A call for a coup or a tempest in a teacup?
Ever since a Venezuelan general gave a controversial interview over the weekend -- in which he pledged the army's loyalty to President Hugo Chávez -- the opposition and the president's allies have been fighting over its meaning.
The opposition claims the statement is tantamount to saying the armed forces would not recognize an opposition victory in the 2012 presidential elections. The ruling party said the general's words have been taken out of context to turn a local interview into an international scandal.
On Wednesday, the general's statements caught the attention of Organization of American States General Secretary Jose Insulza. In an interview with The Miami Herald, Insulza said the OAS would not remain silent as an armed corps threatens ``insubordination against a hypothetical future civilian authority.''
That set off ruling-party deputy Calixto García, who accused Insulza of being an opposition puppet bent on de-legitimizing Chávez.
``They've used Insulza as a useful idiot,'' García told the state-run news agency Thursday. ``When he learns the truth and clears up this mess, no one will publish it.''
During an interview with the Ultimas Noticias newspaper Sunday, General Henry Rangel, the head of the armed forces Strategic Operational Command, was asked how the armed forces would react if the opposition won the 2012 presidential election and began ousting officers loyal to Chávez.
Rangel said the armed forces and the nation would reject any such attempts. He went on to say he doubted the opposition would win in 2012 because Chávez's 12-year administration had brought social changes that previous governments had failed to deliver.
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