US Secretary of State John Kerry recently called on the Venezuelan government to end the “terror campaign against its own citizens.” Kerry’s words are just the latest effort by the US government and mainstream media to portray the month-long protests in Venezuela as peaceful popular demonstrations against an authoritarian regime that has resorted to repression to quell the uprisings. As a result, the Venezuelan government, as Kerry’s statement illustrates, is being blamed for most of the 28 deaths that have occurred. But is this portrayal accurate? A closer look at the reality on the ground paints a very different picture. From the beginning, the protesters have been armed, have conducted widespread arson and have been intent on achieving the unconstitutional overthrow of a democratically-elected government. Continue reading
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The United States and other Western nations often claim to be engaged in “democracy promotion” around the world, but is this actually the case? After all, isn’t a core component of the democratic process accepting as legitimate the government that the people elect to govern them? It is becoming increasingly evident that the democratic model promoted by powerful Western nations includes an unspoken caveat that the only elected governments deemed legitimate and acceptable are those that represent Western liberal values. And if a government should actually advocate a different set of values, such as those rooted in the Islamic tradition, then it must be delegitimized as occurred recently in Egypt and previously in Algeria and Palestine. The inevitable consequence of such an approach for Muslims will be a growing disenchantment with democracy and an increasing acceptance of violence to resolve political differences.