This Irish Times article contends that 80% of Venezuelans are poor. Surely “wide popularity” would require at least 50% of a given group? That would mean at least 40% popularity, wouldn’t it? That same article mentions that “the newspapers have reported his popularity
ratings are running about 30 per cent. The privately owned media are
virulently and almost unanimously hostile to Chávez.” The AP article skips
that part. It does mention that Chavez “had irritated Washington with his
close ties to Mr. Castro, visits to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and to
Libya.” Iraq and Libya are OPEC member states, as is Venezuela. Heaven
forbid they meet.
But you do get a sense that Chavez ticked off business leaders, the church, the military and the US, which tends to put a cramp in one’s governing style. However, it’s the oil, of course, that really sealed the deal: according to the AP article’s little timeline, in February of this year, Chavez installed a new board of directors in the state owned oil company, and executives were outraged, claiming the move was intended to strengthen his control over the company.
Imagine that. The head of state wants to control the state-owned oil company. The nerve.
So say what you want about this coup. Just don’t call it a goddamned victory for democracy.