Most of the news on Venezuela in the week since the April 14 presidential election focused on the efforts of losing candidate Henrique Capriles to challenge the results. But another campaign, based in Washington, was quite revealing ― and the two were most definitely related. Without Washington's strong support ― the first time it had refused to recognise a Venezuelan election result ― it is unlikely that Capriles would have joined the hardcore elements of his camp in pretending the election was stolen.
Environmentalists seem to realise that they have some stake in a fight such as the Ecuador-Chevron lawsuit. That case, which Chevron has recently moved to an international arbitration panel to try to avoid a multibillion-dollar penalty handed down by Ecuadorian courts, is about whether a multinational oil corporation will have to pay damages for pollution, for which it is responsible. Most environmentalists figure that would be a good thing.
United States diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks make it clearer than ever that foreign troops occupying Haiti for more than seven years, under the banner of the United Nations, have no legitimate reason to be there. They show that this a US occupation, as much as in Iraq or Afghanistan, and it is part of a decades-long US strategy to deny Haitians the right to democracy and self-determination.
At dawn one year ago, on June 28, soldiers invaded the home of Honduran president Manuel Zelaya and flew him to Costa Rica. It was a frightening throwback to the days when military men, backed by a local oligarchy and often the United States, could overturn the results of democratic elections. It would also turn out to be a pivotal moment for relations between the US and Latin America. A new generation of left-of-centre governments in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela were all hoping for a new relationship with Washington.