Regime Change in Venezuela a Huge Mistake
The United States is attempting to carry out yet another coup, this time in Venezuela; and practically all of the mainstream corporate media, and both major political parties, are united in support.
It’s the same playbook we see time and again: Leader of country x institutes policy which benefits the people, sanctions are imposed which hurt the people in order to teach them a lesson, hardship caused by sanctions used as rationale to invade for humanitarian purposes.
In the case of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez was elected president in 1998 as part of the Bolivarian revolution. Chavez nationalized their vast oil resources, abandoned the petrodollar, and instituted a robust welfare state which resulted in the lowest poverty and illiteracy rates in South America. Collectives, community civic engagement, and voting rates soared.
For this, there had to be punishment.
Domestically, the Chavistas are largely poor, indigenous people, and descendents of slaves brought from Africa. Those ushered out of power largely lighter-skinned capitalists who want back their wealth and power. There was a coup attempt against Chavez in 2002. The capitalists used the industries still under their control – such as food and toiletries – in order to withhold certain common items which drives demand in order to cause inflation and hunger.
With the death of Chavez, the support of the Chavistas went to his successor, Maduro.
Though Chavez had begun programs to invest in agricultural programs, the vast majority of Venezuelan investment and income were still tied to oil, as they had been for the entirety of the 20th century.
So, when Saudi Arabia began flooding the oil markets, the cost of oil dropped to $28/gallon, which tanked the Venezuelan economy and starved the government of revenue.
To the US, Venezuelan oil, and by extension, Chavez, had always been a target. There was yet another coup attempt carried out by the CIA-backed opposition party in 2014. Since some opposition leaders were in jail due to their involvement in the attempted coup, the Trump administration tried to convince the opposition to not provide a candidate in the following presidential election, in order to help delegitimize Maduro. It failed, as Maduro wound up defeating two opposition candidates. So they tried another route, attempting to blow Maduro up with a drone strike, on stage in broad daylight, no less.
Despite the Carter Center asserting that Venezuela had the most transparent elections in the world way back in 2016 – following Maduro’s 2013 election – the US and their client states simply decided that Maduro’s 2018 reelection was illegitimate. Mike Pence called George Washington University alum and Venzuelan house speaker, Juan Guaido, and offered him US backing.
Despite not running for the post, Guaido swore himself in as president the following day, and the US, along with 30 of their proxies - including facebook and google - determined the right-wing coup to be legitimate and successful, and formally recognized Guaido as President of Venezuela.
Maduro, however, still has backing of not only the plurality of the Venezuelan people, but of the Supreme Court, and the military (who Maduro’s been paying quite nicely). Plus Mexico, Bolivia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Turkey, China, Russia, the UN…
Despite phase one of the latest coup being a failure, unbowed, the US increased the modern siege warfare of sanctions meant to starve the people into submission. PDVSA, the national oil company, was sanctioned, with the expressed purpose of starving the government of funds necessary to pay the salary of the Maduro-supporting military. Banks are refusing Venezuela oil-backed loans, and the UK is holding $550m of their gold ransom.
There have been ongoing rallies on either side, with anti-regime-change rallies dwarfing anti-government ones. At least 30 Chavistas, demonized in corporate Venezuelan media as violent colectivos, have been murdered by masked guarimberos.
Univision staged a video in which men dump bags of prepared food into the back of a waiting garbage truck before then eating the food with their hands out of the still waiting garbage truck. The reporters were detained for two hours before leaving with their cameras and staged footage which was spread, unquestioned, throughout the media.
A bridge which was never been opened in the first place, and is blocked from the Columbian side, has been spread throughout the media as evidence that Maduro is blocking humanitarian aid from entering the country.
In fact, Maduro is accepting aid, but not, however, from countries promising to overthrow the government. Even the UN has warned the US to stop insisting that their “aid” be allowed into the country.
The Trump administration is being quite explicit in its aims. Bolton has admitted that the purpose of this endeavor is to steal Venezuelan oil and get it into the hands of US-based corporations. Trump is quoted by McCabe as arguing that we should be at war with Venezuela because they are in our own backyard and have all of that oil. In a redux of conjured Saddam/al-Qaeda ties used after 9/11 to justify war with Iraq, Pompeo has been making things up about (Lebanese) Hezbollah in Venezuela. Marco Rubio has been posting grotesque snuff-porn twitter threats to Maduro. We’ve been amassing troops along the Columbian border.
Yet, for some reason, everyone but Ilhan Omar is getting this wrong. The right has been demonizing Venezuela for years simply because they used government and their natural resources to help their own people, they participated in bringing the Venezuelan economy to its knees, they want to steal the oil, and want to paint Venezuela as a failure and Maduro as a despot in order to justify regime change and beating back whatever they deem to be socialism worldwide.