Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans flooded the major roads of the country on February 21 to lambast and oppose direct US military intervention under the guise “humanitarian aid.” This was the latest among the US imperialism’s series of interventionist measures of which aim to topple the legitimate Bolivarian government and place in power its puppet regime.
The said measure came after the failed attempt to oust Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela, on January 23. The US and its imperialist allies also failed to compel the Venezuelan people to reject Maduro and force him to call for an election.
The Venezuelan people actively resisted various ploys by the US. They resolutely supported Maduro and pledged to carry on the Bolivarian revolution for national liberation and advance the legacy of the late Hugo Chavez. On top of imposing economic sanctions, the US also attempted to assassinate Maduro last year using an attack drone. The US recognized the oppositionist Juan Guaido when he declared himself “president” of Venezuela.
To sugarcoat its intervention and conceal military aggression, the US delivered 200 tons of food aid and other basic goods in the Venezuela and Colombian borders. Guaido and the Venezuelan oligarchy supported this plan.
The Maduro government exposed the plan of the US and refused its aid. It said that Venezuela has already received aid reaching up to 900 tons of food and medicine from Russia, China and other countries. It also exposed the superficial aid offer of Great Britain, France and Germany which are among the countries that imposed economic blockade against Venezuela to make its people suffer from hunger and die.
Under the new sanction imposed by the US and the aforementioned countries, PDVSA, a public Venezuelan oil company, was barred from withdrawing its $7 billion deposited in foreign banks. On top this, the PDVSA is expected to lose about $11 billion with the US’ cessation of importing oil from Venezuela. Because of this, importation of food and medicine by the Venezuelan people is also affected.
The Trump government and big American capitalists have long been wanting to replace Nicolas Maduro to control Venezuela’s rich oil reserves. US National Security Adviser John Bolton himself admitted in an interview with Fox News that the real reason behind their intervention is oil and not “to defend democracy.” He explicitly stated that it would be better if the head of Venezuela is to be replaced in order that American oil companies can invest there. Across the globe, Venezuela is richest in terms of oil reserves, fourth in gas, on top of gold, coltan, diamond, aluminum and iron.
History of intervention
US intervention in Venezuela has already reached 18 years. The US has eyed Venezuela since 2002 when the anti-imperialist government of Hugo Chavez came into power. The global economic crisis resulting from neoliberal policies created the conditions for the Bolivarian spirit to flourish in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Honduras, countries in the Latin America, a region which the US wants to consider its “backyard.”
One of the first measures implemented by Chavez was the nationalization of leading oil companies. He used profits derived from these to fund social programs including free housing, education and health services.
Even prior to this, the US was already furious about Chavez. When the government of the younger Bush conducted a global campaign against terrorism, Chavez did not heed the dictates of the US. He boldly told the US that terrorism can never be defeated by employing terrorism. Chavez also propagated the Bolivarian spirit within the military, using his position as a former military official. Through this, he was able to weaken the capacity of the US to incite or organize coups in the country.
The US has attempted to topple the Bolivarian regime in Venezuela several times. It failed on April 2002 when the US-sponsored coup was defeated within 24 hours. It mounted a “petroleum lockout” for its second coup. This failed when oil workers and exporters from other countries united against the said attempt. The third attempt took place a year ago through the villification of the Venezuelan elections where Maduro earned his second electoral victory. On the other hand, the US recognized as “legitimate” Guaido’s coup attempt and supported his call for uprising.
The Trump government is now aggressively pushing for intervention in Venezuela amid the crisis it is facing due to falling oil prices. This was worsened by the economic sabotage by big oligarchs in the form of controlling the supply of food and other basic goods. The US is currently using other rightist and pro-US governments such as those in Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and Chile to sabotage Venezuela.