America’s recent moves towards a coup in Venezuela are being carried out through the same methods that global capitalism uses to keep itself in place: media propaganda, political sabotage of opponents, and acts of violence.
The Trump administration’s motives for trying to oust Maduro are transparently motivated by corporate profit. This week, Senator Marco Rubio openly explained the business motivations behind the Venezuela coup he supports, having tweeted: “[The] biggest buyers of Venezuelan oil are ValeroEnergy & Chevron. Refining heavy crude from #Venezuela supports great jobs in Gulf Coast. For the sake of these U.S. workers I hope they will begin working with administration of President Guaido & cut off illegitimate Maduro regime.” Unsurprisingly, Venezuela’s self-declared new “president” Juan Guardio has already tried to privatize Venezuela’s oil operations to benefit the United States.
Guaido’s attempt to usurp Maduro at the behest of the American government is not just an act of illegal foreign interference in a sovereign nation. It’s also being justified to the Venezuelan people through political fraud. Guaido is basing his claim as the rightful leader of Venezuela on the narrative that Maduro stole the election of last May, which would make Maduro an illegitimate leader. But this narrative is founded on lies. International observers from 40 different countries judged the election to be transparent, despite the U.S.’ refusal to accept the results.
Since Chavismo took power twenty years ago, the U.S. has been demonizing and slandering Venezuela’s legitimate and elected leadership, interfering in its politics, and inflicting terrorism against its citizenry. The CIA’s attempted coup against Hugo Chavez in 2002 has been followed by economic sanctions on Venezuela that target the country’s population, campaigns from Saudi Arabia and Western corporations to sabotage Venezuela’s economy, the pumping of millions of dollars into Venezuelan opposition groups, threats by the Trump administration to invade Venezuela militarily, and American support for violent protests against Maduro’s government.
Since all-out war with Venezuela isn’t regarded by the U.S. government as a first choice, the regime change operation against Maduro has taken on the form of America’s recent regime change campaigns in Syria and Ukraine, wherein America has given support to militant opposition groups while conducting a campaign of propaganda and political sabotage. It’s been an underhanded regime change operation that’s largely hidden from the American people, which makes it easy for the U.S. government to pass it off as a legitimate revolution.
This is what makes it ironic when American supporters of capitalism try to point to Venezuela as proof that socialism doesn’t work. Firstly, their claim completely misrepresents Venezuela’s political situation; Chavez and Maduro haven’t brought socialism, they’ve only reformed capitalism by enacting social welfare policies within the capitalist system. These policies have lifted many Venezuelans out of poverty. And many more of them would now be in good economic standing if their leaders were to do away with capitalism entirely.
Secondly, Venezuela’s economic crisis was created not by this fictitious implementation of “socialism,” but by the acts of Western warfare that I mention above. America’s tactic of sabotaging Venezuela, and then blaming “socialism” for Venezuela’s problems, reflects on the similarly dishonest and coercive methods that capitalism uses to maintain its control.
Whether the capitalist class has created a mass propaganda campaign to discredit socialism, or used money to control the political system, or sent police to put down protests, it’s mirrored what they rely on for projects like the Venezuela regime change operation: only the dirty tricks.
The capitalists are still in power because they have the money to crush their opponents and flood society with their propaganda. We’re ruled by an illegitimate dictatorship of capital that should have been overthrown long ago, and that would be quickly replaced if the political and media establishments weren’t designed to exclude critics of capitalism.
Thankfully, this underlying weakness of capitalism is coming to a head. Even as the U.S./NATO empire uses a full array of its weapons in this coup attempt, the empire’s decay is apparent. As an editorial this week from Strategic Cultureassesses:
Venezuela will be no push over, however. The country’s defense forces are standing with Maduro’s government, and defense minister Vladimir Padrino has condemned “US aggression”. Venezuela’s Supreme Court has declared the opposition’s claim to the presidency as unconstitutional.
Abroad, Venezuela has the support of several neighboring countries, including Mexico, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Cuba.
Russia has emerged as an important international power calling for respect for Venezuela’s sovereignty and the legitimacy of President Maduro. Other foreign supporters include China, Iran and Turkey, who have also denounced the US-led offensive against Venezuela…the events may show that the Uncle [Sam] is now a decrepit old tyrant whose malign designs no longer match the multipolar reality of today’s world.
As we hope for these factors to restrain the American empire, let’s work to end the capitalist system that let this empire come into existence in the first place.