To find a script for the violence to come in Venezuela, one need only go to the Brookings Institute’s January 23rd memo1 to President Obama suggesting “inciting a violent popular reaction” could “oust the radicals and president.” In the polite doublespeak of the Washington consensus, the memo deplores violence at the same time it welcomes its possibilities including a “traditional coup” in Venezuela.Eager to see the actual documentation of what would have to have been one of the stupidest pieces of advice in recent memory I looked at the Brookings memo To find such a statement. Here's what I found:
The risk of a violent outcome may still be low, but it will rise as the true extent of scarcity in Venezuela becomes apparent in the coming months. The threat to the Maduro administration may come from popular unrest, an effort by moderates in the government to oust the radicals and the president, or (least likely) a traditional coup. A now unified national opposition continues to emphasize elections as the solution, but the playing field is hardly level, and elections are not scheduled to take place again until 2015.[underlined text represents the quote taken by Harris]What the Brookings Institute was laying out was the likely threats to the Maduro administration from inside the country (whether assisted by outsiders or not). This was not a suggestion to Obama to do the ousting (though I'm sure that the Institute and Obama would love to do so. Furthermore:
Economic mismanagement in Venezuela has reached such a level that it risks inciting a violent popular reaction. Venezuela is experiencing declining export revenues, accelerating inflation and widespread shortages of basic consumer goods. At the same time, the Maduro administration has foreclosed peaceful options for Venezuelans to bring about a change in its current policies.[underlined text represents the quote taken by Harris]Again, her the incepting a violent reaction is a statement of fact and not a suggestion to Obama to do anything (again not that Obama or Brookings would be averse to the idea). You simply cannot put together two partial sentences from two different paragraphs to make an argument that a memo says to do something it clearly does not. This is not to defend the Institute. I don't agree with it's advice to "work with other countries in the region". I would hope that those countries know better by now. But just because one supports Maduro doesn't mean that one gets to make up claims about the opposition.