8 percentage points.

      Link to LA Times article

      “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

      by SoCalSal on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 09:11:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We were "concerned" about Honduras, too. (43+ / 0-)

    This June it will be four years since the US-approved coup.

    Fortunately, more LA nations can and do resist our imperialist bullshit.  If only we could get the US media to liberate themselves.

    Thanks for the diary, J.Z.

    Cutting Social Security will end my support for the Democratic Party.

    by MrJayTee on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 07:54:14 PM PDT

    •  Honduras was my first thought (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CT Hank, corvo, MrJayTee

      when I saw this...

    •  Approved how? (5+ / 0-)

      Facts, how do they work?

      Following his ouster, the United States recognized President Manuel Zelaya as the only constitutional president of Honduras. "We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the democratically elected president there", Obama said. Although U.S. officials characterized the events as a coup, suspended joint military operations and all non-emergency, non-immigrant visas, and cut off certain non-humanitarian aid to Honduras, they held back from formally designating Zelaya's ouster as a "military coup", which would have required them to cut off almost all aid to Honduras. The Obama Administration's attempts to pressure Honduras into reversing the ouster of Zelaya were influenced by Republican minority party efforts to reach out to and advocate on behalf of the Micheletti government and defend the actions taken against Zelaya.
      And then there was an election...
      On September 3, the US State Department issued a statement revoking all non-humanitarian assistance to Honduras and said, of the November 29 elections "At this moment, we would not be able to support the outcome of the scheduled elections
      Ah, but the US changed its mind and recognized the results! anyway.
      Ian Kelly, a State Department spokesman, said the poll on Sunday is a "critical step" towards restoring democracy in the country.

      "The holding of a free, fair and transparent election is necessary but not sufficient for Honduras to re-establish the democratic and constitutional order," he said in a statement on Friday.

      Kelly said Washington, which originally condemned the June ouster of Zelaya, would continue to push for implementation of a US-brokered deal to create a unity government and let the Congress decide on whether to reinstate Zelaya until the next president takes office in January.

      Yup. A clear history of rousing US approval of the coup.

      You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

      by tomjones on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:23:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hillary launched that coup via Lanny Davis! (0+ / 0-)

        At least that's what lots of progressives claimed when the coup happened.  I'd thought that that crazy foolishness had gone away, but looks like it is still believed in some progressive circles.

    •  The US has lost about every South Ameican (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      prishannah

      country to leftist governments. Some are quite leftist. A total loss to our right wing dreams. We are now down to Guatemala, Honduras and El Savador for our influnce

      "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

      by shmuelman on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 09:03:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's simply not true. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tony Situ

        Except for Venezuela, Bolivia, and Cuba, and to a lesser extent Ecuador and Nicaragua, the US retains extraordinarily good, cooperative relationships and even direct military cooperation.  And the Obama administration has a better working relationship with leftist Brazil than with Tea Party Arizona.   A leftist government winning an election in Brazil is a good thing, not a bad thing, for the US, and Brazil has not been anti-US in any way, for instance.  

        The problem for the US with Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua, is their direct actions of picking fights with the US because it sells well domestically in those countries.  It sold less well in Honduras, it turned out.  And those countries are all opting for a different form of government that eliminates or subjugates basic individual human rights such as freedom of speech and the right to own property. All of that is very much contested space in those countries, and because so many people of those countries have "feet in two worlds" with relationships and even dual citizenship in the US, it makes it our business to be involved in legal ways to advocate for our values and interests in those contested spaces.

        •  It's like we've got our own emissary from AEI. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shmuelman, CharlesII

          "Paid Activist" is an oxymoron.

          by JesseCW on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 03:51:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, more like the Democratic Party (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tony Situ

            Our policy toward Venezuela is what's in the Democratic Platform.

            Standing With Those Demanding Greater Freedom. As we continue to perfect our union here at home, setting an example for others to follow, we will also continue to champion universal rights abroad. We recognize that different cultures and traditions give life to these values in distinct ways, and each country will inevitably chart its own course. America will not impose any system of government on another country. But we also know that the sovereignty of nations cannot strangle the liberty of individuals. So as people around the world yearn for greater freedom, we will continue to support progress toward more accountable, democratic governance and the exercise of universal rights. We will do so through a variety of means: by speaking out for universal rights, bolstering fragile democracies and civil society, and supporting the dignity that comes with development.
            Maybe you'd better see if you're in the right party.
        •  Yoiks! (0+ / 0-)

          We're is Pinochet, the Argentinian Generals and Fujimori when you need them!

          "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

          by shmuelman on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:05:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Honduras had our fingerprints (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ichibon, prishannah, JesseCW, MrJayTee

      as well. I thought about this situation when reading your article.

      As you say, it's great that more countries in Latin America are able to resist more these days!

  •  Great Post, Justin Zachary! (49+ / 0-)

    The U.S.'s concern for democracy in Venezuela is only exceeded by its concern about human rights violations there.  

    Imagine, the Chavez government actually refused to renew a TV license for a station that publicly supported the 2002 coup, applauded the coup's installation of the head of the Chamber of Commerce in Chavez's stead, and proceeded to abolish the elected National Assembly, the Supreme Court and all other duly elected and constitutionally appointed leaders.  

    The U.S. funded and advised the coup leaders, and put U.S. military personnel at their sides while they carried it out.  Oh yes, the U.S. is seriously concerned about democracy and freedom of the press in Venezuela.

    The U.S. State Department has recently attacked Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador for their putative human rights violations.  This from the government that has wantonly assassinating hundreds of innocents with its drone program, the program in which our President bragged that he approves all the shots.

    It is a wonder that U.S. State Department spokespersons can keep a straight face while criticizing other countries for comparatively minor infractions while their own country has systematically carried out kidnapping, renditions, torture and is still conducting outright assassinations.

    When will the nations of the world repudiate the U.S. en masse and impose economic sanctions on the U.S. to make it stop its imperialist attacks on the rest of the world.  

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

    by Justina on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 08:13:50 PM PDT

  •  this is why I hate Bush so much (35+ / 0-)

    well, him and Cheney too. This is preposterous and gives the United States a bad name. I will be so happy when we get rid of them and get a Democrat in charge.

  •  Venezuela has issues but so do we (14+ / 0-)

    Democracy index 2012

    Our "score" has been going down lately.  At least one Latin American country scores higher.  And given the "gerrymandering", voter suppression and our unusual electoral process, introspection is in order.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 10:16:49 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for writing this (10+ / 0-)

    I've send letters to the editor of various papers complaining about the wire service stories that imply election fraud without mentioning the international observers, and latin american leaders, all agree it was a reasonably fair election.

    Haven't gotten a decent response or any follow up stories.

    Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

    by 6412093 on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 10:41:47 PM PDT

  •  One notes Jimmy Carter sat this one out. n/t (4+ / 0-)
  •  Another perspective (6+ / 0-)

    I have no dog in this fight, but I do have a lot of Venezuelan friends.  Every single one of them is convinced that this election was stolen, and they have been very irate that the world would sit by and let it happen.  I'll admit, I don't know enough about the situation to have an opinion, but I do tend to give a bit more weight to people who I know and who know the situation (aka are actually from the country).  

    •  I think it's great if Venezuelans or even another (10+ / 0-)

      more objective country wants to ensure the election was fair and free. Great! The problem is that we have a vested interest and are only making anti-American sentiment there worse, not to mention it's patently hypocritical of us to pretend we know all about fair and free elections these days. Truly.

      •  If you don't like US election (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Judge Moonbox

        Why be all warm and fuzzy about Venezuelas?  If you support democracy, you should do it across the board

        Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion

        by Mindful Nature on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:59:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not all warm and fuzzy. I just doubt our (6+ / 0-)

          motives or effectiveness in THIS case for the reasons stated.

          I think all elections should be fair and free. I don't necessarily think the United States government is the best determiner of what elections are, especially in a case like this where there are obvious ulterior motives available.

        •  what? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW

          by all standards, theirs are cleaner than ours are.

          What are you doing to fight the dangerous and counterproductive error of treating dirtbag terrorist criminals as though they were comic book supervillains? I can't believe we still have to argue this shit, let alone on Daily Kos.

          by happymisanthropy on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:28:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  no (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tony Situ

            they really aren't.  As much as the GOP has pulled shenannigans, the Democrats were able to spend a $1 billion in an effective campaign that got out the vote and got out the message in a reasonably even manner.  The opposition in Venezuela is far more hamstrung by systematic issues than either party is in the US.  Frankly, I think you could use with a little more research into what the human rights community says here.

            Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion

            by Mindful Nature on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:44:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, the opposition camp has (7+ / 0-)

      been screaming fraud. So if your friends happen to be sympathetic to the opposition, it follows that they think it was fraudulent. Read up on the electoral process. It's virtually fool-proof. Plus they already audited 54% of the votes and it did not change the results.

    •  I know what you are saying (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, mali muso

      likewise I have no dog in this fight myself, but are we talking about Venezuelan friends in the United States?

      They would believe the election was stolen.

      Just like the Cuban-American anti-Castro majority represented in the U.S. by a predominantly white former middle class with strong opinions against socialism and opposed to any modest mentioning that Castro helped the poor and darker-skinned Cubans gain something, even if racism wasn't completely eliminated under Castro, it definitely improved the life of many non-white Cubans who never stood to gain under the former white privilege; the anti-Chaves Venezuelans are predominantly white middle class losers in the Socialist privatizing that dispossessed them of a former white privilege, and that is my opinion why it doesn't make them impartial to assessing that the election was stolen.

      I'm Cuban-American and I want to add in the spirit of sensitivity to their situation that Venezuelans are here for good reasons, I won't discount that, however, they would be inclined to believe the election was stolen.

      A good horse is never a bad color.

      by CcVenussPromise on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:00:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd say that says a lot about which Venezuelans (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CcVenussPromise

      you choose to be friends with.

      I know plenty of Cubans who are convinced the people of Cuba desperately want a US invasion.  Next Tuesday at the latest.

      "Paid Activist" is an oxymoron.

      by JesseCW on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:25:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  excuse me??? (0+ / 0-)

        What kind of people I choose to be friends with?  Wow, that's a judgmental statement.  Not that it matters, but most if not all of the Venezuelans I happen to run across and know are classical musicians.  Evil folks trying to rub two dimes together in pursuit of art.  Or something like that.

  •  Doesn't change fact the elections were rigged (3+ / 0-)

    Yes, yes, we get the point the US has a terrible history in Latin America, we have our own elections problems, and there's national self-interest at work.

    But none of this changes the fact that the Venezuelan elections were not only conducted extremely unfairly to any opposition group, the elections themselves were marred by thousands of incidents of irregularities at the polling places and tabulation errors.

    Maybe a stuck clock is right twice a day, or maybe the administration is actually genuinely concerned with Democracy. Subscribe to either theory but let's not turn our eyes to the fact that Democracy starts with fair and clean elections.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:55:32 AM PDT

    •  There is no certified proof that the elections (12+ / 0-)

      were rigged. All we have is claims by the opposition which happens every election cycle. The CNE has already audited 54% of the ballots. There were both domestic and international observers on hand. And conducted "extremely unfairly"? How so?

      This administration is most certainly not concerned with democracy. They supported the coups in Honduras and Paraguay.

    •  Where is your lynkie? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, slatsg, JesseCW
      But none of this changes the fact that the Venezuelan elections were not only conducted extremely unfairly to any opposition group, the elections themselves were marred by thousands of incidents of irregularities at the polling places and tabulation errors.
      This is not the orange "blaze", but your well aware of that and still choose a lack of respect toward readers and the community by parroting propaganda out one-side of the mouth, because the other side is to busy screaming Chavez prop, like a Bible Spice palin wannabe char-

      Harsh?  Sure-  

      No lynkie can result in a  "look in the mirror" harsh response to a failed agit prop invective designed to stoke doubt, where none exists-

      Evidence that contradicts the ruling belief system is held to extraordinary standards, while evidence that entrenches it is uncritically accepted. -Carl Sagan

      by RF on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:59:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Accusation from the right should always (0+ / 0-)

      be treated as fact.

      'Kay.

      "Paid Activist" is an oxymoron.

      by JesseCW on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:27:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We've always been concerned about democracy (22+ / 0-)

    in our client states. So concerned that most of the time we determine that they aren't ready for democracy.

    ¡Cállate o despertarás la izquierda! - protest sign in Spain

    by gjohnsit on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:57:00 AM PDT

  •  Sucks that the US... (12+ / 0-)

    Gov't is pissed that their potential neoliberal ally didn't win the election.

    I, for one, am quite happy about it.

    The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

    by cybrestrike on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:20:15 AM PDT

  •  Their Oyl cannot be manipulated otherwise n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo

    Evidence that contradicts the ruling belief system is held to extraordinary standards, while evidence that entrenches it is uncritically accepted. -Carl Sagan

    by RF on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:30:19 AM PDT

  •  I think the whole conversation is misplaced (9+ / 0-)

    Venezuela has much more reliable vote counting than the US.  (Most democratic countries do, of course.)  The real question, which nobody talks about, is whether the whole run-up to the election was fair and that's a much more squishy thing.  If the government's candidate controls the airwaves, uses state resources to mobilize voters, and enlists the military to attack (verbally, mind you) the opposition, you don't need to cook the votes on election day!  I come to this from a rather extreme perspective, since the country I'm more familiar with is Colombia and it has bizarrely strict controls on what incumbents can do or say during campaigns.  There should be a happy medium and on that score the US actually does pretty well.

    I don't think Capriles will push this very far, or at all, because he thinks Maduro is a mediocrity who will over time run the revolution's popularity into the ground.  I think he's probably right, but Maduro has been underestimated before.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:33:33 AM PDT

    •  Maybe the Koch Brothers could buy their media (4+ / 0-)

      That would be fair!

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:12:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd look at the next six years (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, pileta

      in Venezuela as a sort of transition period. My hope is during that time the Bolivarians reform themselves and get better at governing. Capriles seems awfully slick to me in the interviews I've seen. I'd hate to see Venezuela end up back in the hands of people who just want to sell it off cheap to American interests.

      •  It's hard to believe Capriles is their best option (0+ / 0-)

        But then again, he's the most prominent elected official from the opposition so it's not he's some random or sacrificial guy.  While it's possible that the ruling coalition will take a serious stab at addressing the things that prevent it from getting a stable permanent majority (overall dicey administration, and violent crime), it's also possible that they will take a lesson from a besieged revolution that failed (Chile) and one that didn't (Cuba), and make it the repressive country that it hasn't been under chavismo.

        You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

        by Rich in PA on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:37:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's a lot of good things (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rich in PA, milkbone

          happening in latin america in general right now. I guess I'm optimistic that the emergence of a new authoritarian state is unlikely.

          The crime issue is what concerns me - if that gets even more out of control, it could cripple their economy more than it already is. With Mexico and other countries cracking down on crime the criminals are looking for weak spots.

    •  It's worth following the trend line (0+ / 0-)

      Chavez got reelected with 56% the last go around after high sixties four years earlier.  So the 'revolution' is on its last legs with the Venezuelan electorate now after close to a decade of mediocrity and decline and failure to achieve much.

      This election was close enough that both sides could legitimately believe that they were victorious.  I'm sure the Chavistas used all the means they had to get votes at the polls anyplace they could, which means a large expenditure of what political capital and means they still had- which they are likely to run down further.  Which makes the next election the one the Chavistas have to steal to win.

      The important thing is that Capriles makes Maduro and his party pay a hefty, unaffordable, political price for the way they won this one.

  •  Well, let's see... (16+ / 0-)

    we have an established track record of going into other countries and taking out democratically elected leaders we don't like, don't we? Salvadore Allende, in Chile, was a pain in the neck. We whacked him. The noteworthy thing about this assassination was that it's hardly even in the realm of CT at this point. The fingerprints of the CIA are all over it in all the history books; it's not in any kind of dispute.

    No, we aren't ones to be shedding tears over the "corruption" of a foreign election, when somebody we don't like is elected.

    Thanks for the diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:34:43 AM PDT

  •  but but but . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RF, quill

    Obama!!!

    oh, wait . . .

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:42:32 AM PDT

  •  Please name one Government (0+ / 0-)

    that does not look out for it's own self interest.

    The only difference between the US and every other Government is that we carry a bigger stick.

    But really, that's how it should be - do you want a Government that does not look out for it's own self interest?

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:45:58 AM PDT

  •  No wonder (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG

    A petition to the White House questioning the Venezuela election got over 100,000 signatures.
    A petition against cutting Social Security just got 2300 signatures when it expired last Saturday April 20. The Venezuela petition expires May 15.
    Now see, White House petitions are a useful place to register opinions. Boycotting this site is not a good strategy, even if you are disappointed in this President.
    People who want Texas to secede don't worry about their real chances of influencing the President. They just go ahead and sign.

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 06:48:32 AM PDT

  •  I support the recount (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    killjoy, Fall line, Tony Situ

    and all Democrats should too.

    The opposition is calling for a recount, despite what you insinuate here, and even Maduro supported calls for a recount until lots of uncounted ballots started turning up.

    For the US, calling for a recount is a no-brainer, and it would diplomatic malpractice to not do so under the circumstances.

    1) Venezuela expelled a US diplomat just before the election as a vote-getting ploy to enrage parts of Maduro's base.

    2) Venezuela, along with Ecuador and Bolivia, are engaged in new experiment with socialism called "Radical Democracy."  While their experiment should not be interrupted from the outside, the US does correctly recognize the threat such a new form of government poses to our own liberal philosophy of governance and our to interests in the region,  and we are correctly contesting such challenges to our own governance principals through lawful means by asking for a simple recount in an election where irregularities were noted.   This new form of government is significantly different from our own, liberal democracy.  Brazil and Argentina, which have also elected very progressive governments, retained their liberal democratic constitutions , which provide for basic rights of freedom of speech and rights of minorities in governments through separation of powers and checks and balances.  They have had as much, if not more, success in reducing poverty as Venezuela has, so it is questionable whether reducing rights we hold sacred in the US, such as free expression should abandoned as they are in the three radical democracies.  

    3) Many Venezuelan citizens who are also US citizens have asked the US to call for a recount.  It's basic constituency service.  While we should certainly allow those countries to determine their own courses with their experiments in governance, the US also needs to recognize that such experiments are highly contested processes and many citizens of those countries, especially those residing in the US or with dual citizenship, continue to ask for American government support for their interests in their home countries.  The US is obligated to take their concerns seriously as constituents and does so regularly around the world where the interests of foreign nationals who are US citizens closely match the interests of long-term national policy.

    •  Why is it our business (5+ / 0-)

      to tell another country how to conduct its elections?

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:11:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's every countries' business (0+ / 0-)

        That's why the OAS and other countries have also given their opinions.  

        But the US has more complicated reasons because of its role as guarantor of the world's governance institutions, such as the UN, OAS, and numerous other institutions that simply wouldn't be able to continue if the US didn't provide at least tacit support.  Like it or not, the US does have international governance responsibilities that most other countries don't.

        Secondly, many US citizens are also Venezuelan citizens who have asked their government for this.  So this gives the US a right to be involved outside of any claims to world governance responsibilities.

        Finally, the US has conflicted national values involved here as well.  First, the principal of self-determination was a uniquely American value that the US brought to the world stage after WWII when it mandated that Britain and France  begin the process of decolonization, which US diplomatic cables of the time indicate the US saw as abhorrent but also a hindrance to combatting communism which used colonialism to criticize the West.  But that value often comes into conflict with the other American value of promoting liberal democratic government which upholds the principal that government exists, primarily, to secure self-evident individual rights of life, liberty, and individual self determination ( a generalization of Locke's "property" right).  Venezuela, and now Bolivia and Ecuador, have new constitutions, passed by less than super-majorities in violation of the constitutions they replaced,  which abandon liberal democracy in favor of radical democracy, which is rule by presidential decree pleb

        •  Well, if your first paragraph is true, (6+ / 0-)

          then the USA's is a minority opinion of one, and should gracefully choose silence.

          Your second and last paragraphs are, well, amusing.  The only thing we "guarantee" is the ability of our corporations to do business when-, where-, and however they please, and in fact we continue to have a nasty habit of supporting regimes that conduct fraudulent elections or overthrow democratic governments.

          Somehow we never get involved in other countries' electoral problems, real or imagined, although I imagine that most Americans with dual citizenship don't share that dual citizenship with Venezuela.

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:58:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, we do get involved in close elections (0+ / 0-)

            on a regular basis, often driven by constituent interest of dual citizens, and US diplomats follow elections and engage politically everywhere.  The wikileaks cables showed this pretty clearly.   In most cases, however, the winning candidate hasn't previously just expelled an American diplomat in order to motivate his base, so this is a pretty easy case for anyone in government -- call for a recount and let it go.

            •  And exactly why again (5+ / 0-)

              are we calling for Venezuela to do something counter to its own law?

              Oh yeah -- we want to eliminate its current government by whatever means are available.

              Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

              by corvo on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:40:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  We aren't asking any such thing (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Riff

                We are asking Venezuela to apply exactly what its own law allows in close elections -- a recount.  Maduro himself even called for one right after the election before he was advised that there might be reasons he would lose in a recount.

                •  From what I understand (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  happymisanthropy, slatsg, JesseCW

                  Venezuela has an electoral commission that has sole authority over whether a recount is necessary, and that commission has already completed its work.

                  It's your right not to like the composition of the commission or the decision it made, but it's none of our business.

                  Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                  by corvo on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 09:03:53 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No, that's not how it works (0+ / 0-)

                    In the Venezuelan constitution, the president has authority to ask the commission to recount or do anything else.  The US is asking the president to use that authority and legitimize his election by asking the commission to do a recount.  The office of the president in Venezuela is provided with much more broad powers than in the US.  

                    •  And if the president chooses not to (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      happymisanthropy, slatsg, JesseCW

                      then there's no recount.

                      Unfortunately for you, the president has made no such request, nor need he do so simply because Uncle Sam wants his oil back.

                      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                      by corvo on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 09:39:21 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

                        But this in no way means that the US is doing anything contrary to Venezuela's laws or asking Venezuela to.

                        As a consequence, it will just have to get on without enjoying US support for his election. Not really a big deal for anyone involved, but certainly the correct course of action for the US government to take in this situation.

                        •  True but irrelevant; (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          happymisanthropy, slatsg, JesseCW

                          the election appears to have been cleaner than any of our presidential elections -- not that that's setting the bar terribly high -- and we have no problem legitimizing the results of sham elections held in much worse states.

                          Quite frankly, Venezuela would be much better off it if just expelled the entire American diplomatic corps.

                          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                          by corvo on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 09:49:10 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  No it does not appear clean at all (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Riff

                            There were numerous discoveries after the election of uncounted votes, reported by bloggers before their sites were taken down (that's the state of the press in Venezuela), and news of that discovery is what led to Maduro rescinding his own request for a recount, instead opting for just audit of the reported totals.  

                            By asking Venezuela for a recount through official diplomatic channels, the US is signalling to the Venezuelan government that all is not well and that concessions will have to made to the US if they want our diplomatic help for things going forward.  (Which they will want, just as Chavez also did, because they still have diplomatic relations and their economy is entirely dependent on the US.)  Again, part of the lawful process of democratic governance and nothing to be alarmed about or to oppose.

                          •  Didn't say clean; (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            slatsg, JesseCW

                            just cleaner than ours.

                            The less "diplomatic help" Venezuela receives from us, the better.  

                            Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                            by corvo on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:07:25 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  State : Huge irregularities in Putin’s election (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            JesseCW

                            EastSideDemocrat, does this mean that "all is not well and that concessions will have to made to the US if they want our diplomatic help for things going forward."

                            State Department: Huge irregularities in Putin’s election

                             Friday, April 19, 2013 - 5:24 PM

                            http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/...

                             The State Department issued a report Friday that detailed widespread accusations of fraud and abuse in the March 2012 election that brought Vladimir Putin back into the Russian presidency.

                            U.S.-Russian relations have been in a tailspin since Putin's return as head of state in Moscow, following his four years as prime minister under the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev. The United States and Russia have been at odds over a U.S. list of Russian human rights violators, the Russian decision to ban U.S. adoptions of Russian children, Russian persecution of international NGOs, the expulsion from Russia of USAID, and Russia's unilateral withdrawal from the Nunn-Lugar cooperative threat reduction program.

                            In the run-up to Putin's election, huge protests swept Moscow and Putin blamed then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for "inciting" the crowds that had protested the Russian parliamentary elections in December 2011where fraud and abuse were also widely reported.

                            Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

                            by PatriciaVa on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 11:31:56 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Basically, yes (0+ / 0-)

                            that's exactly what that means.  Although it is a much different thing to contest power with a great power like Russia than to contest it with a negligible power, in Obama's words, like Venezuela.

      •  I recall when progressives were for US taking (0+ / 0-)

        action (sanctions, divestment) against South Africa because they had apartheid going on, including denying blacks to vote.  Were you in the "What business is that of ours?" camp back then?

    •  keep in mind (13+ / 0-)

      that Venezuelans you meet in the United states had the means to get here. Given that Chavez and his Bolivarians are heavily supported by the poor in Venezuela, it stands to reason that Americans would be less likely to meet Chavez supporters. They would simply have less means to get here. And because Chavez was politically oriented against the US, his supporters may have not been as interested in traveling here anyway.

      That isn't to say the opposition doesn't have some good points in all this, but just as you're more likely to meet a Vietnamese person here in the US with ties to the South than a dedicated communist, it's important to remember immigration to the US is driven by political and economic factors which can make expat communities here skew dramatically toward one faction or group.

      •  /\THIS/\ (7+ / 0-)

        Wonder why the Cuban embargo has gone unchallenged in presidential elections? Look to the Cubans in South Florida. They've got an interest, as do the Venezuelans who are affluent enough to reside in the US.

        The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

        by cybrestrike on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:28:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Still, it's kind of telling (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        killjoy

        that you can find lots of Ecuadorians here who love Correa, and even lots of Cubans here who like Castro, but it is really hard to find ANY Venezuelans who still like Chavez, even though many of them voted for him at first.

      •  That doesn't let the US off the hook (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        killjoy

        for responding to legitimate constituent interests.  It doesn't really matter if it's just anti-Chavistas who are in America asking for help.  Because they are American citizens and residents, the US is obligated to listen to their concerns more than the concerns of anyone in Venezuela itself.  The fact of Venezuelan belligerence against the US makes it a pretty easy decision for US officials when responding to these requests of US-Venezuelan dual citizens.

        •  I don't see any evidence at this point (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, burlydee, slatsg, JesseCW

          that there is a level of fraud in the elections there that demands US attention. The US should not be picking fights on foreign elections unless there is significant evidence the elections were stolen. Where does it stop?

          The biggest advantage the Chavistas have is in the gerrymandering of the legislature, but we have the exact same problem here in the us (in some states, to almost the same degree, too).

          •  1.6% plus party control of the election counting?? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            killjoy, Riff

            Those are two pretty good reasons to challenge the first count and question the government's legitimacy.

            If it's true that the people really do support Maduro, then he'll find a way to get the recount to work in his favor.  The US knows that, but just making the challenge complies with US government's responsibility to its Venezuelan-American constituents (a plus for the Democrats) as well lets Venezuela know that expelling a US diplomat for political advantage in an election carries consequences.  As I said above, it's really a no-brainer -- Diplomacy 101.

            •  The democrats had party control (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              corvo, JesseCW

              of the last election here in which Michelle Bachmann won my district by less than that.

              I'm not screaming for a recount.

              •  In the US, we have an independent FEC (0+ / 0-)

                In the US, we have an independent (that is, not controlled by the Executive Branch) FEC that is in charge, ultimately, of Federal elections.  They monitor the vote counting of elected secretaries of state.  This system is based on our liberal democratic model of government which places emphasis on checks and balances and separation of powers.  That system no longer exists under the new constitutions in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia, which are all trying something both new and in many ways in conflict with liberal democracy forms of governance.  Separation of powers and checks and balances have been discarded in those three countries because of their association with institutions that perpetuate capitalist discourse (Gramsci).  So there is no independent organs in any of those three countries any more.  Instead their democracies are organized around finding local and national executive authority through mass opinion, which is the purpose of state and local elections.

                In the new radical democratic systems (see my link to the good Venezuela analysis piece on this in my first comment above)  there is no presumption of independence of the electoral commission in the constitution.  Instead it is presumed that the president will count the votes and has complete and direct authority over the officials responsible for it.  It's a Brave New World in Venezuela and the Lockean discourse of liberal democracy has been discarded in favor of rule by executive authority.

                That's really the whole problem here, and why it looks like there has been tampering.  Since the electoral commission in Venezuela is not independent of the president, if the vote was accurate, the president would have nothing to fear from a recount, and Maduro originally called for one himself.  But he later rescinded that call when it looked like he couldn't guarantee a win without appearing to have intervened himself.  This only would have happened if the vote count didn't support the president, so the official vote looks false.

                •  Many countries (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JesseCW

                  have systems that don't resemble ours. Meddling in this result - which was likely close no matter who you think actually won - would likely do nothing but promote political instability during a very delicate time in Venezuela's history. And what if we were right? What if American meddling got Capriles, a rather non-specific politician who seems to enjoy looking at himself on television, into office by what cannot possibly be anything more than the slimmest of margins?

                  Do you think that would end well?

                  •  This isn't meddling (0+ / 0-)

                    This is using official diplomatic channels to signal to Venezuela and the political forces within and without Venezuela, that the US has problems with Maduro and seeks to weaken, not legitimize, his administration.  To reduce Maduro's ability to govern until he can come to some kind of agreement to not expel diplomats and things like that for political gain is the objective, and its the correct, lawful and democratic way to seek that objective.

                    The two actors who are really reading these signals are the Chinese and the Russians, both of whom have told Chavez they will not invest any more in Venezuela's oil industry unless, among other things, it can get on the same page diplomatically with the US.  

                    •  Before this election (0+ / 0-)

                      When Chavez was in his "is he alive or dead" phase, I read in a couple of places that the US administration actually kind of likes Maduro, and has had friendly back channel communications with him.

                      And pretty much everything you just described, by the way, is quintessential meddling.

                      let the Mexicans meddle if they feel the need. Why should it be us?

                      •  If this is meddling, (0+ / 0-)

                        then Latin American governments lobbying for passage of comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate, which they are all doing right now, is also meddling.

                        I don't call that meddling. I call that democracy at work, on a global scale.  

                        Meddling is sending spies in to break laws and cheat, not using formal, legal diplomatic channels to let governments know what your values and concerns are regarding an election.  Obama is doing exactly what we elected him for here, and he deserves credit for this.

        •  It's all about the oil. Everything else is (7+ / 0-)

          simply bullshit.

          “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

          by 420 forever on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:12:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Um, no. That's such a silly comment. (0+ / 0-)

            If it was about oil, then why did we get even more involved in Honduras, as many on this diary's comments are claiming?

            Although Venezuela would certainly like to export its oil to the US, the US doesn't need any oil from Venezuela, and it is mostly the Chinese or Russian oil companies that would do the main work in Venezuela if they got rid of the Chavistas.  (Neither China nor Russia has had any success at all dealing with Chavez.)  

            •  There just is no end at all to the bullshit (0+ / 0-)

              you're willing to pump out on this topic.

              The US doesn't need any oil from our third largest supplier.

              It's fucking surreal that you think you're persuading anyone.

              "Paid Activist" is an oxymoron.

              by JesseCW on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:43:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  oh, okay. whatever (0+ / 0-)

                Apparently you're the expert on this.

                The US can buy or get oil from anywhere, including its own production, if venezuela didn't want to sell to us anymore.  This means that Venezuela needs us more than we need them.  Ergo, no need for any risky foreign policy moves in Venezuela.  If there was a regime change in Venezuela, the US would not be the beneficiary.  China and Russia would be, if the regime change produced a government which could actually deliver on its promises to export more oil.

                The US, for all its faults, isn't in the business of producing regime changes for China and Russia.  At least not yet.

        •  esd got it upside down. They TELL OFF the USA- (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          slatsg, JesseCW

          The USA actively and covertly attempts to destabilize and undermine their country.

          Your post  reminds me of the values of the 11 Democrats, one Ind  in RI Senate voting yesterday against gay marriage as opposed to the 19 Democrats and five Republicans   who voted FOR.

          10th state to legalize.   Keep crying about "radical democracy". Ours is going backwards and heading for a showdown with the disenfranchised, the 99%.

          In Bush's words "Keep catapulting the propaganda" as if the primary goal of US foreign policy was human rights or something along those lines.  It is about servicing the biggest investors, in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan or South Sudan or wherever.  

    •  US is a neoliberal democracy (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, meatballs, slatsg, JesseCW

      The article you linked actually calls Venezuela a "social democracy",  with an emphasis on downward wealth redistribution and universal education and participation in the democratic process.

      I'd take that any day over our fake corporate owned "democracy" that is nonresponsive to the needs of the 99% and is instead preoccupied with upward wealth redistribution, destruction of the middle class and exploitation of the growing lower class. You think we have freedom of expression in the US? Sure - as long as what we express is acceptable or our voices are impotent. Have you already forgotten about what happened to Occupy last year?

      I could only dream that the Bolivarian Revolution will some day come to the US.

      History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

      by quill on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:39:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My bad, new link (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quill

        Same author, I linked to the wrong article.  Here it is.

        But even in the one l linked to, Venezuela is referred to as a "social-based" democracy that is markedly different from social democracies, or from social democratic governance philosophies, which are exemplified in the administrations currently in power in Brazil and Argentina, both still liberal democracies.

        The US is not, incidentally, a neoliberal democracy ourselves, even if the Washington consensus was to push that on developing countries.  We have a very large welfare state and a lot of government intervention in private industry, most recently the banking system.

        •  I disagree about the US (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happymisanthropy, slatsg, JesseCW

          I think that we are currently in a canibalistic phase, where as a result of changes to the law over the last 30 years or so, wealth and power are being rapidly transferred upwards. The safety nets you refer to are no longer safe and are being targeted for dismantlement and exploitation. The rights and freedoms that we are so proud of are either being chipped away or are becoming meaningless in the real world. We are in fact moving towards a Latin American style plutocracy.

          Or at least that's my take on things!

          History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

          by quill on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:00:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  meddle, meddle, meddle? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lenzy1000, JesseCW

      Who the F are you to call on the USA interfere and call the outcome  in Venezuela?

      In plain English, you accept a  "fix" to our democracy with a phony device called "filibuster" where the majority is held captive by a minority .

      We got a health care change by the fortunate application of 60 votes to 40. if it was  59 votes to 41, it would have FAILED.

      And you pontificate, fume  about a 50.7% win (majority, not even a plurality in a multi candidate election), when the US has DISCARDED that elementary part of Democracy in favor of rigging it   here?  

      •  All good reasons to support radical democracy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        milkbone

        But the point here is that, even by Venezuela's own rules which prevent independent checks and balances on even the authority of the president in vote counting, it looks like Maduro didn't actually win the vote.  So apply Venezuelan law and do a recount.  

        The US has, in this case, only asked Venezuela to apply its own laws and do a recount before recognizing the election.  Would it have done this if Maduro had not manipulated the diplomatic protocols to expel a US diplomat in order to turn out his base?  Probably not, but all the more reason to challenge the election.

        •  What about the point from the diary (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW

          if Maduro had lost by the same amount, there isn't a chance in hell our government would be supporting a recount.  

          What are you doing to fight the dangerous and counterproductive error of treating dirtbag terrorist criminals as though they were comic book supervillains? I can't believe we still have to argue this shit, let alone on Daily Kos.

          by happymisanthropy on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:52:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's simple. (0+ / 0-)

            If the opposition had won by that amount in an election in which the it had defeated the party that has direct control over the counting of votes, there is no need to contest or ask for a recount.  (For example, relating to another comment above, Michelle Bachmann won her district by a lesser margin this time, but there was no recount, and a big reason for that is that the Democrats were in charge of the Secretary of State's office which counted the votes.)

            But in Venezuela, Maduro has authority to hire and fire the election commission, and they have provided numbers that show a narrow victory, which means that in all likelihood, they actually lost the election and massaged things to bring Maduro over the top (they almost certainly be out of jobs in a new administration, according to Venezuela's constitution).  

            The real question is whether the US would be asking for a recount if Maduro had not expelled an American diplomat just before the election to energize his base.  I don't think we would. This has to do with letting Maduro know that there is a price for picking a fight with the US, and I support that, and so should we all.

            •  so (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              slatsg, JesseCW

              we're the bullies who get to push other countries around, and when they tell us that they don't like it very much we stamp our feet and pout?

              Yeah, that's really our national interest.

              What are you doing to fight the dangerous and counterproductive error of treating dirtbag terrorist criminals as though they were comic book supervillains? I can't believe we still have to argue this shit, let alone on Daily Kos.

              by happymisanthropy on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 02:53:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah, (0+ / 0-)

                and I'm glad it is us who can be the bully, instead of someone else who has no values or discourse for individual human rights.

                It means the responsibility is on us Americans who have a say in our political system to keep us honest, and we did that by electing President Obama, twice, and by advocating or organizing politically for things we value or object to.  Many people in Venezuela can't do that any more because their system of government has changed to one that provides for executive hegemony and reduces the spaces for contesting power.  The fact that a lot of those people were rich folks who benefited from the neo-liberal corruption of pre-Chavez eras is incidental to the fact that basic individual liberties have now been lost in Venezuela, and that challenges the fundamental values of our country.  

                •  um (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  slatsg, JesseCW

                  as one of two countries in the world to officially endorse the coup against Chavez (by recognizing the new leaders as the legitimate government), on what basis can you possibly claim that we value individual human rights in South America?

                  A hell of a lot more individual liberties would have been lost if the coup had succeeded.  

                  What are you doing to fight the dangerous and counterproductive error of treating dirtbag terrorist criminals as though they were comic book supervillains? I can't believe we still have to argue this shit, let alone on Daily Kos.

                  by happymisanthropy on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:03:12 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  We did not officially endorse the coup, (0+ / 0-)

                    but it was also a Republican administration then as well.

                    The question, however, is what will we, with Obama as President, support if another coup happens, which I think is likely given the weakness of the Venezuelan state and Maduro's apparent lack of ability to compel the same allegiance that Chavez could among his allies?  Since he is not from a military background, and Venezuela's military is notoriously split, plus the fact that he will have to divert oil revenue from social spending to re-investing in Venezuela's dilapidated oil infrastructure to retain even the currently low level of production, I fear a coup is likely, and without any help from us.  

                    Maduro isn't doing himself any favors by having picked a fight with Obama by expelling a diplomat for political gain, because he needs us to keep his job if a coup does happen.  Look for him to start cozying up to Obama in the months ahead, and for Obama to keep being cold.

                  •  Sorry, I misread endorse for support (0+ / 0-)

                    but my larger point still holds.  The reason we "endorsed" the coup is that Chavez was ending individual rights.  This of course conflicts with our other national values of self-determination, but we frequently side with rights of individuals over rights of nations, such as in Libya, Serbia, etc.  as well.  

                    If the coup had succeeded, I think a lot of bad things could have happened to some people, but I think they would have a liberal democratic government that constitutionally upholds individual liberties in place, and people would be complaining about things other than loss of freedom of expression and property.

                    •  "ending individual rights" (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JesseCW, CharlesII

                      what individual rights had Chavez ended in 2002? You're just making this shit up.

                      What are you doing to fight the dangerous and counterproductive error of treating dirtbag terrorist criminals as though they were comic book supervillains? I can't believe we still have to argue this shit, let alone on Daily Kos.

                      by happymisanthropy on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:36:09 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Even by 2002 (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Riff

                        Chavez had started to expropriate private property and threaten news organizations with closure in his infamous, day-long harangues on television.  This did not begin after the coup.  It began almost immediately after his first election.

                        He had already taken up much of the prime-time broadcasting spaces for government programming, and journalists has already been complaining of harassment by government officials and censoring.  He used the incident of the failed coup to full advantage (which is why it was so dumb) to advance the process which had begun already with his first election. (It is a lesson learned by Correa in Ecuador, who is now accused by his critics (and I don't know who to really believe on this one anymore) of staging a self coup in order to obtain the needed mass opinion support against independent journalists to pass a constitutional amendment eliminating free press in that country too as of last year, while at the same time putting his biggest critics in jail or exile.)  

                        Individual freedoms in the liberal tradition have been under attack in Venezuela since he was first elected.  That's why he lost the support of most of the middle class and immediately turned attention to the slums after his first election.  It was good politics, and it was part of the strategy, according to Chavez himself on his TV shows. It also supports the Gramsci model of socialism in which a new hegemony of mass rule replaces institutions of individual liberties without having to kill a bunch of people like Lenin did, a model which Chavez, like Correa and Morales, also frequently cited as "Bolivarian dream" goal for all of Latin America.  

                        None of this should be news, but it is to many Americans who haven't been following the Spanish media.  He'd been saying all this himself since his first election.  he's never hidden his intentions since his first election to create a new model of socialism and replace the liberal democratic model that the US enjoys and has promoted.  

                        That's why I cited elsewhere this piece which is very supportive of Chavez but supports the same points.  Chavez, and his allies Correa and Morales have a new am ambitious vision for governance that is based on ending the institutions of capitalism such as individual rights to speech and property in favor a Gramscian model of socialism without the guns and prison camps, but also without the wide protections of free speech and private property rights that liberal democracies enjoy.  That's why they're called radical democracies.  

                    •  and, on a slightly related note, (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JesseCW

                      when is the last time the United States has been on the right side of any latin american dispute?  maybe the early 90s, but for the wrong reason even then?

                      What are you doing to fight the dangerous and counterproductive error of treating dirtbag terrorist criminals as though they were comic book supervillains? I can't believe we still have to argue this shit, let alone on Daily Kos.

                      by happymisanthropy on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:44:06 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Columbia against the FARC? (0+ / 0-)

                        Peru against the Sendero Lumino?

                        The general promotion of elections and democracy, which all countries now value when almost none did  before?  

                        There have been some really serious wrongs, mostly perpetrated by America right-wing administrations.  But in general the US has not been bad for Latin America, and that is how most Latin Americans really feel about it if you ask them.

                    •  utter crap, BS, and apologetics for more meddling. (0+ / 0-)

                      you are a treasure trove and a bubbling fountain of imperialist swill.  You, Putin, the Chinese have very similar justifications. Just change the language, the target, the enemy list and you sound like you sing from the same jingoistic hymnal.  

                      "If the coup had succeeded, I think a lot of bad things could have happened to some people, but I think they would have a liberal democratic government "

                      You actually believe your own claptrap?  When has that scenario ever happened?   Too many poli sci classes , not enough ethics and history classes.

                •  The old Kipling 'white man's burden' reasoning (0+ / 0-)

                  Oh, you are not about rolling Venezuela backwards to the oligopolies and large land owners and freedom of action and behavior by foreign, especially US corporations to run roughshod over the national and domestic interests of Venezuelans.   Not at all.  Except, a little, OK a lot.

                  If Venezuela's Bolivaran revolution persists........

                  Gee, that might send a signal, or set an example for us to follow! Horrors, the Democans and Republicrats would be so upset and falling about in fright, they might actually have to lose their do nothing jobs!  There might be some inspiration for Americans to do something similar here!

  •  We Are Hypocrites When It Comes To (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlochow, lenzy1000, slatsg, JesseCW

    wanting all the votes recounted.  Just go back to Bush v Gore and remember how the SCOTUS stopped the counting of the votes in Florida.  That says it all in my book.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:39:32 AM PDT

  •  The recount has already happened (7+ / 0-)

    54.5% of votes were randomly selected and audited. This is vastly more than is necessary to detect any significant fraud. The remainder of the votes will be, as I understand it, also audited. But the Venezuelans have decided that they are not going to be manipulated by the U.S., but are going to proceed with business.

    Really, one does not have to like a government to recognize that the most important part of democracy is the freedom of a nation to do what it wants free of the interference of a Great Power.

    The U.S. is rapidly losing influence throughout the Americas. Considering the horrific things it has done in Latin America, it's about time.

    And for those still on the fainting couches for the fact that the 100% recount has not been done, turn your attention to Guatemala, where the trial of a mass murderer has been squelched by the president of the country--also a mass murderer-- with the approval of the U.S.

  •  It is also my understanding (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, slatsg, JesseCW

    that their voting machines are light-years ahead of ours in counting the votes - and they are uniform across the country.

    Venezuela is a country divided.  The poor of the poor have been given some chance but sadly, many of those promises were not kept or thrown out.

    The upper classes do not like the Socialistic ideals.  Surprise, surprise.

    When a whole group of folks think they are better, work harder and whatnot qne believe they are entitled to more without really knowing the hard, core facts on the ground (as to what it is like to grow up poor), they are going to fight to keep what they have (had).

    -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

    by MarciaJ720 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:03:51 AM PDT

  •  OK (0+ / 0-)

    By your logic the US should never comment on or inquire into a close election in a country with a history of having problems with democracy. Because we also support monarchies or dictatorships.

    Forget about election monitoring, President Carter! Stand down.

    Also, we should stop our international food assistance, because it is not administered perfectly. And so on.

    You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

    by tomjones on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:07:09 AM PDT

    •  Umm, Carter works only where (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy, JesseCW

      he's invited.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:48:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nice hissy fit. The USA interdicted medicines and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slatsg, JesseCW

      food to Iraq when it was convenient.   cut shipments of chlorine for water treatment. how did that help the health of the people?  

      You see there are applications of power even before the military strikes that can starve, terrorize people into submission.  The USA occasionally wages war by other means, via politics and economic blockades, etc.

      Your example of beneficence and humanitarianism is duly noted.  And rejected as blind to the actual applications when convenient to do the exact opposite, squeeze rather than feed.  See, Cuba, others.

    •  We assisted Karzai in stealing the last election (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CharlesII

      in Afghanistan.  

      There was no doubt about the massive fraud that occurred, and ballot box stuffing was caught on film multiple times.

      No, our State Department, which recognized results the whole world knew were nakedly fraudulent, hasn't got a leg to stand on.

      "Paid Activist" is an oxymoron.

      by JesseCW on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:47:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tripe... (4+ / 0-)

    Coming from a nation where you can lose a vote 46-54 on legislation 90% of the populace would like to see happen

    "You call this bicameral government? Hah!" - Homer Simpson

    by karlpk on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:31:24 AM PDT

  •  US and the most corrupt elections in the world (5+ / 0-)

    Only spend about 5 billion in donations on  a big election. Unlimited corporate donations, hidden PAC donations. Have a gerrymandered, minority elected Congress. Really, we must be looking stupider and stupider to the rest of the world.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:35:51 AM PDT

  •  When will the US keep its nose (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, prishannah, lenzy1000, slatsg

    When will the US keep its nose out of other countries'  business and worry more about America and its treatment of the poor and elderly?

  •  " U.S. interests" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, prishannah, slatsg

    U.S. interests = a banker making money off of it.

  •  Yeah, and this is a clear (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, prishannah, slatsg

    example of why so many in Latin America and the world have hatred towards us.

  •  Yes and no (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    prishannah

    First of all - yes I think the elections in Venezuela were likely fixed.

    Having said that...

    The U.S. has been pissed off at that country for some time because Chavez told US corps to GTFO - and then "nationalized" the oil drilling and refinery industry (2003 & 2007).

    So they have an axe to grind so to speak...

    It's a fight over money...  Lots and lots of money...

    A "pro-US" government would bust out the privatization rhetoric and sell off the country's oil holdings to corporations - at likely steeply discounted prices.  

    So there is no real "good guy" and "bad guy" here.  Just one group of assholes trying to get money and power from another group of assholes.

    It just so happens that the Venezuelan group of assholes have more of an interest in making sure the people of that nation don't starve.  US corporations could give a shit less.

    Are there no prisons? No workhouses?

    by meatballs on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 10:34:28 AM PDT

    •  There is zero evidence for election rigging (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093, slatsg, JesseCW

      The Carter Center has analyzed the voting system in great detail. They call it one of the best in the world. There is absolutely no evidence of election rigging. Indeed, the audit of over half the votes showed no evidence whatsoever of fraud. The opposition has made wild claims in every election they have lost, and have substantiated none.

      Reaching a conclusion that conflicts in such a basic way with the known facts suggests prejudice. Many Americans subconsciously (or even consciously) conceive of Latin Americans as lazy, stupid, and corrupt. They aren't, at least, no more so than Americans.  

  •  Do think the recent election in Venezuela (0+ / 0-)

    was rigged, Mr. Siegelman?

  •  1 in 25 trillion is clearly wrong. (0+ / 0-)

    Bet it's closer to 1 in a million.

    That's 25 million times more likely!

    Good reason to question the result, right?

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 11:45:23 AM PDT

  •  Everyone should read Weisbrot (6+ / 0-)

    Mark Weisbrot, published in The Guardian:

    On Wednesday, the government of Spain, Washington's only significant ally supporting a "100% audit" reversed its position and recognised Maduro's election. Then the secretary general of the Organisation of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, backed off his prior alignment with the Obama administration and recognised the election result.

    It was not just the left governments of Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay and others that had quickly congratulated Maduro on his victory; Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti and other non-left governments had joined them. The Obama administration was completely isolated in the world.

    Do the apologists for the State Department in this thread realize just how far off the edge they are in this?  No one is with us in challenging the election.  

    Even from the standpoint of raw national self-interest, morality be damned, what the US has done and is doing makes no sense.  

    •  Spain has important business relationships (0+ / 0-)

      with Venezuela.  So do many of the other countries.

      Only the US really has no inter-dependency issues with Venezuela, solely due to our hegemonic power at present.  Also, only the US had its diplomat expelled just before the election to energize Maduro's lagging base.  

      The US has nothing to lose by risking bad relations with Venezuela because Venezuela is dependent on us, economically, not the other way around.  The other countries look to the US to do the "bad cop" routine they want to but can't.  We know this is true because they would be criticizing us forcefully, like they do often enough, instead of just changing their opinions.   Also, weakening Maduro's ability to obtain cooperation from his own government and allies can only help our interests in defending liberal democracy as a model for governance when faced by the challenges of a credible alternative in the radical democracy forms of government which have been useful in redistributing wealth in those countries, but have eliminated or endangered basic individual rights in the process.  

      •  No interdepency? (0+ / 0-)

        You mean besides them supplying a significant portion of our oil? You mean despite the fact that all of Latin America is looking at our treatment of Venezuela as an indicator of whether we are a nation to be looked up to or despised?

        As I said elsewhere, we are judged not based on how we treat those governments we like, but on how we treat those we despise.  

        There are no countries in Latin America who want us to be the "bad cop." They know the bad cop first-hand, the nation that overthrows legally-elected governments, supports and arming death squads, and demands preferential treatment for American companies even as they poison the land with the cyanide from gold mining and the crude oil from the petroleum industry.

    •  The key thing here is not only that they are not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CharlesII

      challenging it, they are accepting it as valid knowing it will piss off the biggest bully on the planet.

      "Paid Activist" is an oxymoron.

      by JesseCW on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:49:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You know what, Charles? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tony Situ

      On further reflection on yours and other comments, it makes even more sense, but  it a more Machiavellian way than my idealistic interpretations.

      There is likely to be a coup in Venezuela sometime against Maduro.  The narrow and challenged result of his election means he is much weaker than Chavez politically, but he still has to deal with bad feelings in the military, which guarantees his office, and will have to cut oil export spending on social goals in order to re-invest in the dilapidated oil industry. (chavez boosted support in the short term by not investing at all in the oil industry that provides his social spending revenue, hoping to be able to do it again later when he was stronger politically to cut back on social spending only then.) The coup will not receive any support from the US, but it will be in American interests nonetheless.

      By not recognizing the election, it means Obama can still support any new democratic government that might result from a coup without violating any laws or international protocol or agreements or Democratic platform values.  That or Maduro will have to make major policy concessions beforehand to receive Obama's blessings in order to stave off a coup.  Metternich himself would be congratulating Obama now.  Aren't you?

      •  There are no bad feelings in the military (0+ / 0-)

        And if there is a coup against Maduro, everyone will blame the US and Obama, whether they're involved or not.

        This is a disaster for US influence. Sadly, Americans like yourself are too blind to see it.

        Try turning the situation around: imagine that the Russians have demanded that the US recount the Romney-Obama election, claiming (with considerably more justification than we have in criticizing Venezuela) that US elections are filled with irregularities and an insecure voting system. They refuse to the election of Obama until the votes are recounted, even though there's no reason to believe that a recount would change the result. Since we now (in this imaginary scenario) know that the Russians were responsible for installing George W. Bush in 2000 by corrupting our Supreme Court, we take very seriously the possibility that they could foment a coup against Barack Obama.

        Exactly how much do we love them?  

  •  The real problem with self interested diplomacy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CharlesII, Renee, slatsg, JesseCW

    is that income inequality between nations is just as pernicious and debilitating as income inequality between citizens of the same nation.

    We would live in a much nicer world if we didn't believe might made right and paid our trading partners fair value rather than bribe, intimidate or oust their leaders so we can steal what we want.

    We would also live in a much nicer country if the world we lived in were that much nicer place.

    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

    by Orinoco on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 12:53:08 PM PDT

    •  That makes for nice slogans (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Orinoco

      but in reality redistribution of income and "social-based" democracy experiments sound swell until you're the blogger who ends up in prison or killed by a mob because you criticized the corrupt mayor of your town.  That's what's happening now in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia, despite all of the truly laudable work their leaders have been able to accomplish in getting things for the poor that just couldn't be done for decades under neo-liberal economic models.

      However, Argentina and Brazil, like Peru and Chile, have been able to obtain the same or better redistributions of wealth while retaining their liberal democratic forms of government that protect free speech and private property, so Venezuela's current leaders and others deserve to be challenged on their lack of concern for individual rights.  That's what challenging Maduro's election helps to accomplish in the big picture.

      •  Who is talking about redistribution of income (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CharlesII, johnxbrown

        or 'social based' democracy experiments? I think you are reading something into my comment that isn't really there.

        I'm talking about our foreign policy creating banana republics in this hemisphere, for example, because our business interests demanded we exploit cheap labor and a tropical climate. Had we instead paid full price for those bananas, ie: a living wage for the campesinos who grew and harvested them, we not only would have encouraged more exotic farm production at home, but would have built up a trading partner who could afford to import more of our manufactured goods.

        It's not just South and Central America, though, we have done similar things in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. And I'm not just talking about United States diplomacy, either. All countries that can afford to project force along with their diplomatic wiles have done or are doing similar.

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 11:52:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My point is that the facts don't support (0+ / 0-)

          your claims.  Yes, there have been lots of cases of capitalist abuse abroad, as there have been in this country, but in the experience of most Latin Americans, all except Cuba are now democracies of some form at least, and all without governments rounding up people and shooting them, America is given almost all the credit for this, even in places like Venezuela where America gets blame by political leaders for some of the things you're saying.

          So, the story isn't a clean one, but the evidence of liberal democracies throughout the region, and at least democratic elections in every country except Cuba, is an example of US foreign policy success since that creating that world has been the US foreign policy for decades. And Latin Americans themselves say this, even when they use our values, correctly, to criticize some of the things we do.

      •  Have you really been hanging around for some (0+ / 0-)

        nine years still peddling the liberal capitalist  line? You must really be deeply committed to the status quo, bescause it surely hasn't improved much either domestically or in foreign policy.  In fact, it is going down in influence and in effectiveness.   Destabilizing Venezuela is really the point of your posts.  How helpful of you.

        It is our democracy that is failing, not Venezuela's.

        You acknowledge we don't have a Left.  We do have a consolidating Right with all the sinister implications that has for our future.  Our Bill of rights, our justice system is turning into a dead letter, serving only the ultra rich as is clear from the key Supreme Court decisons over the past dozen years.

        Many people have left this site because the Democratic Party is unable, or unwilling to truly lead or to reform itself and have a purpose except joint rule and oppression with the Republicans over the rest of us. That is right, The Dems are nearly as bad in practice as the Repubs.  In essential respects the differences are in degree, not substance.

  •  It's not democracy, our gubmint promotes, it's (0+ / 0-)

    capitalism, ... crony capitalism to be more specific.

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein

    by pickandshovel on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:52:10 PM PDT

  •  John kerry, who didn't have the guts to demand a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CharlesII

    recount in Ohio (2004) seem to like recount in Venezuela.

    "The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out”. - George Carlin

    by Funkygal on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 11:09:19 PM PDT

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