Comment: Venezuela on ‘fast track’ to coup

Labour veterans who supported Chile Solidarity will know what's coming next

“Washington has placed Venezuela on the regime change fast track,” argues Eva Golinger, the noted American born author and newspaper editor, in a hard hitting article in which she she writes that:

“There is a coup underway in Venezuela. The pieces are all falling into place like a bad CIA movie. Headlines scream danger, crisis and imminent demise, while the usual suspects declare covert war on a people whose only crime is being gatekeeper to the largest pot of black gold in the world.”

This follows the US Department Of State imposing a second round of financial sanctions on Venezuela this month.

The sanctions include visa restrictions on Venezuelan government officials, whom the USA accuses of ‘human rights violations’ in a reference to last year’s right-wing coup attempt through violent street protests.

The US went ahead with the sanctions despite total opposition from the Community Of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Heads of State Summit in Costa Rica in January. CELAC brings together all the Latin America and Caribbean nations and  works as an alternative to the US-backed Organization Of American States.

In December last year, after an earlier round of sanctions on Venezuela, the heads of states of MERCOSUR, the (the Latin American equivalent of a ‘common market’), which includes Brazil and Argentina, opposed sanctions against Venezuela.

February’s unilateral sanctions also sparked outrage throughout Latin America. It prompted Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to meet with Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) secretary general, Ernesto Samper, to ask for the help of the regional bloc’s mediation on the interventionist actions carried out against the country by the United States.

President Maduro was clear that US Vice President Joe Biden had been pressing other countries to ‘isolate’ Venezuela. Maduro said he had proof that the US Embassy in Venezuela was attempting to bribe officials to ‘turn them against his government’ – in effect the start of an American backed ‘regime change’ attempt against a democratically elected government.

In her article, Eva Golinger explains:

“President Obama approved a special State Department fund of US $5 million to support anti-government groups in Venezuela. Additionally, the congressionally-funded National Endowment For Democracy is financing Venezuelan opposition groups with over US $1.2 million and aiding efforts to undermine Maduro’s government.”

She also argues that the USA is:

“Making Venezuela’s economy scream. As shortages continue and access to dollars becomes increasingly difficult, chaos and panic ensue. A very similar strategy was used in Chile to overthrow socialist President Salvador Allende. First the economy was destroyed, then mass discontent grew and the military moved to oust Allende, backed by Washington at every stage. Lest we forget the result: a brutal dictatorship led by General Augusto Pinochet that tortured, assassinated, disappeared and forced into exile tens of thousands of people. Not exactly a model to replicate.”

Those of us with longer memories will of course have spotted the signs that lead to a neo-liberal experiment where privatisations, sell-offs of state assets and the dismantling of employment rights were tested out in the Chilean people.

Labour cannot ignore the recent sanctions imposition on Venezuela and the attempst to destablise the country. Labour veterans who supported Chile Solidarity following the 1973 coup will know the signs and what’s coming next.

Labour needs to be clear that they will oppose ongoing attempts by the USA and others to de-stabilise Venezuela with ‘regime change’ as its final goal with a Chiliean style against a democratically elected government.

Tony Burke is vice chair of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign. Follow him on Twitter

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