|Volume 49 Number 2, February 9, 2019||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
US imperialism and the coup forces following its leadership have been stepping up their attempts to force regime change on the people of Venezuela. After hastily recognising the illegal and unconstitutional declaration of Juan Guaidó that he is the "legitimate" president of Venezuela, President Trump and his cohorts were threatening the full weight of the power of the United States to impose regime change. This they label as "the restoration of Venezuelan democracy". But just because this is so brazenly unhinged does not mean that the threat is not serious. Trump's National Security Advisor, John Bolton, who wrote on his notepad: "5,000 troops to Colombia," told Fox News:"We are in conversations with major oil companies to produce Venezuelan oil, which is good for Venezuela and good for the US."
The barrage of propaganda, attempting to create the conditions for "regime change", or provide it with a flimsy fig-leaf, flies in the face of the concrete situation in Venezuela and its Bolivarian revolution. President Nicolas Maduro is the legitimate president of Venezuela, the presidential elections assessed as some of the fairest in the entire world by independent observers. The crisis which Venezuela has been facing has been due in no small part to the interference of the US and its imposition of sanctions, as part of imperialism attempting to stem the tide of progress and democracy in Venezuela and other South American countries.
Nor was the British government slow to join the US imperialist band wagon, and itself recognise Guaidó as "interim president". And although the European Parliament voted to recognise Guaidó, a proposed EU statement doing so was vetoed by Italy. This follows similar defeats at the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the United Nations.
The Foreign Secretary's statements have been particularly repugnant. Jeremy Hunt told Juan Guaidó that "there are many people in the UK who admire his courage and support what he is doing under the Venezuelan constitution". Hunt joined the US and its cohorts in issuing a so-called ultimatum that unless Nicolas Maduro called elections within eight days, Britain would recognise Guaidó as interim President of Venezuela, saying that Maduro "has ignored this call". Hunt continued: "The people of Venezuela have suffered enough. It is time for a new start, with free and fair elections in accordance with international democratic standards. The oppression of the illegitimate, kleptocratic Maduro regime must end. Those who continue to violate the human rights of ordinary Venezuelans under an illegitimate regime will be called to account. The Venezuelan people deserve a better future."
Meanwhile, the streets of Caracas have been filled with tens of thousands of people who are determined to reject the coup attempt against their president, Nicolas Maduro. They uphold the Bolivarian revolution that is the legacy of Hugo Chávez.
President Maduro declared: "I agree that the legislative power of the country be re-legitimized and that we hold free elections with guarantees, and the people choose a new National Assembly." Maduro denounced the U.S.-led coup attempt and called on his supporters to organise their own march in defence of the Bolivarian Revolution. Of the US President Donald Trump's administration, which had recently imposed sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports, he asked: "Do you think you are the emperor of the world? Do you think Venezuela is going to give up and obey your orders? We will not surrender." President Maduro announced the decision of the Bolivarian government to sever all ties with the US government, giving its diplomatic personnel 72 hours to leave the country.
Despite what the US, Britain and others declare, the imperialist system of states does not represent "the international community". In so declaring, they are hanging on to the arrogant conception of the "English-speaking peoples" so beloved of post-World War II champions of reaction such as Churchill, that there is a manifest destiny to decide what goes on in the world and dictate and control the course of events and world history. The repugnant debates in the House of Commons have epitomised this mindset. There have been two debates, on January 28 and February 7. The government repeated all the lies and disinformation about the presidential election being "deeply flawed", and that the crisis is due to the "kleptocratic regime of Nicolas Maduro".
The tenor of the debate, as is customary when discussing affairs of Africa, Latin America and other parts of the world, is that Britain has the right to decide. It is not even Eurocentric, as can be seen with the contempt certain sections hold the European Union. And the debates were peppered with references to "the international community", when the fact is that the US could not get a resolution recognizing its puppet Guaidó passed at either the Organisation of American States or the UN Security Council because the majority refused to go along with violating Venezuela's sovereignty and right to self-determination.
It is not even acknowledged that Russia, China, Turkey, South Africa, India, Iran, Syria, and other UN member states have refused to go along with the US replacing Venezuela's president with a puppet of its own, with many expressing full support for Nicolas Maduro as the duly elected president. No importance is given either to the expression of solidarity with the Venezuelan people and President Maduro by a ranking authority of the 55-member African Union, or the fact that many countries from different parts of Asia have not weighed in thus far.
It should be noted also that practically all the Labour MPs who spoke in the debates, including the Shadow Foreign Secretary, were egging on the government to condemn Maduro and recognise Guaidó. This was in stark contrast to the stand of the Leader of the Opposition, causing the Minister of State, Alan Duncan, to comment, "May I, at the very least, welcome the right hon. Lady's condemnation of the Maduro regime? In that, at least, we find common ground, which I hope can be shared across the House. I am only sorry that it is not even shared across her own Front Benchers, as it is quite clear that the sympathies of the shadow Chancellor are at odds with the tone of her contribution to these proceedings." Another Conservative MP described Jeremy Corbyn as a "Poundland Lenin".
This demonstrates how entrenched is the mindset of a pro-war government throughout the proceedings of Parliament. The fact that Jeremy Corbyn, who took anti-war stands as one of a small group of "left-wing" MPs against the Blairite consensus of New Labour, is now leader has not put an end to such a pro-war outlook and support for armed intervention abroad. It underlines once again the need for an anti-war government and that new forms must be brought into being.
For the record, Jeremy Corbyn characterised his stand as follows: "The future of Venezuela is a matter for Venezuelans. Jeremy Hunt's call for more sanctions on Venezuela is wrong. We oppose outside interference in Venezuela, whether from the US or anywhere else. There needs to be dialogue and a negotiated settlement to overcome the crisis."
Speculation is now being ramped up about the prospect of a US military intervention in Venezuela, and preparations for just that are being put in place with talk of the military option being "on the table". The British government is still cloaking this in terms of opening up corridors for humanitarian assistance. For instance, Alan Duncan spoke of "the inevitable need for rapid delivery of resources can suddenly become apparent, and it is important that the world is ready to leap straight away into action".
Actions are however being taken to demand that no military intervention take place, that the Venezuelan people be allowed to determine their own future without outside interference, and to stand with the Venezuelan people in affirming that Nicolas Maduro is the legitimate President of Venezuela.
Hands Off Venezuela!
No to "Regime Change"!
Stand with the Venezuelan People and their President!