American Hypocrisy: Condemning U.S. Coup Attempt While Overthrowing Governments Overseas

Survived American aided coup

Hugo Chavez was briefly deposed by U.S.-backed coup. Photo Wikimedia Commons: Agência Brasil. Victor Soares/AB

Wednesday, January 6 in Washington, D.C. began with Trump supporters attending a demonstration at the Ellipse. Trump’s supporters had been convinced by lies spun by the right-wing media, Republican lawmakers and the President that they were the victims of election fraud, a.k.a. “The Big Lie”.  

Protesters came to the demonstration to object to the joint session of Congress that was convening to perform the pro forma task of counting electoral votes and confirming that President-elect Joe Biden won the Nov. 3, 2020 election. Trump and members of his entourage spoke to the crowd, inciting them to take action. Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, directed his ire at Republican members of Congress who did not back “The Big Lie” with his warning: “We’re coming for you”. The president himself once again called the election “this egregious assault on our democracy,” and directed those in attendance to “walk down to the Capitol.”

As the crowd made its way to the Capitol steps it became a riotous insurrectionist conflagration. They breached the Capitol doors and made their way into Statutory Hall, some waving the Confederate flag. From there, they made their way onto the floor of the Senate in an attempted coup d’état.  Their stated intent was to prevent the Senate from performing its constitutional obligation of certifying the winner of the election.  Five people died as a result of this treasonous insurrection, one of which was a Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick. Later, when the certification process resumed, Senator Mitch McConnell  said: “Our nation was founded precisely so that the free choice of the American people is what shapes our self-government and determines the destiny of our nation – not fear, not force, but the peaceful expression of the popular will.” 

“This temple to democracy was desecrated, its windows smashed, our offices vandalized,” Senator Charles Schumer said. “I want to be very clear: Those who performed these reprehensible acts cannot be called protesters – no, these were rioters and insurrectionists, goons and thugs, domestic terrorists.” 

Some members of Congress described the insurrection as a coup. “Coup” is an abbreviation for the French term “coup d’etat”. A coup d’etat, is the forceable removable of an existing government outside of the bounds of the legal structure of the country, by a political faction, a military, or a dictator usually through violent means. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) Tweeted: “The violence at the Capitol today was an attempted coup and act of insurrection…” Representative John Markey (D-MA) Tweeted, “Donald Trump is responsible for today’s coup at the Capitol and the attack on our government and democracy…” 

Language is very important, and we must be clear. This was an insurrection, defined as a violent uprising against an authority or government. The language of the President and members of his entourage such a Donald Trump, Jr., and Rudy Giuliani was seditious—conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch. The attack on the Capitol was an attempted coup d’état, an act of domestic terrorism.  

As senator Schumer said, “Those who performed these reprehensible acts cannot be called protesters – no, these were rioters and insurrectionists, goons and thugs, domestic terrorists.” These acts were horrific, inexcusable and all of those involved; even the members of Congress such as Senator Ted Cruz who contributed to the incitement of the perpetrators should be punished.

But, here’s the real question, if what Senator McConnell says is true (and it is),  “…the free choice of the American people is what shapes our self-government and determines the destiny of our nation – not fear, not force, but the peaceful expression of the popular will…” and if what just transpired in our capitol desecrated the American “temple to democracy” as Schumer said—and it did—then under what authority, moral or otherwise, does the American government have the right to foment, finance, back, instigate and execute coup’s against democratically elected governments in other countries?  

What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander. In 1953 in Iran the U.S. executed a coup d’état that overthrew of the democratically-elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, replacing him with the monarchical rule of the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. This was done in order to ensure the West’s access to Iranian oil. In an effort to generate more revenue from Iran’s oil resource and raise the standard of living for his people, Mosaddegh wanted to charge western oil companies more money per barrel.  The West refused to pay and the CIA fomented the coup that removed him from power. 

In 1954, Guatemala, the CIA backed a coup d’état that deposed the democratically-elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz on behalf of the United Fruit Company (UFC). President Árbenz introduced a minimum wage and near-universal suffrage, turning Guatemala into a democracy. The UFC was opposed to paying higher wages and higher taxes on revalued land—the company had intentionally undervalued it in order to pay lower taxes—so they appealed to President Dwight Eisenhower to have Árbenz overthrown. Eisenhower obliged.

In more recent history, the U.S. attempted a coup d’état to remove democratically-elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2002. Chavez was removed from power for 47 hours before having his presidency restored. As with Iran, Venezuela’s oil supply was the motivation for the attempted coup. In 2019 in Bolivia, Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of Bolivia, was overthrown by the military in a U.S.-backed coup. In Venezuela in 2020, a U.S.-backed a coup attempt, by infiltrating Venezuela by sea to remove democratically- elected President Nicolás Maduro, was foiled.

The self-righteous American indignation exhibited by elected officials such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Schumer, McConnell, et al as they cry crocodile tears about the insurrection targeted against this government is hypocrisy.  It rings hollow when all of them have voted for and expressed their support of American illegal interventionist activities against other democratically elected sovereign governments and leaders simply because the U.S. is opposed to socialist democracies.

It’s not just the elected officials that display this hypocrisy; it’s also American mainstream media as well. Here’s a message to the messengers. As the late great Gil Scott Heron wrote, if you know enough to transmit information, be sure you know the real deal about past situations and ain’t just repeating what you heard on other local TV stations. 

Sometimes they tell lies and put them in a truthful disguise. But the truth is, that’s why we said the revolution wouldn’t be televised.

The attack on the capitol was a treasonous, seditious attack on American democracy. But, as we call the perpetrators of this heinous act, rioters and insurrectionists, goons, thugs and terrorists, ask yourself; how do Libyans, Yemenis, and Syrians view Americans as we have been involved in ongoing campaigns to overthrow their governments?  

If we are outraged at what took place at and in the U.S. Capitol, we should be just as outraged at what our elected officials are doing to other capitols in our name and with our tax dollars.  

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer and Host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Leon,” on SiriusXM Satellite radio channel 126. Go to or email: [email protected]. and Dr. Leon’s Prescription at © 2021 InfoWave Communications, LLC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *