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Threat to Democracy in Latin America

Open letter published in the Guardian (UK) and signed by a variety of progressives, which calls on European governments to adopt a foreign policy independent of the Bush administration and in support of democracy in Latin America.

On 10 September, the president of Bolivia declared the US ambassador to Bolivia persona non grata.  On 11 September (the 35th anniversary of the military overthrow  of Salvador Allende in Chile) the president of Venezuela asked the US ambassador to Venezuela to leave the country.
President Hugo Chavez  believed he was  facing the possibility of an imminent coup d'etat in which he accused the United States administration of being involved. President Evo Morales believed that his government was facing serious destabilisation which was also being fomented by the United States.  A third country, Paraguay, announced ten days previously that they had detected a conspiracy involving military officers and opposition politicians.
Latin America now faces its most serious crisis since the re-introduction of democracy at the end of the 20th century.
The plot against democracy in Venezuela centred on a conspiracy, revealed in telephone conversations between senior military officers broadcast on national television, to assassinate the democratically elected head of state, President Chavez.
In Bolivia, the separatist prefects of the five eastern and southern departments, (whose ringleader Ruben Costas, the prefect of Santa Cruz department, recently met with the US Ambassador), have begun a campaign of violence and economic sabotage designed to destabilise the democratic regime.   
These events demonstrate unequivocally who defends democracy and who threatens it in Latin America today.
We are appalled by the failure of much of the international media to provide accurate and proportionate coverage of these events.
We call upon democrats throughout the world to rally to defend democracy, social progress and national independence in Latin America and to condemn these conspiracies against democracy and human rights.
We call upon the European Union and European governments to adopt a policy independent of the Bush administration in the US and unequivocally condemn all attempts to overthrow democratically elected governments in Latin America.


Harold Pinter
John Pilger       
Bruce Kent
Victoria Brittain
Tony Benn
Ken Loach
Gordon Hutchison, Sect. Venezuela Information Centre
Jean Lambert  MEP
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Bill Etherington MP
Ian Gibson MP
Harry Cohen MP
Bob Abberley, Assist Gen. Sect. Unison
Gail Cartmail, Unite the Union, Assist. Gen. Sect
Les Bayliss, Unite the Union Assist Gen. Sect.
Bob Crow, Gen. Sect. RMT
Kelvin Hopkins MP
Bill Wilson MSP
Cllr. Salma Yakoob
Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead
Billy Hayes, Gen. Sect. CWU
Keith Norman, Gen Sect. ASLEF
Gerry Morrissey, Gen Sect. BECTU
Bill Greenshields, President, NUT
Andy Bain, President TSSA
Doug Nicholls, Nat.Officer Unite
Geoff Shears
Michael Dereham
Kaveh Mussavi
Diana Raby
Derek Wall
Steve Cottingham
Joni McDougall, Internat Officer GMB