What’s Really Going On in Venezuela
06 February 19
hat the US corporate media is not telling you about the situation in Venezuela is why the Venezuelan economy is in such trouble.
Since 1999, the US has waged economic warfare against Venezuela in an attempt to destabilize and deconstruct the Socialist Revolution started by former Venezuelan president and close Fidel Castro ally Hugo Chavez.
The US wants Venezuela, with its rich oil reserves, to be a compliant client-state. That was what motivated the Cuban Revolution and that is what drives anti-colonialist sentiment in Venezuela today.
The CIA, the US State Department, and the Treasury have used all available means and all resources to undermine and disrupt a Venezuelan government they see as uncooperative and unprofitable.
Venezuela was indeed a prosperous nation in the 1990s, but there was vast economic inequity. The economic inequity the Venezuelans faced was not at all unlike the economic inequity Americans face today. All the money is in the hands of a few people. We don’t like it now, and they didn’t like it then.
Chavez sought to change that. He wanted oil revenues to benefit Venezuela’s poor and disadvantaged. Chavez campaigned on that and was gratefully embraced by a considerable majority of Venezuelans. It did not, however, go over well with those who controlled the money or their US partners.
The US unleashed the same economic repression on Chavez’s government, and later Maduro’s, that it had been applying to Castro’s Cuban government. The message from the US is clear: “This is our hemisphere and we control everything in it.”
For its part, to underscore their intent, the Trump administration has appointed Elliott Abrams special envoy for Venezuela. As assistant secretary of state under Reagan, Abrams had quite a track record in South America. Julian Borger for the Guardian notes:
“Abrams is widely remembered in Central America, but particularly from his time in the Reagan administration, when he tried to whitewash a massacre of a thousand men, women and children by US-funded death squads in El Salvador, when he was assistant secretary of state for human rights.”
Abrams was widely suspected by human rights groups of helping coordinate aid, including arms, to the right-wing death squads. He pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in connection with the Iran-Contra scandal in 1991.
Abrams was recently quoted as saying, “This crisis in Venezuela is deep and difficult and dangerous, and I can’t wait to get to work on it.” You can be sure he will.
When you hear talking heads tell you about the crisis in Venezuela, remember its origins. It’s the same people you now fight for control of your democracy here in the US.
Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.