Ever since Trump was elected president, people have been casting aspersions at Russia for their alleged interference in that election. With the attempted coup now underway in Venezuela, we have an example of how the United States does interference — when they don’t like the result of another country’s elections, they just destabilize the government and install their own guy. In the case of Venezuela, the U.S. has been trying to take out their government since at least the time of Hugo Chavez in the early 2000s, going so far as to pull a military maneuver in which Chavez was briefly kidnapped. Chavez survived that attempt. Now it’s Maduro’s turn.
Before we get to Maduro, however, there are a few important things to know about Venezuela. For one, it’s sitting on an ocean of oil, with reserves larger than those of Saudi Arabia. This makes them of major strategic importance to the U.S., and explains why we want control over their country.
To that end, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on Venezuelan officials since Obama declared Venezuela a “national security threat” in 2014. The most recent sanctions in 2017 aimed to cut off Venezuela’s access to U.S. financial markets, with the goal of starving the Venezuelan government of cash.
Sanctions sound relatively innocent, but in fact they are a weapon of economic warfare designed to destabilize a country. The way they work is that they disrupt the economy, which worsens, causing the people to become discontent. The people then demand that the government make things better. Just to make sure the people have an option friendly to the United States, we also fund the political opposition.
In Venezuela, America’s guy is Guaido and his party (“Popular Will”). Since declaring himself president of the country, Guaido has received the full support of the United States government, which rushed to legitimize his claim by recognizing him as president just hours after the announcement. Right wing neighboring countries recognized Guaido as well. Even the EU has fallen into line, giving their imprimatur to America’s latest plans for regime change.
The contrast between America’s man in Caracas, Guaido, and the elected president Maduro couldn’t be starker. Guaido is a member of a center right party formed in opposition to Chavez. Maduro is a lifelong socialist. Guaido went to graduate school at George Washington University in Washington, DC. where he was groomed for his future role in Venezuelan politics. Maduro started out his working life as a bus driver. It’s easy to see why Guaido is the choice of the ruling class. It remains to be seen, however, if Guaido’s obvious appeal to the world’s elite is shared by the people of Venezuela.
The United States has disingenuously insisted that its interest in Venezuela is humanitarian. Looking around the world, it would seem that there are many other nations at least as deserving of our humanitarian interest as Venezuela. Will we depose their leaders too? As for democracy, it appears that America only likes elections when they return the result they want. God help you if you elect a socialist.
Guaido will very likely be the next president of Venezuela, no matter what their people want or need. If so, he will be like Macron in France, a good neoliberal eager to “reform” his land by making it more friendly to capitalists with their privatized globalist agenda. Since none of this agenda has anything to do with making life better for the working class, the people will likely come to despise him. But by then, we’ll have moved on to new countries and new terrible dictators that America must depose.