The days when U.S.-backed armed forces overthrew constitutional, democratically elected governments are long gone.
The United States still sees democracy as necessary for the smooth functioning of the markets. The Latin American “new left” have freed themselves from US hegemony by ending the great myth of happy globalisation, nationalising their natural resources and asserting independence. Under Nixon and Reagan, with their national security doctrine, things were clear: to keep control, the United States needed to wage total and absolute war. Under George W Bush, things were still clear: The United States was directly involved in the attempted coup in Venezuela in 2002.
“When I asked President Correa if the US was behind 30-S,” said Juan Paz y Miño, “he replied, ‘we don’t have any proof but… we can’t discount the possibility.” Correa later ruled out any direct responsibility on the part of President Barack Obama, but hinted at CIA involvement: “What we know for certain is that there are [in the US] far-right groups, a great number of foundations that finance the many groups and conspirators who oppose our government.”
The struggle still goes on. “In this country,” said Venezuela’s interior minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres, “they apply what the left used to call a ‘combination of all forms of struggle’. And if you make a list of the people involved, they have remained the same since the start; it’s the same organisations … What changes, every time, is the method.”