New U.S. threat to Venezuela

A lot of words in the corporate media this week have been devoted to remembering Sept. 11, 2001. That attack has served as a pretext for U.S. aggression ever since.

But there was another Sept. 11 — seldom mentioned. On Sept. 11, 1973, generals in Chile working with the CIA carried out a military coup to overthrow the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. What followed was the brutal torture and assassination of thousands of progressives in the country, including the president.

Now Washington is threatening a direct invasion of Venezuela.

In May, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said that top U.S. diplomats were engaged in a military conspiracy against his country. Maduro’s charges were roundly dismissed by both the U.S. administration and the billionaire media.

Until Sept. 9.

Then the New York Times finally admitted the U.S. plan for regime change in an article headlined: “Trump administration discussed coup plans with rebel Venezuelan officers.”

The Times ran this story, not to warn the people of Venezuela, but to criticize the Maduro administration, which it considers dangerous to strategic U.S. imperialist interests.

The Times spreads its own vicious propaganda against President Maduro and his country’s attempts to be free of U.S. domination. It continually blames the Bolivarian government for economic difficulties in Venezuela without mentioning the full-press sabotage by U.S. and Western European imperialism.

Max Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research has filled in what the Times omits — stressing that the U.S. economic war on Venezuela is behind the country’s current depression. In early 2017 Washington began imposing sanctions against Venezuela, including freezing the country’s billions of dollars in U.S. accounts.

Weisbrot notes that “with Trump’s [recent] executive order, even if Venezuela were to stabilize the exchange rate and return to growth, it would be cut off from borrowing, investment, and proprietary sources of income such as dividend payments from Venezuela-owned but U.S.-based Citgo Petroleum.” (The Nation, Sept. 7, 2017)

The Venezuelan oligarchs hate that Maduro is a former bus driver. They hated Venezuela’s late revolutionary President Hugo Chávez for siding with the poor and oppressed. They prefer the people they exploit and oppress to remain subservient. So do their U.S. imperialist masters.

Since the right-wing parties in Venezuela that represent the rich are completely discredited and disgraced among the people, U.S. imperialism has to consider a more direct intervention.

The Times article said that for the last two years high-ranking U.S. diplomats have been meeting with Venezuelan military officers to discuss a military rebellion and the extent of U.S. military support. Is this an admission — or a threat?

Whatever the details, the record of U.S. interventions south of the border makes the overall message believable: The U.S. has intervened in Haiti starting in 1804, in Cuba, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Guatemala and Mexico — not to mention most of South America. This includes training Latin American officers in the U.S. in torture techniques, along with direct U.S. invasions.

Despite the country’s crisis, however, the Venezuelan military — both the ­officers and now the politicized rank-and-file troops — have in their great majority remained loyal to the democratically elected president.

And the working people of Venezuela continue to affirm their belief that the development of the Bolivarian Revolution is the path to a better future. In the May presidential election, Maduro won a new six-year term in a landslide, with three times the votes of the next candidate.

What lessons are we workers in the U.S. to take from this struggle?

That capitalism will do anything — lie, cheat, rape, conspire, invade, plunder and murder — to keep its profits and its system in the ascendancy.

Our solidarity and our hope remain with the international struggle of the workers — a struggle that has no borders.