Two geopolitically important and petroleum-rich countries are Iran and Venezuela. The modern history of these two countries has been greatly influenced by the fact that both countries lie on top of large petroleum reserves. Each country experienced political coups d’état that were directly linked to their petroleum policies and economic dependence on their petroleum reserves. The coup in Iran occurred on the 19th of August, 1953, leading to the removal of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh from office. The Venezuelan coup occurred on the 12th of April 2002, but failed to permanently remove Hugo Chavez from office. Organized resistance played an essential role in the results of these two coups. Using Gramscian concepts the resistance to the Iranian coup d’état of 1953 and the Venezuelan coup attempt of 2002 were analyzed. In the national-popular forces in Iran 1953 failed to keep Mossadegh in office in Iran, while the Venezuelan popular-democratic movement helped Hugo Chavez to remain in office in 2002. Four main variables emerge that explain the differing outcomes of the coups in terms of the resistance. The first is the relative efficacy of international versus domestic forces in determining the outcomes of coups d’état. The second and third variables are the class composition and strategy of the popular forces. The fourth variable relates to the technological context in which the two coups occurred. By studying the interaction of these variables, conclusions can be made regarding how best to combat coup attempts.
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Thesis advisor: Otero, Gerardo
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