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Ampersand over on Alas, A Blog has a good (and oft-linked) post about the Venezuelan crisis. Her first point cuts straight to the chase:

But as non-Venezuelans, our priority ought to be strongly supporting Constitutional, representative democracy. If Venezuelans object to the course the government is taking, do they create change through the elections described in the Constitution, or through non-Constitutional means?

This is pretty much the point I made several months ago about the efforts to force Askar Akaev to step down from the presidency of Kyrgyzstan (and a better example, as Venezuela's democratic institutions are more democratic than Kyrgyzstan's). Upholding the rule of law on principle is essential, and exceptions should only be made in the most extreme cases -- those in which the end sought is of extreme importance, and the normal functioning of the system offers no reasonable means of achieving the goal. Venezuela's oil industry leaders are essentially holding the nation hostage.


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