How the US Is Preparing the Coup d'état in Venezuela
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How the US Is Preparing the Coup d'état in Venezuela


USA – January 16, 2019

The campaign to bring about regime change enters a new phase with the inauguration of President Maduro for a second term on January 10. On May 20, 2018, the Venezuelan electorate had the audacity to re-elect Maduro by a 67.84% majority with a participation rate of 46.07% (representing 9,389,056 voters). Two opposition candidates ran for office, Henri Falcón and Javier Bertucci, despite a boycott orchestrated by opposition hardliners and the US. The US State Department had issued warnings four months prior to the election that the process “will be illegitimate” and the results “will not be recognized.” US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley insisted that Maduro abdicate and presidential elections be postponed.

With no legal standing or representation inside Venezuela, the Lima Group has now become a major protagonist of a soft coup in Venezuela. Just five days before the inauguration, at a meeting held in the capital of Peru, 13 out of 14 members of the Lima Group issued a declaration attacking the Venezuelan president and urging Maduro “not to assume the presidency on January 10… and to temporarily transfer the executive power to the National Assembly until a new, democratic presidential poll is held.”

Reportedly, not all of the group’s original members signed the document. Mexico refused to sign it. Mexico, along with Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Uruguay continues to recognize Maduro as Venezuela’s legitimate president. In fact, Mexico’s new left-leaning president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, invited Maduro to his inauguration.

The following day, Andres Pastrana, former president of Colombia, a member nation of the Lima Group, tweeted that the new president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, should “now assume the presidency of the government of transition as established in the constitution beginning the 10th of January and as requested by the Lima Group.”

In a speech delivered before the Venezuelan National Assembly on January 5, Guaidó stopped short of claiming executive power, but declared that starting January 10, Maduro ought to be considered a “usurper” and “dictator.” Guaidó also urged convening a transitional government that would hold new elections and “authorize” intervention from abroad.

Two days after declaring that he was prepared to take over temporarily as the country’s leader Guaidó was briefly arrested on Sunday, Jan. 13th. The United States secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, denounced the “arbitrary detention”, adding: “The US and world are watching”.

However, less than an hour after the first reports of Guaidó’s detention he was released.

The US administration took a significant step toward making the declaration Tuesday when Vice President Mike Pence called Juan Guaidó and praised his “courageous leadership.”

Pence told Guaidó that the United States sees the National Assembly “as the only legitimate democratic body in the country.”

“Vice President Pence encouraged Mr. Guaido to build unity among political groups, and pledged continued support from the United States until democracy is restored,” according to readout of the call from the vice president’s office.

On January 16th, following the meetings in Washington, Juan Guaidó openly called for a coup d'état in Venezuela, addressing to Venezuelan military:

“We want to send a message to the military, a key actor in this process: The chain of command has been broken, and there’s no commander in chief — it’s time to get on the right side of history. Venezuela and the world will thank you; success will depend on each one of us doing our part in this difficult hour for the country.

We call for action, without doubt or infighting. Let’s be faithful heirs to the freedom that is inscribed in our blood.”

No surprise, that he used The Washington Post to declare a war against the elected Venezuelan president.

Although the US is not a formal member of the Lima Group, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, participated in the meeting by teleconference. Pompeo had returned earlier in the week from a visit to Brazil and Colombia, during which, according to a senior State Department official, Maduro’s inauguration was on the agenda:

“There’s a very important date that is coming up, which is the 10th of January, where Maduro will hand over power to himself based on an election that many governments in the region and globally have condemned, including the United States, ... as illegitimate. So we will be discussing, I’m sure, our joint efforts with Colombia and with the region to address this new era beginning on the 10th of January in Venezuela.”

As NYT noted, the Trump administration held secret meetings with rebellious military officers from Venezuela in 2017 to discuss their plans to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro, according to American officials and a former Venezuelan military commander who participated in the talks.

Still, the Venezuelan plotters could view the meetings as tacit approval of their plans, argued Peter Kornbluh, a historian at the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

“The United States always has an interest in gathering intelligence on potential changes of leadership in governments,” Mr. Kornbluh said. “But the mere presence of a U.S. official at such a meeting would likely be perceived as encouragement,” NYT wrote.

In its statement, the White House called the situation in Venezuela “a threat to regional security and democracy” and said that the Trump administration would continue to strengthen a coalition of “like-minded, and right-minded, partners from Europe to Asia to the Americas to pressure the Maduro regime to restore democracy in Venezuela.”

America desperately wants to see oil-rich Venezuela under new management. U.S. President Donald Trump has mused about invading Venezuela. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson talked publicly of a coup, predicting that Venezuela’s military would successfully “manage a peaceful transition” to a new president.

US policy towards Venezuela has three strategic objectives: privileged access to Venezuela’s natural resources (e.g., the world’s largest petroleum reserves and second largest gold deposits), restoration of a neoliberal regime obedient to Washington, and limitation of any movement towards regional independence, CounterPunch analysts wrote.

These US objectives are conditioned by a continuing adherence to the Monroe Doctrine for Latin America and the Caribbean, the so-called “backyard” of the Yankee empire. Many in the region still deeply resent the United States for backing previous rebellions, coups and plots in countries like Cuba, Nicaragua, Brazil and Chile. The contemporary mutation of the 1823 imperial doctrine entails a new Cold War against Russia and China and hostility to any regional integration independent of US hegemony.

Back in the 1980s-90s during Venezuela’s Fourth Republic, local elites afforded Washington preferential access to Venezuela’s rich natural resources and dutifully imposed a neoliberal economic model on the country. Currently, US policy appears aimed at re-establishing such a client state.

Washington has opted for the collision course set by the Lima Group as well as the Secretary General of the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS) over efforts of the Vatican and former prime minister of Spain, Luis Zapatero, to broker dialogue between the government and the opposition. The imperial project is abetted by the conservative restoration in Brazil and Argentina and the electoral victory of uribistas in Colombia, as CounterPunch noted.

Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri said after their first meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 16th, that they agreed on their opposition to Venezuela’s authoritarian government, with Macri calling Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a “dictator.”

“Our cooperation with Argentina on the Venezuelan question it the clearest example of a convergence of positions and shared values,” Bolsonaro said. Since taking office on Jan. 1, Bolsonaro has adopted a tougher stance on Venezuela and a closer alignment with the United States than previous Brazilian governments, Reuters wrote.

Today the Maduro administration faces the challenges of defending national sovereignty from imperial domination and overcoming crippling US sanctions. Since President Hugo Chávez began his first term as president in 1999, the Bolivarian Republic has promoted regional integration and independence, resisted neoliberalism, opposed “free trade” agreements that would compromise national autonomy, and supported the emergence of a multipolar world. On account of these policies, Chávez (1999-2013) and now Maduro, have faced relentless attacks by the US.

As Hugo Chávez said in his ‘Las líneas de Chávez: ¡Sabanas de mi cariño!’, “…new bourgeois and imperial attack that from Bogota and Washington intends to sow the division, conflict and war in these lands of which were Colombia La Grande of Bolivar and Miranda...”

According to CounterPunch, Washington is engaging in a multifaceted war against Venezuela by deploying economic sanctions, backing a campaign to install a transitional government, and preparing proxy military and paramilitary forces for an eventual intervention. The US has brazenly announced its consideration of a “military option” against Caracas and has assembled a coalition of the willing in Colombia and Brazil to prepare for an eventual “humanitarian” intervention. Most alarming is that the US seems indifferent to the consequences of such an invasion, which could easily become a regional and global conflagration involving Colombia, Brazil, and even Russia and China.

On August 4, 2018, a failed assassination attempt against President Maduro did not draw condemnation from either Washington or the Lima Group. On November 4, according to Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, three Bolivarian National Guard were killed and ten wounded in an attack by Colombian paramilitary forces in the frontier region of Amazonas. On December 5, the Brazilian vice president-elect Hamilton Mourão declared: “there will be a coup in Venezuela... And the United Nations will have to intervene through a peace force... and there is Brazil’s role: to lead this peace force.”

On December 12, 2018, President Maduro reported that “734 members of a paramilitary group called G8 were training [in the city of Tona, Colombia] for attacks against military units in the frontier states of Zulia, Tachira, Apure and Amazonas.” This report ought to be taken seriously given the presence of eight US military bases in Colombia, the recent association of Bogotá with NATO, Colombia’s rejection of direct communication with Venezuelan authorities, and its participation in US-led military exercises over the past two years. Last week, US Secretary of State Pompeo visited Colombia and Brazil to shore up joint efforts to “restore of democracy” in Venezuela, as USA Really wrote.

“And for its part, the Colombian elite, that is consular bourgeoisie, to say it with Helio Jaguaribe words, that antediluvian oligarchy, needs the Yankee military presence in its territory. It is a necessity as vital as the air they breathe. In the first place, to stop the popular movements that sprout everywhere calling for justice. Secondly, to keep at bay the armed insurgency that for more than half a century has shaken the homeland of Camilo Torres and Jorge Eliécer Gaitán.

And then, opening Colombia to the Yankee troops is also a powerful insurance, behind which the puppet government of Colombia, the Burgués State that controls everything and its security forces, are protected, before the innumerable violations to the Human Rights and to the own International Law, committed precisely by that corrupt elite,” Hugo Chávez said.

But the U.S. has to be careful. Its history of deposing governments unfriendly to American business is not remembered fondly in Latin America. However, in the event of a coup, it would be better for the U.S. if no fingerprints were left that might implicate Washington. And it would be better still if the fiercest rhetorical attacks on Maduro’s political legitimacy came from non-U. S. sources — like Canada, TheStar writes.

“Today, Nicolas Maduro’s regime loses any remaining appearance of legitimacy,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said last Thursday in a statement marking the Venezuelan president’s inauguration for a second term, according to TheStar.

“Having seized power through fraudulent and anti-democratic elections,” Freeland went on, “the Maduro regime is now fully entrenched as a dictatorship… We call on him to immediately cede power.”

Canada will continue to stand up against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday night, Global News reported.

Answering to a question at a town hall at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., Trudeau said:

“I would propose to you, sir, that anyone who contends to be a friend of Venezuela… who contends that they are a friend to the Venezuelan people would be very clear in standing up and condemning the Maduro government that has been responsible for terrible oppression, for terrible marginalization, for a humanitarian crisis the likes of which South America has not seen in a long time, leading to mass exodus, an extreme number of refugees fleeing all across South America all because of an illegitimate dictator named Maduro who is continuing to not respect their constitution, the rule of law and the principles of what is true and fair for the future,” echoing comments of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

As Hugo Chávez wrote in Las líneas de Chávez: Desde Teherán: “…before the new imperial onslaught and its far-right movements, coup plotters and traitors, which seeks to stop the changes in our America and the world; In the face of this aggression, the answer is no other than to accelerate the processes of unity as we are doing in our region, while at the same time ensuring the processes of rapprochement and integration of the geopolitical blocs. We walk along these roads because the only real and real threat to all of us is the continuity of the hegemony of Yankee imperialism… They intend to administer fundamental values such as democracy, justice, equality and freedom so that other interpretations, which are in line with the barefoot people, would have no place, would not exist. They call us underdeveloped, retarded, barbaric and whoever else and they demonstrate it to us through barbarism, violence, interventionism and unjustified wars. And here we come to an element of central analysis: who really depends for their unjustified subsistence of resources, territorial control, death, hunger and ignorance? Who arrives at the unjustifiable and leaves in question what we affirm above? Let each one make his own answer.”

Author: USA Really