But that is what it looks like today. There is reason to believe that in the long run, this policy will backfire and will result in the United States coming in second or worse. We've been doing this 'regime change' in various countries for a long time and as of yet, we cannot count much in the way of success.
Political parties allied with Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez swept the December round of local elections, winning all of the 167 seats up for grabs. The latest victories prompted the big-business press and U.S. State Department to intensify their misinformation campaign against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. What accounts for this new wave of inflammatory editorials and belligerent State Department remarks?
On one hand, the local Venezuelan elections set back the U.S-supported opposition and confirmed the popularity of the Chávez government. Most significantly, however, was a parallel development that took place outside of the Venezuelan polling sites. The United States delegation was unable to strong-arm the other states to accept the Washington-backed Free Trade Agreement of the Americas at the November meetings of the Summit of the Americas in Argentina. New economic agreements in Latin America and the Caribbean make it clear that a new economic pole is crystallizing around oil-rich Venezuela.
Opposition forces have cast Chávez’s frequent references to the 19th century South American liberator Simón Bolívar as demagogic populism. But the “Bolivarian dream” of a united and integrated Latin America in fact has made historic progress.
Using its vast natural resources, Venezuela has initiated a whole range of oil and trade agreements that aim to break the relationship of economic dependence for Latin America and Caribbean countries that have suffered under U.S.-sponsored neoliberal policies. A primary goal of these initiatives is to develop the industrial infrastructure in the formerly colonized countries.
In many cases, Venezuela has offered preferential rates and trade conditions to the poorest countries. The Venezuelan government has even initiated a program to sell cheap heating oil to communities in the South Bronx, Boston and Chicago—some of the poorest communities in the United States.
PetroCaribe initiative advances --
In September, 14 Caribbean countries signed bilateral agreements with Venezuela that deepen their participation in PetroCaribe, an oil initiative that commits Venezuela to send 77,300 barrels of crude and refined products per day to the signing countries. The agreement gives the signing countries 25 years to pay for the shipments at a one percent interest rate, with a three-year grace period. Venezuela will pay for 40 percent of the cost if oil continues to sell over 50 dollars a barrel, as it is now.
'It’s very difficult to explain, even with the law of probabilities, what has been happening to some of us in Latin America,' Mr Chavez said. 'Would it be so strange that they’ve invented technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years?'
from OpEdNews by David William Pear
Venezuela is a step closer to civil war after July 20th's "fake referendum" held by the government opposition. Corporate Fake News (i.e. mainstream corporate media) hailed the fake referendum as a vote of "no confidence" for President Nicolas Maduro.
The vote count of the "fake referendum" has not been released and likely never will be. Only the number of the turnout is reported as being over 7 million, but who needs to count votes when the referendum was only a symbolic protest?
The U.S. Empire propaganda mill is already churning out that President Nicolas Maduro is no longer the legitimate president of Venezuela. As in Syria, when the Empire labels a president illegitimate it uses it as a fig leaf for illegal aggression against a sovereign country. The fake referendum now opens the door for more U.S. meddling. The Empire has had its foot firmly inside the door for 17 years.
The U.S. started gunning for Hugo Chavez and his Bolivarian Revolution from the moment that he was democratically elected in 1998. Chavez's election and his Bolivarian Revolutionary challenged the ideology of neoliberalism, pushed by the Empire to exploit developing countries and their resources.
Zealots of neoliberalism, led by the high priests of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, preach that privatization of state owned enterprises, devaluation of the currency, cutting social services for the poor, exploitation of natural resources by international corporations, consolidation of agricultural land into large private holdings, importing cheap subsidized U.S. agriculture, forcing small farmers into city sweatshops, and opening markets to foreign imports will create economic prosperity. It does not. It is Voodoo Economics and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund know it. What neoliberalism does is guarantee that international bankers will be repaid their crippling loans.
The Bolivarian Revolution rejected neoliberalism and enacted a new socialist constitution in 1999, which lead the way for President Hugo Chavez to nationalize Venezuela's oil wealth, so its revenues could be used to provide essential services and anti-poverty programs. Chavez used Venezuela's natural resources for Venezuelans, which is hearsay to neoliberals. Chavez's charismatic personality, commitment to the poor and concern for social justice made him a hero loved by the people.
Socialism that denies international corporations profits are fighting words to the U.S. Empire. In 2002 President George W. Bush was caught red handed as the instigator of a plot that kidnapped Chavez and tried to overthrow him in a coup d'etat. The coup failed because the people turned out in the streets demanding Chavez's return and reinstatement. Bush was left with egg on his face, the blood of dozens murdered in the coup attempt and a smoking gun in his hand (The Guardian).
In 2009 there was initially hope that the newly elected Nobel Peace Prize President Barack Obama might change the Empire's aggressive foreign policy to one of accommodation. But while presidents come and go, the U.S. foreign policy objectives do not change. Obama turned out to be a willing neocon and neoliberal, and he went along with the deep state of the military-industrial complex, Wall Street bankers, big oil, big pharma, mainstream corporate media, oligarchs, spy agencies, political hacks, bureaucrats, and the 1% that really run the Empire.
In 2015 President Obama turned up the heat on Venezuela by imposing economic sanctions. To make the sanctions legal Obama had to declare that Venezuela is a national security threat to the U.S. Even Obama could not keep a straight face with that whopper. Embarrassed, Obama mumbled that the U.S. was not really worried about an invasion from Venezuela, admitting that it was all a hoax to follow the letter of U.S. law, even though it violated the spirit of the law.
Venezuela was already suffering economically from the collapse of oil prices. Imposing economic sanctions is like kicking a person when down. That was exactly the idea. When the Empire wants to engineer a regime change, a cruel way is to make the people suffer so that they take out their frustration on the established government.
After Hugo Chavez died in office in 2013, his vice president Nicolas Maduro was democratically elected president. Maduro's election was a squeaker with him getting just a small majority of 50.6% of the vote. Former President and international election observer Jimmy Charter certified Maduro's victory as fair, but that did not stop the opposition and the U.S. for screaming election fraud.
The U.S. thinks that its exceptionalism gives it the right to meddle in every other country's elections and undermine their democracies. It hurts too much to laugh at the hypocrisy of the Empire's faux outrage about Russia's Putin allegedly meddling in the U.S. 2016 election. Irony goes over the heads of the corporate Fake News.
For 17 years the groundwork has been laid for the U.S. public to believe that Venezuela is a dictatorship. The corporate Fake News shouts the propaganda that "dictator" Maduro has destroyed his country with socialism and mismanagement. With the government opposition rioting in the streets and murdering security personnel, pro-government demonstrators and standers by, Maduro is the one that gets accused of murdering peaceful protesters in the streets. The corporate Fake News has the U.S. public anxiety level unbearably high so that they will consent to the U.S. "we-must-do-something" to restore quiet in Venezuela, so that the public can go back to sleep---until the next phony crisis sure to follow.
All the U.S. public knows is what it is told, over and over again, by the corporate Fake News. Here is Bret Baier of Fox News breathlessly reading from his teleprompter a "Special Report" on Venezuela's fake referendum on Sunday:
"A 61 year old woman was killed, 4 people wounded by gunfire at a polling site at a Caracas Church in Venezuela---more than 7 million Venezuelans over the weekend---in their referendum on their president's plan to rewrite the constitution and consolidate dictatorial power---today opposition leaders are calling for more street protests, and a strike later this week---almost 100 people have died in demonstrations over the last 3 months---"
Baier then interviewed a glowing Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican Congresswoman from Miami Florida, who just cannot hide her exuberance over the turnout at the polls---the people said "no to Maduro and communism stuffed down their throats, and yes to democracy".
Ros-Lehtinen is a Cuban-American Latino from Miami Florida, who also is a strong supporter of Israel. Her major campaign contributor was Irving Moskowitz, a founder of illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine, where the body count of peaceful Palestinian protesters keep mounting up. Hypocrisy never shames them.
As I wrote in a previous article, the Empire and its servants are not motivated by democracy and human rights; that is a ruse.
Even if all of the propaganda about Venezuela was true (which it is not) why is it the job of the U.S. to fix it? The Venezuelan's are capable of solving their own problems. The U.S. Department of State says it is because Venezuela needs to "return to full respect for the rule of law, full respect for freedoms of political expression and participation"---
Surely, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson is not concerned for the people of Venezuela. He knows all about Venezuela, having been the Chief Executive Officer of ExxonMobil, until President Donald Trump tapped him for his cabinet.
Tillerson was with ExxonMobil for over 40 years. He has no love for Bolivarian Socialism, former president Hugo Chavez, and the current democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro. Tillerson had the unpleasant job of seeing Chavez and Maduro nationalize $10 billion worth of ExxonMobil's operations in Venezuela. Tillerson is sharpening his Department of State ax to get ExxonMobil's operations back.
Shortly after Tillerson resigned from ExxonMobil to become Secretary of State, wouldn't you know it, ExxonMobil hit one of the biggest offshore oil and natural gas fields in the world. Is so happens that the water it is in is claimed by Venezuela. ExxonMobil says that the water in question belongs to Venezuela's neighbor Guyana.
Tillerson had his ExxonMobil bags all packed and ready for a visit with Guyana's president David Granger, when Trump tapped him for Secretary of State. Does anyone believe that Tillerson can be objective about whose water ExxonMobil is drilling in (New York Times)?
During Tillerson's confirmation hearing he assured Congress that he would have no conflicts of interest between his former employer ExxonMobil and his role as Secretary of State. Is that believable, just because he set up a trust fund for his millions of dollars from ExxonMobil?
A believable argument of Tillerson's "no conflict of interest" is that the U.S. Empire and oil corporations are conjoined twins at the hips. To the Empire and Tillerson, what is good for ExxonMobil is good for the U.S.A., but is it good for the people of the U.S.A. Pssst---they don't care about people.
U.S. foreign policy objectives have no concern for the people of Venezuela. Ignore the cheap talk about the Empire's concerns for democracy and human rights. Trump is already using the fake referendum to try and push Venezuela over the edge into a civil war, a coup, or even a U.S. invasion. A civil war in Venezuela would be a tragedy the equal of what the Empire has perpetrated in Syria, where the body count is still mounting, with millions of people killed, widowed, orphaned, maimed and driven into refugee camps.
The possibility of civil war in Venezuela is not an exaggeration. The country is badly divided between the wealthy haves and the millions of poor have-nots. The U.S. is egging a conflict on. Hugo Chavez brought social services, healthcare, education and housing to the poor with his Bolivarian Revolution. The U.S. Empire and ExxonMobil have declared war on democratically elected President Nicolas Maduro, and he is in the Empire's crosshairs. Trump has said that all options are on the table.
Trump is turning up the heat. He announced "swift and strong actions" if Venezuela proceeds with already planned elections for the National Constituent Assembly, scheduled for a vote on July 30th. Maduro's response to Trump is that he is being "vulgar" because "the process of the constituent assembly is already in the hands of the people who will exercise their right to vote."
To digress, President Nicolas Maduro has called for a Constituent Assembly to revise Venezuela's 1999 constitution in order to deal with the current economic crisis caused by plummeting oil prices, U.S. sanctions and the chaos in the street. Venezuela's oil wealth provides approximately 50% of Venezuela's revenues to pay for imports. Low oil prices are hurting every oil producer. For Venezuela it has resulted in shortages of imports, such as food, medicine and other consumer items. The shortages have caused hyperinflation, but Venezuela is not broke. They are still providing public services, medical care and food to the poor. They are current on their foreign debts.
Maduro's opposition has labeled the planned Constituent Assembly a "coup" by Maduro. The matter was taken to Venezuela's Supreme Court, which ruled in Maduro's favor. Change happens and was foreseen by the 1999 constitution. A Constituent Assembly to revise the constriction is provided for in the 1999 constitution, which was democratically approved by the people.
The Supreme Court decision resulted in the disbanding of the current National Assembly until a new constitution is formed, and new elections are held. Maduro says that a revised constitution is necessary, for one thing to deal with the current crisis. For another thing, Maduro says that the poor have been badly underrepresented in the National Assembly, and that the wealth have been over represented. Maduro's plan is controversial, but it is legal. It is democracy in action, and an improvement of the democratic representation of the people. The rich are waging class warfare.
After the Supreme Court ruled in Maduro favor, the Trump Empire which thinks it has the right to meddle in other's Supreme Court decisions, reacted by imposing more sanctions. He even singling out individual Supreme Court judges for personal sanctions. That is like Putin imposing sanctions on U.S. Supreme Court judges for the ruling on an upcoming case on partisan gerrymandering---the corporate Fake News would go nutz, and rightly so.
Economic sanctions are intended to make the economy scream, as President Richard Nixon put it when he ordered the CIA to "make the economy scream" in Chile to "prevent democratically elected Salvador Allende from coming to power". The U.S. backed a coup d'etat that overthrow and assassinate Allende in one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history. The U.S. backed coup brought about a 17 year military dictatorship in Chile, which was a blood-soaked reign of terror, torture, murder and disappearances by Generalissimo Augusto Pinochet. In 1998 Pinochet was convicted by Spain for crimes against humanity (See Britannica.com).
A screaming economy causing the people to suffer, as they did in Iraq resulting in half a million babies dying. Dead babies are "worth it" according to Clinton's Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, as she spoke about the priority of U.S. foreign policy objectives.
The Trump Empire has imposed more economic sanctions on Venezuela, he is trying to politically isolate Venezuela from other Latin American countries, and he is openly giving financial and political support to the disloyal opposition.
We have the 2002 smoking gun that the Empire plotted and tried to carry out a coup d'etat. The Empire has a long record and modus operandi of covert coups and overt military invasions to overthrow governments, democratically elected or not. We do not need another smoking gun for proof.
The Trump Empire and corporate Fake News is further dumbing down the U.S. public. They are spreading lies, half-truths and cover-ups. Any inconvenient information that discredits the opposition goes unreported. For those that can see, they can see that the Empire is manufacturing consent for further aggression, including sending in the gunboats and Marines.
The Telegraph has the headline "US warns Venezuela that 'no option is off the table' if it goes ahead with vote for new assembly." Trump is quoted as saying, He is "very concerned about the well-being of the Venezuelan people, the incredible erosion of democracy right before our eyes." Maduro shot back, "The United States seems destined by providence to plague America with misery in the name of liberty". Bolivian President Evo Morales, who is also in the Empires crosshairs, said that Trump is "shameful". Actually, he has no shame.
Venezuela has been caught up in violent rioting backed by the right-wing wealthy class, and they have been responsible for most of the murdered and wounded, which the corporate Fake News ignores. Instead the corporate Fake News keeps repeating the numbers of those murdered as if all the deaths have been caused by the Venezuelan security forces, which is just not true. But when does the truth get in the way of the Empire's propaganda? It does not, and the corporate Fake News is the propaganda horn that makes sure that inconvenient truths do not get in the way of Empire wars.
You may also want to read David William Pear's previous article Venezuela Under Siege by U.S. Empire
David is active in social issues relating to peace, race relations, homelessness and equal justice. David is a member of Veterans for Peace, St Pete for Peace, CodePink, International Solidarity Movement, and Uhuru Solidarity Movement. In 2016 David spent 10 weeks in Palestine with the Palestinian lead non-violent resistance group International Solidarity Movement. In November of 2015 he was a delegate with CodePink to Palestine to show solidarity with Palestinians. In February of 2015 he was part of a people-to-people delegation to Cuba with CodePink. David frequently makes extended people-to-people trips to Russia as a private citizen.
After retiring from finance in 2009, David earned a certification as an Emergency Medical Technician. He has volunteered for public health service, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, emergency medicine and needs of the homeless. David has a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from the University of Maryland and attended classes at George Washington University to receive his Certified Financial Planner certification. He also attended courses at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania for his certification as a Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA).
David is a Vietnam veteran having served as a member of the 5th Special Forces Group as a combat advisor to the Army of the Republic of (South) Viet Nam. David resides with his wife and three cats in Clearwater Beach, Florida. His hobbies include boating, fishing and motorcycle touring. He is also a licensed skydiver (USPA-inactive)