The root of the problem in Venezuela


The root of the problem in Venezuela

Louis Moyston, PhD

Sunday, February 03, 2019

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This article argues that the present crisis in Venezuela is manufactured in the United States. This kind of activity is not new, it is a 'drawdown' of cards played before in Haiti, Cuba in 1898 and 1960s, in Bosch's Dominican Republic in the 1960s, and in Chile in the 1970s.

The lame reporting by Vice-President of America Mike Pence that freedom had arrived in Venezuela by its recognition of the Opposition leader as the new president was also a replay of President George Bush's speech of the arrival of freedom in Iraq and the massive destruction of that country by the United States. In order to understand what is happening in Venezuela it is important to conduct a brief exploration of the United States and its mission to promote democracy and to impose its values on nations in the region It is also critical to reflect on some earlier historical milestones and polices aimed at reinforcing American domination of the Americas.

One must be aware of America's policies such as the Monroe Doctrine, Manifest Destiny, the embargo of Haitian Revolution, the 1898 Spanish American War, to the seizure of the Panama Canal in the early decades of the 20th century. Also important is to think about initiatives by the Americans to maintain control of the Americas: Truman's “Point Four Programme” to Kennedy's “Alliance for Progress”, both geared as “democracy promotion” movements in the region. The modern period of America's abuse of its power and its assault on democracies in the modern era: Truman and the Dominican Republic in the 1940s and a policy design “to bring the terrors of the earth” on Cuba in the 1960s.

The American Government developed and practised the policy of embargo that began as far back as the very early 19th century Haitian Revolution. The policy is conceptualised as a 'wall' that prevents the target countries to interact with the wider world; it is intended to punish the citizens of those countries in order to make them rebel and overthrow their Government. In 1973 American acts of destabilisation led to subversion of democracy in Chile in an assault on the presidential palace, where the democratically elected President Salvador Allende was killed. The American President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher strongly supported the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet along with “his hideous crimes” and extensive acts of state terror resulting in the killing of 50,000 and the torturing of over 700,000 Chileans.

In later years, we in Jamaica experienced American acts of destabilisation under the Michael Manley regime, in the 1970s, and later in the next decade the debacle in Grenada and Iran Contra policy on Nicaragua. These were not random cases, as they all were associated with a thrust of socialist experiment and wide solidarity with Castro and Cuba.

From Haiti to the DR

The Haitian Revolution was one of the most significant political events in the world at the turn of the 19th century. It was indeed a promise for the slaves in the United States, as well as those in the Caribbean and in Latin America. Probably the major concern of the Americans was that a former slave State with black political leadership and military defeated the leading lights of Western civilisation: France, Spain and England. Further to this, in 1815/1816 Alexandre Petion, the first president of Haiti, provided Simon Bolivar with ship, munition, military strategists and related logistics that led to his successful anti-colonial resistance in Latin America.

According to Noam Chomsky (2006) in Failed States: The Abuse of Power And The Assault On Democracy, in later years the United States took over from France in tormenting Haiti, then and now. In the 20th century it was the democratic regime of Juan Bosch and the Cuban Revolution that became other unwanted influences in the Americas that were not defined by American values. Stephen Ambrose (1980), in Rise To Globalism, informs us that US President Truman provided strong support for the brutal dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic. In 1961 Trujillo was assassinated and the United States of America tried its best to prevent any social-styled leader to emerge in the region. In spite of that effort, in December of 1962 Juan Bosch, a leftist visionary and scholar who was driven into exile by Trujillo, was elected by the people as the new president. He was the first president of the Dominican Republic to be elected by the people. In less than a year he was overthrown by conservative forces and the military, led by Donald Reid Cabral. This new regime was met with armed resistance led by a “young Boschist officer” accompanied by armed section of the masses. The conservative Cabral informed that the resistance against his regime “was part of a larger conspiracy, probably masterminded by Castro”. This he argued was a threat to American interests in the Dominican Republic and the wider Latin America.

It was against this background that the United States, under the leadership of L B Johnson, went against the charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) and sent in the Marines and the 82 Airborne Division to “restore order”, but in real terms to prevent Juan Bosch from returning to power. His rationale was that, “People trained outside of the Dominican Republic (were) seeking to gain control” — indirect reference to Cuba and Castro. According to critics of America the issue was not about a handful of communists seeking power, “but the masses were fighting for social justice and constitutionalism”. According to historical notes, President Johnson acted unilaterally, without informing the OAS, when he invaded that country. During the 1960s America became obsessed with Castro and Cuba, a political relationship that was resurrected with renewed vigour after the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s.

Some of the lessons from “America's increasingly bizarre relationship with Cuba [which] intensified after the fall of the Soviet Union” are useful in making sense of the crisis in Venezuela. Episodes of America's intervention in the Dominican Republic and its overtly aggressive relationship with Cuba are most useful in making sense of America's tormenting of Venezuela — the country with the largest reserves of oil.

Cuba and the tragedy of American diplomacy

William Appleman Williams (1971) argues that “the tragedy of American diplomacy is aptly symbolised and defined for analysis and reflection between the United States and Cuba from April 21, 1898 through April 21, 1961 — the former date is associated with the American declaration of war against Spain to free Cuba from Spanish tyranny and to establish and underwrite independence”, and to develop economic welfare and political democracy and happiness in Cuba. Instead, the Americans prevented the development of Cuba, prevented the industrial diversification of the mono-crop sugar economy. Secondly the Americans tolerated a refined based on “the use of torture and terror, of fraud and farce, by Cuban rulers”.

Williams (1971) argues that the Americans thought that their polices would inspire self-government, prosperity and a 'happy' Cuba — “all in the image of America”. America was not able to create “its ideal image in Cuba”; hence it deployed the use of force against Cuba in the 1959-1961 period: the Bay of Pigs Invasion and then the so-called Cuban Missile Crisis. It is important to note that the 1959 to 1960 Cuban revolutionary war was “neither plotted, planned nor manufactured” in the Soviet Union; there were neither Soviet troops nor arms in the successful and swift war against the brutal dictator, Fulgencio Batista. The July 26th Movement, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro led the revolt that challenged and defeated American values. It was the subsequent American 'reign of terror' that forced Cuba into the orbit of the Soviet Union.

Venezuela, Cuban solidarity and new forces

Chomsky (2006) argues that there was an intensification of the “bizarre obsession with Cuba” after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He provides useful lessons about the American blockade against Cuba, and also information on the expansion of Venezuelan influence in the Americas and its growing collaboration and solidarity with Cuba. One representation of the Democratic Pin 1992 that the “objective is to wreak havoc in Cuba”. The country was declared a criminal country since the Eisenhower presidency declared the blockade acting as a police to punish the population.

The Under Secretary of State Douglas Dillon explained in March 1960 that “the Cuban people are responsible for the regime” giving the United States the right “to cause them suffer by economic strangulation”. It was the view that if the Cuban people are hungry they will overthrow Castro. This kind of thinking was encouraged and expanded by the John F Kennedy regime with the aim to unleash the terror of the earth on Cuba. The refusal of the Cuban people to reject the American plan is indeed a significant reaction of a people still convinced that they have the right step to self-determination and national sovereignty”. In subsequent decades Castro's popularity grew globally with his role in the liberation of South Africa; attention to the Ebola crisis in Africa; as well as massive assistance with doctors and scholarships to developing countries such as Jamaica. The Americans fear that if a successful and stable regime emerges in Cuba other countries in the region may want to follow. The lessons of the embargo on Haiti in the early 19th century and Cuba in the 20th century are important guides in making sense of the present crisis resulting from the American embargo “wall” that surrounded Venezuela.

The root of the matter

The emergence of President Hugo Chavez, from 1999 to 2013, saw Venezuela rise as a regional power, and as a most important comrade of Cuba. Chavez's resurrection of the Bolivarian thinking that led to the uniting of South America, thus creating a bloc of states independent of the United States of America, angered America. His role in Mercosur and the region in providing cheap oil and assisting with International Monetary Fund loan payments was much appreciated as the influence of Venezuela in the region soars. With Chavez united with Castro and Cuba the American fear increased.

For example, in 2005, when Cuba gave massive assistance to Pakistan after a devastating earthquake, it was reported that Cuba deployed over 1,000 medical and health workers and that the bill was paid by Venezuela. Venezuela financed Cuba's health care programme in the region, especially the eye-care programme, Operation Miracle. After the death of Chavez the Americans began the increased terror programme on Venezuela against President Maduro, who is neither a Lula from Brazil (in terms of union leadership of strong political qualities) nor a Chavez. It was the fear that the unity of Venezuela, the country with the largest deposit of oil, and Cuba would be a further threat to the receding American dominance in the region.

The crisis emerged within the framework of the smashing of the progressive and leftist leaders in the Mercosur bloc and, next, the focus on Venezuela by developing aggressive polices against that country to make the people suffer with a view to overthrowing the Government. This is, again, the root of the problem. There is talk of the “socialist mess” created in Venezuela by the present regime, but the real fact is that it is the Americans that have created the mess in that country in the same traditions of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Chile, and many other areas in the region and in the world. This thrust of America against Venezuela is similar to its earlier interventions in Cuba, Haiti and Chile, among others, and has nothing to do with democracy, even in its basic definition. There is no place in the world that American intervention has created a better place.

The world is changing. This move by America against Venezuela is part of its work to regain dominance in the region as its global reign and it has now moved into the twilight zone. Countries like Jamaica must begin to accept this fact and prepare for a 'brave new world'.

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