Couldn’t have said it better ourselves Eric Holder and Chiquita
Nov 282008

This is from today’s mostly good New York Times lead editorial making recommendations for the Obama administration’s policy toward Latin America.

We have no patience for Mr. Chávez’s corrupt and autocratic ways. But the Bush administration did enormous damage to American credibility throughout much of the region when it blessed what turned out to be a failed coup against Mr. Chávez.

This is absolutely correct. But the Times editorial writers neglect to remind us who else blessed the failed coup: the New York Times editorial page.

From the April 13, 2002 issue of the Times:

With yesterday’s resignation of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator. Mr. Chávez, a ruinous demagogue, stepped down after the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader, Pedro Carmona. … Wisely, Washington never publicly demonized Mr. Chávez, denying him the role of nationalist martyr. Rightly, his removal was a purely Venezuelan affair.

The New York Times has a long history of holding political and business leaders accountable. By criticizing the Bush administration for doing something that they themselves did, however, the Times appears to be holding itself to a much lower standard.

3 Responses to “Selective memory at the Times”

  1. Randy Paul Says:

    Adam,

    This is absolutely correct. I’m going to send the Times a letter and credit you if you haven’t sent them one already.

    A little self-awareness goes a long way . . . .

  2. Jaime Bustos Says:

    At least in America we are told lies in a very good phrased and mind boggling kind of fashion. In Colombia we have to get stuffed with fibs by low life would be journalists, not even their family would believe. :)

  3. Quico Says:

    It’s funny how this story has transmogrified over the years. It’s easy to forget now that the New York Times published that just a few hours after the top ranking officer in the Venezuelan army and a key Chávez ally had addressed the nation to announce that Chávez had just resigned.

    You really need to reflect on the way parroting the Chávez people’s tendentious version of the April 2002 crisis, you bolster the key ideological justification Chávez has continued to use over the last several years to justify the ongoing marginalization of dissent and concentration of power in his person. But don’t take my word for it, take Human Rights Watch’s:

    The most dramatic setback came in April 2002 when a coup d’état temporarily removed Chávez from office and replaced him with an unelected president who, in his first official act, dissolved the country’s democratic institutions, suspending the legislature and disbanding the Supreme Court. Within 40 hours, the coup unraveled, Chávez returned to office, and the constitutional order was restored. But while this derailment of Venezuelan democracy lasted less than two days, it has haunted Venezuelan politics ever since, providing a pretext for a wide range of government policies that have undercut the human rights protections established in the 1999
    Constitution.

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