Once again, the U.S. is attempting to utilize the might of its empire against an independent nation as part of an open attempt to crush its right to self-determination. As in 2002 and 2013, it’s Venezuela that’s in the cross-hairs. Below are a few essential articles to assist in better understanding what’s currently happening there.
Maduro was not permitted to take his oath in the National Assembly. He was blocked by Juan Guaidó, leader of the opposition. That is why Maduro took his oath in the Supreme Court, a procedure that is validated by the Constitution.
Strikingly, the head of the Organization of American States—the Uruguayan politician Luis Almagro—sent out a tweet that welcomed Juan Guaidó as the president. Guaidó, to his credit, had not claimed the presidency. It was, instead, a foreign official from a regional body that has superseded the Venezuelan people and attempted to install a new president in Caracas.
More chilling has been the words from the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his department. Pompeo, in a tweet, wrote, “The time is NOW for a return to democracy in Venezuela.” The word “now”—in capitals—suggests that Pompeo is clear that there needs to be no procedures, only a coup. The day after this tweet, Pompeo’s department said, “It’s time to begin the orderly transition to a new government.” One does not need to read between the lines to know that this is a call for regime change, for a coup, and that it comes from Washington, D.C.
The Trump administration held secret meetings with rebellious military officers from Venezuela over the last year to discuss their plans to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro, according to American officials and a former Venezuelan military commander who participated in the talks.
…Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who has sought to shape the Trump administration’s approach toward Latin America, wrote a series of Twitter posts that encouraged dissident members of the Venezuelan armed forces to topple their commander in chief.
So call it what you want: attempted regime change, a putsch, a “soft” coup—the military hasn’t supported it—just don’t call it constitutional. The opposition strategy is based on Article 233 of the Constitution, which grants the National Assembly the power to declare a president’s “abandonment” of the office. Of course, the kicker is that Maduro hasn’t done anything of the sort, and only the Supreme Court can disqualify sitting presidents. Despite cries of dictatorship, the opposition did win the last election they contested—taking over the Assembly in late 2015 and using their platform to try to overthrow Maduro.
I refer, of course, to the fact that in a number of well-documented instances Venezuelan opposition forces have burned black people alive. This horrible fact should be enough to decide the issue for those in the United States when they think about which of the two sides to support in the struggle.
There is no real possibility of electoral fraud. The system is one of the most watertight in the world, recognized as such by former U.S. president Jimmy Carter. Twenty audits are carried out in front of witnesses from all parties. In fact, the opposition even asks the electoral council to oversee its primaries.