A Bridge Too Far
Trump’s bid for regime change in Venezuela is starting to look like a fatal overreach. With the South American country’s military remaining firmly loyal to President Maduro, embarrassing questions loom over US’ dubious game plan
It is not just Washington’s reputation that will take yet another grievous hit. So too will those European states which have shamefully rowed in behind the tawdry attempt at destabilizing a sovereign nation.
US President Donald Trump was asked by reporters at the weekend if he had a “plan B” for Venezuela if President Nicolas Maduro does not stand down soon, as Washington is demanding. With his typical bluster, Trump said he had several backup options.
But, despite his bravado, it looks like Trump’s bet on effecting regime change in Venezuela is a losing venture. The US seems to be increasingly desperate to salvage its plan to topple the government in Caracas.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who has been doing much of the bidding for Trump’s White House on Venezuela, flew down to the border crossing with Colombia where US military transport planes have been delivering food and medical aid.
The PR stunt resembled scenes from another US-backed regime change operation in Ukraine back in 2014, when the late Senator John McCain and State Department official Victoria Nuland handed out cookies to protesters.
Rubio was dangling food aid cargoes like a bribe. Speaking in Spanish, he cloyingly attempted emotional blackmail, directing his remarks at the Venezuelan military for allegedly denying food and other essentials to their “families.” Rubio also claimed if Venezuelan soldiers prevented distribution of aid supplies they would be liable to be prosecuted for “crimes against humanity.”
That’s rich indeed. Washington has slapped sanctions on Venezuela’s oil-dependent economy causing much deprivation in the country of nearly 31 million people. The Trump White House has arbitrarily anointed a minor opposition figure Juan Guaido as the “recognized president” while violating the electoral mandate of Nicolas Maduro and the ruling of Venezuela’s Supreme Court. Furthermore, Washington and its servile news media have openly called for an insurrection by the military.
If anyone is liable for prosecution for crimes against humanity and crimes against peace it is American politicians like Rubio as well as President Trump, along with VP Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton. They have all flagrantly violated the United Nations charter in their attempts at eliciting regime change in Venezuela.
Also complicit are several European governments which had quickly sided with Washington in its policy of delegitimizing Maduro.
American food and other aid continues to be stockpiled in warehouses in Colombia and Brazil since the White House coronated self-proclaimed “interim president” Guaido on January 23. Guaido and his backers in Washington are giving a deadlineof February 23 for the material to be allowed into Venezuela.
The Maduro government is steadfastly refusing permission for the US aid to be transported into the country. The UN and International Red Cross are also maintaining they will not participate in distributing the supplies since to do so would compromise their official neutrality.
The American-backed Venezuelan opposition are calling for mobilization of one million supporters to force the US aid across the border. But such a scheme seems unwieldy and impractical. The Venezuelan security forces are not going to let large numbers of people assemble at the border crossing and potentially cause a violent provocation. That is no doubt the ulterior intention of such an “aid plan.”
What is the Trump administration going to do then? Deploy the American military to invade Venezuela with food truck convoys?
This futile stand-off at huge cost to US taxpayers seems to have been embarked on by the Trump White House without a well thought-out rationale. Like many other initiatives and policies under Trump, the whole Venezuela gambit seems to have been impetuous with no feasible method.
The solid loyalty of Venezuela’s military towards the government of President Maduro is another illustration of how Washington has recklessly overplayed its hand. Arrogantly, Trump, Pence, Bolton, Pompeo, Rubio and other US Neo-imperialists thought they could flip a country’s armed forces merely on their say-so. Did these “exceptional Americans” really think that a 300,000-strong army would just let Washington subvert the constitution of the country to get their hands on its vast natural wealth?
One recurring feature of American government under Trump is the shallowness of any intelligence or policy analysis. Fittingly for a presidency run by a real-estate huckster and narcissistic big mouth, there often seems to be an embarrassing lack of substance to decision-making. Whether it’s the Mexican border wall, or relations with Russia, China, European allies, Iran, trade, arms controls, and so on, US policy seems to be made up from flimsy consideration, even capricious whim.
On Venezuela, someone in Trump’s circle of dimwits probably came up with the wheeze to oust “socialist Maduro” and install US puppet Guaido… “so we can grab all that oil.”
Washington certainly could count on the usual dutiful corporate news media in the US and Europe to sing off the scripted hymn sheet for regime change. It could also count on some right-wing South American governments and its ever-obliging European vassals to go along with its criminal machinations.
But what Washington – through its arrogance and ignorance – did not count on was the resilience of the Venezuelan people. Many of them do not support a treasonous, marginal opposition which is evidently taking marching orders from “Yankee imperialists.” Washington also did not anticipate that the country’s military is professional and committed to defending the nation’s sovereignty. The Trump White House seems to think everyone can be bought for a price.
Significantly, too, Washington’s hegemonic conceit has totally misread today’s global politics. Russia, China, Mexico, Iran, Cuba, Turkey – and most other nations– have refused to kowtow to Washington’s dictate for regime change in Venezuela. The preponderant majority of nations continue to recognize President Maduro and his government as the legitimate authorities.
The horrific consequences of US-inspired regime change around the globe are so glaringly obscene, Washington is rightly viewed as morally bankrupt. Nothing the US now says or demands can be taken seriously. It is viewed as the most contemptible, criminal rogue state.
In its nefarious, ill-conceived gamble in Venezuela, the scenario unfolding is that of a proud, independent nation being held hostage by American imperialism, which is trying to starve an entire people into submission. Questions are not only going to be asked about the stupidity and psychopathic conduct of Washington. This insane misadventure also reflects very badly on Western news media and European governments who have indulged the vile charade.
Venezuela will weather the storm as its oil exports find new markets in Asia to replace the US.
Meanwhile, Venezuela is also exposing the rogue states and instigators of international conflict – primarily Washington.