As Western leaders impose more sanctions and ultimatums, we must oppose this cynical foreign intervention in Venezuela, writes Rob Winkel
It doesn’t matter how many ultimatums the US or European leaders put to Venezuela. Venezuelans don’t need their former imperial masters and others to tell them to hold elections. Who leads the country is determined only by the population. It doesn’t matter how many countries support the opposition - it doesn’t give them a mandate to rule.
The US and their allies didn’t wake up a few days ago and suddenly start supporting the opposition after a rally in Caracas. You’d be forgiven for thinking this is the case from the coverage. They have supported the same groups there politically and financially for the last 20 years.
Venezuela is not a socialist country. It has a government who are socialist in name who have used the state to redistribute wealth somewhat. The economy is mostly still controlled by private capitalists. The economic crisis is not caused by socialism or socialist politics. It is rather the result of the country being very exposed to the needs of capital.
The election in 2018 was boycotted by the opposition. If you boycotted an election and then cried ‘foul play’ in any other country you wouldn’t be taken seriously - but the US and their allies love to portray the Venezuelan opposition as some sort of moderate sensible force. They are extremists. However, it is the reality that, if they were united in any way, they probably could have had a good shot at winning. They won the 2015 parliamentary elections and didn’t complain about fraudulent elections then. They boycotted the election in 2018 because they aren’t united and knew they couldn’t pose a solid challenge.
Like much of Latin America, Venezuela is a deeply racist society. Like many of its neighbours, it has a long history of a majority black and indigenous population being ruled by a minority elite which descends from European colonisers. The right-wing traditional parties represent this racist strand in society. The western media’s disdain for Chavismo and enthusiasm for the opposition has to be seen as support of this racism whether they know it or not.
The opposition who are trying to grab power right now are the same opposition who staged the 2002 coup (randomly shooting and killing ‘their own’ supporters in the streets to justify their coup), and who have arranged plot after plot to try and take power in the years since. The Obama regime gave $5m to training opposition parties in Venezuela in 2014.
Strategically now is not the time for leftists to focus on the failures of Maduro and the corruption of modern Chavistas. That is a very poor position to take. Especially given that the opposition of Venezuela are using the language of the left to justify their power grab. The US and Europe couldn’t care less whether Chavismo is succeeding or not or whether it is corrupt or not - they just want Maduro and the PSUV out of power. Now is the time to call for no more intervention from foreign powers.