Feb. 17 — Nearly a month since the start of the U.S.-orchestrated coup attempt in Venezuela, the conflict remains primarily international because the coup plotters from the Venezuelan oligarchy and their U.S. masters have failed to gather forces within Venezuela capable of toppling the legitimate Bolivarian government.
Massive demonstrations have shown that the majority of the population continue to support Maduro. And despite repeated calls by the counterrevolutionary self-proclaimed government, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) have not split or joined the traitors, beyond a handful of individuals.
The plotters are now openly inviting the U.S. military to intervene. The coup leaders have relied on the false claims of a humanitarian crisis, with the full cooperation of the U.S. and European news agencies, to justify the delivery of “humanitarian aid” as a way to open the gate to counterrevolution.
But international organizations have objected to this ploy. “Humanitarian action needs to be independent of political, military or other objectives,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York. (Reuters, Feb. 6)
The Red Cross, which recently expanded its programs with several Venezuelan hospitals, rejected the mission of the U.S. Agency for International Development. “We will not be participating in what is, for us, not humanitarian aid,” stated Colombia’s International Red Cross (ICRC) spokesperson Christoph Harnisch. (tinyurl.com/yxm6phtu)
The counterrevolutionaries around Juan Guaidó, the U.S. puppet who got no votes for president in last May’s elections, have focused their media campaigns on convincing FANB troops to defect and allow the aid through. Guaidó has announced that Feb. 23 is the deadline for the delivery of humanitarian aid; and he has gone as far as to openly call for the U.S. to use military force to deliver it.
Venezuela needs sanctions lifted, not phony aid
The total amount of aid being delivered from the U.S. is estimated at $25 million, and it is stated to be enough food and hygienic products to last several thousand people 10 days. In comparison, the latest sanctions announced by U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton targeting Venezuelan oil assets are estimated to cost working and poor Venezuelans $30 million a day.
The Bank of England has frozen $1.4 billion worth of Venezuelan gold, which the bank says it will release to Guaidó. Washington also froze $7 billion assets of Citgo, a subsidiary of the Venezuelan state oil company, under the latest sanctions. This means that in the past month, Washington and its allies have stolen $8.4 billion, or more than 350 times the promised “aid.”
The meager aid currently being gathered in the Colombian border town of Cucutá is insignificant compared to the long-term damage that U.S. sanctions have already done to the Venezuelan economy since 2015.
Venezuela sits on the largest certified reserves of oil in the world. Due to the legacy of colonialism and U.S. imperialism, the Venezuelan economy relies heavily on the oil industry and imports many essential consumer products.
While the Bolivarian Revolution has made great strides in food autonomy and developing non-oil industries, Venezuela still needs to import certain products. Instead of lifting the sanctions that block Venezuela from buying needed medicines, the United States is delivering a token amount of aid at gunpoint.
Venezuela, Haiti and Palestine
At the same time as Washington calls for this delivery to Venezuela, the people of Haiti have been in open revolt against a government the U.S. installed when it twice kidnapped and deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The corporate media in the U.S. have barely covered the mass revolts in Haiti, in which U.S.-backed police and army shot dead at least seven protesters as of Feb. 16.
The current insurrection in Haiti is directly linked to the Venezuelan crisis. A major issue in Haiti has been the theft of funds from PetroCaribe, an economic alliance established by Venezuela to allow Caribbean nations to purchase discounted oil products.
Venezuela’s Bolivarian government has also used its wealth from natural resources to offer material aid to the people of Palestine. In contrast, U.S. puppet Guaidó has announced that he is “rebuilding ties with Israel” and alludes to opening an embassy there.
In a move that blatantly shows the Trump administration’s hatred of the Venezuelan people, it has appointed Elliott Abrams as special adviser on Venezuela, adding this war criminal to the gang that includes Bolton, Marco Rubio, Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo.
Abrams was convicted on two counts of lying to Congress about his role in the Iran-Contra affair, which was part of a plot to overthrow the government of Nicaragua. He was later pardoned by George H.W. Bush. Abrams brought major U.S. backing to genocidal right-wing governments in Central American republics like El Salvador and Guatemala.
While preparing to deliver supposed “humanitarian aid” to Venezuela, the Trump administration continues to display its contempt for all Latin Americans, most recently declaring a national emergency to divert billions of dollars to build a wall along the southern border.
The wall is supposed to prevent migration from Central America, where people flee the results of the genocide and war crimes backed by Abrams during the 1980s, as well as the more recent U.S.-engineered coup in Honduras in 2009.
Inside its borders, the United States continues the murder and mass incarceration of Black and Brown people. The U.S. ruling class refuses to fix deadly levels of water contamination in Flint, Mich., and towns all across the Midwest. The number of empty homes in the U.S. is greater than the number of homeless people.
In light of this grisly humanitarian record, it is clear that the U.S. government has no authority or desire to truly improve the lives of Venezuelans. What the U.S. ruling class wants is to plunder the natural resources of Latin American countries and crush the momentum of anti-imperialist liberation movements there.
This article originally appeared in Workers World