Venezuela: The Care & Feeding of Generals

In other lands, the assurance might have been regarded as unnecessary—or impertinent. But in Venezuela it mattered. As outgoing President Rómulo Betancourt and President-elect Raul Leoni reviewed an air force anniversary parade recently, Colonel Francisco Miliani Aranguren, the air force commander, stepped forward. The military, promised Aranguren, "will remain loyal to the 3,000,000 compatriots who went to the polls to choose our next President."

In the past 21 months, six constitutionally chosen Presidents have been deposed in Latin America by the armed forces.* A military tolerance of a democratic regime is especially remarkable in Venezuela. During Venezuela's 133 years as...

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