Every now and then, I come across an article that just makes my blood boil and I have to dispel it. This is one of those nows, or thens.
"One of the defining features of the Trump years has been the collapse of bipartisan consensus on foreign policy. There is at least one notable exception, however: support for a democratic transition in Venezuela."
1. The bipartisan consensus on empire didn't go anywhere. Democrats and Republicans have routinely voted to intervene in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Hong Kong and is Belarus next?
2. Democratic transition is code for "destroy the Chavismo movement and the social gains made for the working class of Venezuela and reimpose neoliberalism and privatize everything and anything that western capitalists can make a profit from privatizing.
When Juan Guaido, the leader of Venezuela’s national assembly and the man recognized by the U.S. and more than 60 other nations as the country’s interim president, attended the State of the Union address in Washington this year, he received a standing ovation from Democrats and Republicans. The next day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saluted his courage. “We believe the plight of the people of Venezuela is a challenge to the conscience of the world,” she said.
1. Gross Nancy, gross.
2. 75% of countries (148 countries vs. 48 countries) acknowledge Maduro as the true president.
3. Guaido studied public administration in George Washington University and The Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración, a private non-profit Venezuelan business school who is responsible for installing horrid neoliberal economic policies before Chavez took power.
4. 81% of Venezuelans did not know who Juan Guaidó was (as recent as 2019)
Democratic support for President Donald Trump’s initial 2019 Venezuela policy — support for Guaido and sanctions against President Nicolas Maduro — is particularly important now. In December, Venezuela is scheduled to hold a rigged election for the legislature that Guaido now leads. If Joe Biden wins the U.S. election in November, he will have to decide how best to respond to what happens in Venezuela a month later. Early signs are that he will do the right thing. Biden was the first Democratic presidential candidate in 2019 to support Guaido as interim president, tweeting three weeks after Guaido was recognized by Trump: “It is time for Maduro to step aside and allow a democratic transition.”
1. Elections in Venezuela are already probably the most heavily monitored in the world. Successive reports from hostile sources such as the European Union and the Carter Center have strongly praised the election system (MacLeod, 2018: 60-1). Indeed, President Jimmy Carter (2012) stated that the Venezuelan elections were ‘the best in the world’. The 2018 elections in Venezuela were of note because they took place under a fractured US-supported opposition, with some boycotting the proceedings. The US also demanded opposition presidential candidate Henri Falcon stand down, in an attempt to delegitimize the vote before it started. However, the vote took place in complete normalcy and under the auspices of senior election officials from around the world, who testified to the election’s validity. The Latin American Council of Electoral Experts (CEELA), consisting of senior election co-ordinators, most from countries openly hostile to Venezuela, praised the ‘high level of security and efficiency’, noting that the vote reflected ‘the will of its citizens, freely expressed in the ballot box’ (CEELA, 2018). The African mission’s preliminary report characterized the election as a ‘fair, free, and transparent expression of the human right to vote and participate in the electoral process’, endorsing the proceedings’ ‘comprehensive guarantees, audits, the high-tech nature of the electoral process’ (Venezuelanalysis, 2018). Indeed, the strongest criticism the international election teams’ reports had was that some polling stations were not on the ground floor, meaning some voters had trouble accessing them. In comparison, the Colombian election, which pitted the conservative Ivan Duque against the leftist Gustavo Petro, took place under a heightened state of terror, with Petro narrowly surviving an assassination attempt, while many of his supporters were not as lucky. The incumbent conservative party under President Alvaro Uribe had overseen a massacre of over 10,000 civilians (Parkin, 2018). Colombia is also the most dangerous place to be a human rights defender or trade unionist, as many more unionists are killed inside Colombia than in the rest of the world combined (Human Rights Watch, 2008). This is partially because the military and paramilitaries have been trained by the US to see agitating for better wages as a communist conspiracy to destroy the country and to respond with a clenched fist. The paramilitaries – right-wing death squads linked to the government – issued generalized death threats to those who tried to vote for Petro. There was widespread vote-buying, with American observers, such as Daniel Kovalik, mistaken for voters and offered money to vote. There were over 1,000 official electoral fraud complaints (Kovalik, 2018).
Biden has been careful to say he does not support “regime change” for Venezuela, the phrase used to describe the George W. Bush administration’s approach to Iraq. But he has come close to endorsing the concept in substance. As he told the Americas Quarterly in March, Maduro “is a dictator, plain and simple, but the overriding goal in Venezuela must be to press for a democratic outcome through free and fair elections, and to help the Venezuelan people rebuild their country.”
I mean, this speaks for itself. The government of Venezuela was democratically elected. The US wants to overthrow it because Venezuela has the largest oil reserves on earth and it's Bolivarian socialism is providing quite the example and inspiration for the rest of the South American continent, as is always the case with popular governments that aren't letting Washington extract their country's resources and labor for super profits. The cold warrior domino theory comes into play and the threat of a good example has to be eliminated, lest it spreads.
As Noam Chomsky more eloquently said:US planners from Secretary of State Dean Acheson in the late 1940s to the present have warned that "one rotten apple can spoil the barrel." The danger is that the "rot"-social and economic development-may spread.
This "rotten apple theory" is called the domino theory for public consumption. The version used to frighten the public has Ho Chi Minh getting in a canoe and landing in California, and so on.
Maybe some US leaders believe this nonsense- it’s possible-but rational planners certainly don’t. They understand that the real threat is the "good example."