23 Sep 2008

Threat to Democracy in Latin America

On 10 September, the president of Bolivia declared the US ambassador to
Bolivia persona non grata. On 11 September (the 35th anniversary of the
military overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile) the president of
Venezuela asked the US ambassador to Venezuela to leave the country.

President Hugo Chavez believed he was facing the possibility of an
imminent coup d'etat in which he accused the United States administration
of being involved. President Evo Morales believed that his government was
facing serious destabilisation which was also being fomented by the United
States. A third country, Paraguay, announced ten days previously that they
had detected a conspiracy involving military officers and opposition
politicians

Latin America now faces its most serious crisis since the re-introduction
of democracy at the end of the 20th century.

The plot against democracy in Venezuela centred on a conspiracy, revealed
in telephone conversations between senior military officers broadcast on
national television, to assassinate the democratically elected head of
state, President Chavez.

In Bolivia, the separatist prefects of the five eastern and southern
departments, (whose ringleader Ruben Costas, the prefect of Santa Cruz
department, recently met with the US Ambassador), have begun a campaign of
violence and economic sabotage designed to destabilise the democratic
regime.

These events demonstrate unequivocally who defends democracy and who
threatens it in Latin America today.

We are appalled by the failure of much of the international media to
provide accurate and proportionate coverage of these events.

We call upon democrats throughout the world to rally to defend democracy,
social progress and national independence in Latin America and to condemn
these conspiracies against democracy and human rights.

We call upon the European Union and European governments to adopt a policy
independent of the Bush administration in the US and unequivocally condemn
all attempts to overthrow democratically elected governments in Latin
America.

Signatories:

Harold Pinter
John Pilger
Bruce Kent
Victoria Brittain
Tony Benn
Ken Loach
Gordon Hutchison, Sect. Venezuela Information Centre
Jean Lambert MEP
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Bill Etherington MP
Ian Gibson MP
Harry Cohen MP
Bob Abberley, Assist Gen. Sect. Unison
Gail Cartmail, Unite the Union, Assist. Gen. Sect
Les Bayliss, Unite the Union Assist Gen. Sect.
Bob Crow, Gen. Sect. RMT
Kelvin Hopkins MP
Bill Wilson MSP
Cllr. Salma Yakoob
Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead
Billy Hayes, Gen. Sect. CWU
Keith Norman, Gen Sect. ASLEF
Gerry Morrissey, Gen Sect. BECTU
Bill Greenshields, President, NUT
Andy Bain, President TSSA
Doug Nicholls, Nat.Officer Unite
Geoff Shears
Michael Dereham
Kaveh Mussavi
Diana Raby
Derek Wall
Steve Cottingham
Joni McDougall, Internat Officer GMB

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