The Coup in Venezuela Must Be Resisted 279

Venezuela has elections. Juan Guaido has never even been a Presidential candidate. Despite massive CIA opposition funding and interference over years as Big Oil tries to regain control of the World’s largest oil reserves, Nicolas Maduro was democratically re-elected in 2018 as President of Venezuela.

The coup now under way is illegitimate. I opposed Maduro’s move to replace the elected National Assembly. Sometimes I read back things I wrote in the past and decide I was wrong. Sometimes I think the article was right, but a bit of a potboiler. Occasionally I am proud, and I am proud of my analysis on Venezuela written on 3 August 2017. I believe it is still valid.

Hugo Chavez’ revolutionary politics were founded on two very simple tenets:

1) People ought not to be starving in dreadful slums in the world’s most oil rich state
2) The CIA ought not to control Venezuela

Over the years, Chavez racked up real achievements in improving living standards for the poor and in providing health and education facilities. He was widely popular and both he and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, also racked up very genuine election victories. Maduro remains the democratically elected President.

But the dream went sour. In particular it fell foul of the tendency of centrally planned economies to fail to get the commodities people want onto shop shelves, and to the corruption that goes with centralisation. The latter was certainly not worse than the right wing corruption it replaced, but that does not diminish its existence.

Every revolution will always displace an existing elite who are by definition the best educated and most articulate section of the population, with most access to resources including media – and to CIA secret backing, which has continued throughout at an increasing rate. Chavez did not solve this problem in the way Robespierre, Stalin, Trotsky or Mao would have done. He embraced democracy, let them be – and largely left their private offshore billions, and thus their power, untouched.

Inevitably the day came when economic and administrative failings cracked the solidity of support from the poor for the revolution. The right then stepped up their opposition with a campaign led by corrupt billionaires, which the western media has failed to acknowledge has been throughout murderously violent.

The problem with revolutionary millenarianism is that its failure to achieve utopia is viewed as disaster by its proponents. Maduro ought to have accepted that it is the nature of life that political tides ebb and flow, ceded power to the opposition gains in parliament, maintained the principles of democracy, and waited for the tide to turn back his way – taking the risk that the CIA might not give him the chance. Instead he has resorted to a constitutional fix which dilutes democracy, a precedent which will delight the right who in the long term have most to fear from the populace. Given the extreme violence of the opposition, I am less inclined to view arrests as unquestionably a straightforward human rights matter, than are some pro-western alleged human rights groups. But that Maduro has stepped off the democratic path I fear is true. He has, bluntly, gone wrong, however difficult the circumstances. I condemn both the departures from human rights best practice and the attempt to use a part indirectly elected body to subvert the elected parliament.

But, even today, Venezuela is still vastly more of a democracy than Saudi Arabia, and a far greater respecter of human rights than Israel in its dreadful repression of the Palestinians. Yet support for Israel and for Saudi Arabia are keystones of the foreign policy of those who today are incessant in their demands that we on the “left” condemn Venezuela. The BBC has given massively more news coverage to human rights abuse in Venezuela this last month than in a score of much worse countries I could name – than a score put together.

Human rights abuse should be condemned everywhere. But it only hits the headlines when practised by a country which is on the wrong side of the neo-con agenda.

Anybody who believes that a country’s internal democracy is the determining factor in whether the West decides to move for violent regime change in that country, is a complete idiot. Any journalist or politician who makes that claim is more likely to be a complete charlatan than a complete idiot. In recent years, possession of hydrocarbon reserves is very obviously a major factor in western regime change actions.

In Latin America over the last century, the presence of internal democracy has been much more likely to lead to external regime change than its absence, as maintenance of US imperialist hegemony has been the defining factor. That combines with oil reserves to make the current move a double whammy.

It is disheartening to see the Western “democracies” so universally supporting the coup in Venezuela. The EU in particular has leapt in to support Donald Trump in the quite ludicrous act of recognising corrupt Big Oil puppet Guaido as “President”. The change of the EU into full neo-con mode -so starkly represented in its bold support for Francoist violence in Catalonia – is what led me to reconcile with Brexit and a Norway style relationship.

When I was in the FCO, the rule on recognition was very plain and very openly stated – the UK recognised the government which had “effective control of the territory”, whatever the attributes of that government. This is a very well established principle of international law. There were very rare exceptions involving continuing to support ousted governments. The pre-1939 Polish government in exile was the most obvious example, though once Nazism was defeated Britain moved to recognise the Communist government actually in charge, to the fury of exiled Poles. I was involved in the question of the continued recognition of President Kabbah of Sierra Leone during the period in which he was ousted by military coup.

But I can think of no precedent at all for recognising a President who does not have and has never had control of the country – and has never been a candidate for President. This idea of the West simply trying to impose a suitably corrupt and biddable leader is really a very startling development. It is astonishing the MSM commentariat and political class appear to see no problem with it. It is a quite extraordinary precedent, and doubtless will lead to many new imperialist adventures.

One final thought. The right wing Government of Ecuador has been one of the first and most vocal in doing the West’s bidding. The Ecuadorean government has been colluding with the United States over the efforts to imprison Julian Assange, and at this very time has arranged for FBI and CIA personnel in Quito to take false and malicious statements manufactured by the Ecuador government in collaboration with the CIA, about Julian Assange’s activities in the Embassy in London.

Ecuadorean government documents had already been produced out of Quito, and shown to MI6 and CIA outlets like the Guardian and New York Times, purporting to show the diplomatic appointment of Julian Assange to Moscow in December 2017. I have believed throughout that these fake documents were most likely produced by Ecuador’s new CIA influenced government itself.

Today Ecuador, once a key part of the Bolivarian revolution, is simply a puppet of the CIA, voicing support for a US coup in Venezuela and working to produce fake testimony against Assange. I warn you firmly against giving credence to Luke Harding’s next “scoop” which will doubtless shortly emerge from this process.

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279 thoughts on “The Coup in Venezuela Must Be Resisted

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  • John Goss

    While I agree that the coup needs to be resisted it disturbs me that nobody was saying the same at Maidan. And now we have a failed state in Ukraine – torn in half. But then of course one half is Russian. That seems to make all the difference.

    • Alex Westlake

      The occupied areas of Ukraine – Crimea, and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts – do not comprise anything close to half the territory of Ukraine. Half the country may be Russian speaking, but that doesn’t mean they’re loyal to Moscow rather that Kyiv. Every single oblast voted for independence in 1991, and more recently Mariupol was liberated by the Ukrainian Army’s Donbass batallion, which at the time was comprised almost entirely of Russian speakers.

      • John A

        Crimea voted to join Russia in 1991 but was swallowed by the Kiev regime. When at least half of Ukraine speaks Russian as their first language, the fact that the Kiev regime has banned the Russian language, says it all.
        The EU requires all minority languages to be respected, as is the case with Welsh in Wales and Swedish in Finland, for example. However, Russian language speakers are discriminated against in the Baltic states that are now EU members and, of course, in Kiev regime Ukraine, a would-be EU member.
        God help the EU if Ukraine is ever admitted. The tsunami of Ukrainian emigrants would make all the Poles, Romanians, Estonians, Bulgarians etc., who headed west look like a mere trickle.

        • Laguerre

          I think the chance of Ukraine being admitted to the EU is past. It was always an American policy, and since Trump revealed US aims as being intended to do the EU down as a competitor, US desires carry less weight with the EU.

          • Ralph

            The eu had NO intention of letting ukraine join it, it was all a con. It would have been too expensive, and when the eu would not even help one of its own members financially, Greece.
            Also better and cheaper to crash their currency, so that ukrainian assets could be bought for about 25% of what it would otherwise have had to pay.

        • Jo

          But EU has already spent hundreds millions in grants funds etc for transparency requirements..anti corruption .supporting small businesses…. was 12 billion euros by Nov 2017 I think I read etc

        • Tatyana

          John A
          Crimea didn’t vote to join Russia in 1991. And Russia respected this decision. We all lived in peace until that new ukrainian governement appeared.

          As to Ukraine’s admittance to the EU…
          Those people who are in power in Ukraine today, the wild politics which they are pushing, their feeling of being secured by the US and supported by the EU
          Look what they are doing! Mind you, they are Ukrainian parlamentary, the place is Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe!

          the man who pushed russian journalist is Sidorenko, chief editor of “European Truth”, he refused to apologise, saying “everyone must do the same”.

          This is how boldly ukrainian men bully that russian female journalist. She tried to speak to Irina Geraschenko about exchanging of ukrainian and russian detained people

          for those who don’t understand ukrainian language – after the song they shout “Viva Ukraine, Death to our enemies, Ukraine is over all, Shame on Russian Federation”

          Berioza, the most active bully, who threw the microphone, he is ukrainian parlamentary, loves to fight

      • Rowan Berkeley

        @Alex Westlake: “Mariupol was liberated by the Ukrainian Army’s Donbass batallion, which at the time was comprised almost entirely of Russian speakers.”

        Please, Alex. You are commending the fascist Kiev junta.

        • John Goss

          The other thing of course Rowan is that the “liberation” as Alex calls it was actually part of the unnecessary war imposed by a western-backed coup government, the first civil war in nearly 100 years. That could be what the US wants for Venezuela.

      • Ralph

        Alex, clearly, you just don’t know WHAT you are talking about, do you? There was a coup in Ukraine, on which the USG spent at least $5 bn. They are NOT ‘occupied’ in the sense that you mean it, they are now INDEPENDENT of ukraine: 2 Republics, the latter being correctly spelt Lugansk. Mariupol was NOT liberated, it was attacked because of more satanic USG involvement, yet another SHIT yank ‘color revolution’ causing mass deaths, suffering, poverty and ill-health.

        The Donbass (the area of the 2 independent republics) Defenders are doing exactly that, defending themselves from the ATTACKING dumbfuck cannon fodder Minsk Agreement violating ukrainians, who are dying, or being maimed, so that yanks don’t have to be.

        • Borncynical


          Well said. I don’t know whether you are in the UK but there was a 3 part (‘fly on the wall’) documentary about the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, maybe four or five months ago, and the UK Ambassador to Ukraine was shown with a senior Ukrainian military commander at the Donbass frontline, having a cosy chat about the nasty Russians who had “invaded” Eastern Ukraine. Her (UK Ambassador) contribution to the discussion was to effusively offer him UK assistance in any way the Ukrainians wished to specify…they only had to ring her to discuss it further. She clearly made no effort to visit the threatened and oppressed inhabitants of the Donbass to get their thoughts on their situation. Absolutely appalling on so many levels, but unfortunately not surprising.

          • Ralph

            Borncynical: Yes, I am in London, but no, I did not see that; I haven’t watched crap tv for years.
            So, in summary she is an ass-kissing complicit pile of crap.

  • President Camacho

    This is a re-run of the dismally contrived coup attempt in 2002. “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” by two Irish guys reveals all. Documentary is up on YT:–ZFtjR5c. On that occasion the temporary US empire goon Pedro Carmona lasted 2 days as Prez, hopefully this rapey Rock looking bloke has similar ‘success’ .

    • Xavi

      An amazing little lady, always highlighting the real motivations for their crimes. If there were even a thousand like her the empire would be in trouble.

  • Sharp Ears

    ‘Venezuela crisis: US pulls out staff and tells citizens to ‘strongly consider’ leaving
    Defence minister Vladimir Padrino accuses opposition, US and regional allies of launching attempted coup against Maduro

    Fri 25 Jan 2019
    Venezuelan defense minister Vladimir Padrino said: ‘We are here to avoid, at all costs … a conflict between Venezuelans.’

    The US state department has urged its citizens to “strongly consider” leaving Venezuela and ordered out non-emergency government staff as the head of the country’s armed forces warned of a civil war sparked by a US-backed “criminal plan” to unseat Nicolás Maduro.’


    What are Trump/Pence/Pompeo planning?

    • Laguerre

      They’re not planning, they’ve already launched their coup d’état. But I suspect the coup hasn’t worked. The army is staying with Maduro. I suppose the next step will be to try to arrest Guaido. I have no idea whether he has sufficient protection. But Trump will get bored; I doubt he’ll go through with an invasion. Too much work, staying in Washington looking at screens like Obama did.

  • Clive p

    The next step may be for Guaidó as “president” to invite the US to intervene. This is what Reagan wanted in Grenada – he phoned Thatcher in the middle of the night asking her to declare the country a British colony again and then ‘invite’ the US to intervene!

      • Ken Kenn

        Never mind Corbyn I am declaring myself as the legitimate Prime Minister of the UK.

        This due to food Banks non delivery of Universal Credit and various other alleged ‘ blessings ‘ of capitalism.

        I didn’t stand in atthe last General Election because I didn’t like the way it was conducted and am not fond of Tories.

        My view on Brexit is that we should change the electorate ( they are patently not good enough to vote the right way ) and we
        think that never consulting them again in any way shape or form is the best way to keep the US sweet.

        In fact we will consult Donald, Emanuelle and Mrs Merkel – as well as Liam ( I love America Fox so much so I”l sell the UK down the river ) Fox in all cases once the electorate is excluded from all matters.

        I have backing from my mate Sid at the Butchers and Mr Khan at the newsagents.

        That is my legitimacy and anyone who wants to argue against that is a dictator.

        The UN have been notified accordingly of my intentions.

        p.s I would build a wall across the South of the UK but we seem to be a bit short of Polish brickies currently and the Irish lads are not keen but like my hero Donald it will happen.

        Like Waynestock.

  • Formerly T-Bear

    It would seem likely, given the nature of the season, those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad is in full operation; the herd is headed for the cliffs at full gallop, the lead in total drugged delusion. Not likely to end well for any and least well for those who pretend to be something they are not and commit treason to country, law and constitution. Those encouraging this state haven’t a leg to stand on and be accorded that reputation of moral repugnance and turned from all access to political power (one can dream). Long live the Chaves Revolution.

  • Dora Brown

    Thank you Craig for relentlessly speaking out and proving context for what one may see, yet unable to connect the dots. One finds oneself believing and holding firmly to the letter of principles and the rules that have been forged collectively by mankind from time immemorial that have made it possible to be, however flawed, an international community of man. It has been difficult to watch the collective contribution of all men, irrespective of race, creed or color being shredded, discarded and undermined by the few. It is those you and others, who help one, as they, “keep the eye on the prize.” Thank you again.

  • jfleni

    RE: The Coup in Venezuela Must Be Resisted;
    It is NOT our business; but the arrogant, plutocrat GREASE monkeys don’t know or care about that!

  • Mário Moutinho Pádua

    Why international midia never speak about Chavez oil nationalization ? The companies that exploited this oil belong to foreign countries. That’s the reason of hate against Chavez and Maduro. They intend to regain their profits. USA, EU, Bolsonaro, and their venezuelan valets regret hungry in Venezuela but omit sanctions.

  • Edward

    “But I can think of no precedent at all for recognising a President who does not have and has never had control of the country”

    How about the Saudi/US effort to impose their puppet on Yemen?

  • Sharp Ears

    Atta girl!

    ‘Benjamin once again displayed her knack for getting her message seen in high-profile spaces in a way that grabs attention and punches through cleanly and concisely as she crashed the warmongering bloviations of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a meeting of the Organization for American States (OAS) in Washington, DC.

    Following a speech in which Pompeo regurgitated already established Trump talking points referring to Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro as the “former president”, accusing him of being “economically incompetent”, “profoundly corrupt” and “undemocratic to the core,” Benjamin cut off his applause by standing at the end of the council room with a sign reading “OAS: DON’T SUPPORT A COUP IN VENEZUELA” and decrying the Trump administration’s attempts to topple the Venezuelan government.

    “Don’t support the coup!” Benjamin shouted. “A coup is not a democratic transition! Do not listen to Secretary Pompeo! Do not support the coup! Do no support the coup in Venezuela!” ‘


  • Paul Barbara

    ‘US Regime Change in Venezuela: The Documented Evidence’:
    ‘…The UK Independent in a recent article titled, “Venezuela military chief declares loyalty to Maduro and warns US not to intervene,” would admit (emphasis added):
    ‘The US has a long history of interfering with democratically elected governments in Latin America and in Venezuela it has sought to weaken the elected governments of both Mr Maduro and Mr Chavez.
    Some of the effort has been in distributing funds to opposition groups through organisations such as the National Endowment for Democracy, while some has been in the form of simple propaganda.
    Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Centre for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, said that for the past 20 years it had been US policy to seek a change of government in Caracas. Mr Trump’s recognition of Mr Guaido was the most obvious effort to undermine the government.

    The US National Endowment for Democracy’s (NED) own current webpage admits to extensively interfering in every imaginable aspect of Venezuela’s internal political affairs with funds directed at:
    Building Strategic Capacity for Local Democratic Actors
    Cohesive Strategic Communications
    Defending Human Rights Victims
    Developing Tools for Agile Communication
    Empowering Citizens through Local and National Policy Dialogue
    Facilitating Humanitarian Aid Relief
    Formulating a Comprehensive Public Policy Reform Package
    Fostering Scenario Planning and Strategic Analysis
    Fostering Small Business Enterprise in Defense of Democracy and Free Markets
    Improving Democratic Governance in Venezuela
    Improving Local Democratic Governance
    Leadership Empowerment and Socio-Political Participation
    Monitoring Human Rights Conditions
    Monitoring the Human Rights Situation
    Promoting Access to Justice and Public Services
    Promoting Checks and Balances
    Promoting Citizen Journalism
    Promoting Citizen Participation and Freedom of Expression
    Promoting Democratic Governance
    Promoting Democratic Values
    Promoting Dialogue and Reconciliation
    Promoting Freedom of Association
    Promoting Freedom of Expression and Access to Information
    Promoting Human Rights
    Promoting Independent Journalism
    Promoting Political Engagement and Advocacy
    Promoting the Rule of Law
    It is clear that the US is funding virtually every aspect of opposition operations – from media and legal affairs, to indoctrination and political planning, to interference in the economy and the leveraging of “human rights” to shield US-funded agitators from any attempt to arrest them.
    US Regime Change in Venezuela: The Truth Is Easy if You Follow the Money Trail. The Opposition is Pro-Washington, Not “Pro-Democracy”
    At one point during US regime change efforts, NED-funded front, Sumate, would even organize a recall referendum against President Chavez – which he won. The Washington Post in a 2006 article titled, “Chavez Government Probes U.S. Funding,” would admit:
    [Sumate] organized a recall referendum in 2004 that Chavez won and also is a vociferous critic of the government and the electoral system.
    The article also admits that:
    USAID which hired the Maryland-based company Development Alternatives Inc. to administer the grants has declined to identify many Venezuelan recipients, saying they could be intimidated or prosecuted….’

    The US has a 200-year history of invasions and occupations of other countries, or parts thereof.
    If the people’s suffering was truly the trigger for US intervention, then where are they in Palestine, Yemen, Egypt? Assisting the repressers. As is the UK, the loyal poodle, at least in Palestine/Israel and Yemen.

  • Paul Barbara

    Seems Is^ael has it’s tentacles in the Brazilain Fascist regime of Bolsinaro:
    ‘The terrible forthcoming destruction of the « Caribbean Basin »’:
    In May 2016, Henrique Meirelles, the Minister of Finance for the transitional government of Libano-Brazilian Michel Temer, nominated Is^aelo-Brazilian Ilan Goldfajn as director of the Central Bank. Mereilles had also presided the Committee for the preparation of the Olympic Games, calling on Tsahal (IDF) to coordinate the Brazilian army and police, thus guaranteeing the security of the Games. Simultaneously controlling the Central Bank, the army and the police of Brazil, Is^aël had no difficulty in supporting the popular movement of dissatisfaction in the face of the incompetence of the Workers’ Party.
    Believing – without any solid proof – that Presidente Dilma Rousseff had fudged the public accounts in the context of the Petrobras scandal, the parliamentarians impeached her in August 2016….’
    That means Is^ael will be very involved in the destabilisation/intervention in Venezuela.
    They have no probs with Fascists when it suits them.

  • Dungroanin

    A list from Al Jazeera

    Countries that support President Maduro: Bolivia, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, Russia, Syria, Turkey.

    Countries that support opposition leader Juan Guaido: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, United Kingdom, United States.

    A couple or 3 things standout in the lists.
    1. Turkey! A Nato nation. Still eating shit for the imperialists ME machinations AND not long ago subject to a coup attempt by its so called ally. If Erdogan thinks it wise to clip their wings, i agree.
    2. EU? (It would upset a very many leftist voters for the forthcoming elections if the EU supported yet another illegal regime change)
    3.Surprised France not on list yet; and equally surprised Germany is!

    As for the shiny young Obama (neocon/lib clone) mimic crowning himself the king of venezuela – he won’t even last as long as Marco Rubios presidential hopes.

    The UN security council is going to be particularly relevant for the first time since it failed with the rape of Iraq. Will it allow it self to be nullified again?.What would be the poiny of the UN if it rubberstamps yet another exceptional intervention in a nation state?
    Don’t forget there is Yemen, Sudan, CAR etc etc and for decades Zimbabwe – without any UN intervention. It is already close to failing under such regular hypocrisy.

    The netizens of the world are not being fooled so easily anymore and will not be bullied by the propagandists efforts.

  • Clive p

    The Independent claims, based on unnamed sources that security units linked to the Kremlin have gone to Venezuela to support Maduro. No evidence actually produced. Yet another excuse for US intervention.

  • Tatyana

    Paris, Madrid and Berlin are ready to recognize Juan Guaido as the president of Venezuela, if the current head of state Nicolas Maduro does not announce new elections within eight days.
    this is today on russian news

    Can I please recognise the leader of Yellow Vests as the president of France, if Macron doesn’t announce new elections within 8 days?

    • Blunderbuss

      “Can I please recognise the leader of Yellow Vests as the president of France, if Macron doesn’t announce new elections within 8 days?”

      Sure, Tatyana, why not?

  • Andrew Nichols

    So fhe Russia interfeteinterfered in tge election thing doesnt matter anymore. This is surely what we should conclude from this blatant interference. Yanks wouldnt want to be seen as hypocrites would they now? Ms Ocasio Cortez? Your comments please….

  • Walter Cairns

    Venezuela employs one of the most technologically advanced verifiable voting systems in the world, designed to protect voters from fraud and tampering and ensure the accuracy of the vote count. Accuracy and integrity are guaranteed from the minute voters walk into the polls to the point where a final tally is revealed.
    The system Venezuela uses has some of the most advanced and voter-friendly security features in modern elections. Voters use a touch-sensitive electronic pad to make and confirm their choices. After confirmation, the electronic vote is encrypted and randomly stored in the machine’s memories. Voters audit their own vote by reviewing a printed receipt that they then place into a physical ballot box.
    At the end of Election Day, each voting machine computes and prints an official tally, called a precinct count. It transmits an electronic copy of the precinct count to the servers in the National Electoral Council’s central facility, where overall totals are computed.
    By mutual agreement between the contenders, 52.98% of the ballot boxes are chosen at random, opened, and their tallies compared with the corresponding precinct counts. This audit step ensures that no vote manipulation has occurred at the polling place. The extent of this audit, the widest in automatic elections, leaves little room for questioning.
    The series of tests before, during, and after a Venezuelan election is thorough and intense, conducted in the presence of election officials and political parties to ensure proper functionality and full confidence in the system. When it comes to elections, Venezuela has become a highly advanced nation of auditors, with the most advanced audit tools at its disposal and a voting process that is as transparent as any in the world.

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