Chaves himself has been wavering, he used to try his best to be a " Yankee baiter" with his red beret and calling Saddam, Fidel et al. " my brother". He has since toned down his act and even supported the notion of a regime change in Iraq. His reward for this was a new contract for energy sales.
The administration clearly has never liked him but was willing to play ball with him to secure low oil prices in the event of a disruption or slow down of mid east oil. The strike has cut the supply line and I think that the administration olnly cares about ending the strike and that they are correct in saying that the easy way to end it would be to call early elections.
Chavez should call these elections because it would both end the strike and reelect him (unless the opposition shows some solidarity behind a candidate instead of against the incumbent.
I'd like to add that the US being behind the coup is risible. The coup ended so quickly because the US was very clear to the generals that it would not recognize any change in power that was not executed though legal channels.
What I'd do in Bush's shoes:
Keep quiet and wait it out. He can't influence it very well one way or the other and the strike is untenable. The strike will end one way or another and even if elections were called Chavez might still be in power and the problem would continue to exist.
Note: last time Chavez tempered his position, lets hope he does so again. Also hope an opposition candidate materializes.
Setanta, It's not only you that feels we have no effect on international or domestic politics, and the majority of us "bury our heads in the sand," to retain some sanity in our personal lives. c.i.
I've heard on the radio news this morning that the strike will continue. Craven points out the particularly difficult nature of this turmoil--no one with sufficient support to replace Chavez. I'd be willing to pay more for gasoline, and all other products (as the most of them are transported, at some stage in the process, by road), if it would mean that there could be peace and stability in Venezuela. I don't look for this to happen soon, saddly . . .
c.i.: In another thread just now, i expressed my frustration at being the citizen of what is touted as a democracy, but having no recourse to deter or deflect the policies of this administration. It is even more frustrating in that the "President" was elected by the Supreme Court (and i continue to assert that Cheney is the man in charge, not the Shrub)--difficult for me to see this joker as a "leader," and certainly not my leader.
Setanta, I have another take on the shrub. I think it's Rice and Powell who are directing the Bush puppet. c.i.
Powell is a bad director in that case, he rarely gets what he wants and only sometimes manages to temper the hardline opinions of the administration.
I don't think Bush is a puppet but if he were it certainly wouldn't be Powell pulling strings. Powell only gets to tug a string every now and then.
Craven, When Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld first talked about the US war with Iraq, they all sounded like hawks. During the intervening months, Bush toned down his rhetoric, and now talks about not being quick to go to war. It's my HO that both Rice and Powell were responsible for that reversal on his tough talk of war. If it was up to Cheney and/or Rumsfeld, our troops would have already been in Baghdad. c.i.
You make a convincing argument, c.i. . . .
Can't argue there c.i.
But I'd not credit Rice. Maybe just Powell. But I'm of the opinion that Powells loses to the hawks more often (Mideast, Axis comment...).
The administration had decided after the problems of last April to keep its head down on Venezuela, supporting efforts by the Organization of American States to persuade the two sides to meet each other halfway. But last week, in a statement that State Department and Pentagon officials said emanated from the National Security Council with little advance consultation with anyone outside the White House, President Bush's spokesman Ari Fleischer announced that the United States backed a constitutional solution and believed the only way out of the crisis was "the holding of early elections."
That left many here and in Venezuela scratching their heads, since there is no direct provision in the Venezuelan constitution for presidential elections before Chavez's term ends in 2006. To some, Fleischer's statement was coded language supporting the opposition, whose more extreme elements have grown increasingly unconstitutional in their demands. Fleischer emerged again to explain that his remarks were an "umbrella statement" in which the constitution was also mentioned.
The incident seemed to cause more confusion and consternation than the suspicions of clandestine U.S. efforts to overthrow the Chavez government that arose during last April's aborted coup. Still, said a senior official outside the White House who works on the region, "Here we are again, with no credibility and everybody laughing at us."
These officials and others, along with Latin American diplomats and policy experts here, attributed the problem at least in part to too much attention paid to Iraq, and too little to the rest of the world. Latin America has suffered in particular from the syndrome, with little White House interest and no top-level official who has the time or energy to worry much about it.
dys, Your last paragraph is only one half (or one third) of this administrations problems. They also forgot about our and the world's economy. If we tack on their neglect of the environment, that makes them irresponsible as the only superpower left in this world. c.i.