The Washington Post today carried an interesting analysis (free registration required) of the tense situation in Venezuela. Of interest to me was the following paragraph:
Mr. Chavez, who has built a strong alliance with Cuba’s Fidel Castro and imported thousands of Cuban personnel, appears eager for a domestic and international confrontation. Last weekend he called President Bush an “illegitimate” president, referred to him with a vulgar epithet and threatened to cut off oil supplies to the United States. Opposition leaders say that more than 300 people have been arrested in recent days, and that some have been tortured. Given the Bush administration’s weak position in the region, hope for a peaceful or democratic solution rests mostly with Venezuela’s Latin American neighbors, starting with Brazil(emphasis added). If Mr. Chavez continues to deny his people a democratic vote, leaders from those nations must be prepared to invoke the Democracy Charter of the OAS and threaten him with the isolation reserved for autocrats.
This is an interesting statement. On one hand, an intervention led by Brazil would be a good way for President Lula to establish the leadership of that country among its peers. On the other hand, President Chavez is very outspoken in his criticism of Bush, and that appeals to Lula (who is also quite chummy with Fidel). So Brazilian intervention is unlikely, even though all evidence indicates that there are severe violations of human rights in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela.
Unfortunately with Lula, as with most other world leaders, adhering to principle is only for campaign speeches.