The U.S. is Meddling in Venezuelan Election

As Venezuelans go to the polls Sunday, the U.S. is working to disrupt the re-election of Nicolas Maduro and rollback leftwing governments in the region, reports Roger D. Harris.

By Roger D. Harris  Special to Consortium News

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is the frontrunner in the presidential elections that will take place on Sunday. If past pronouncements and practice by the United States are any indication, every effort will be made to oust an avowed socialist from the the U.S. “backyard.”

This week, the leftist president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, tweeted: “Before the elections they (U.S. and allies) will carry out violent actions supported by the media and after the elections they will try a military invasion with Armed Forces from neighboring countries.”

U.S. antipathy towards the Venezuelan government started with the election of Hugo Chávez in 1998, followed by a brief and unsuccessful U.S.-backed coup in 2002. Chávez made the magnanimous, but politically imprudent, gesture of pardoning the golpistas, who are still trying to achieve by extra-parliamentary means what they have been unable to realize democratically. After Chávez died in 2013, the Venezuelans elected Maduro to carry on what has become known as the Bolivarian Revolution.

The Phantom Menace

In 2015 then U.S. President Barack Obama declared “a national emergency” because of a supposed Venezuelan threat to the U.S. The U.S. has military bases to the west of Venezuela in Colombia and to the east in the Dutch colonial islands. The Fourth Fleet patrols Venezuela’s Caribbean coast. Yet somehow in the twisted logic of imperialism, the phantom of Venezuela posed a menacing, “extraordinary threat” to the U.S. 

Each year Obama renewed and deepened sanctions against Venezuela under the National Emergencies Act. Taking no chances that his successor might not be sufficiently hostile to Venezuela, Obama prematurely renewed the sanctions his last year in office even though the sanctions would not have expired until two months into Trump’s tenure.

The fear was that presumptive U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson might try to normalize U.S. -Venezuelan relations to negotiate an oil deal between Venezuela and his former employer Exxon. As it turns out, the Democrats need not have feared Trump going soft on regime change.

Last August, Donald Trump publicly raised the “military option” to overthrow Venezuela’s democratically-elected government. Then David Smilde of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) counseled for regime change, not by military means, but by “deepening the current sanctions” to “save Venezuela.” The somewhat liberal, inside-the-beltway NGO argued against a direct military invasion because the Venezuelan military would resist, not because such an act is the gravest violation of international law.

Maduro: Phony threat to the U.S.

Meanwhile the sanctions have taken a punishing toll on the Venezuelan people, even causing death. Sanctions are designed, in Richard Nixon’s blood-curdling words, to “make the economy scream” so that the people will abandon their democratically elected government for one vetted by the U.S.

In January, Trump’s first State of the Union address called for regime change of leftist governments in Latin America, boasting, “My government has imposed harsh sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships of Cuba and Venezuela.” Hearing these stirring words, both Democrats and Republicans burst out in thunderous applause.

Dictatorships,” as the term is wielded by the U.S. government and mainstream media, should be understood as countries that try to govern in the interests of their own peoples rather than privileging the dictates of the U.S. State Department and the prerogatives of international capital.

Attack of the Clones

In addition to summoning Venezuela’s sycophantic domestic opposition, who support sanctions against their own people, the U.S. has gone on the offensive using the regional Lima Group to destabilize Venezuela. The group was established last August in Lima, the capital of Peru, as a block to oppose Venezuela.

The eighth Summit of the Americas was held in Lima in April under the lofty slogan of “democratic governance against corruption.” Unfortunately for the imperialists, the president of the host country was unable to greet the other U.S. clones. A few days earlier he had been forced to resign because of corruption. Venezuelan President Maduro was barred from attending.

Along with Peru and the U.S. ’ ever faithful junior partner Canada, other members of the Lima Group are:

  • Mexico, a prime participant of the U.S. -sponsored War on Drugs, is plagued with drug cartel violence. The frontrunner for the July presidential election is left-of-center Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who is widely believed to have won the last two elections only to have them stolen from him.

  • Panama’s government is a direct descendent of the one installed on a U.S. warship when the U.S. invaded Panama in 1989. Recall the triggering incident that unleashed U.S. bombs and 26,000 troops into Panama against a defense force of 3,000: a GI in civilian clothes was fatally shot running a military checkpoint and another GI and his wife were assaulted. What similarly grave affront to the global hegemon might precipitate a comparable military response for Venezuela? Panama imposed sanctions against Venezuela in a spat in April, accusing Venezuela of money laundering. Panama is a regional money laundering center for the illicit drug trade (some alleged through a Trump-owned hotel).

  • Argentina elected Mauricio Macri president in 2015. He immediately sold the country out to the vulture funds and the IMF while imposing severe austerity measures on working people. The economy has tanked, reversing the gains of the previous left-leaning presidencies of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández. Military and diplomatic deference to the U.S. has become the order of the day. Macri has negotiated installation of two U.S. military bases in Argentina, first with Obama and now with Trump.

  • Brazil deposed its left-leaning, democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff in a 2016 parliamentary coup. Her successor, the unelected Michel Temer, has imposed austerity measures and cooperated with the U.S. in joint military exercises along the Brazilian border with Venezuela. Temer suffers from single digit popularity ratings and is barred from running for public office due to a corruption conviction. Former left-leaning president “Lula” da Silva is the frontrunner in October’s presidential election but was imprisoned in April by Temer’s government.

  • Chile was the victim of the U.S. -backed coup, which overthrew the elected left-leaning government of Salvador Allende in 1973. A reign of terror followed with the extreme rightwing government of Gen. Augusto Pinochet killing thousands. An economic and diplomatic destabilization campaign coordinated by Washington set the stage for the coup. The Chilean regime-change scenario could be the model for Venezuela. The rightwing opposition in Venezuela torched a maternity hospital with mothers and babies inside and even poured gasoline on suspected Chávez supporters, burning them alive.

  • Colombia is the U.S. ’ closest ally in the region, the recipient of the most U.S. military aid, and the source of the greatest amount of illicit drugs afflicting the U.S. . The Colombian government has flaunted its recent peace accords with the FARC and continues to be a world leader with 7 million internally displaced persons and political assassinations of trade union leaders, human rights workers, and journalists. In cooperation with the U.S. , Colombia has been provocatively massing troops along its border with Venezuela.

  • Costa Rica is a neoliberal state that has been a staunch silent partner of U.S. imperialism ever since it served as a base for the Contra war against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua.

  • Guatemala is a major source of undocumented immigrants fleeing violence into the relative safety of the U.S. . Femicide is rampant as is criminal impunity, all legacies of the U.S. -backed dirty war of genocide from the 1960s through the ‘80s, which claimed some 200,000 Mayan lives.

  • Honduras’ left-leaning President Zelaya was deposed in a U.S. -backed coup in 2009. In the aftermath of rightwing repression and domestic violence, Honduras earned the title of murder capital of the world. The current rightwing president was reelected last November in an election so blatantly fraudulent that even the Organization of American States (OAS) failed to endorse the results.

  • Paraguay is the site of the first of the rightwing parliamentary coups in the region when left-leaning President Fernando Lugo was deposed in 2012.

Pinochet: Torturer and Murderer backed by U.S.

Such is the nature of the rightwing states allied against Venezuela in contemporary Latin America. Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of this right tide is the willingness of Brazil and Argentina to allow U.S. military installations in their border areas as well as conducting joint U.S. -led military exercises with contingents from Panama, Colombia and other countries.

Cuba, Bolivia, and Nicaragua are Venezuela’s few remaining regional allies, all of which have been subject to U.S. -backed regime-change schemes. Most recently, the Nicaraguan government undertook modest measures to increase workers’ and employers’ contributions but lower benefits. It led to violent demonstrations. Some sources hostile to the Ortega government labelled the protests as “made in the U.S. A.” In the face of such protests, the government rescinded the changes on April 23.

The Empire Strikes Back

In early April, the U.S. Southern Command conducted a series of military exercises, dubbed “Fused Response,” just 10 miles off the Venezuelan coast, simulating an invasion.

Later that month, Juan Cruz, Special Assistant to President Trump and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs, was asked whether the U.S. government supports a military coup in Venezuela. Speaking for the White House and dripping with imperial arrogance, he responded affirmatively:

If you look at the history of Venezuela, there’s never been a seminal movement in Venezuela’s history, politics, that did not involve the military. And so it would be naïve for us to think that a solution in Venezuela wouldn’t in some fashion include a very strong nod – at a minimum – strong nod from the military, a whisper in the ear, a coaxing or a nudging, or something a lot stronger than that.”

Across the Atlantic on May 3, the European Parliament demanded Venezuela suspend presidential elections. Four days later, U.S. Vice President Pence called on the OAS to expel Venezuela. Adding injury to insult, the U.S. announced yet another round of sanctions. Then the next day, U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley joined the chorus calling on President Maduro to cancel the presidential election and resign.

Haley: End Venezuelan election. (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)

Far more blatant and frightening is the Plan to Overthrow the Venezuelan Dictatorship – Masterstroke, dated February 23, 2018. Masterstrokewas leaked on the website Voltairenet.org and picked up by Stella Calloni in the reliable and respected Resumen Latinoamericano. Although Masterstroke is unverified, the contents as reported by Calloni are entirely consistent with U.S. policy and pronouncements:

The document signed by the head of the U.S. Southern Command demands making the Maduro government unsustainable by forcing him to give up, negotiate or escape. This Plan to end in very short terms the so-called ‘dictatorship’ of Venezuela calls for, ‘Increase internal instability to critical levels, intensifying the decapitalization of the country, the escape of foreign capital and the deterioration of the national currency, through the application of new inflationary measures that increase this deterioration.’”

That is, blame the Venezuelan government for the conditions imposed upon it by its enemies.

Masterstroke calls for, “Continuing to harden the condition within the (Venezuelan) Armed Forces to carry out a coup d’état, before the end of 2018, if this crisis does not cause the dictatorship to collapse or if the dictator (Maduro) does not decide to step aside.”

Failing an internal coup, Masterstroke plans an international military invasion: “Uniting Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Panama to contribute a good number of troops, make use of their geographic proximity…”

A New Hope

With the urging of the Pope and under the auspices of the government of the Dominican Republic, the Maduro government and elements of the opposition agreed to sit down to negotiate last January in the hopes of ending the cycle of violence and the deterioration of living conditions in Venezuela.

By early February they had come to a tentative agreement to hold elections. The Maduro government initially opposed a UN election observation team as a violation of national sovereignty, but then accepted it as a concession to the opposition. The opposition in turn would work to end the unilateral sanctions by the U.S. , Canada, and the EU, which are so severely crippling the daily life of ordinary Venezuelans. Two years of adroit diplomacy by the Maduro government with the less extreme elements of the opposition were bearing fruit.

The agreement had been crafted and a meeting was called for the government and the opposition to sign on. The government came to the final meeting, but not the opposition. The opposition as good clones of Washington had gotten a call from their handlers to bail.

In a damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don’t scenario, the U.S. first accused Venezuela of not scheduling presidential elections. Then elections were scheduled, but too early for the U.S. . Then the date of the elections was moved to April and then extended to May. No matter what, the U.S. would not abide by any elections in Venezuela.Ipso factoelections are considered fraudulent by U.S. if the people might vote for the wrong candidate.

Mesa de la Unidad Democrática(MUD), the coalition of Venezuelan opposition groups allied with and partially funded by the U.S., are accordingly boycotting Sunday’s election and are putting pressure on Henri Falcón to withdraw his candidacy. Falcón is Maduro’s main competition in the election. MUD has already concluded that the election is fraudulent and are doing all they can to discourage voting.

CNBC, reflecting the Washington consensus, expects the U.S. to directly target the Venezuelan oil industry immediately after the election in what they describe as “a huge sucker punch to Maduro’s socialist administration, which is depending almost entirely on crude sales to try and decelerate a deepening economic crisis.”

Ever hopeful and always militant, Maduro launched the new Petro cryptocurrency and revalued the country’s traditional currency, the Bolivar, in March. The Petro is collateralized on Venezuela’s vast mineral resources: the largest petroleum reserves in the world and large reserves of gold and other precious metals. The U.S. immediately accused Venezuela of sinisterly trying to circumvent the sanctions…which is precisely the intent of the Petro and other economic reforms, some of which are promised for after the presidential election.

The Force Awakens

Latin America has been considered the U.S. empire’s proprietary backyard since the proclamation of the Monroe Document in 1823, reaffirmed by John F. Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress in 1961, and asserted by today’s open military posturing by President Trump.

Kissinger: Issue too important for democracy.

The so-called Pink Tide of left-leaning governments spearheaded by Venezuela in the early part of this century served as a counter-hegemonic force. By any objective estimation that force has been ebbing but can awaken.

Before Chávez, all of Latin America suffered under neoliberal regimes except Cuba. If Maduro is overthrown, a major obstacle to re-establishing this hemispheric wide neoliberalism would be gone.

The future of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution is pivotal to the future of the counter-hegemonic project, which is why it is the empire’s prime target in the Western Hemisphere. If the Venezuelan government falls, all Latin American progressive movements could suffer immensely: AMLO’s campaign in Mexico, the resistance in Honduras and Argentina, maybe the complete end of the peace accords in Colombia, a left alternative to Lenin Moreno in Ecuador, the Sandinista social programs in Nicaragua, the struggle for Lula’s presidency in Brazil, and even Morales and the indigenous movements in Bolivia. 

As U.S. National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger said in 1970: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”

Roger D. Harris is the immediate past president of the 32-year-old, anti-imperialist human rights organization, the Task Force on the Americas. He will be observing the Venezuela presidential election on a delegation with Venezuela Analysis and the Intrepid News Fund.

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68 comments for “The U.S. is Meddling in Venezuelan Election

  1. Gustavo Jaramillo
    May 31, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    Dear Sirs:
    I live in Colombia on the border with Venezuela. I used to be a faithful reader of your articles. This is so full of falsehoods that I can only conclude the seriousness and independence that you have always claimed is fake.
    There are no Colombian troops at the border and I have witnessed thousands of Venezuelan refugees coming to Colombia haunted by misery and dictatorship.
    I could fill a page with the fake facts stated in this article. It is as bad journalism as the one you claim to fight.

  2. Chris Jonsson
    May 26, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    Here’s the predicted decertifying of the Venezuelan presidential election by the US, and prelude to the coming insertion of the US military to save the starving Venezuelans who have been deliberately starved by President Nicolás Maduro and to restore democracy in the country. As if that was our business. The US tried to send Venezuela food and medical supplies but President Nicolás Maduro refused it because he wanted to inflict pain on his own citizens. That’s why they re-elected him. Not to worry, the US will be there to save the day, along with their allies who can’t refuse the strongest military force in the world. This couldn’t have anything to do with Venezuelan oil, could it?

    May 25, 2018
    Venezuela Elections The Council of the Americas hosted a discussion on the political situation in Venezuela following the recent elections. Panelists included the Canadian ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) and a Venezuelan economist who had just returned from a trip to the region. The discussion focused on sanctions against the Venezuelan government, the legitimacy of the recent elections, efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the country and the refugee situation.
    https://www.c-span.org/video/?446105-1/panelists-discuss-current-elections-politics-venezuela

  3. Roberto Sandoval
    May 21, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    Sir you are wrong concerning President Pinochet. Please read “Out of the Ashes: Life, Death, and Transfiguration of Democracy in Chile, 1833-1988”

    • Petouche
      May 22, 2018 at 7:10 am

      I did a quick research on the book. If I am correct, the author states that the CIA wasn’t involved in the 1973 coup. The book was written in 1989, before some of the relevant documents on the subject were declassified, which state the opposite of the author’s thesis. It’s certain that there are documents that have not been declassified yet.

      Overthrowing a government is a step by step process, not something that happens overnight. Isolating and impoverishing a country might cause enough trouble for the people to do it themselves. The CIA is generally only involved in the last step to ensure that the new governing forces is friendly to the US.

      • Petouche
        May 22, 2018 at 7:13 am

        I made a typo: “are” instead of “is” in the last sentence

  4. Steven Spicer
    May 21, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Venezuela has apparently joined the ranks of Russia and China, of whom it has been said “Of course they’re a threat to the U.S.; look how close they put their country to our military bases!”

  5. Petouche
    May 21, 2018 at 4:32 am

    What is your opinion on the “Plan to Overthrow the Venezuelan Dictatorship – Masterstroke” ? I researched it and found only conspiracy sites that talked about it. I’m pretty sure the US has some nasty plan for Venezuela, but this one could very well be made-up.

  6. Peter Harris
    May 21, 2018 at 3:06 am

    This must come as a terrible inconvenient truth, for the right wing knuckle draggers, who always wish to blame socialism for venezuela’s problems, and at the same time, they completely ignore the United States wanton hegemony.

  7. kntlt
    May 20, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    So Russia is evil for hacking the US election, with no proof. What is it with this amazing double standard? Can the Multi Nationals just negotiate with countries for their resources like other countries do, instead of spending our blood and treasure? What welfare is this?

  8. MJ
    May 20, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    Why would the US need “to meddle” when the people of Venezuela already now by example that Maduro is NOT the cure.
    They are starving and broke and now you think we are a part of that decision making. The Venezuelan’s do have some decision making skills.

  9. Dan
    May 20, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    The way you write, its clear you are a pretty hard core Marxist. You tend to completely leave out an detail that shows how despotic these “left leaning” governments are as well. I am not defending clearly US Imperialistic actions. We have no business telling anyone how to run their country. However, if “left leaning” governments flourished, you would see, just like in Stalin’s Soviet Union, how many innocent, hard working, average citizens would die. The Marxists are even more corrupt than the right wing idiots they replace.

    • WheresOurTeddy
      May 20, 2018 at 3:37 pm

      are there not enough establishment bootlickers in the bought and paid for media that you have to come and pollute one of the non-compromised sources with your useless comment? Go back to WaPo or NYT if you want rah-rah BS about the empire being “threatened”. Read “Open Veins of Latin America” and then tell me how the radicalization of certain parts of South America isn’t 100% justified.

      On second thought, nevermind. I’d give you books but you’d probably just eat the covers.

      • Nancy
        May 20, 2018 at 5:08 pm

        Thanks for calling out the troll.

        • John Hall
          May 21, 2018 at 6:13 am

          What amazes me is all the claims of Russia meddling in the US presidential elections whilst South American States are bullied AND invaded if they dare show any Socialistic leanings. God Save America (this includes all the continent of the Americas). The US version of democracy is fatally flawed if it’s exceptionalism prevents the voice of the people being heard in other nations.

    • Mark
      May 20, 2018 at 10:34 pm

      Completely agree with you Dan. Roger conveniently left out that Maduro, that paragon of democracy, forbid numerous opposition candidates from running against him

      • George Lane
        May 22, 2018 at 8:55 pm

        Would you care to specify just who was not allowed to run? Oh yes, one is Leopoldo López, the humanitarian opposition leader who the NYT compared to the MLK, and who was, in a fit of despair and grief, blamed for the death of a black Venezuelan, who was killed by being burned alive by the peaceful and democratic opposition, for being suspected of evil Chavista leanings, because he was black.

  10. Helen
    May 19, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Reading this Reuters report today, one would not have a clue as to how the present situation came to be. Thank you Roger Harris and Consortium for in-depth reporting. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-election-migration/unconvinced-by-election-venezuela-emigrees-stream-across-border-idUSKCN1IK0MP

  11. Randall R
    May 19, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    I’m generally against US interventionism, but in this case, I have to say that Venezuela has me in the gray zone. Like Doughbouy, I have relevant actual life experience, having lived and worked for 3 years in Caracas under Chavez (after a 5 year stint in the FSU). I speak Spanish and have sat through 3 hour Chavez addresses and had meetings with Chavista governmental officials, which is more that most of the commenters here can claim. So let me provide a bit of perspective.

    Chavez was a theoretician, with a certain amount of local historical knowledge, who sought for ways to ‘flatten the elite’ that for 500 years had/have dominated Venezuela. Unfortunately, like most people who studied too much Marx and not enough Hayek, he conflated ownership with management and failed to properly understand sovereignty, with the result that his ‘Bolivarian Revolution’ was nothing more than a muddled slow-moving Socialism driving toward a disastrous statism (which was obvious at the time given the fact that ownership change alone does not result in competent management.) While Chavez clearly set the stage for destroying Venezuelan institutions by consolidating power in his own person, he did have a sufficient egoism seek endorsement via a ‘not completely rigged’ popular vote. Thus in this way the Venezuelan people are significantly to blame for the early and mid stages of the disaster that they are currently experiencing. Obama, for all his faults, was not incorrect in leaving Venezuela alone to suffer her Karma.

    Which brings us to Maduro. He has displaced Mugabe as the world’s worst and most incompetent dictator, who by trampling on what remained of the Venezuelan constitution and expanding on the Chavez policies of hiring Cuban thugs to protect his person from patriotic Venezuelans, Maduro more lost whatever claim Chavez might have had to a popular mandate. Certainly his crimes will include whatever dirty businesses he can organize, drug trafficking… whatever. This is bad, but not the main issue.

    We, as human beings, are standing by and watching a political – humanitarian crisis that has only one direction to go… down… to mass starvation (of anyone that is not politically connected… shades of Stalin). A non-interventionist might say ‘so what? That is clearly not our problem’. And indeed technically it is not. But how bad does it get before one feels moved to help those who have survived so far to continue to survive? They most certainly will not if the status quo is simply tolerated.

    It is not my wish for the USA to intervene, but it is most sincerely my wish that Venezuela return to a constitutional form of government that has at least the minimal checks and balances and the possibility of majority rule. If they were to choose to elect another Chavez – who would wreak havoc again – so be it. But if there were any opportunity for the USA – together with any other peoples willing to help – to move Venezuela out of their current political – economic – social disaster, it would be appalling not to want to help.

    • Nancy
      May 20, 2018 at 12:57 pm

      For all your “life experience” in Venezuela, if you believe the U.S. has any desire to help the Venezuelan people, you are truly naive, deluded or, more likely, part of the problem.

    • Quixotic1
      May 20, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      If the US wants to help the Venezuelan people, lift the sanctions! They are the ones being hurt by this. This is just the latest iteration of Nixon’s making “the economy scream” because the freely elected Chilean government didn’t fit in to the neoliberal paradigm. As a matter of fact, the whole purpose is to make people suffer in order to squeeze the government. So please, spare me your crocodile tears over the welfare of the Venezuelan people.

      And the first thing Pedro Carmona did after he declared himself president during the thankfully short-lived 2002 coup was to dissolve congress and the supreme court, eliminated by fiat certain laws the business community found particularly bothersome, and started shooting people down in the streets. Of course, the U.S. immediately recognized the regime ( but then, what else would you expect considering they were complicit in the plot.) So much for your concern for “democracy.”

      Venezuela poses no threat to the U.S.
      Instead of fighting them there’s no reason in the world why we couldn’t work with them in developing their economy and helping them thrive. Why not be life-affirming rather than purveyors of death? ( That was just a rhetorical question. I think we all know the reasons why.)

      • Quixotic1
        May 20, 2018 at 2:31 pm

        Actually, I would never suggest that the US try to “help” anyone. because their idea of “helping”, as things are, would be to impose austerity, to “do it their way,” so to speak, not the path chosen by the Venezuelan people. I was just saying, more or less in a perfect world if we could help them help themselves. Under the current realities it would be best to say leave Venezuela to the Venezuelans.

        I was just trying to imagine a better world. Like John Lennon said, imagine.

        • Randall R
          May 20, 2018 at 6:12 pm

          It is hard to respond to comments by people who evidently haven’t read the history relating to 20th century dictators and tyrants and also who have never been to Venezuela. Chavez made a point of spitting on the US and renouncing agreements all his years as leader – mostly rhetorically, but eventually practically. Chavez/Maduro have no interest in letting the US ‘develop their economy and help them thrive’, as this would undermine their socialist theory… and it would require agreements… that would require enforcement, etc. They want to rule autocratically and arbitrarily. If people have an aversion to the very idea of USA helping them, then perhaps opposing them is all that is left for the USA to do.

          It is true that Venezuela poses no threat to the U.S. per se, but the leadership poses a dire threat to its own people. Are we willing to help a majority of Venezuelans oppose the dictators and oppression? I can see that cynics here would consider the question itself to be invalid because the only people entitled to intervene are Angelic in nature, but my Venezuelan friends would disagree. Equally the ghosts of millions who in the past 100 years who have been left in the hands of dictators to fend for themselves… they might disagree.

          If you think all is well there and nothing is needed… just keep reading those articles about the deteriorating conditions there and your intolerance point will be reached eventually. A disaster is a disaster.

          • Quixotic1
            May 21, 2018 at 3:35 am

            Speaking of “spitting on” people, it’s hard to imagine getting “spit on” any worse than having a coup carried out against you. Or sabotaging the economy with sanctions at a time when the economy has already been suffering. Or supporting violent protests against your government.

            As far as “Chavez/Maduro having no interest in letting the U.S. help them,” I think I covered that in my second comment. Maybe you didn’t read it? They don’t need the kind of “help” the U.S. would offer them.

            As far as your question, “are we willing to help a majority of Venezuelans oppose the dictators and oppression?” Venezuela has quite possibly the cleanest elections in the world! “As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.” — Jimmy Carter
            If anything, you’re likely to wind up with a dictatorship if the opposition takes over through extra-legal means. Look at what happened last time with Pedro Carmona. And for this current round of elections, it seems the U.S. leaned on the MUD to renege on the reconciliation pact facilitated by DR President Medina and former Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero and has encouraged the opposition to boycott the elections. It seems the U.S. wants no part of the democratic process, since even an electoral victory wouldn’t go far enough in rolling back the gains made under the Bolivarian government. and their policy, at this point, seems to be aiming at nothing short of regime change. Ironically, given the economic dislocation going on now, a unified opposition would probably have a better chance of winning an election than they’ve had in years. But the U.S. still isn’t satisfied with that.

            If you’re worried about democracy in Venezuela, and if you’re worried about the welfare of the people of Venezuela, you should oppose U.S. schemes for regime change. The only reason the Carmona regime didn’t result in a blood bath is because it was stopped in its tracks early on. And if that weren’t bad enough, there are already war preparations and military contingencies in place and military exercises have taken place between the US, Brazil, Colombia and Peru. Going by recent experience, a regime change war, should it come to that, would have horrific consequences for the people of Venezuela. This is an outcome everybody should hope to avoid.

          • Quixotic1
            May 22, 2018 at 11:35 am

            The last sentence should read: “Going by recent experience, a regime change, or a regime change war, should it come to that, would have horrific consequences for the people of Venezuela. This is an outcome everybody should hope to avoid.

          • Quixotic1
            May 22, 2018 at 1:57 pm

            Also, scratch that part where I said, “since even an electoral victory wouldn’t go far enough in rolling back the gains made under the Bolivarian government. and their policy, at this point, seems to be aiming at nothing short of regime change. Ironically, given the economic dislocation going on now, a unified opposition would probably have a better chance of winning an election than they’ve had in years. But the U.S. still isn’t satisfied with that.” — that was a stupid statement to make. What it should’ve read is something along the lines of “since they know they can’t rely upon the democratic process to yield their desired results.,” or something like that anyway. But they (the U.S.) do seem to favor regime change at this point, since everything else they’ve tried has failed up until now. And if the right wing took over, it would almost certainly impose an extreme austerity placing the burden heavily on the working class to pay for the economic crisis — created not entirely through their (the Venezuelan govt.’s) own doing — as has been pointed out.

            Everything else in my comment I stand by just as written.

            Sometimes I just write things off the cuff — letting it fly, more or less — and then I go back and wonder to myself what I was thinking when I wrote that.

          • Quixotic1
            June 1, 2018 at 7:05 am

            Actually, disregard that last statement, I was right with what I wrote the first time.

      • cjonsson1
        May 26, 2018 at 10:53 pm

        US foreign policy is the neocon’s answer to world population reduction while continuing to enrich themselves by taking natural resources from third world countries after taking control of their governments.

    • Dan
      May 20, 2018 at 2:31 pm

      Well said!

  12. Ross
    May 19, 2018 at 10:06 am

    Again

  13. Garrett Connelly
    May 19, 2018 at 9:53 am

    The photo showing Pinochet’s eyes of hate are exactly like Pence’s eyes of hate photographed when KimJong-iol’s sister was sitting behind him and smiling pleasantly at the Korean olympic games.

  14. john wilson
    May 19, 2018 at 2:39 am

    Over here in the UK we rarely hear anything about South America at all. Its as though its some kind of uninhabited wasteland where nothing ever happens. We hear only about the US and that nut job Trump, Russia and that devil incarnate Putin, The insane world of Brexit and now to cap it all we are being saturated with a hideous Royal wedding.

    • J. Decker
      May 19, 2018 at 6:56 am

      This was a brilliant and concise rendering of multiple complex machinations of an evil intent. Evil because it cares not how many bodies/families/societies are destroyed as the Beast ravages across the lands, devouring it’s resources for money.

  15. May 19, 2018 at 12:22 am

    RINSE ,LATHER ,REPEAT.
    WOLFAWITZ DOCTRINE is pax-americanas world view and foreign policy.
    Rand corporation wrote an op ed in the late eighties. Its all about failed states and the road to the american century.

  16. voza0db
    May 18, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    America… just trying to make the World a better place!

  17. Doughbouy
    May 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    I used live Venezuela and worked for PDVSA. The article and comment is only BS (!!!!!). All of you should learn some underlying facts (writer included). 1). Chavez just replaced another socialists – drug dealer (been the same since 1950’s). (I had leave 2001) .2) over 80% Venezuelan oil tar sands – you can’t pump it. 3) Venezuela has highest murder rate (by country) over 20,000 last last. (Let compare to it Chile is #57 (U.S.- # 35 , Canada – # 74 – funny how socialism always ends up).

    Learn something before insert your foot.

    • Realist
      May 18, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      Perhaps you have a bone to pick with your former country, we don’t know how relevant your personal background is to the veracity of your remarks. All major countries have numerous competing factions. But, I’ll ask you this: would you like to see your old country transformed into something like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or Syria after America attempted “regime change” in all of them? Are the survivors better off now than beforehand? How about the dead, the maimed and the homeless? Be careful what you wish for, because Uncle Sam is always eager to re-engineer other societies, even as he has no clout or concern in America’s own inner cities. Might be nice to revitalize Detroit before focussing on Caracas. But it’s not really about the citizens, is it? It’s always about the money, the oil, and the power to control assets. You will rue the day you relinquished your national sovereignty to Washington just to defeat your internal opposition. How would you like to end up with another Pinochet or Galtierri running Venezuela? Those are the sort of puppets that Washington supports. Venezuelans should sort these things out amongst themselves without meddling from Washington, not at the ballot box, the economic arena or the battlefield.

      • Doughbouy
        May 18, 2018 at 7:26 pm

        Realist –

        That my point. The main problem with Venezuela is organized crime. Coke and other drugs have supplied from there since 1950″s. Whoever been in change of the government / military / companies (like PDVSA) has been involved with it (they supply to US / Europe / etc). It well known in DEA. Yes we spend too silly thing. (We human being spend too all across the board on the silly stuff)

        As for oil, also majority of hydrocarbon deposits in Venezuela in tar sands located within Orinico Basin, You have large technical staff. They are gone now. The foreign oil companies have all pulled out now (except for minimum staff). No parts, no maintenance, Only Somebody to pay off –

        • Sam F
          May 18, 2018 at 8:54 pm

          You are merely echoing standard US propaganda against socialism in South America:
          If organized crime were a US concern, it would offer assistance, not subversion and military threats.
          If drug supply to the US were the problem, the US would be actively involved as in Colombia.
          If government corruption were the problem, the economy would have done worse under Chavez/Maduro, not better.

    • mike k
      May 18, 2018 at 7:22 pm

      Socialism causes murder? Where have you put your foot now?

      • Doughbouy
        May 18, 2018 at 8:29 pm

        You should put with 60.000.000 Stalin killed, all that 1300000 Hitler kill , Mao, Pol Pot, Kim, etc. too many to name – all the name “Socialism” – now more than 20000 is Venezuela

        I guess we have look is Socialism is always results is kind of “population control’

        I Recommend you for month stay in “Kennels” section of Caracas. With food prepared by CLAP.

        Don’t Forget anything.

        • Anon
          May 18, 2018 at 9:01 pm

          Doughboy appears to be from the former US fascism School of the Americas SOA:
          None of those you name were socialists. Most were communists facing police states. Hitler was anti-communist (ignore the deception word socialist in his party name).
          You blame casualties of revolution on rebels rather than the repressive regimes they overthrew.
          Perhaps you can explain how the nice US killed so many installing dictators in S America.
          And how many your favorite dictators killed before they were ousted by anti-American socialists.
          You need to read your history of US intervention, and turn off the US right-wing propaganda.
          That propaganda has caused the oligarchies, dictatorships, and population loss you should regret.
          The US interventions have been disasters without exception, and you have been fooled.

        • KiwiAntz
          May 21, 2018 at 1:34 am

          You’re got it wrong Doughbouy! Pure Democratic Socialism, has never been realised or practiced in any Country although you have credited this as a official Govt policy to despotic regimes such as Nazi Germany, under Hitler, which was a Dictatorship & Stalin’s Russia which was also a Dictatorship masquerading as bastardised version of Karl Marx’s version of Socialism (freedom from established labor norms) that they called Communism (a stateless, classless Society)? Various other Countries experimented with modified mixes of Capitalism & Communism such as China, but no Country has ever managed to adopt “True Democratic Socialism” only aspects of this philosophy? True Democratic Socialism, as a philosophy is the total antithesis of Capitalism, in that it is a totally decentralised system were everyone shares in the economic benefits & prosperity of a Countries labor, riches & resources rather than Capitalism’s neo-liberal system which only rewards a select few elites or shareholders at the expense of everyone else? It can be thought of like bitcoin in that it’s a totally decentralised, consensus based system that can’t be manipulated by others? Democratic Socialism would run a Country like a giant Co-Op where every citizen would be a equal shareholder & share in the spoils? Capitalism’s goal is the making of money & maximising of profits to the fullest extent with reckless disregard to the human cost or damage to the Earth’s ecosystem’s or environment damage? It’s a self centred, destructive system that rewards a selfish minority! Imagine a World where the profiteering notion of Capitalism is removed? Democratic Socialism would make everyone a shareholder in their respective Govts & have a share in Earths resources? No more inequality or extremes of wealth concentrated in the hands of elites? This would negate the need for War & want, everyone would be housed with adequate food, water & access to medical care? That’s Democratic Socialism, a system that puts human beings at the forefront with a economy that services people rather than the other way round?

          • Peter Harris
            May 21, 2018 at 3:08 am

            So how would you characterize the Scandinavian States?

          • KiwiAntz
            May 21, 2018 at 3:30 am

            Peter, the closest that other Countries have to achieving a form of a Democratic Socialistic Govt are the European nations of Scandinavia, Holland, Finland, Sweden & maybe Germany etc? The identifying aspects of socialistic principles are a fair Tax system where the wealthy pay their fair share? A consensus possibly MMP type Govt where corporate money is prohibited from influencing Politicians? Free College education, a free healthcare system & a generous social welfare system are defining, core attributes of Socialism in which people’s welfare are of greater concern & are placed over corporate cronyism & profits?

    • Foo
      May 19, 2018 at 8:29 am

      Troll

  18. Realist
    May 18, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    I thought that all freedom-loving Americans, especially Democratic acolytes of President-in-exile Hillary Clinton, were thoroughly outraged at the mere thought of outsiders meddling in another country’s national elections. Or do such protections apply only to exceptional countries? Or maybe it’s hypocritical countries… it’s easy to confuse the two. Or maybe it’s only imaginary transgressions that get them lathered up, the genuine article simply being part of the new realities that empires create. I think if Washington didn’t have double standards, they’d have no standards at all.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 18, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      Come on now Realist everyone knows that it’s different for the U.S., because we are the ultimate good guys….ssshh. (To be read with sarcasm) Joe

    • Strngr - Tgthr
      May 18, 2018 at 7:50 pm

      Duh! Hillary is not President. It is Trump that is doing all this. Google it, Venezuela used to be the best country in South America, a paradise and Trump wrecked it. Don’t even think of bring in Hillary on this disaster. This is what happens when you let Deplorables decide things – now we know that are own CIA and FBI knew better: Operation Crossfire Hurricane. Sorry, but we told you so!!! What more evidence do you all need?

      • Realist
        May 18, 2018 at 9:04 pm

        Who thought this guy was a subtle maestro of sarcasm? That interpretation needs reworking.

      • Anon
        May 18, 2018 at 9:10 pm

        If not sarcastic, read the article and related history: this has been US oligarchy policy for a century.

        • Realist
          May 19, 2018 at 5:25 am

          Oh, and you also thought I was being serious about Hillary being the president? (Though she might be if the soft coup by her ridiculous supporters had succeeded.) Both you and the Hillary diehard up above seem to have actually missed the sarcasm on that one. (The giveaway? My attaching “-in-exile” to her putative title.)

          And you think I don’t know that America has meddled in the affairs–political, economic, militarily, you name the activity, for the past century? You think I missed that somehow, or that my statement was an attempt to disavow such? You need to read both the article and the words I actually wrote.

          • Anon
            May 19, 2018 at 6:45 am

            My response was not to your comment, but to that of S-T, whose response is apparently not sarcastic. He says “Venezuela used to be the best country in South America, a paradise and Trump wrecked it.” The Chavez revolution was a success. The Venezuela oligarchy is vengeful.

          • Realist
            May 19, 2018 at 7:10 pm

            Thanks for clarifying that. I thought your remarks on “sarcasm” were in reference to mine.

            That response seemed perplexing and not consistent with the other words you wrote here.
            I was ticking them off in order, saying “yes!” to each and then… the misunderstanding.

            All is good.

    • Nancy
      May 20, 2018 at 1:04 pm

      Of course all patriotic Americans know that if the U.S. does it, it can’t be wrong! We’re exceptional!

  19. Daniel
    May 18, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Most USAmericans believe the Boston Tea Party was a protest against the tea tax. In reality, the Crown had just LOWERED the tea tax, but created a monopoly held by the East India Corporation. A British officer responded to the destruction of $ millions of dollars of corporate property in Boston by saying, “Only the Americans would consider a tax cut to be an act of tyranny.”

    Similarly, only the US government would consider open and free elections to be “undemocratic.’ Our government used this duplicitous claim when Venezuela voted on Constitutional amendments, and are doing the same with this election – which they had previously demanded when they thought “the opposition” was in a strong position.

    We love “democracy” until the people vote for the “wrong” party/candidate. After Allende was elected in Chile, infamous war criminal Henry Kissinger said, “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people.”

    The list of countries the US has “meddled” with or “regime changed” because we don’t approve of their electoral choices is long indeed. Unfortunately, the list includes the US itself. With voter roll scrubbing, easily rigged computer voting machines and electronic tabulating machines “counting” paper ballots, gerrymandering, the Electoral College, etc. etc. etc., we are far from having a legitimate election system.

    BTW: For those still dreaming of “occupying the Democratic Party,” I remind you that Bernie Sanders referred to President Hugo Chavez as “a dead dictator,” and calls democratically elected President Assad the “world’s worst dictator.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 18, 2018 at 4:26 pm

      Your comment Daniel made me think to what if the U.S. had not such an enemy as communist and terrorist, for where would that leave the U.S. War Machine? All these bogeymen and undemocratic thugs are figments of an American imagination, as these bogus claims of losing our freedoms, is just another way as to get the public trumped up for war, and more war on top of that. The U.S. over the last century, and now into this one, is without a doubt the most threatening country to avoid being invaded by. And we call ourselves exceptional and indispensable too boot. Joe

    • Doughbouy
      May 18, 2018 at 5:33 pm

      (Also see above)

      I take it, you never been in VZ. (this is everybody) – the only thing real interest there anymore is drug trade – Every body is politics, military, PDVSA (for shipping) in some way. It Has been like year (since 1950). Venezuela is just another corrupt place (like St. Louis or Baltimore, Oakland, etc.)

      • Anon
        May 18, 2018 at 9:14 pm

        These are useless US propaganda lines. No one here will be fooled.

        • Doughbouy
          May 19, 2018 at 3:52 am

          It obvious you have been. I used live and work (PDVSA) there, I toured / worked in Refineries / production units all over the country. I happens so much crime and results of money laundering (before / after Chavez ) Despite you some other naysayers Venezuela has been corrupt (especially 1950’s when they nationalized their oil industry. Then coke cartels begin ship out of Venezuela paying VZ leader (sound like Chicago and Baltimore) – my associates at used to discuss it, orally only- nobody wrote anything – or you looking getting job in another country (that how the US in 2001) or get shot. So many you Gringo’s don’t a thing about world we exist on. All read is BS from some spoiled children who have sheltered.

          For you I Recommend you for month stay in “Kennels” section of Caracas. With food prepared by CLAP. (and don’t forget vapor tight pouch to bring back a couple kilograms of coke – if you survive)

  20. May 18, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    To the author, thank you. Your extraordinary report is hopeful in some ways but your coverage of the relentless pressure put on countries by the United States makes it clear that the Monroe Doctrine is alive and well. When we think how Cuba has stood up to America for so long, you have to feel good about its courage and resistance. A long time ago, before Castro, the mafia had more to do with running the country than its politicians. I hope Venezuela will also survive the onslaught and will inspire others to do so as well. America has become an embarrassing bully, so arrogant in recent years that many see as a warning that a major blowback is in the wind.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 18, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      Who will be the next Myer Lansky? Viva Fidel. Good comment Herman. Joe

  21. mike k
    May 18, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    The Evil Empire strikes again. The criminal Mafia aka the United States of Amerika is seeking another victim to pillage and ruin. The soul dead Amerikan public will believe whatever the official voice of their Rulers tells them. How long will this ugly story of brutality be repeated over and over all around the world? Will Evil finally completely dominate the world and finally destroy it? What can we do to stop it? If you are not asking these questions, then you are a soulless zombie. Please wake up to the war between good and evil that is raging all around you.

    • Sam F
      May 18, 2018 at 9:36 pm

      Thank you, Mike, for sparing me the need to say something half so effective.

  22. Joe Tedesky
    May 18, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Venezuela has according to the CIA website 300 billion barrels of crude, second is Saudi Arabia with 266 billion barrels of crude. If Venezuela were to competitively drain their crude oil down to meet Saudi Arabia’s level of crude Venezuela would have drained 34 billion barrels of crude. The U.S. total of crude oil is 37 billion barrels. Please excuse my math, and by all means double check me, but think of what Venezuela means to a country like the U.S. who not only consumes so much of it, but consider what Venezuela represents to oil distribution industry. It’s a bonanza if nothing else, and rip for the picking or drilling in its case.

    Because of what I just wrote, Venezuela is target rich for regime change. This can’t end well for Venezuela.

    • Sam F
      May 18, 2018 at 9:35 pm

      Yes, we are looking at US theft operations, throughout the long history of US warmongering in this hemisphere.

  23. Jeff
    May 18, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Fortunately, we know that “meddling” in elections is an attack on democracy itself. Don’t we?

    • Nancy
      May 20, 2018 at 1:11 pm

      It’s tragic that the majority of our brainwashed citizens would fail to see the irony of your comment.

    • Steven Spicer
      May 21, 2018 at 2:59 pm

      See, there you go again, forgetting Rule #1 of American definitions of evil: you didn’t add the necessary “unless we do it” at the end.

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