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Installing Democracy the American Way

April 29, 2002

Re "Is Democracy Always Worth the Trouble?" Commentary, April 24: Just like the financial analysts who recommended Enron stock right up to the crash, Rand policy analyst Angel Rabasa has put out a "buy" recommendation on the Bush administration assertion that it did not encourage or support the Venezuela coup.

Perhaps reading the newspaper should be included in the job description of policy analyst; there he would have read that U.S. officials met with coup plotters many times in the months preceding the coup and noticed that our government formed ties with the new government. Those alone are credible indications of U.S. aid in unseating the elected leaders of Venezuela.

History teaches that we will not learn the truth behind the coup until it leaks or until it is too late to make a difference. Plausible deniability is a big industry both in and out of government, and we must question the motives of those who pretend not to know it.

Bill Pilling

Bishop

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Rabasa wrote, "There are no credible indications of U.S. encouragement or support of [Hugo] Chavez's overthrow. That would have been inconsistent with U.S. international obligations." Maybe it's not credible to Rabasa, but it's very credible to anyone even vaguely familiar with U.S. machinations in Latin America.

There's a long and ignoble record of U.S. interference in the internal affairs of Latin American countries, notably in Chile, where the U.S. engineered a bloody coup that brought the fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet to power. The U.S. is notorious for its underhanded dealings in Latin America; the war on the so-called narco-terrorists in Colombia is the most recent example.

Harry D. Fisher

Woodland Hills

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