It is quite extraordinary how on the one hand the US political-media class in the US is outraged, absolutely outraged, by alleged Russian attempts to sway US elections while at the same time they are openly calling for a military coup in Venezuela to overthrow president Nicholas Maduro and install Juan Guaidó as president. This is not the first time that the US has done it. The US expressed great joy when Hugo Chavez seemed to have been ousted only to end up with egg on its face when he beat back the coup.
President Donald Trump and his top aides on Tuesday swiftly endorsed an attempted government takeover in Venezuela, where opposition leaders backed by a band of rebellious soldiers are trying to oust strongman Nicolás Maduro.
Toppling Maduro would be a particularly salient political talking point for Trump because the president is trying to paint Democrats eyeing the White House as socialists who want to mimic Maduro’s style of governance. While Trump has spoken fondly of many other strongman leaders worldwide, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin, he has long harbored a particular dislike of Maduro.
“I am monitoring the situation in Venezuela very closely. The United States stands with the People of Venezuela and their Freedom!” Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN that Maduro “had an airplane on the tarmac, he was ready to leave this morning as we understand it, and the Russians indicated he should stay.”
“He was headed for Havana,” Pompeo added. The secretary also warned Maduro not to arrest Guaido, but declined to say if the U.S. had any red lines when it came to Venezuela.
National security adviser John Bolton, meanwhile, used both Twitter and a news conference to urge top Venezuelan officials to turn on Maduro, even as he insisted that Trump wants to see a peaceful transfer of power.
Note that Maduro is almost always referred to as a ‘strongman’ and not as the elected president of the country. The only tut-tutting in the US media is whether openly expressing support for a military coup is a good idea or whether the US should be more discreet in its efforts. The idea that what Guaidó is doing, calling on the military to overthrow the government and using foreign powers in support, would be considered treason if done in the US is never raised. No objections have been raised at the US deliberately sabotaging Venezuela’s economy through sanctions either.
It gets worse. After Maduro said that he had beaten back the coup attempt, the US threatened a military invasion.
Nicolás Maduro claimed his troops have thwarted a botched attempt to topple him masterminded by Venezuela’s “coup-mongering far right” and Donald Trump’s deranged imperialist “gang” – while on Wednesday morning the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said US military action in the country was a possibility “if required”.
Maduro gave an hour-long address to the Venezuelan nation on Tuesday night – his first since the pre-dawn uprising began – in which he accused the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, and his political mentor, Leopoldo López, of seeking to spark an armed confrontation that might be used as a pretext for a foreign military intervention.
It is telling that reporters do not ask US politicians how they can support military coups. The hypocrisy of the US political-media class knows no limits.
“I am not naïve.”
Yes, you are. You were regarding the Cypriot bank crisis (and never had the courage to admit it; rather you just never wrote about the country anymore) and you now are regarding the Venezolean crisis: “the elected president of the country”. This is incredibly naive. This blogpost confirms it.
Your naivity particularly shows when you think you have identified the bad guys and immediately have sympathy for the opposition, without ever considering the possibility that they might even be worse guys.
Donald the Clown is a bad guy, no doubt about it. However it’s equally telling -- about you -- that you carefully don’t mention that Maduro gets support by …. the not so good either President Putin.
I bet you blame the US sanctions for the economical problems of Venezuela. You’re too naive to consider two inconvenient facts: Venezuela already suffered from these problems when Chavez was in charge; this was already widely known in Suriname about ten years ago. Worse, Venezuela is potentially such a rich country, thanks to oil, that those sanctions should be as useless as sanctions against Saudi-Arabia.
It’s especially naive from you that you expect all your readers to be so ill-informed or have such bad memories that they have forgotten that
1) the last elections for president were fraudulous;
2) the opposition, lead by Guaido, has the majority in elected parliament;
3) president Maduro has done everything he could to decrease the political power of parliament.
Because you don’t want to get rid of your simple “Trump is bad hence Maduro is good” scheme.
As a result you are in the same camp as presidents who are at least every inch as authoritarian, if not dictatorial as your own president. But hey, when it comes to politics I have ceased to take you seriously since that Cypriotan bank crisis. You’re incurable. A pity you write less and less about physics. The difference in quality is striking -- has been for years.
I don’t read this post as endorsing Maduro at all, merely pointing out US government hypocrisy (which is nothing new in this regard). Whether or not you think Maduro ought to be president of Venezuela (I certainly don’t -- he has all of Chavez’s faults while lacking the positive qualities that allowed some people to find Chavez palatable), the US has been brazenly interfering in the domestic politics of another sovereign state -- and with far deadlier immediate consequences than Russian troll farms.
This person is asking the right questions.
Tucker Carlson: A few quick questions we should ask before the U.S. decides to meddle in Venezuela’s affairs
Is it not possible that Maduro is a horrible person, his government is illegitimate, and his people would be better off without him, AND YET AT THE SAME TIME, our getting involved in toppling a foreign government, even an illegitimate one, is a mistake? Based on many decades of doing it and it turning out badly? Can’t we just cheer on the Venezuelan people and military to solve this problem on their own, without us needing to play Hemisphere Cop once again?
The counter-argument, I suppose, is that he would have fallen already if it hadn’t been for Putin’s involvement. But still, the whole Cold War didn’t work out that well for us either.
Er, that’s an interesting term for it. Can it so easily be said that he is the elected leader, when the election has every appearance of being rigged?
Mano Singham says
Veteran Australin reporter John Pilger has been following Venezuela for a long time and he says that what is happening their is a replay of how Salvador Allende was demonized and Chile destabilized prior to the Pinochet military coup. He says that the western media has been incredibly one-sided in its coverage.
It is true that Pilger is a long time leftist who was a supporter of Chavez and so he undoubtedly has his biases. But the western media also undoubtedly has biases and has been relentless in its negative coverage of Chavez and Maduro and completely uncritical of the forces that seek to formulate a coup.
Mano and others who are skeptical about the situation in Venezuela….Interesting discussion over at Naked Capitalism.
When you claim to be a liberal or progressive yet your arguments are relying on the foul fulminations of John Bolton and warmongering by ERIK F^%$#NG PRINCE, you may want to rethink accusations of “naivete”. And I actually do think Maduro is overall an absolute disaster, so….I just don’t think it is our place to support coups that will further immiserate the population already suffering at least partly* due to our economic warfare. I would also note that the Venezuela situation illustrates how ridiculous and incompetent our War Pigs are. Typical for a tottering, creaking empire about to face its deserved comeuppance. Sad that we, its subjects, will have to suffer far more than those responsible, who always well-feathered bolt holes to flee to!
*only partly, but does bad economic and social policy always warrant a military intervention? Then when can we expect the Swedish-supported coup in these Benighted States? I am perfectly fine with our new Swedish Overlords!
Hold on, who here supported military intervention?
I don’t know who John Pilger is but that is an incredible amount of BS. I have followed the situation in Venezuela also since I was born and raised in that country, and my parents and two siblings still live there. I really don’t have the stamina to explain 20 years of incompetence and corruption, but thankfully a Venezuelan comedian gives a short explanation of what is going on (not funny). By the way, when she talks about the constitution, remember that this is the constitution that Chavez created (and violated).
I don’t know how to embed a video but here goes the link:
One can believe that Maduro is a disaster while still believing that the U.S. efforts to overthrow him are wrong, misguided, and likely to cause even more misery.
I would also note that for the poorer classes, the pre-Chavez era was not exactly successful. Maduro and Chavez may be bad, but were the typical caudillos and corrupt neoliberal grafter parties that dominated Venezuelan politics for decades really THAT successful for most citizens? (And by that, I mean the vast majority, not just the elites who certainly pine for a return to the good ol’ days.)
Again…Maduro is an incompetent, corrupt idiot. That does not mean the United States and its proxies should overthrow him.