Venezuelan Democracy under threat by US

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Democracy under threat
In the background, at private meetings on the island of Aruba in the Dutch Antilles and in public declarations by Thomas Shannon, the US secretary of state for Latin American affairs, the opposition had been elaborating a strategy to overthrow Chavez. Its plan was to make people believe that “democracy in Venezuela is in grave peril”, as Shannon put it to a Washington subcommittee two weeks ago.
It is indeed in peril, threatened by a tiny ragbag of opposition groups given disproportionate international influence through the support of the US. By their irresponsible electoral abstention, they hoped to undermine the credibility of the parliamentary system.
The US-backed strategy is to use apparently neutral non-governmental organisations to tell the world that the elections are not free and fair, that press freedom is under threat, and that human rights are not respected. These allegations are then exaggerated and amplified in Washington.
The complaints are nonsense. The opposition still owns most of the newspapers and television stations. The judiciary has been comprehensively reformed after the scandals of the previous decade when half the judges were found to be corrupt or incompetent. Elections have been endlessly vetted and human rights have been extended to the great mass of the people.