Wednesday, January 09, 2013

U.S. Response to Venezuela

From Tuesday's State Department press briefing:

MS. NULAND: We have over the course of the last week or so talked in general about the succession situation in Venezuela. Let me reiterate our foundational point, which is that this is an issue for Venezuelans to decide, and it – they need to do it in a manner that includes all the voices in the discussion. So it needs to be a broad-based discussion and it needs to be decided in a manner that is free, fair, transparent, is seen as ensuring a level political playing field in Venezuela.

At least it's a non-interventionist response. What I immediately thought, however, is that we're calling on all Venezuelans to resolve the issue of who becomes president. But the United States did not do the same in 2000. We let nine people decide for everyone. So do as we say, not as we do.

But the fact of the matter is that representative democracies by definition don't let all voices participate and it does not guarantee a "level playing field." They allow the voices of those who were elected do so, mediated by other institutions like the Supreme Court. At this point, Venezuela is actually copying the United States since the Supreme Court has ruled Hugo Chávez does not need to be sworn in on January 10.


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