Never short of victims fiendish war-monger US imperialists have now trained their guns on the Latin American country of Venezuela, reportedly having the highest oil reserve in the world. Earlier, the US imperialists did undertake their felonious activities in Latin America also to extend their sphere of influence. They had conspired to dethrone and kill Salvador Allende, democratically elected President of Chile, spearheaded subversive and naked interventionist activities in Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Guatemala and Mexico. But they could not make much headway as there had been a wave of anti-imperialist particularly anti-US imperialist movements throughout Latin America. The victory of Cuban Revolution under Fidel Castro also exerted an influence on this region. So, in most of these countries, anti-imperialist left-leaning forces were installed in power. Hugo Chavez, the legendary President of Venezuela and a staunch anti-imperialist fighter saw himself as a modern-day Bolívar, vowed to continue the work of Simon Bolivar, the 19th century statesman who had led the fight for Latin America’s independence from Spain and advocated the creation of a league of Latin American states. Combining Bolívar’s vision of a unified Latin America, free from the interference of foreign powers, Chávez, after being elected President in 1999, defeating all US-backed machinations and die-hard attempts of the pro-US Venezuelan elites to install a reactionary right-wing rule through a coup, worked hard to create a Latin American alliance powerful enough not only to expel US influence from the region but also to compete politically and economically with the United States and the European Union. In December 2012 Chávez who was suffering from cancer, had designated Vice President Nicolás Maduro as his successor. After the sad demise of Chavez in March 2013, Maduro stepped into his shoes and continued to follow the policies of Chavez. Initially, the US imperialists thought that they would be able to destabilize Venezuela in absence of Chavez by executing their imperialist design afresh like orchestrating coup, plotting to dethrone Maduro and threatening direct military action. Also, a good number of Latin American countries were by then having right-wing governments since left-wing movements which surged forth so powerfully could not be led to their logical culmination in absence of correct revolutionary leadership. So, the US imperialists decided to step up its long-continued hostility and onslaught upon the small country of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. As scripted in virtually all cases, here also the demand is regime change, ousting a democratically and second-time elected President Nicolás Maduro on concocted charges of violation of human rights and intimidation and attack on opponents. Not only that. Making mockery of the barest precepts of democracy, the US imperialists unilaterally declared Juan Guaidó, a stooge of theirs as the interim President of that country. Who has ever heard of a foreign power arrogating to itself the arbitrary right to foist a state head on another country and declare the elected President as having been so replaced? Donald Trump, US President, even went to the extent of first trying to create a fissure in the Venezuelan army obviously with lure of lucre and power to some of its top-ranking officers. But when that did not materialize, he ordered the Venezuelan army to abandon its support for the democratically elected president of their country and rally behind the planted US stooge. The US President also bombastically stated that “We are all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away. Venezuela is not very far away, and the people are suffering and dying. We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option, if necessary.” And the sheen of ‘overflowing concern for restoring democracy in Venezuela’ has now been worn off with John Bolton, the US National Security Advisor acknowledging in an interview to Fox Business that “humanitarian crisis” is a business opportunity. Simultaneously, the moneybags of Venezuela who are serving as spokespersons of the US imperialists began to plead for ‘humanitarian aid’ for the beleaguered Venezuelan population ‘suffering under Maduro’s rule.’
But when all these attempts to cower Maduro and Venezuelan people failed, the US imperialists who had already imposed economic sanctions on Venezuela, now made it more stringent and severe, so much so that it was destined to strike the country’s financial sector and massively impact its revenue. Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the ‘Centre for Economic and Policy Research’ in Washington DC openly said that, “It’s basically very severe sanctions, the kind that I don’t remember ever being used, … and there really isn’t any justification for them,…In the case of Venezuela there isn’t anything except (that) the Trump administration wants to overthrow the government… I mean there’s no ambiguity anymore. Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that the United States has been trying to get rid of the Venezuelan government for the past 15 years,.. Any sanctions will make things worse … it will mean more shortages, more scarcities of food and medicine … and it’ll be much worse if these sanctions really stick.” The latest sanctions banned the trading of Venezuelan debt and prevents the country’s state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, from selling new bonds to U.S. citizens or financial groups. Imposition of such a draconian sanctions has invited criticism even from right-wing governments of Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Brazil who are hostile to the Maduro government. To confuse and hoodwink global people, the US imperialists along with the plotters of a coup from the Venezuelan oligarchy released a misleading propaganda that Venezuela under Maduro is in a serious ‘humanitarian crisis’ and hence needs ‘humanitarian aid’. The total amount of aid being planned to be delivered from the US was estimated at $25 million. It was stated to include enough food and hygienic products to last for several thousand people for 10 days. What a neatly crafted show off! On the one hand, imposition of inhuman sanction is making life miserable for the Venezuelan people while on the other hand, there is begging for humanitarian aid from the same very imposer of sanctions. The stringent and prolonged US sanctions upon Venezuelan oil production and export and even on using global financial market was enormous; alone the latest sanctions announced by Bolton in late January was estimated to cost working and poor Venezuelans $30 million a day. Such was the US and rightist politics of humanitarianism! It does not end there. After Guaidó popped up, the Bank of England froze $1.4 billion worth of Venezuelan gold, which the bank said it would release to Guaidó. Washington also froze $7 billion assets of Citgo, a subsidiary of the Venezuelan state oil company, under the latest sanctions. This means that in one month, Washington and its allies stole $8.4 billion, or more than a few hundred times the promised “aid.” And still they were crying for the Venezuelans to let them offer humanitarian aid! 23 February was fixed by the US and his Guaidó ‘company’ as the date for the ‘humanitarian aid’ of food, medicine etc., to enter the land of Venezuela from the Colombian border. Trump’s special envoy to Venezuela, a hard-core right-wing war-maniac, Elliott Abrams, led a US delegation by military aircraft to the Colombian border. There US officials joined Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó near a bridge in Colombia to send ‘desperately needed aid to the masses’ and challenge the rule of Nicolás Maduro. Some exiled soldiers were stationed there for the convoy. Obviously the Venezuelan opposition sought to sow blood and chaos. Video footage showed Venezuelan troops standing in a single line behind riot shields on the Venezuelan side. On the Colombian side, masked opposition protesters hurled molotov cocktails toward them. When two “aid” trucks suddenly burst into flames, Guaidó and most of the media immediately blamed the fire on Maduro. But unfortunately for them, the trucks had never reached the Venezuelan side, and were ignited by those same molotovs. Thereafter three defecting Venezuelan soldiers hijacked armoured personnel carriers and drove them at full speed into the border barriers in order to defect to the Colombian side. By that they struck a crowd of civilians that included Nicole Kramm, a Chilean photojournalist. Kramm, was narrowly saved with her camera on and called it ‘an attack on civilians’. The Opposition also reportedly burnt a warehouse where subsidized food bundles were packaged and distributed under CLAP, a Venezuelan government project. In any case, the entire drama of humanitarian aid ended in a fiasco for the US and the Venezuelan opposition.
This became particularly painful for them as international relief organizations like Red Cross and others called this delivery of ‘humanitarian aid’ as politically motivated. The Red Cross even denounced the border charade as “not humanitarian aid” and rebuked the unauthorized use of Red Cross insignia by the opposition forces. Among others who refused to work for the ‘aid politics’, the UN spokesman said in New York “Humanitarian action needs to be independent of political, military or other objectives”. The International Monetary Fund avoided taking sides; the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), of which Venezuela was a founding member, said nothing. Even the Colombian government did not find it wise to get involved in an act which would take shape of an overtly hostile aggression against its neighbour country. On the other hand people of more than 40 cities of the world, including Kolkata from India and Dhaka from Bangladesh staged protest rallies or other programmes on 23 February 2019 against this so-called humanitarian aid drama
But when the ploy of delivering so called ‘humanitarian aid’ did not work, the US imperialists towing their allies behind them jumped upon the disgusting idea of not just cutting off the route for ‘humanitarian aid’, they wanted the Venezuelan people to suffocate from want of even water, food and electricity. What would one call this? Championing human rights and democracy? Would the drum-beaters of US democracy who are busy spotting human right violation and subversion of democracy in various parts of the world offer their comments on this issue?
Cyber-experts, nowadays unambiguously say that the imperialists, led by the US imperialists have made cyber-attack on power system legitimate and legal tactics to undermine another country, they may be at war with. These include interrupting power and water supplies, disrupting traffic patterns, slowing or interfering with internet access, and even remotely triggering meltdowns at nuclear power plants. They hold that in case of Venezuela, with its outdated internet and power infrastructure it was made relatively easy to interfere and intervene, as well as remove the traces of intervention. Besides, from behind their longstanding hostility and attack against Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and an insatiable desire for grabbing and exploiting its huge oil reserve, the US rulers have already had enough scope to make a penetration in the national infrastructure grid of Venezuela. It was thus relatively straightforward for a technologically advanced country like the USA to interfere with the Venezuelan power grid. And that is what they have done.
A nationwide black-out for five days in early March (7 to 11 March) led to calamities, even patient death (26 in public hospitals) in hospitals, rotting of food in the tropical heat, disruption of water supplies, or shutting down of businesses, even intense looting of businesses; a “terrorist attack” ruptured storage tanks at a heavy oil processing plant in eastern Venezuela, in which 3 tanks caught fire. The power outage was caused by an electromagnetic attack on the Guri hydroelectric complex, which supplies 80% of Venezuela’s electricity. Though the opposition squarely blamed maladministration and corruption of the government for the outage, President Maduro said in a television address, “Here I have the evidence of the investigation, how they did it, who did it, and how they continued it,” unambiguously holding the US imperialists and the Venezuelan opposition chief Juan Guaidó, responsible. In a tweet on 8 March last, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo framed the electricity outage as a pivotal stage in US plans for regime change. Surprisingly immediately after the outage, US Senator Marco Rubio, who led the public charge against the Venezuelan government took to Twitter to announce the blackout and claim that “backup generators have failed.” An hour later Guaidó declared: “the light will return when the usurpation [of Maduro] ends.”
Power returned in many parts of the country on 12 March, though service was not restored. Capitalizing on public anger over the blackout, Guaidó, obviously under advice of the US imperialists, vowed to enter the presidential palace and occupy the chair of Maduro. But he could not make that plan materialize. Rather, life in Caracas was on as usual. Nobody looked starving. They were cordial. Mountainous neighbourhoods were connected after the Bolivarian Revolution by cable car metros to Caracas, also in the mountains. The horrible power outage affected plumbing, elevators, gas lines and more. Yet it was overcome just in a week based on the collective determination of their local community councils. A remarkable feat!
So this is where imperialism has degraded today. To forcibly grab and exploit the natural and human resources of other countries, the US imperialists and their cohorts not only weigh military option or conspire to bring about coup d’etats, they do not feel any qualm in building up economic-political blockade, in shutting routes of supplies of power, food, water, the minimum basic necessities of human life, so that the victim countries are squeezed and coerced from all sides to kneel down before them. This is the kind of ‘democracy’, ‘human rights’, ‘civilized conduct’, ‘anti-terror crusade’ and ‘message of peace’ the US imperialists are promoting in the unipolar world. Their gangsterism in Venezuela ought to be an eye-opener to all. They have been daring to pursue such brigandage because of absence of a worldwide powerful anti-imperialist militant peace movement which alone can work as the deterrent against such a wanton crime on humanity. The democratic-minded peace-loving people of the world need to rise unitedly against this fiendishly criminal attack by the US imperialists, build up that desired united anti-imperialist movement and stand firmly behind the struggling Venezuelan people.
Sources of information: —
- Workers World 19 February 2019; UNZ REVIEW , 7 February 2019
- IN THESE TIMES- 6 March 2019.
- Reuters, 6 February 2019 4. New York Times,
4 February 2019.
- . Forbes, 9 March 2019
- The Statesman Kolkata, 12 March 2019
- teleSur, 15 March 2019
9 March 2019 9. Workers World, 16 March 2019, 10. teleSur-25-08-17