By JEFF MACKLER
“Nobody said regime change was going to be easy,” read the first line on the front-page New York Times article of May 2 entitled, “Pressure Rises After Failure In Venezuela.” The article, billed as “news analysis,” continues, “President Trump’s top advisers woke up Tuesday [April 30] believing that a rebellion in the Venezuelan military that day would galvanize a popular uprising and topple a leader they have described as a reviled despot who must be replaced. But at day’s end, President Maduro was still in power and Mr. Trump’s advisers were left to blame Cuba, Russia and three influential Venezuelan officials, who failed to switch sides, for frustrating their plans.”
In the old days, and even recently, U.S. CIA-orchestrated coups were clandestine matters, wherein secretly trained troops were organized, armed, and financed by U.S. imperialism and sent in to remove any government that the U.S. ruling elite deemed a threat to their economic and/or geopolitical interests. The 1962 U.S.-sponsored coup/invasion of Cuba as well as the U.S. 10-year “Contra” war against Nicaragua were prime examples.
The 1953 U.S. coup to remove the government of Iran was similarly disguised, with U.S. operatives dressed in Middle Eastern garb entering the presidential palace to oust Iran’s president, Muhammad Mossadegh. In Syria too, U.S.-trained and financed jihadist forces began their dirty work early on to remove the Bashar Assad government in an ongoing war that has taken the lives of an estimated 500,000 Syrians.
Students of history will undoubtedly add to the list literally hundreds of similar U.S.-orchestrated regime change efforts across Latin America, Asia, Africa, and indeed, across the globe. Europe too is not immune; witness the U.S.-backed fascist-led coup in Ukraine in 2014.
But today, the imperial coup makers are out in the open, boasting their intentions around the globe. In Venezuela, their propagandists named three top Venezuelan military officers who they claimed had defected to the side of the U.S.-appointed “president,” Juan Guaido. Their U.S.-briefed corporate media friends in Venezuela and around the world were similarly primed with the scoop from Trump’s top officials, to wit, that Guaido’s supporters had captured a military base in Caracas and had mobilized to free an imprisoned Guaido supporter, who had been a leader of the previous U.S.-backed coup in 2002.
The programmed scenario was put to the test on the morning of April 30, with some eager corporate media pundits getting their “facts” a bit wrong. There was no Guaido takeover of any military base, but rather a photo-op scene replete with a group of heavily armed soldiers, touted as Venezuelans, surrounding Guaido’s truck outside of the claimed captured military base. Guaido’s call for a mass uprising failed to materialize.
His alleged military success in freeing his 2002 coup-making buddy, under house arrest with but a few guards present, failed to seriously demonstrate his claimed military prowess.
By day’s end, the facts were clear. Venezuela’s armed forces, including its army and armed militias, today some two million people, remained intact. The three named top officials who were said to have deserted, publicly stated otherwise and Guido’s call for mass rebellion to oust the Maduro government fizzled to small groups of protesters in a few middle and upper class neighborhoods of Venezuela’s wealthy.
Meanwhile, May Day in Venezuela saw the largest pro-government mobilizations in years. Incredibly, President Trump blamed his coup’s failure on the Cubans and Russians. With regard to Cuba, he pledged a tightened embargo/blockade aimed at strangling Cuba’s economy. Additional sanctions against Russia were said to be in the making. Russia’s crime was in providing food and medical supplies to Venezuela.
On May 1, according to The New York Times (May 4, 2019), U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to “warn him that his country’s intervention in Venezuela was ‘destabilizing’ for that country and for the U.S.-Russian relationship.” National Security adviser John Bolton added, “This is our hemisphere—it’s not where the Russians ought to be intervening.”
Today we are witness to a U.S. imperialism that recognizes no restraints against the brutal exercise of its vast economic and military power. Trump officials have warned all Latin American nations, and indeed all nations around the world, that to defy its massive sanctions against Venezuela would be met with major U.S. retaliation.
Big business media is complicit
A recent report by the news media watch organization FAIR (Fairness And Accuracy in Reporting) noted that almost all major U.S. media have aped the government-promoted drum-beat regime-change mantra daily spewed forth by the Trump administration and the Democratic Party.
In contrast, every delegation of antiwar and social justice activists who have recently visited Venezuela presents a diametrically opposed view. They give a view of a Venezuelan society deeply impacted by the monstrous U.S. sanctions and embargo on the one hand, but where the vast majority stand firmly opposed to any U.S. war against Venezuela and against all those who would bring it on, including Juan Guaido, whose power and influence over the basic institutions of Venezuelan society—U.S. and CIA daily disinformation aside—is zero.
As with the U.S.-orchestrated war against Syria, Socialist Action unconditionally supports Venezuela’s right to self-determination, including its right to seek aid from Cuba and Russia.
Today, a small group of U.S. antiwar activists are dramatically and legally supporting this right. They have entered and now occupy the Venezuelan embassy offices in Washington, D.C., with the formal support of the Venezuelan government. As we go to press, they are threatened with eviction by Guaido thugs, who have smashed the embassy windows and are threatening the occupants with violence while U.S. officials stand by without interference. U.S. Hands Off Venezuela!