Shady Dealings-US & Venezuela

Okay, so I’ve sat on this topic for a while now. Unfortunately, Venezuela or Bolivian politics are not my strong point, which is why unlike many I don’t like to say much about it. However, as more and more people get excited about what is happening in the once richest country in South America, I can’t stay silent any longer.

My opinion is based solely on my personal knowledge and common sense COMMON SENSE.

Sit back and relax and let’s go to Venezuela, home of some of the most memorable telenovelas outside of Mexico you will ever see.

Juan Guaidó

Let’s begin…a lot of people are thrilled and excited that Juan Guaidó has declared himself Interim President of Venezuela. Some are against; this is the part where it gets tricky. The two main reasons why people are against this coup are:

  1. They support the Bolivian government, or the United Socialist Party of Venezuela
  2. They do not support the Bolivian government; however, are against US intervention

I did say it gets tricky, right? Politics always does, this is why it’s awesome. I will try to shed some light on it for you.

Yes, some folks support the Bolivian government and let’s face it there was some good that Hugo Chavez did for the country. He was from a poor family; thus, he created programs to help the poor people of Venezuela. This was why many of the elite of the nation, which is constructed by business owners, decided to boycott and shut down their businesses. They were upset that the poor were reaping the benefits from the exporting of oil and natural gas; instead, of having the money trickle down to the already rich individuals of the nation as is standard in many nations. However, Chavez used this money to fund his programs for the poor.  

President Hugo Chavez with then Vice President Nicolas Maduro

Before we go any further, I want to say that I’m not pro-Chavez or Maduro, I’m pro-sovereignty. So, you can group me with those that are against US intervention.

I just want to make it’s clear that we understand that Chavez started out with a vision for his country. One that uplifted the forgotten poor of his country and one that would allow Venezuela to be free of any foreign intervention. I am also aware that some human rights violations took place, which is the part that makes me not be 100% Chavez. We cannot turn a blind eye to these actions, many follow the “by all means necessary” ideology. Even if this means violating the rights of some people for the greater good. This in itself is a whole other can of worms, we will not get in to today.

Back to Venezuela’s economic crisis.

Chavez and those before him did the thing that you shouldn’t do. They focused on one resource-petroleum. I mean there should be a class taught by Noam Chomsky titled “How not to fuck up your economy 101” preceded by “What to do if you fucked up your economy 102” taught by Alan Greenspan that all leaders should take.

They converted Venezuela into a petrostate, which according to the Council of Foreign Affairs means that a country is deeply reliant on the export of oil and natural gas. As Chomsky would tell you, relying on one natural resource is the worst thing you can do for your country. You are relying heavily on foreign capital, which means that your countries economy is left extremely vulnerable to global energy prices and economic downturns. 

Needless to say, that while you are focusing on that one resource, you are neglecting other sectors. In most cases, these tend to be agriculture and manufacturing, which are vital for economic growth. This is the worst that can happen to a country; unfortunately, Brazil went through this as well. Mind you, many politicians and economist believed Brazil was going to be the next Super Power, they were doing that well.

Venezuela not only focused on one resource, but they also mismanaged the entire sector. From shady dealings with private investors, using money for personal use (aka stealing), to using money earned to fund political campaigns or revolutions as was the case with Chavez. All gross mismanagement.

Let’s move this along, I like many have seen the headlines and seen the video clips. The information that is provided, makes me cringe. I’ve actually wondered if Chavez is shaking with rage in his grave, and I’ve tried to understand what went wrong with Maduro.

No matter how I look at it, things don’t look…right. Maduro had experience and was elected as VP under Chavez because he knew politics and he knew the people. He came from the ground up, so what made him turn? Why is it that his politics resemble that of a tyrant? I want to believe that he has his people’s best interest at heart, but when I start to hear about rigged elections and people starving, I can’t help but question everything.

This is where it might get even trickier for some. Even though things don’t look so great (to me) in Venezuela, I do not believe that Guaidó should be declared president and more importantly that the US should intervene.

The US was one of the first countries to recognize Guaidó. Followed eight days later by the European countries, or as I like to call them, by all colonizer nations.  

Here’s the shady part, here’s the part that makes me wonder why people are applauding Guaidó, who was supported by the US (we can’t get around that fact), I mean do they not realize what’s next? I do. It’s horrible and devastating for the poor of this country.

Elliott Abrams, (photo The Atlantic)

How do I know it’s going to be bad? Because Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, named Elliott Abrams as the person to handle US policy towards Venezuela. Many of you might not know him, Abrams is called by many a war criminal and rightfully so. He is a diplomat that has worked under Reagan and Bush senior. He pushed for US intervention in Central America, under his leadership thousands of people have been murdered in both El Salvador and Guatemala. The biggest massacres he is known for is the Massacre of El Mozote in El Salvador in which men, women, and children were rounded up and killed, a total of 500. Followed by another 1000 in another town by government soldiers that had trained by the US. All which he tried to cover and deny ever happened.

He also supported Rios Montt in Guatemala who oversaw a campaign to rid the country of its indigenous population. Which Abrams considered progress:

We think that kind of progress needs to be rewarded and encouraged,” Abrams told US public television in 1983 as he defended the sale of millions of dollars in technology and helicopter and aeroplane parts to the Guatemalan government.”

Al-Jazeera

In other words, he supported genocide. It was in fact declared genocide by a tribunal in Guatemala after Montt’s death.

Now, let’s see. In both these countries it was the elite against the poor. I’m drastically oversimplifying, but at the end of the day this is what happened. 

He also lied to Congress, was sentenced, got pardoned by HW Bush. He lied regarding weapons going to the Contras in Nicaragua, again another war intervention.

So, the US wants me to believe that Abrams is simply going to…what exactly? I don’t even know how they are going to spin it. At this point there’s nothing that they can tell me that will make me believe that Abrams is simply going to push for peace talks or policy without a violent intervention.

(Photo Business Insider)

Look the people of Venezuela need help, they do. However, having the US or any other foreign nation intervene is not the way to go about it. It has never led to any good. Every country that has undergone foreign intervention has been left in chaos, some undergoing years of conflict and left to fend for themselves with little to no resources.

Let the people decide, let the Pope come in and oversee peace talks or have a re-election overseen by UN officials. Something, anything, with the exception of US intervention.

Again, I don’t think it’s mere coincidence that the countries that have yet to recognize Guaidó as interim president are Latin American countries. They know, they understand, they’ve learned.

“Abrams “was always very passionate and committed,” investigative journalist Allan Nairn, who covered Central America extensively during the 1980s, told Democracy Now.

“Committed to what?” Nairn said. “Committed to mass killing in the service of what could be defined as US interests or even US whim, because, in fact, although it was being portrayed by Abrams and others at the time as a battle to prevent El Salvador and Guatemala and Nicaragua from becoming wings of the Soviet Union, anyone familiar with the facts on the ground knew that that was ridiculous. That was not at all what was at stake.”

Aljazeera

I hope that by this point you have come to realize that I am not siding with Maduro, I do believe that politicians get blinded by power. I am also not siding with Guaidó, I can’t. Increasing the instability of your country by pulling these antics and bringing in a foreign government that has a history of undemocratic behavior in foreign policy to help you achieve power, really does not reassure me that you have ALL of your people’s best interest at heart.

I am wholeheartedly on the side of sovereignty. I am on the side that will allow Venezuela to come out of this, as a sovereign state. Not as another victim of special interest politics. A Venezuela with its own government, laws, and economic plan to go back to the thriving Venezuela it once was. No answers, I know. I wish I had an answer, I wish I knew what to do exactly, I don’t. It kills me, because the people of Venezuela need answers. However, I didn’t write this because I had answers to give. I wrote this because we really need to start being careful about what we support and who we believe to be heroes, especially when it comes to politics.

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