Good piece by Paul Krugman on the fiasco of the US reaction to the overthrow and then un-overthrow of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The degree of embarrassment this represents has presumably been eclipsed by the crisis in the Mideast. One point Krugman alludes to is how clumsy and cliched a coup this turned out to be. The protests included a fairly broad section of the population — business groups, labor groups, the church. But the new ‘president’, Pedro Carmona Estanga, assembled a government which excluded all but a series of business leaders and also dissolved the national assembly and all sorts of other good things. The whole gambit was turning into a set piece from some really bad example of fifties-era socialist realist fiction. In the end, even the military leaders who had launched the coup decided it had gone too far. They withdrew their support and the whole thing fell apart. And now we see the first signs in the mainstream press that the Bush administration may actually have had a hand in the coup itself.
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