The U.S. Imperialist Attack on Venezuela
Glen T. Martin
I have visited Venezuela three times. The photo above was taken during the first visit of my wife and myself in 2016. We were part of a big rally in Caracas in support of the Bolivarian Revolution. We were in the audience listening to President Maduro, not 50 feet from him, with very little “security” separating him from the crowd. He was clearly a leader who was not concerned that he might be attacked by the people. He was right there with the people, and his “security detail” was made up entirely of young women proudly wearing their red berets and the Venezuelan state colors, a “security detail” that was more symbolic than threatening.
WCPA has an active chapter in Venezuela, headed by Leopoldo Alberto Cook Antonorsi, who is also our Vice-President for Latin America. The people in our chapter, including Leopoldo, support the Bolivarian Revolution. On our first visit, they gave me a book of writings by their former President, Huge Chavez. Our friends there also understand that the Constitution for the Federation of Earth intends something like a Bolivarian Revolution for all the people of Earth. WCPA also has many sympathizers among the PROUT cooperatives there. PROUT has many cooperatives in Venezuela, run by PROUT priests and nuns, because that country has a social environment sympathetic to cooperative and communitarian organizations and movements. It is a country oriented toward its people instead of big capital.
Three decades ago, Venezuela was very different. It was a typical third-world country run by the wealthy 1%, in partnership with U.S. multinational corporations and with the support of U.S. military “aid.” The people were very poor, without education, housing, medical care, hospitals, or schools. Its vast reserves of oil and other natural resources were owned by multinational investors, and the profits were shipped out of the country to the first world bank accounts of the wealthy. Hugo Chavez led a popular revolution to change all that. He spoke in the name of the vast numbers of poor people in Venezuela and they responded in turn and placed him in power. The U.S. attempted a coup against him in 2002 but the people rallied and placed him back into power within 48 hours.
This horrific situation in Venezuela three decades ago was the result of the US sponsored “free market” system. “Free markets” mean that the rich are “free” to exploit natural resources and the poor by paying as little as possible. “Free markets” mean there are no effective environmental laws, social-protection laws, or minimum wage laws. “Free markets” mean that governments are supposed to benefit their wealthy classes and not direct funds into services for the poor. The U.S. imperial system has militarily enforced “free markets” around the world by attacking countries that redirected their natural resources and social programs for the benefit of their ordinary citizens. Hence, in Iran in 1953, the US overthrew the democratically elected President Mossadegh and installed the brutal dictator, the Shah, in order to keep the oil monies in the hands of Western corporations and out of the hands of the people of Iran.
In Guatemala at the same time, the democratically elected President Jacobo Arbenz was overthrown by the U.S., and a brutal military dictatorship installed, because Arbenz was engaged in “land reform” by buying unused corporate land and giving it to starving peasants. In Chile, in 1970, the people democratically elected socialist Salvador Allende as their President. He began a program of providing state support to the poor: education, medical care, and housing. He was very popular with the poor, as is Venezuela’s President Maduro. After three years of bringing the poor into a much better life, Allende was overthrown by a US sponsored coup de etat that installed a murderous general, Augusto Pinochet, as dictator. Pinochet tortured and “disappeared” socialists and opposition citizens and opened up Chile to exploitation by multinational corporations, all supported by the U.S.
In 1979, the people of Nicaragua threw out a homicidal U.S. supported dictator named Somoza, whose family had robbed the people blind for three generations. They instituted a new, democratic government serving the people, and began programs of education, literacy, health care, and housing. Immediately the U.S. attempted to destroy this revolution by mining the harbor of the capital city Managua and other violent measures. When they failed in this, they set up terrorist camps in Honduras just north of the Nicaragua border and sent terror gangs into northern Nicaragua to gang rape, pillage, destroy schools, bomb health care centers, and terrorize the people. The famous “Iran-Contra” scandal in the U.S., that helped finance this terrorism, remains as evidence of the corruption that infects the U.S. government. By 1990, they had ruined the democratic socialist government in Nicaragua and a new president was put in power who invited the transnational corporations back into the country and allowed the people to sink back into extreme poverty.
I could go on with this history of imperial interventions, and write about literally dozens of nations that have felt the bitter pain of U.S. wars of aggression and destabilization. These include much more than the famous wars in places like Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and the like. It is time we got the picture and repudiated the absurdity that the U.S. ever cares about “humanitarian” issues or gives “humanitarian” aid.
Venezuela is in a very difficult economic situation today primarily because of the decade-long economic sanctions from the U.S. that have frozen the government’s assets abroad, have blocked the government’s ability to purchase medicines or foodstuffs for its people, and attempted to strangle Venezuela’s ability to serve its people. The cynical ploy of now offering “humanitarian aid” is unbelievably corrupt, since the humanitarian crisis was clearly caused by the economic blockade of the country. Of course, this blockade, like attempts to arrange a coup, and like any form of military intervention for humanitarian or other reasons, is in direct violation of international law. “International law,” like the word “humanitarian,” carries no meaning for imperialists like Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, or Mike Pompeo, who, like their boss Donald Trump, are lacking even the barest modicum of human decency.
I have seen for myself what is going on in Venezuela. I have spoken with ordinary people, government officials, and high court judges. The degree of support for the government among average citizens is very widespread. How long are we the people of Earth going to put up with an imperial system that rapes and pillages the people of Earth in the service of first world nations and the 1% who own the transnational corporations? Without placing a global public authority above the corporations and the imperial nations, there will never be an end to this madness. We need to ratify the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. And we need, while we are working for its ratification, to simultaneously defend all the victims of imperialism, including Venezuela, against the horrors of this global system of domination and exploitation.