Though the situation has been deteriorating rapidly for a few years now (since at least 2014), Venezuela has only started to get major coverage in the media here in the last couple of weeks. The plight of the Venezuelan population had been ignored in Western circles, until a couple of weeks ago when the bloviating pus-filled abscess in human form started to bleat about it from his podium in the White House. Suddenly, the media over here started to ramp up their coverage.
In case you have not heard, there is an attempted coup d’état underway in Venezuela right now, as the President of the National Assembly Juan Guiadó, has declared himself Interim President of the actual country, demanding that the sitting President Nicolás Maduro step down and that elections be called. Guiadó’s rationale is that last year’s elections were rigged. The US, along with its lapdog the UK and many others, has recognised the claim to the presidency under this pretence. The problem with their story is that the elections were completely transparent, and independently observed by over 300 election monitors from around the world. The Carter Foundation had classified the Venezuelan electoral system as one of the most secure and transparent in the world. But don’t let that get in the way of the prevailing narrative. Further to all this, the opposition, now instigating the coup, requested that the UN not observe the last elections.
Critics of Maduro will point to the mismanagement that has seen the economy collapse and hyperinflation run wild, and there is no doubt that hundreds of thousands, or more, of Venezuelans are suffering right now. Even some of the working class areas that supported Maduro are starting to turn against him. This is of course understandable. From my vantage point, the country has been on a downward spiral since the passing of Hugo Chavez in 2013. I don’t think that Maduro has the gravitas or nous to continue Chavez’s socialist reforms. But, whether he does or not, there is a lot more at play in the situation. Venezuela has been feeling the squeeze from US-led international sanctions for years now, and like any country under heavy sanctions, it is of course finding it next to impossible to operate as a country and economy should. While the BBC and the rest of the British media are highlighting the starving people trying to flee Venezuela, the Bank of England is refusing the withdrawal of €1.2 billion in Venezuelan gold. Is it any wonder that the country is in crisis when its own resources are being held hostage by the West?
Sanctions and support for coups make up two of the three principal strategies in the Western playbook when targeting socialist republics, or any nations that don’t comply with Western economic ideology. The third, full on invasion, has been threatened by White House. All under the guise of the American favourite go-to line of spreading “democracy”. Just they have done in Iraq and Libya in recent years. Two countries who, like Venezuela, had shifted from selling oil in US dollars to other currencies. They are now both failed states. And the US want Venezuela, the country with the largest oil reserves in the world, to go the same way. The White House has just appointed psychopath Elliott Abrams as a special envoy to Venezuela. He filled similar roles under Reagan and Bush (George W) in relation to Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, and Guatemala. Four countries gutted by US interventionism and plagued by militia violence and corruption since. And that’s only a fraction of the blood on Abrams’ hands. His list of accomplishments in Latin America and beyond reads like that of the most extreme comic book villains. More than anything else, this ghoul’s appointment as an envoy to Venezuela signals exactly the American’s intent towards the country. Get their man (Guaidó or another post-election puppet) into power, no matter what the cost, or starve and pummel the country into submission. Don’t for a moment think that the actual people of Venezuela are anything more than geopolitical pawns in the eyes of the Western powers. Remember, this is a US administration that is demonising refugees, particularly those from Latin America. Suddenly we are supposed to believe it cares for the plight of Venezuelans? It’s the oil and the petrodollar that they care about. Like any US government, and particularly Republican ones, it is propped up by the oil lobby.
They want Guiadó at the helm. This guy, constitutionally third in line to the presidency, has had his claim to the office recognised by Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, as well as by the US and UK. They believe his claim of being head of state, despite him only being elected for a one-year term of office, in a vote by the 167 members of the Venezuelan assembly, rather than the actual president, elected for a five-year term in an election with over 9 million people turning out. If that’s the case, why don’t the UK make John Bercow Prime Minister? He holds the equivalent office that Guaidó does. The way the UK is going, I’d definitely be on for that. Bercow at the helm on an interim basis, to end the shit show that is Brexit? Yes please.
But one last work on Guiadó. He has come out of nowhere to suddenly be on centre stage in world politics. Every time I see him, I can’t help but think of The Smiler from Transmetropolitan. There is something wicked behind those dead, soulless eyes. I think the pictured panel from the (superb) graphic novel should give you a hint about The Smiler, without any spoilers. To conclude, I’m putting the same picture below, as depending on what device you are reading this on, you may not be able to see the full picture above.