What’s Really Going On in Venezuela

by on February 6, 2019 · 12 comments

in American Empire, World News

By Marc Ash / Reader Supported News / Feb. 06 2019

What the US corporate media is not telling you about the situation in Venezuela is why the Venezuelan economy is in such trouble.

Since 1999, the US has waged economic warfare against Venezuela in an attempt to destabilize and deconstruct the Socialist Revolution started by former Venezuelan president and close Fidel Castro ally Hugo Chavez.

The US wants Venezuela, with its rich oil reserves, to be a compliant client-state. That was what motivated the Cuban Revolution and that is what drives anti-colonialist sentiment in Venezuela today.

The CIA, the US State Department, and the Treasury have used all available means and all resources to undermine and disrupt a Venezuelan government they see as uncooperative and unprofitable.

Venezuela was indeed a prosperous nation in the 1990s, but there was vast economic inequity. The economic inequity the Venezuelans faced was not at all unlike the economic inequity Americans face today. All the money is in the hands of a few people. We don’t like it now, and they didn’t like it then.

Chavez sought to change that. He wanted oil revenues to benefit Venezuela’s poor and disadvantaged. Chavez campaigned on that and was gratefully embraced by a considerable majority of Venezuelans. It did not, however, go over well with those who controlled the money or their US partners.

The US unleashed the same economic repression on Chavez’s government, and later Maduro’s, that it had been applying to Castro’s Cuban government. The message from the US is clear: “This is our hemisphere and we control everything in it.”

For its part, to underscore their intent, the Trump administration has appointed Elliott Abrams special envoy for Venezuela. As assistant secretary of state under Reagan, Abrams had quite a track record in South America. Julian Borger for the Guardian notes:

“Abrams is widely remembered in Central America, but particularly from his time in the Reagan administration, when he tried to whitewash a massacre of a thousand men, women and children by US-funded death squads in El Salvador, when he was assistant secretary of state for human rights.”

Abrams was widely suspected by human rights groups of helping coordinate aid, including arms, to the right-wing death squads. He pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in connection with the Iran-Contra scandal in 1991.

Abrams was recently quoted as saying, “This crisis in Venezuela is deep and difficult and dangerous, and I can’t wait to get to work on it.” You can be sure he will.

When you hear talking heads tell you about the crisis in Venezuela, remember its origins. It’s the same people you now fight for control of your democracy here in the US.

Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

Reposted with permission from Reader Supported News.

See also Marjorie Cohn’s post.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Andrew Sheehan February 6, 2019 at 1:47 pm

My mother is an immigrant from Guatemala who fled during the Guatemalan civil war to avoid the threats of both Communism and Authoritarian dictatorships alike. She came to the United States with no money, no home, and no knowledge of the English language. She now qualifies as a middle class American and has made enough money to support herself, her husband, and 3 children including me.

Authoritarian and Communist/Socialist dictatorships are utter failures as political concepts and serve only to benefit a select few. Fascism only benefits the wealthy upper class, and socialism only benefits the LAZY lower class by slaughtering the free market and as a result making any country that uses it paradise for 3-4 months and then complete hell afterward.

The U.S. media may not be telling us the ENTIRE story, but it surely is telling us everything we need to know. Venezuela had a socialist revolution, killed its own economy, and is now a failure of a nation ruled by an autocrat whose only interest is maintaining his own political power.

The U.S. government does not actively go out and destroy anything they see labeled “socialist”. We have Scandinavian allies (Norway in NATO, Sweden, Finland and Denmark in the E.U.) who do have Socialist systems that also grant their people legitimate civil liberties.

Venezuela, on the other hand, is ruled by an oligarchy that stands idly by while millions suffer and keeps all profit of a socialist system for themselves.

Regardless of if the U.S. intervened or not, Venezuela would inevitably collapse simply because the government is corrupt and immoral.

If you honestly think the suffering of millions of Venezuelan people, a currency worth literal millions less than the dollar, and a worthless economic system is the fault of the U.S. government, stop fooling yourself and get an actual education you useless excuse of a journalist.

If YOU think that Venezuela has a great system, MOVE THERE. See how great it is in a socialist dictatorship. But I’m guessing you won’t because you’re sitting comfortably in your California home preaching the words of Karl Marx to millions of idiots.

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Avatar Bill February 8, 2019 at 4:01 pm

Very well said. Of course the reaction to any problem in the world is seen as the fault of the US. Being the most powerful nation on earth, the US does have an outsized influence and has a checkered past. Sometimes the US acts to the detriment of other countries and even to itself in the long run. Nevertheless, you are absolutely right, that the Venezuelan government is the primary reason for the country’s troubles. The US has an interest in keeping Venezuelan contained and ideally changing government, and so it acts. But, the US is not at fault here, Chavez-Maduro. The US maybe only caused the crisis to occur sooner, which will hopefully allow the country to move on and recover quicker.

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Avatar Colin Purdy February 8, 2019 at 6:26 pm

– venezuelanalysis.com

– Also, “The Making of Juan Guaido…” by Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen, at consortiumnews.com (website founded by Robert Parry who scooped Iran-Contra)

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Avatar DRock February 9, 2019 at 4:20 pm

Andrew says, “…socialism only benefits the LAZY lower class by slaughtering the free market and as a result making any country that uses it paradise for 3-4 months and then complete hell afterward.”
And then says, “The U.S. government does not actively go out and destroy anything they see labeled “socialist”. We have Scandinavian allies (Norway in NATO, Sweden, Finland and Denmark in the E.U.) who do have Socialist systems that also grant their people legitimate civil liberties.”

So which is it Andrew? You want to criticize another’s opinion but contradict your own statements. Who knows where Chavez would have taken the country if not ushered out by the schemes and interference of the US and other outside influences? It is undeniable that the US meddles in other countries business across the globe and not always for the philanthropic reasons they espouse.

Heck, if we weren’t meddling in Afghanistan for the benefit of the big oil companies, 9-11 would never have happened. When will we just take care of our own problems instead of trying to clean up what we perceive to be the ills of other countries around the globe?

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Avatar Tyler February 10, 2019 at 6:35 am

I’m disgusted this was published

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Avatar Geoff Page February 11, 2019 at 1:21 pm

Tyler, I’m disgusted that you are disgusted.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie February 11, 2019 at 1:43 pm

There has to be another narrative besides the one being maintained by most mainstream media. Either you understand the US is an empire and has become the cop for South America especially over these last 100 years or you don’t, it’s that simple. We’re an empire not by choice of our people but by choice of those who rule. Most of us don’t own the banana companies, the mining companies, the coffee empires, the tin corporations, nor are we members of the oil group. We’re also a “struggling” democracy, a society that has democratic principles written down but which has a two-sided history in practicing it.

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Avatar retired botanist February 11, 2019 at 2:04 pm

Andrew!
For goodness sake, anyone who goes anywhere near the internet, a newspaper, TV or the radio can’t avoid all the current bitching about how bad and evil socialism is! How can you possibly say “The U.S. government does not actively go out and destroy anything they see labeled “socialist” ?
In fact, this administration (and many before it) has done everything in its power to repress, defund, and prevent any program that even has a hint of socialistic intent! The Republicans think progressive socialist Democrats are akin to “pinko communists hiding under our beds”!
You may not like socialism and some of the ideals it embodies, that’s your prerogative, but if you think the US is NOT “actively trying to destroy anything labeled as ‘socialist'”, you are absolutely living under a rock!

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Avatar ZZ February 11, 2019 at 2:58 pm

“if you think the US is NOT “actively trying to destroy anything labeled as ‘socialist’”, you are absolutely living under a rock”

Andrew gave several examples of US allies that are socialist. We also have good relations with Vietnam and Laos’s socialist governments.

Lots of articles from American socialists defending Venezuela’s government. None so far from the 10% of the the country’s population that are refugees, nor those thrown into prison by the government for exercising free speech.

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Avatar retired botanist February 11, 2019 at 6:35 pm

Ok, so what’s wrong with trying a little socialism at home?! Mic drop.

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Avatar Der Scrivner February 12, 2019 at 6:40 am

Thank you for your response, Andrew. It is a balanced look based on experiences that most Americans have never been close to in this century.
We live in passionate times when everyone with a computer has access to the political discourse about our direction as a country. Currently, the US is a mixed economy, drawing from multiple traditional economic systems. In my opinion, it is time for the oligarchs to start addressing the longstanding problems of health care and education that are forcing old people and young people into impossible economic servitude. We are going to have to address some of the fallout from the last 35 years of Reaganomics by instituting some socialist based economic reforms.
That said, I also still believe that the basics of a regulated free market are the most interesting and flexible of all economic systems. Free trade when possible, as long as the community is not suffering.

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Avatar Ralph March 14, 2019 at 1:19 pm

Something has been nagging at the back of my mind for a while, and as I delve deeper into online-published content about Venezuela, I think I am ready to articulate some of what I’ve been thinking about.

Having spent the past decade of my life as a self-described “bleeding heart” liberal, I am all too well aware of the fact that the USA has spent the better part of the past two centuries pillaging and despoiling less-developed countries than itself for resources (Phillipines, Central and South America, among many others). Some of Uncle Sam’s more clandestine operations have been particularly atrocious, but this is probably not news to most readers of this site.

But at the same time, had the US not assumed its primal global role, another country would have. I base this on the assumption that while individuals no longer live in a Hobbesian state of nature, states continue to do so. And now, more than ever, I can see the benefits of American supremacy in the geopolitical balance of power. Of course, a balance based on the supremacy of a single country can never last, and we are seeing the proof of that unfold before our very eyes. It is a years-long, perhaps decades-long, process, but it has most certainly already begun.

I think most people, at least, most people based in the broadly construed West, would agree that a strong US is a good thing. But what does it say about a global superpower when it can’t even intervene militarily in a country that’s in its own backyard (e.g. Venezuela). Rewind 20-25 years, and the US would’ve gone in and out so fast that most people wouldn’t even have registered the event in the news cycle. Today, however, the US is constrained by public and international opinion to an extent far beyond what it was subject to in the past.

Meanwhile, actors like Russia and China have no similar constraints. Indeed, the only barrier to their anti-humanitarian activities is the threat of American military might, which would be quite a disproportionate escalation. So in effect, while the US is being increasingly hamstrung by the global population of “bleeding heart” liberals, other rising powers are finding increasing freedom of action in the repression of their own populations. This puts the US and the current global order at a significant, geopolitical disadvantage.

tl;dr IMO – We should all just shut up and let Uncle Sam steamroll into Venezuela, displace a whole lot of civilians, bust up the Venezuelan government for good, and install a puppet government, just as it would have in the “good old” days. Let the world know it still has the audacity to, at the very least, intervene in its own backyard. It’s all for our own good, because the West really can’t afford to show weakness right now. Or you know, I could be wrong, and stuff like that could be the start of WWIII. But that would only mean the US’s deterioration has already passed the point of no return.

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