A tale of two “coups”

What is a coup d’etat? I would say it refers to a seizure of power unjustified by country’s constitution or customs. A few years ago there was a great hue and cry over the supposed coup in Honduras, in which the Honduran supreme court ousted the president for violating the constitution. Even though the action complied with the Honduran constitution, and was acknowledged not to be a coup by the US Secretary of State, the Obama administration pressed ahead with sanctions against Honduras to try to force them to restore the socialist, would-be dictator to power.

However, this month we’ve seen a coup staged in Venezuela without a peep from the Obama administration or the legacy media. When Hugo Chavez died in Cuba earlier this month, he had been elected to a new term in office but had not been inaugurated. The Venezuelan constitution makes clear who assumes the presidency in such a case:

When an elected president becomes permanently unavailable to serve prior to his inauguration, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new president, the president of the National Assembly shall take charge of the presidency of the Republic.

The president of the National Assembly is Diosdado Cabello, but instead Nicolas Maduro — Chavez’s handpicked successor — has been sworn in as acting president. This is plainly a coup.

So why is the Obama administration silent about an actual coup in Venezuela, when it got so exercised over a non-coup in Honduras? It’s hard not to see it as politics. This administration likes Hugo Chavez’s brand of socialism, and in Honduras, a chavista was ousted, while in Venezuela a chavista was installed.

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