Maduro Will Not Give US Companies Free Rein; That’s Why Washington Wants Him Gone

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
By Paul Martin

The Empire cannot tolerate a leader who rules in his people’s own interests

Ken Livingstone

US claims of defending democracy worldwide are nothing but an attempt to control and make profit from natural resources, and – as Venezuela has the largest oil reserves – Trump wants those to be taken over by American companies.

The US has been ramping up its regime-change strategy towards Venezuela, both directly and through its right-wing proxies in the country and region, to coincide with the recent inauguration of Nicolas Maduro as its president. The thrust of the US strategy is to delegitimize the presidency of Nicolas Maduro and secure what it calls an “orderly transition” to a new government.

Maduro won last year’s presidential election with 68 percent of the vote, with some opposition parties taking part and others choosing to boycott the poll of their own accord. International observers, including representative from the Council of Electoral Experts from Latin America (CEELA), confirmed the reliability of Venezuela’s election system.

Five days before his swearing in, the US State Department issued a statement attacking what it called the “corrupt and authoritarian Maduro regime.” It went on to declare that “the National Assembly is the only legitimate and last remaining democratically elected institution that truly represents the will of the Venezuelan people.”

The day after the inauguration, Juan Guaido, the National Assembly’s new president, refused to recognize Maduro as the new president of Venezuela. Instead, he offered himself as interim president. This was immediately supported by the US president, although it would be no different if Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, announced that she was replacing Donald Trump as president. I don’t doubt that if Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn announced that he was becoming prime minister, Donald Trump wouldn’t be rushing to endorse that.

A slew of public statements from the Trump administration followed this move in order to prepare the ground for ‘regime change.’ US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that “the Maduro regime is illegitimate and the United States will work diligently to restore a real democracy to that country.” US National Security Advisor John Bolton praised Guaido’s “courageous decision”in saying “Maduro does not legitimately hold the country’s presidency.”

US Vice-President Mike Pence, speaking on behalf of President Trump, made an impassioned appeal to Venezuelans to come out onto the streets on January 23 to protest against the government of President Maduro. In his statement, Pence referred to the Venezuelan leader as a “usurper” and a “dictator,” and expressed support for a transition government. Pence added that the US would continue its effort “until democracy is restored” in Venezuela.

On January 23, the Trump administration recognized Guaido as president, in a move clearly aimed at provoking regime change and perhaps a coup. Brazil, now led by the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, has also recognized Guaido; as have other close US allies.

This US intervention is a clear and flagrant violation of international law and an unacceptable interference into the affairs of a sovereign nation. It constitutes a new and extremely serious development in the USA’s longstanding strategy of aggression toward Venezuela since 1998. Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza is on record as saying that “what they want is a coup d’etat in Venezuela. They want a war in Venezuela.” It is hard to disagree and it is also therefore easy to understand, especially when the bloody history of US intervention in Latin America is considered, why progressive governments in Latin America – such as Mexico and Bolivia – are calling for the international community to back a dialogue in Venezuela.

The USA has tried to oust the democratically elected government of Venezuela ever since Hugo Chavez was first elected president in 1998. Four years later, the brief coup against Chavez in April 2002 had Washington’s fingerprints all over it, drawing on a history of such interventions, including the ousting of Chile’s President Salvador Allende in 1973 with horrendous results, leading to the death of thousands and decades of a dictatorship.

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