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“The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism. What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism.”

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:3

Over the last week politicians and media have been spewing honeyed bullshit over their direct efforts to overthrow a government in Venezuela. They insist that the United States must intervene in support of the Venezuelan people who want their constitution and democracy followed.

This has nothing to do with humanitarianism or democratic rights. This is a well-orchestrated coup to deepen the U.S.’s bloody grip on Latin America and pull a pesky thorn out of its side. This is gangsterism pure and simple—another American crime. And once again, they’re trying to fool you with the well-worn-out “democracy” line.

In the midst of a deepening political and economic crisis—made intolerably worse by U.S. economic warfare—hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated last week against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Maduro is the inheritor of the legacy of Hugo Chávez, who used Venezuela’s oil as a lever not for “socialism” but to get a better position in the overall imperialist system. And the U.S. has been working ever since to smash Venezuela’s teeth and get their head more fully under the U.S. boot.

Addressing the thousands of protestors, Juan Guaidó, president of the National Assembly and key leader in the anti-Maduro opposition, declared the Maduro regime illegitimate and announced himself president.

Just minutes after Guaidó’s declaration, Trump recognized him as interim leader, and declared his National Assembly was “the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people.” Both U.S. National Security Adviser and unrepentant war criminal John Bolton and defender-of-all-things-democratic Donald Trump have threatened a military intervention to oust Maduro, saying, “All options are on the table.”

There’s been a lot of talk about human rights violations and how Guaidó is some sort of heroic fighter against unconstitutional tyranny. The reality is that Mafia Boss USA has plans for a new subservient government and has made the Venezuelan people an offer they cannot refuse.

The gamble made by Chávez and then Maduro—that they could use their oil to get a better position in the world imperialist system—fell apart when oil prices went down. The Venezuelan economy went into crisis. But the U.S. has been turning the screws on the Venezuelan people to create a situation so intolerable that they beg for U.S. intervention. Let’s talk about who should really be held accountable for the crisis.

  • Venezuela relies on oil exports for 95% of its revenue. In 2017 Trump issued an executive order to prevent Venezuela from financing its debt in the U.S. and applied further sanctions to prevent Venezuelan oil companies based in the U.S. from sending their profits back to Venezuela. This was the primary cause of a 37% decline in oil production, and caused the loss of six billion dollars in revenue every year.
  • Denying access to this cash flow to Venezuela, a country totally dependent on food imports, means millions have gone hungry and thousands will die from preventable diseases. This has contributed to the largest refugee crisis in the Western Hemisphere with 2.3 million people forced to leave the country. These sanctions are directly targeted at destabilizing the government of Venezuela by starving the people. And they have the gall to talk about HUMANITARIAN AID!
  • A November 2018 Congressional Research Service Report directly acknowledged that the impact of these sanctions could “exacerbate Venezuela’s difficult humanitarian situation, which has been marked by shortages of food and medicines, increased poverty, and mass migration.” And yet Trump approved these sanctions, demanding that “[Maduro] end the repression and economic deprivation of the Venezuelan people.”
  • The New York Times reported on September 8, 2018 that “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.” The White House did not deny this, but said that “it was important to engage in ‘dialogue with all Venezuelans who demonstrate a desire for democracy’ in order to ‘bring positive change to a country that has suffered so much under Maduro.’” Among the people they met with was a general who, according to the Times, the U.S. has accused of torture and drug trafficking.
  • The U.S. State Department has urged Venezuela’s military to revolt against Maduro and even offered $20 million in emergency aid to Guaidó. Yet Senator Marco Rubio claims that this doesn’t constitute a coup attempt because… “I didn’t see any Americans on the street in Venezuela when hundreds of thousands, if not millions, took to the streets.” If deliberately starving people through economic warfare, secretly plotting military rebellions, directly aiding opposition parties, and threatening military invasion is “spreading democracy,” then what the hell is a coup?

The Chávez-Maduro Road Is Part of the Problem, Not Part of the Solution

Venezuela, with the largest oil reserves in the world, has long been dominated as a gas station for U.S. imperialism. This has created a lopsided and distorted society with a highly technical oil sector and an overall backwards economy with huge numbers of people unemployed and living in slums. Chávez and Maduro are not “socialist.” They attempted to angle for a “better deal” with like-minded countries to improve their bargaining position and get a bigger share of the oil profits, and then used some of that wealth to fund social welfare programs among the poor.

But Venezuela didn’t really break with the relations of imperialism and left many of the backward social relations within Venezuela intact: Almost nine million people remained locked into slums. Women remained subordinated and degraded—abortion is banned in Venezuela. As for the environment, Venezuela is the largest CO2 emitter in Latin America.

This leads to a very important point: the road promoted by Chávez is part of the problem and NOT part of the solution. It is a dead end trap that leaves imperialism itself untouched.

But despite still being locked within this oppressive system, this “art of the deal” was too much for the U.S. to tolerate in what they so arrogantly regard as their “backyard.” The U.S. imperialist ruling class—and this includes both the Trump/Pence regime and the Democrats, almost all of whom are on board with this coup attempt—is determined to put Venezuela, and all of Latin America, back in what the U.S. regards as “its place.” That’s what’s really behind all the honeyed words these politicians spew to justify regime change and all the misery and suffering they are consciously subjecting tens of millions of people to.

We need a whole new world—beyond the division of the world into a handful of imperialist powers who exploit, dominate, and bludgeon the whole rest of humanity… a world moving to eliminate all forms of oppression and exploitation, and all the relations between people and the ideas that are founded on and reinforce that exploitation and oppression. And as part of fighting for that revolution, we need to oppose the current vicious—and highly risky—threats and actions being carried out by U.S. imperialism against Venezuela.

Revolution newspaper/revcom.us, the voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, provides the foundation, guideline, and organizational scaffolding for the whole process of carrying out our strategy for revolution. Through publishing works of Bob Avakian, and through many different articles, interviews, letters, graphics, and other features, Revolution enables people to really understand, and act to radically change, the world.

Originally published at revcom.us

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