27th January 2019
Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, under pressure from a US backed coup
The creeping coup d’etat against the government of Venezuela took a new turn this week when minor right wing senator, Juan Guaidó, declared himself interim president. The move was immediately backed by right wing allies in the United States, Brazil, Argentina and Canada in what has clearly been a co-ordinated move to intensify the interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela.
CIA backed opposition groups have been active within the country since the death of former president Hugo Chavez in 2013, resulting in a steady flow of economic and civil disruption. The clear aim has been to reverse the progressive gains of the Chavez years by undermining his successor, Nicolás Maduro, in an attempt to make Venezuela safe once again for international capital.
US foreign policy has been left in the hands of administration hawks such as Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and National Security Adviser, John Bolton, who have spearheaded the disinformation campaign against the Venezuelan government.
Pompeo has called for the Organisation of American States (OAS) to side with the opposition in an attempt to isolate Maduro stating, without a hint of irony,
“All OAS member states must align themselves with democracy and respect for the rule of law.”
Bolton has hinted at US action to undermine the revenues of the Venezuelan government stating,
“We think consistent with our recognition of Juan Guaidó as the constitutional interim president of Venezuela that those revenues should go tot the legitimate government. It’s very complicated we’re looking at a lot of different things we have to do, but that’s in the process.”
As a state which has maintained an illegal economic blockade against the island of Cuba for almost 60 years, the threats by the United States against Venezuela should not be taken lightly.
A resolution discussed by the OAS calling for the recognition of Guaidó passes over its founding Charter and was endorsed by only 16 of the 34 members of the body. It was firmly rejected by Nicaragua, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Bolivia, El Salvador and Dominica, while Mexico recognised the right of the Venezuelan people to choose their political system without external pressure.
The representative of Venezuela, Asbina Ixchel Marín, declared,
“In Venezuela, a coup took place, promoted by a group of countries that claim to justify it here in the OAS. It is a violation of the rules of international law. This session is an outrage to the OAS Charter, the Constitution of Venezuela and our people. We reject your call and no act that occurs here will be valid. ”
US action in Venezuela has not yet had the unequivocal backing of European nations but it appears to be only a question of time. UK Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has echoed positions taken in Germany, France and Spain that the coup d’etat government would be recognised if Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, did not call elections in eight days. Pedalling the US line that the 2018 elections which endorsed Maduro as president were “deeply flawed”, in spite of being recognised as transparent by a range of international observers, the UK action is in danger of adding to chaos in Venezuela.
So far the military have continued to back the legitimate president, Nicolás Maduro, with defence minister Vladimir Padrino stating that the coup attempt risked bringing “chaos and anarchy” to the country, going on to state,
“I have to alert the people of Venezuela to the severe danger that this represents to our integrity and national sovereignty.”
Given the recent history of US military interventions in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria there is a growing fear that this option will not be off the table for the US in Venezuela. John Bolton, in particular, has been particularly hawkish in his attitude towards Iran, calling openly for military intervention. He is unlikely to be less strident in his approach to Venezuela.
The US has always been keen to ensure that it own so called ‘backyard’ is safe for US capital, hence the fact that Cuba remains a thorn in its side. It is no surprise that the coup attempt in Venezuela follows closely upon the election of right wing Donald Trump supporter, Jair Bolsonaro, in Brazil.
Unless checked now, US interference across South America, either through economic pressure or direct military intervention is only likely to increase. That is an issue not just for the people of South America but for progressive people across the world.