Monday, November 08, 2010

Civil-military relations in Venezuela

A Major General in the Venezuelan army says the institution will not accept the victory of an opposition candidate in the next presidential election.  It is the sort of statement that should immediately result in the forced retirement of the officer.  It is, in fact, a statement that goes contrary to the Venezuelan constitution.  From article 328 about the military's role:

En el cumplimiento de sus funciones, está al servicio exclusivo de la Nación y en ningún caso al de persona o parcialidad política alguna.

It should go without saying that the job of the armed forces is not to pick and choose what president its leadership wants (though, depending on the country, they may cast their own individual vote for whomever they want).  It most certainly should not be issuing threats about refusing to accept the results of democratic elections.


boz 6:23 PM  

In spite of the constitution, Chavez has long pushed a model in which his political supporters are promoted in the military leadership.

leftside 5:13 PM  

Boz, do you think the opposition would not do the same thing - ie. sack the pro-Chavez officers?

And the Major General's words are not as clear as they are made to seem. He said: (The hypothesis of an) “opposition government is hard to swallow, it would mean selling the country, and that is not going to be accepted, not by the Armed Force and much less by the people.”

So it seems to me he is saying that "selling out the country" is not going to be accepted. He said that there would be a popular Revolution if the country got sold out - and that the armed forces would not be able to contain it. And "not accepting" something is qualitiatively different than pledging to not recognize an election or something concrete like that.

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