Thursday, June 14, 2018

You’ve Been Lied To About Venezuela

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America’s behavior towards Venezuela right now is an intensified version of what the U.S. has done with past leftist governments in the last century. To paraphrase Steve Kangas’ description of this regime change method, first the U.S. finds right-wing groups within the country and offers them power in exchange for their efforts to undermine the socialist government; then they overthrow the government through propaganda, economic war, political violence, and coups; then they install a brutal right-wing regime, such as the one of Augusto Pinochet.

The fact that a military invasion of Venezuela has been recently considered shows how desperate the corporate state is to get rid of what Chevez and Maduro have accomplished. This is a government that, despite all the U.S.’ attacks, maintains its popular support and keeps winning re-election. The U.S. government is partnering with Venezuela’s fascist-minded capitalist oligarchy to depose Maduro, but they might fail-if the American people aren’t fooled by the propaganda about Venezuela.
The biggest lie about Venezuela is that socialism has caused its economic crisis. Chavez reduced poverty by nationalizing Venezuela’s oil industry, and by enacting the public welfare policies that are shared by the European democratic socialist countries. The U.S./NATO power establishment has responded by waging brutal economic war against Venezuela; Saudi Arabia has driven down the price of oil to thwart Venezuela’s markets, while corporations like Kraft Heinz have been waging a coordinated sabotage of Venezuela’s food supply.
Corruption has arisen from within Venezuela, but its economic effects have been much more severe because of what the U.S. empire has done. And the claims that Chavez created this corruption are misleading, as corruption was normal in the country’s government prior to when Chavez took power. The narrative that Chavez and Maduro have caused inflation is false as well. Venezuela’s currency value is arbitrarily defined by forces outside the country, making social programs a scapegoat for Venezuela’s economic fiasco.
Meanwhile, the West has worked to slander Chavez and Maduro in ways that have often depended on completely inverting the truth. Any material that you’ve seen from the mainstream media about Venezuela’s recent election is likely to mention that the results were “derided as a sham” by Western authorities. But these reports don’t mention how the election was done with strict oversights, and how international overseers from 40 countries acknowledged the transparency of the voting process. They also probably don’t talk about the money that the U.S. pouredinto anti-Maduro forces prior to the voting.
The situation has been similar for all of Venezuela’s other recent elections. Every time Maduro’s party prevails, Western media and politicians cry electoral fraud, despite the absurdity of such a charge; Venezuela’s electoral process is among the most reliable in the world, something the U.S.’ voting system can’t come close to matching. Amid his flaws, Maduro enjoys broad support from the Venezuelan people, because he’s on the people’s side in Venezuela’s class conflict.
Additionally, polling and electoral results have shown that the people who’ve been supporting Chavez and Maduro are overwhelmingly poor, contradicting the narrative that poverty has caused Venezuelans to turn against their government. This undeniable legitimacy of Maduro’s government means the media’s characterization him as a “dictator” is inaccurate and emotionally manipulative.
All of this propaganda isn’t just about delegitimizing Venezuela’s government in preparation for regime change. It’s about hiding the popularity and success of democratic socialism in Venezuela, which has alarmed the oligarchs who sit at the top of the worldwide neoliberal order.
The assault on Venezuela is the latest in the U.S. empire’s century-long series of attempts to strangle socialism when it gets close to establishing itself. The left-wing governments in Laos, Argentina, and numerous other countries were similarly successful, until they were sabotaged by the West. This is also true for the Soviet Union; when the USSR ended, millions of Russians who depended on the country’s social protections were impoverished by the return of capitalism. Something comparable can be said about socialist Cuba, which has been pummeled by the U.S. economic embargo. And on the list goes.
Despite this, I recognize the authoritarianism and human rights abuses that have happened in many of these countries. While these events don’t prove that socialism causes tyranny, they show that every government, socialist or not, is capable of evil. Americans, whether or not they support socialism, need to apply this skepticism of authority to their own government while it threatens to destroy Venezuela. It’s always bad when Washington lies to the American people in order to interfere in the politics of a sovereign country. Let’s work to stop this from happening again.

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