Published:  12:20 AM, 11 March 2019

The chronicle and fulsomeness of US Meddling in Venezuela

There is not a nation in the Western Hemisphere that has not at one time or another found itself caught in the far-reaching tentacles of US imperialism.

Venezuela is certainly no exception. Washington has been meddling in its internal affairs since the 19th century and it continues to do so to this very day, when the specter of yet another US-backed coup, or even a direct American military intervention, looms larger by the day.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro told Euronews the US has tried to impose a puppet government in Venezuela, but that the coup d'état... has already failed. Washington has used all its political, diplomatic and economic power to try to impose a puppet government in that country.

The US last month blatantly violating the international rules slapped sanctions on the country's state oil firm, which is a key source of foreign income in Venezuela, to overthrow the Maduro government.

"Since Venezuela has the world's main certified oil reserve, we are certifying the world's main gold reserve, the fourth gas reserve, strategic mineral reserves such as coltan... Venezuela has always been in the geopolitical interest," Maduro said. Juan Guaido declared himself interim president calling Maduro's re-election last year a sham which bears no iota of truth.

Many European countries - the client states of Whitehouse and the US have recognized Guaido as the legitimate president but Maduro is backed by Russia, China, and Venezuela's military.At the instigation and pumping money illegally to the people in Venezuela by US administration, it has arranged a good number of people to demonstrate protests demanding that Maduro allow humanitarian aid into the country.

The protests came after the US and Colombia sent an aid convoy to the Colombian border town of Cucuta last week, where it is being held in warehouses.

But Venezuela's military barricaded a key bridge between Venezuela and Colombia in an apparent attempt to prevent aid from entering the country. Maduro told Euronews the aid was contaminated, citing information he claimed came from Colombia.Why do we seem to think US rule the world?

Why should they decide who other nations have for leaders or what their economic structure will be? No one elected the Whitehouse mischief-maker, but this is what they arrogantly are doing right now in Venezuela. The people of Venezuela will suffer for their interference.

US has a long history of intervening in the internal affairs of other countries. Their meddling often has resulted in unspeakable suffering for the people of those countries. Supporting military dictators and overthrowing democratically elected leaders has led to people dying, disappearing, and becoming refugees.

Local economies have been destabilized by economic sanctions. Civil wars have been prolonged by their taking sides. Guatemala in 1953, Chile in 1973, Nicaragua in 1979, El Salvador in the 1970s and '80s, and Honduras in 2009 are just a few of the more-disastrous US interventions in Latin America.

Never has their interference brought freedom, democracy, or prosperity.Venezuela is unlikely to be different. Conflict with the US began with the election of President Hugo Chavez in 1998. Chavez nationalized oil and steel production and challenged the domination and control of US companies. He used oil revenues to fund health, education, housing, and social programs.

The United States has never tolerated left-leaning governments in Latin America. Socialist leaders who limited foreign business interests, tried to control their natural resources, or shared the profits with the population were targeted for sanctions and covert actions.

The US is now orchestrating regime change in Venezuela. Venezuela is a political and economic mess because of the US establishment's undue disturbances. Chavez's successor, Nicolas Maduro, is a good politician. Though lower oil prices have dried up government revenues, it is not that it will not sustain liberal social policies.

Political and social unrest has become violentprompted by US administration. Moreover. US imposed economic sanctions and covert support for opposition groups also have contributed to the problems. It is not Whitehousebusiness to interfere, nor do they have the credibility to be an impartial arbiter.

Their meddling is also illegal under international law, and it violates their own values of national self-determination. As a member of the Organization of American States, the US is required to respect the sovereignty and independence of other states.

The Organization of American States charter also says member countries can choose, without external interference, its political, economic, and social system. They would not tolerate other nations interfering with their affairs. Why do they interfere in others?

Veterans for Peace works to restrain their government from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. Having learnt from the tragedies of Vietnam, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, Veterans for Peace works believe that violence, whether by military intervention or by economic sanctions, is not the way to resolve conflicts.

It is worth mentioning that during most of the 20th century, US interference in Venezuela was mostly about oil, but that was not always the case in earlier times. Washington's involvement in the 1895 boundary dispute between Venezuela and Britain was a key event in the emergence of the United States as a world power as the Grover Cleveland administration, invoking the Monroe Doctrine prohibition against European colonization of the Americas, successfully sided with Venezuela.

The Cleveland administration, which noted that today the United States is practically sovereign on this continent, issued thinly veiled threats of war against Britain, which eventually acquiesced to US demands.

Later, during the Dutch-Venezuelan crisis of 1908, the US Navy helped Venezuelan Vice President Juan Vicente Gómez seize power in a coup. Gómez, known as "The Catfish," would rule the country either directly or through puppet presidents, until his death in 1935. His regime was one of inconceivably medieval brutality. His enforcers were fond of shackling political prisoners in grillos, leg irons that rendered many victims permanently disabled and those were the "lucky" ones. The unlucky ones were hanged to death by meat-hooks through their throats or testicles.

Gómez was fantastically corrupt. He was believed to be worth a staggering US$200 million, or more than US$3.6 billion today, at the time of his death. However, he endeared himself to Washington and Wall Street by granting highly lucrative concessions to foreign oil companies including Standard Oil (ExxonMobil today) and Royal Dutch Shell.

Rómulo Betancourt, who served two presidential terms in the mid-20th century and is considered the founding father of modern democratic Venezuela, wrote that Gómez was the instrument of foreign control of the Venezuelan economy, the ally and servant of powerful outside interests.

The exploitation of Venezuela's tremendous petroleum resources has been the constant objective of US policy and action toward the South American state for over a century. This meant backing the viciously repressive dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez (1948-1958), whose regime forces subjected political prisoners to tortures every bit as horrific as those committed during the Gómez era. Jiménez was as generous to transnational corporations as he was cruel to his own people.

The United States, which cared about the former far more than the latter, counted the despot as a close ally, even awarding him the military Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements and providing his dreaded Directorate of National Security (DSN) with invaluable assistance as it imprisoned, tortured and murdered thousands of innocent Venezuelans.

A few years after Venezuela shifted to democracy in 1958, most other South American nations began falling under the iron-fisted rule of US-backed military dictatorships. The military and security forces of these repressive coup regimes were often trained by the United States, at the US Army School of the Americas and elsewhere, in kidnapping, torture, assassination and democracy suppression.

As US-backed death squads trained from US-authored torture manuals murdered, tortured and terrorized innocent men, women and children from Central America to Argentina, Venezuelans enjoyed decades of peace and prosperity. However, the US never stopped meddling in Venezuela's affairs, and after the free and fair election of Hugo Chávez in 1998 and the subsequent launch of the Bolivarian Revolution, US meddling would reach levels that would shock the conscience of the world.

Venezuela's political crisis intensified after the National Assembly was replaced with the Constituent Assembly in August 2017, which was criticized as a move undermining democracy and prompted some Western countries to impose sanctions on Venezuela leading to more economic hardships for the country.Washington-Caracas conflicts intensified after Donald Trump assumed office as US president in January 2017 and imposed stricter sanctions on Venezuela. The US banned several Venezuelan officials from conducting trade with US individuals and organizations, and froze their assets in the US.

The US also banned dividend payment, debts and assets transactions with the Venezuelan government and the state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. And US citizens and permanent residents were prohibited from buying any bonds related to Venezuelan state-owned enterprises.

Trump also said that he could take military action against Venezuela.Therefore, to prevent being marginalized and win more international support, the Maduro government should make greater efforts to explain the situation in Venezuela. For example, Venezuela can reinforce relations with the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America that supported Venezuela in 2017.

Besides, cooperation with Russia may help Venezuela win strong political and economic support. Russia firmly opposed US interference in Venezuela's internal affairs during Maduro's visit to Russia in October 2017, and the wheat imports from Russia have helped reduce Venezuela's dependence on the US and Canada for the food grain.

As for China, it has cooperated with Venezuela in different fields, including port construction, and oil and gas. More important, China sticks to the principle of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs and so it is opposed to any foreign intervention in Venezuela.

US government should stop meddling in Venezuela in no time. They should support dialogue and negotiations initiated by President Maduro with the opposition political group in Venezuela. We believe citizens of the US cannot be silent when their government does what is wrong. We urge them to contact the representatives in Venezuela to support a peaceful resolution to the conflict in that country.

The writer is a senior citizen and writes on politics, political and human-centered figures, current and international affairs

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