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Why it matters: Venezuela and the rest of us (including Mexico)

4 February 2019

John Ackerman in Proceso (4 de febrero, 2019)… my translation (and a nice companion piece to Plus ça-change: part 1, and the still to be written part 2)

When the word democracy is used to justify coups, the concept loses any semantic content. When the supposed defense of human rights is used as a pretext to strangle a people with hunger, cynicism becomes law. And when the supposed defense of popular sovereignty is mobilized as a motive to destroy national sovereignty, hypocrisy feels real.

Beyond a concrete evaluation of the political development of past or present situations and actions in Venezuela, yoking them to the supposed authoritarianism of the “Maduro regime” today implies being an accomplice to the dictatorial and interventionist actions of the United States and the old Euopean colonial powers.

Any discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the political system and development model in Venezuela, or any country, should be sharply separated from a debate on foreign intervention in Latin America. Popular sovereignty is simply not possible without first having a strong national sovereignty.

If an economic crisis or mass migration were sufficient reasons to invade a foreign country for “humanitarian reasons,” Mexico would have been occupied for decades by some foreign force. And if the lack of freedom of expression were a justification for removing the leader of a nation, we would have to start with the overthrow of the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz.

The last presidential elections in Venezuela took place eight months ago. Despite a 40 percentage advantage between the first and second place finishers, Washington has announced to its comrades in the old regime that it just occurred to them to denounce what it assumes were “electoral fraud”.

The last thing that these “democrats” are interested in is defending citizen rights and citizen power. They do nothing but parrots the Pentagon’s rhetoric and agenda. They speak and present themselves as “liberals”, but in reality they are abject slaves of the ideology of power and the status quo.

America’s next target?

But the most worrisome thing is that in their supposed concern for Venezuelan democracy these voices reveal their willingness to accept a possible coup d’état in Mexico. The same pundits and columnists who today find thousands of different reasons to overthrow Nicolás Maduro, will use the same reasoning to attempt to justify putting aside Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The strategy of the United States in Venezuela is in charge of John Bolton and Elliot Abrams, two of the most authoritarian, intolerant, militaristic and hypocritical politicians in ever in the history of the continent. The long history of their positions and their actions in Latin America, and the rest of the world, show their absolute disdain for the rule of law and democratic processes (

Likewise, the presumed “President in charge” of Venezuela, Juan Guiadó, also has a dark history of his own, with a long record of collaboration with American financing and ideological systems, as documented extensively by journalists Don Cohen and Max Blumenthal (

We can not afford any illusion about the democratic character of the regime that would follow an eventual overthrow or resignation of Maduro. Beyond what one can say for or against the democratic characteristics of the current government of Venezuela, we can be sure that any new regime imposed by Trump and his representatives would be totally authoritarian and exclusive.

This happened after the United States overthrew the democratic governments of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954 and Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973. Both countries had to suffer for decades under authoritarian and violent political systems after US interventions. Venezuela would suffer a very similar fate if Trump gets his way.

The debate is not between anti-imperialism and anti-authoritarianism. This is a false dilemma imposed by those who want to strengthen the narrative of American interventionism. The struggles against neocolonialism and despotism go hand in hand. Self-government is a sine qua non of democracy. So today all the citizens of this great American continent, from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, are called to express together our strongest repudiation of the lastest theft of the dignity of the peoples of the South and to act accordingly.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Allen Manana Graham permalink
    4 February 2019 12:51 am

    First and foremost, the U.S. is NOT planning military intervention… Next, Russia and China are supporting Maduro, only to protect their multi-billion dollar loan portfolio. More than three million people have fled Venezuela. Maduro, using the armed forces and police are jailing dissenters, and murdering and torturing them. Surrounding countries have STATED that they will intervene to oust Maduro… The USA has NOT said that. Mexico, through President Obrador, alias AMLO. has openly supported his friend, Pres Nicolas Maduro…. Should Mexicans be concerned ?

  2. roberb7 permalink
    4 February 2019 9:34 am

    It’s highly unlikely that the US Congress would approve spending money on a military intervention.

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