Chavista government in Venezuela faces trumpets of regime change

As an Empire, by definition, stretches across larges quantities of area, it mostly penetrates in localities that have nothing to do with each other except that they could pose a challenge to the rule of the Hegemon. For example, the Roman Empire in the first centuries AD had to force back the Sassanid rulers in Persia, tried to keep down German tribes at the Rhine and had some difficult times to eliminate threats that came from Eurasian tribes that moved across the Caucasus into the plane of the Danube. Maybe the most crucial ability an empire should possess to survive is the ability to manage a multiplicity of conflicts at the same time.

The current US dominated empire also expresses its will to attain “full spectrum dominance” in world affairs by formulating a policy which would enable them to fight conflicts in “multiple theaters”. This way traces of imperial warfare, by whatever means, can be followed across the globe in countries that show their own level of conflict tied to the manipulations of Empire.

At this moment examples of US intervention in different “theaters” can be found from Eurasia (closely supporting a Pinochet-liberal regime in Ukraine), the Middle East (regime change in Syria) and East Asia (containing North-Korea) to Latin America (regime change in Venezuela), localities that have no apparent similarity other than being targeted by imperial management. Imperialism often means stability and peace for the heartland, but continuous skirmishes at the periphery. That way local conflicts could show where the imperial power is on retreat, where it knows to stabilize its influence and where and how it is winning battles against outside forces of resistance.

Force of resistance: the threat of 21st Century Socialism
Last weeks in Venezuela tensions arose to alarming levels in a conflict that has US fingerprints all over it. Maybe the struggle between the followers of the late Hugo Chàvez and its opposition is less visible in the European mass media, but because of its location in Empire´s ¨own backyard¨, certainly not unimportant.

After Chàvez won the elections in 1998 he implemented a policy of what is dubbed by US officials as “resource nationalism”. This actually means that the large oil revenues of the country were used to finance the interests of the poor instead of disappearing into the pockets of a small conglomerate of private investors. Poverty fell at spectacular rates. The intake of calories per head soared and many people gained access to health services and other public utilities. Of course, this policy ran diametrically against neo-liberal orthodoxy and US business interests.

Furthermore, Chàvez leaned on anti-American rhetoric, which was received positively by large constituencies on the sub-continent. Other nations – Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua - “turned red”, whereas in other countries, like Brazil and Argentina, also left-leaning governments took office. This way they could start building up “Latin America only” institutions to put up competition against institutions in which the US called the shots. Of course, all these successes raised the irate of the Hegemon and reaction.

Street protests. Again.
A fundamental weakness of chavista policy was that the economy was not diversified, so when in 2015 the oil-prices plummeted under direction of US ally Saudi Arabia, the government got into serious trouble. In January 2016 the chavistas lost their majority in Parliament to the opposition, their first loss in an election in 18 years. From then on conflicts between state institutions arose, culminating in the Supreme Court holding Parliament “in contempt of the Constitution” after a few incumbents of the opposition were sworn in under suspicion of having bought their seats.

Last weeks opposition leaders urged their followers to take their anger to the streets, which they did. Two times before this led to a volatile situation. In 2002 a coup against Chàvez failed, when the people took the streets to demand his return. In the beginning of 2014 a strategy of ¨Guarimba¨ shook the country. Street protests were followed up by violence against chavista funded public services, like universities and local health facilities manned by hated Cuban doctors, and by throwing up barricades all over the city to paralyze public life.

These protests in 2014, which may have started with legitimate popular concerns about crime and other issues, were taken over by violent right-wing extremists tied to oppositional leaders, who coordinated their strategy with Washington. Actually, this period of violence looked a lot like the play-book that was rolled out in Ukraine at the same time, leaving 43 deaths of which 6 were officers of the riot police SEBIN and another 18 were citizens who perished at the hands of the rioters. At this moment the riots already cost its first death.

… and carry a big stick
Imperial management mainly is run by manipulating ideas through information channels, wielding political clout through institutions and alliances (often with extremists), interfering with economical capabilities and using military means as an ordinary policy tool. Notwithstanding the relatively low intensity of the conflict, the Venezuelan case may serve as an archetype.

The US is not only supporting oppositional leaders strategically, also funds are poured into the country. The National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republican Institute and other state-linked organizations shower oppositional groups and NGO's “promoting democracy” with money to facilitate media campaigns driven by the most sophisticated state-of-the-art PR techniques. Main goal is to delegitimize the government.

Ideological support is organized through circles of international politicians, think-tanks, pundits, PR firms and media outlets, pivoting on dissemination of the hard-boiled idea that socialism is inherently dictatorial and dysfunctional. Institutionally the chavista government is pressured foremost through the OAS (Organization of American States), in which the US is trying hard to isolate Venezuela. Whereas the OAS could and should be used as a system of mutual aid between countries to help each other out with certain problems, the US aims - with the help of its junior partner Canada and a few other client-states - for strangulation by issuing threats.

Even military ones. On Thursday, April 6, the day of Trump's missiles on Syria, head of SOUTHCOM Admiral Kurt Tidd declared that: “…The growing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela could eventually compel a regional response”. This way the US attempts to force Venezuela to issue new presidential elections, of course with the intention to get the Maduro government out at a time when it stands politically and economically with its back against the wall. Or else... When it does not turn color the ¨democratic¨ way, there is always the Iron Fist of Empire.

Lamented by the pro-chavista press as an example of a “false doctrine of collective regional security” (the US always manages to mold their meddling into the language of international law), this threat to intervene must be taken seriously. In the meantime the Venezuela opposition is seizing the opportunity given to them by Trump´s latest punitive actions against Syria by claiming the government uses chemical weapons against the protesters. They know they are backed by SOUTHCOM and Trump's Tomahawks, so this attempt can only be assessed to be a direct call for military intervention. Anyway, the opposition – again - seems to be ready for it.

The US and its helpers try to put out the threat of 21st Century Socialism for years, but now the time seems finally right to reap. When Venezuela falls, resistance to neo-liberal hegemony in Latin America will be dealt a fierce blow. After almost two decades of defiance in the American theater there is no doubt that this will be seen throughout the entire west as a great victory for “freedom and democracy”.

Hector Reban

2 opmerkingen:

  1. Russia repsonds to US threat

  2. Evo Morales (Bolivia) says the ultimate goal is "to steal Venezuelan oil", or in other words: reverse a policy of "resource nationalism" and implement neoliberal "reforms" of privatization, foremost of the state run oil company.