Venezuela: ‘A good day for democracy?’


“I thank you and I congratulate you,” said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to his opponents. “I recognise the decision a people have made.” Per that statement, which has drawn praise from Latin American leaders and decreased tensions that marked the demise of his constitutional referendum, UK writer Conor Foley concludes December 2, 2007 was “A good day for democracy” in Venezuela.(1,2) However, if illegal U.S. intervention was sufficient to cause the demise, it was “A terrible day.”

The Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases.

Per the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, with 97% of the ballots counted, “No” got 50.7% (4,504,351) and “Si” got 49.3% (4,159,392)–a difference of 344,959 votes by over 9 of 16 million potential voters Abstention was high at 44%, producing a low 56% turnout.

On November 26 the Chavez campaign widely distributed what it claimed was “CIA Operation Pincer” (or “Pliers”) to undermine the December 2 referendum and seize control of the nation. It has been analyzed by American experts like James Petras and Eva Golinger, but virtually ignored by U.S. mainstream media and Conor Foley.(3,4)

I’m assuming the claim is valid in that “Operation Pliers” is consistent with previous, well-documented American efforts to sabotage voting and eliminate Chavez in blatant violation of the U.S.-ratified U.N. Charter, Organization of American States (OAS) Charter, and other international codes.(5-7)

And if we can also assume this well-funded, well-orchestrated operation persuaded 349,959 or more Venezuelans to vote “No,” or persuaded that many referendum supporters to abstain, then “A good day” is indeed “A terrible day” and Bush’s reply that they “voted for democracy” is little more than psychopathic double-speak.(8-12)

Please note: If an article URL doesn’t link, you can Google the title or contact me.

(1) “A good day for democracy”

(2) “Latin American Leaders Praise Chavez for ‘Democratic Posture'”

(3) “CIA Venezuela Destabilization Memo Surfaces”>. Spanish “Operacion Tenaza” translates as “Operation Pincer” (or “Pliers”).

(4) “CIA Operation ‘Pliers’ Uncovered in Venezuela”>. Pacifica Radio’s “Democracy NOW!” and James Petras examined it on November 30; NPR and PBS’ “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” have virtually ignored it. Also see the commercial media in (12) below.

(5) “U.S. Funds Aid Chavez Opposition”>. The 2002 and 2004 operations are consistent with the 2007 ones in (9), (10) and (12) below.

(6) “U.N. General Assembly Resolution on Non-Intervention (1965)”>. Contrary to the Article VI “supremacy clause” of the U.S. Constitution, ratified treaties like the U.N. Charter and OAS Charter are routinely subverted by Presidents and members of Congress.

(7) “U.N. General Assembly Resolution on National Electoral Sovereignty (1995)”>; this and other General Assembly resolutions clearly imply that alleged “authoritarian” or “socialist” elements of a nation’s constitutional reforms do not justify intervention by other nations.

These U.N. Charter principles are also incorporated in the U.S.-ratified OAS Charter of which Venezuela and other Western Hemisphere nations are signatories. See especially Chapters 1-3 and 10-23 at>.

(8) “Bush: Venezuela’s Chavez Defeat a ‘Vote for Democracy'”

(9) “Venezuela Accuses U.S. of Double Standard over Constitutional Reform Referendum”

(10) “U.S. Companies Behind Anti-Reform Propaganda in Venezuela”

(11) For a comprehensive pre-vote analysis, see “Making Sense of Venezuela’s Constitutional Reform” at>. For a critique of “emergency powers,” see “Venezuela: Proposed Amendments Threaten Basic Rights” at>.

(12) For a comprehensive post-vote analysis, see the “Venezuelan Referendum: A Post-Mortem and its Aftermath” at>.