The brim of a young hip-hop artist’s beige beanie hides a quarter of his face as his peers observe cross-legged from the concrete below. His cheek and lips grip the microphone intensely. The timid posture of his thinly adolescent frame can barely contain the newly found power and energy budding from each stomp he plants on the rickety stage in a weedy university parking lot in Mérida, Venezuela.
Chomsky on Iran, Iraq, and the Rest of the World
Cleaving a False Divide in Latin America
As Latin America shifts further left on the political spectrum, U.S. pundits are frantically struggling to artificially partition the continent’s leftist leaders between so-called populist demagogues and sound pragmatists.
Andean Regional Initiative: A Policy Fated to Fail
Ryan Murphy, creator of television’s popular reality TV show Nip/Tuck, has a theory based in Greek tragedy of why viewers tune in to see volunteers request extreme plastic surgery and wind up hideously disfigured. “It’s a cautionary fairy tale. It says, ‘Be careful what you wish for’,” he told USA Today recently.1
Venezuela: Not a Banana-Oil Republic After All
The events leading up to the April 11 military coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez can be traced back to the worsening political climate evident since the end of last year. The conflict between forces loyal to President Hugo Chavez and those opposed to him heated up particularly after November 2001, when Chavez, using new powers granted him by the National Assembly, passed 49 laws, some of which were extremely controversial–such as the Land Law and the Organic Law of Liquid Hydrocarbons. Each of these laws was annulled on Friday, less than twenty-four hours after Chavez was ousted from power by the military in alliance with business elites and the top managers of Petroleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa), the state-owned oil company.
Oil and Venezuela’s Failed Coup
Venezuela is one of the world’s leading oil producers. For decades it has been a reliable source of oil to consumers in the western hemisphere and, in particular, to the United States. This makes it critical to examine the role that oil may have played in the failed coup d’état of April 11. This is especially important because when he took office in February 1999, President Hugo Chávez launched a reform of Venezuela’s oil policy, overturning the previous decade’s process of “oil liberalization” and seeking to reinstate key aspects of traditional oil policy in Venezuela.
U.S. Shadow Over Venezuela
Regardless of the final outcome of the recent military coup and counter-coup in Venezuela, two things are clear: Venezuela is not just another banana-oil republic; and the United States has, once again, deeply damaged itself in Latin America.