By Michael Howard –
In a strike for “democracy,” the United States and its assorted suck-ups around the world have officially recognized Juan Guaido, of whom no one had ever heard until he announced that he was selecting himself as the new president of Venezuela, as the new president of Venezuela. “Now,” Mike Pompeo, exuding his enormous charisma, told the UN Security Council, “it is time for every other nation to pick a side. No more delays, no more games. Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem.”
He added, “We call on all members of the Security Council to support Venezuela’s democratic transition and interim President Guaido’s role in it.”
By “democratic transition” Pomeo means “US-orchestrated coup.” It’s an old story with origins dating back to the early nineteenth century, when US President James Monroe outlined what would later become known as the Monroe Doctrine in his 1823 State of the Union Address. Under the guise of supporting the sovereignty of Latin American states and opposing European colonialism, Monroe in effect defined Latin America as the domain of the United States—or “our backyard,” as some politicos are fond of saying. After noting that the US had thus far declined to take any interest in “the wars of the European powers in matters relating to themselves,” Monroe said:
It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defense. With the movements in this hemisphere, we are of necessity more immediately connected, and by causes which must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial observers … We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety.
In other words, the US reserved the right to meddle in the affairs of Latin American countries as long as it felt its interests were at stake. The doctrine’s essence lies in its vagueness: it could be, and is, invoked to justify just about anything. Coincidentally, 1823 was the same year James K. Polk’s political career began in the Tennessee House of Representatives. By the time his eventual presidency concluded (1849), the US had wrested Texas and California away from Mexico, that terrible country whose menacing actions Trump’s wall is going to protect us against.
Hawaii came next. Then, as Gore Vidal wrote in 1986, “colonial Cuba, somehow, had to be liberated from Spain’s tyranny.” Here’s how:
An American warship, the Maine, blew up in Havana harbor. We held Spain responsible; thus, we got what John Hay called “a splendid little war.” We would liberate Cuba, drive Spain from the Caribbean. As for the Pacific, even before the Maine was sunk, [Theodore] Roosevelt had ordered Commodore Dewey and his fleet to the Spanish Philippines—just in case. Spain promptly collapsed, and we inherited its Pacific and Caribbean colonies.
The empire was born. We would go on to occupy and colonize the Philippines for more than forty years, finally granting it independence in 1946. Which is when the real fun began. The US emerged from World War II as the unrivaled economic, military and ideological superpower. It meant to keep it that way. The Monroe Doctrine was expanded to include the entire world. We now reserved the right to intervene whenever and wherever our interests (i.e. global dominance) were perceived to be threatened. That included the Middle East and Indochina, but still mostly Latin America.
In 1954 we overthrew Guatemala’s elected president and replaced him with a military dictator. In 1961 we invaded Cuba, failed, and then devised numerous plots to destabilize, overthrow or simply murder Fidel Castro, who miraculously lived until 2016. In 1960 we began subverting Ecuador; three years and two coups later, a sufficiently anti-communist military junta rose to power. In 1962 the CIA engineered a coup against the Dominican Republic’s leftist president; when the resulting coup regime was challenged by a popular uprising, the US invaded the island, not for the first time.
“The other (or first) 9/11” took place in Chile in 1973, when that country’s socialist leader was deposed by a US-sponsored coup, “committing suicide” in the presidential palace. Army ChiefAugusto Pinochet seized the throne and terrorized the population for seventeen years. Chile wasn’t Nixon’s first rodeo: two years earlier he oversaw a military coup in Bolivia, whereby a right-wing dictator was substituted for the elected left-wing president.
Explicitly citing the Monroe Doctrine, Ronald Reagan waged war on Nicaragua’s Sandinista government by proxy, providing material and ideological support to the contras, a coalition of right-wing terrorist groups. In 1984, Congress passed a bill making it illegal for the US to assist the contras in any capacity. Reagan forged ahead. His administration began financing the contras in secret, leading to the Iran-Contra scandal. Nor was Reagan discouraged by a 1986 International Court of Justice decision that found the US to be “in breach of its obligations under customary international law not to use force against another State, not to intervene in its affairs, not to violate its sovereignty and not to interrupt peaceful maritime commerce.”
Reagan also trained, funded and armed security forces, including death squads, in El Salvador with a view to crushing the leftist insurgency.
It’s plain to see that Russia-gate is one massive act of psychological projection.
Back to Venezuela. Hugo Chavez was elected president in 1998 on a platform of democratic and economic reform. His vows to root out corruption, redistribute wealth and use Venezuela’s natural resources for the benefit of the Venezuelan people, as opposed to multinational corporations, made him enormously popular with the working classes—and despised by everyone else, particularly the scoundrels in Washington. Official documents prove that the US government knew of the April 2002 plot to overthrow Chavez at least a week in advance. Whether or not the CIA had a hand in the abortive operation is unknown (though extremely likely, given the history cited above); either way, the Bush administration tacitly supported the coup, stating that “undemocratic actions committed or encouraged by the Chavez administration” were responsible.
Seventeen years later, the US government is a little brasher, explicitly voicing support for a coup that hasn’t even taken place yet. Juan Guaido claims he’s president; that would be like Marine Le Pen declaring herself president of France amid the chaos of the Yellow Vest protests. US media, naturally excited by the prospect of a right-wing coup in a Latin American country, stress that Nicolas Maduro’s approval rating hovers around 25 percent. So does Emmanuel Macron’s. Would Washington support a coup in Paris? Or would they instead blame it on the Russians?
The US war on Venezuela has been ongoing for two decades. The only surprise is that it took this long to come to a head. It was Barack Obama, remember, who called Venezuela a “national security threat” before imposing unilateral sanctions in 2015, which tells us that “national security” has been officially redefined to mean “corporate profits”; also that the Monroe Doctrine is alive and well. Last week, when asked how Trump can denounce Maduro’s heavy-handedness while openly admiring other “strongmen,” the one and only John Bolton unanswered: “The fact is Venezuela is in our hemisphere. I think we have a special responsibility here, and I think the president feels very strongly about it.”
So strongly, in fact, that he’s reportedly making Lindsey Graham nervous. Graham, one of the biggest jingos in the business, told Axios that “Trump’s really hawkish” on the subject of Venezuela, adding that Trump floated the idea using military force in a private conversation. Disturbing, but not new. Trump has repeatedly said that “all options are on the table” regarding Venezuela, and theNew York Times reported last September that Trump’s thugs met with some mutinous Venezuelan officers about the potential for a military coup against Maduro.
Meanwhile, over in Caracas, “President” Juan Guaido is considering applying to the International Monetary Fund for some loans to help get his new administration going (no strings attached). He’s also taking steps to seize control of and privatize Venezuela’s oil industry, a most democratic course of action not at all motivated by a desire to curry favor with his new pals in DC. When all is said and done, we just want peace, justice and democracy for the Venezuelan people: that their country has the largest oil reserves on the planet is pure coincidence. We swear!
Michael Howard is a freelance writer (of both fiction and nonfiction) and political activist from Buffalo, NY. His main areas of interest are American domestic and foreign policy. He has contributed political commentary to a number of internet publications including Paste, Dissident Voice and CounterPunch.
from AH Tribune