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      Thursday
      Feb202014

      U.S. Intervention in Venezuelan Crisis?

      A Protestor Takes to the Streets, Armed with a Gas Mask and a Flag, Venezuela. (Photo: Getty Images, 2014)

      Famed Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel, director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is being pressured by anti-government forces to condemn the Maduro government in Caracas, a step that could force him to leave El Sistema, the national music program enrolling one half-million Venezuelan youth. The LA Times inaccurately reported that Dudamel directed a youth orchestra in Maracay on February 12 with President Nicolas Maduro attending, on the day when demonstrators were fatally shot. The Dudamel concert was in Caracas that day, two hours away. 

      Dudamel issued a statement declaring that “Our music is the universal language of peace and for that reason we regret yesterday’s events,” Dudamel said in a statement issued late Thursday. “With instruments in hand, we say no to violence and an overwhelming yes to peace.” Los Angeles architect Frank Gehry, who is consulting on a Venezuelan hall for the youth orchestra, was present at the Dudamel concert and described the huge audience as overwhelmingly receptive.

      The misreporting of Dudamel's whereabouts is only a local reflection of widespread confusion in the US over street conflicts now overflowing in a divided Venezuela. The Maduro government, elected last year by less than two percent of the national vote, faces an opposition which seems bent on precipitating its overthrow by a cycle of violence and repression escalates daily. Countries across the region are rallying to the defense of Venezuelan sovereignty and warning against direct or indirect US intervention. President Barack Obama has issued a vague call for "dialogue" and the release of prisoners while facing demands from Sen. John McCain for US intervention. 

      Any credible evidence of a US hand in destabilizing the elected Venezuelan government will chill Obama's efforts to improve regional diplomacy during his final three years in office. A coup might plunge the country, and region, into a war that would be a diplomatic nightmare for Washington. The slender hope that the virulent anti-Maduro opposition will return to peaceful constitutional boundaries rests on clear and repeated signals from the Obama administration that it will not intervene. Instead the US should support a conflict resolution process led by countries of the region.

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      Reader Comments (3)

      I doubt the likelihood of US intervention in Venezuela, Tom, because Obama already has enough on his plate: Iran, North Korea, the Middle East, Ukraine, Russia. What troubles me is media inattention. The other day a picture was posted on Facebook showing about a million people at a demonstration in Caracas, but not one major news outlet had it.

      February 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike Havenar

      One million people in an anti-Maduro demonstration in Caracas? Ludicrous. Caracas has a population of two million, the entire metro area one million more. All the news reports I've seen -- in addition to various blogs, which have had the best reporting (see, e.g. venezuelanalysis.com), there have been loads of stuff, none of it very perceptive, however, from the Associated Press, Agence France Presse, CNN, etc. -- have placed the anti-government protests in the upper middle class and rich areas of Caracas. Having numerous times failed to defeat Chávez and now Maduro at the polls, the opposition is simply going to try to do it in the streets. Many of the opposition leaders like Leopoldo López were also involved in the abortive coup of 2002.

      February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Wise

      with many details and covert intentions its simple to state that oil is a resource others want to control and profit from. But Democracy is what helps assure its use in pursuit of the interest of the people of that nation and the world as a whole. I LIKE HUGO CHAVEZ SIMPLE BECAUSE HE SEEMED TO HAVE THE INTERESTS OF THE POEPLE OF VENEZUELA INTERESTS AT HEART EVEN THOUGH HE WAS A NEW TYPE OF SOCIALISM, WHICH I AM FOR A SOCIAL DEMOCRACY WHICH MEANS "WE THE PEOPLE" OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, A GOVERNMENT BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE".ABRAHAM LINCOLN.DID HUGO STEAL THE OIL FROM PRIVATE PERSONS? i DONT KNOW? IT WOULD BE LIKE PUBLIC DOMAIN. WHEN THE GOV NEEDS PROPERTY IT TAKE S IT IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE FOR THE REGULATION OF THE GOV. BUT IT OUGHT TO PAY FAIR COMPENSATION. DID THE OIL COMPANIES CHEAT THE PEOPLE? IDONT KNOW?

      March 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRonAld L.Vaught
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