In a display of imperial arrogance, President Trump has resurrected the Cold War and its discredited warriors in a bid to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Maduro, successor to democratic socialist Hugo Chávez, has faced increasing homegrown resistance. His administration has been characterized by political repression and corruption as well as a deep economic crisis brought on by the fall of oil prices and US trade sanctions. This has resulted in a mass exodus of three million Venezuelans from their homeland.
Trump has seized on the current crisis as a way to get rid of a regime which has been an annoying advocate of socialism and is making economic alliances with US competitors in China, the Middle East and Russia. Trump’s instant recognition of self-declared Venezuelan “president” Juan Guaidó, head of the rightwing-dominated National Assembly, was seen as a way to challenge Maduro’s rule.
Now Trump is attempting to use humanitarian aid to push the crisis in Venezuela toward an insurrection — this by an administration which has frozen the country’s assets in foreign banks and continues to tighten trade sanctions that prevent food and medicine from reaching the sick and hungry.
Trump is also applying the tactics of old school anti-communism. He vociferously denounced socialism to roars of Congressional approval in his recent State of the Union address. And now war criminals Elliott Abrams, the new Special Envoy for Venezuela, and former U.N. ambassador John Bolton are calling the shots and threatening US military intervention to overthrow Maduro. Bolton and Abrams are notorious for the decades they spent supporting dictators, genocide, and corruption on behalf of the US State Department in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador in the 1980s and ’90s.
Anyone with a memory of those years recognizes the Trump playbook for what it is: an attempt by US capitalists to get their hands on Venezuela’s natural resources while simultaneously guaranteeing that there will be an intimidated domestic work force, with virtually no labor rights, that can be super-exploited with the help of the Venezuelan bourgeoisie.
To do this, Trump and the US bourgeoisie are orchestrating a global effort to destroy the remnants of a revolution that claimed to be socialist but fell far from the mark.
President Maduro is the inheritor of Hugo Chávez’s contradictory Bolivarian Revolution, which Chávez called 21st-century socialism while at the same time keeping Venezuela capitalist. During his era, Chávez made numerous social reforms that benefited the poor but he also repressed unions and political dissidents on the Left, encouraged foreign investment and racked up enormous foreign debts. The Bolivarian Constitution he was instrumental in writing recognized and supported the rights of women, indigenous people and workers, but it also protected the right to private property. By doing so, it undercut the possibility of attaining workers’ control of the economy and stymied nationalization of major industry. Ultimately, instead of putting workers in the driver’s seat, first Chávez and now Maduro have bought off the military leadership to maintain power against a rightwing sector of the bourgeoisie.
But it is not for the US, China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, the European Union, the Organization of American States or any other capitalist institution or regime to “solve” the problems of Venezuela. Only Venezuelan workers, peasants, indigenous and poor people can do that and make the promise of socialism real in their homeland on their terms. They are the only ones who have the welfare and interest of the majority of the population at heart because they are the majority.
US hands off Venezuela!
For revolutionary solidarity with the people of Venezuela!
For a popular and working-class solution to the crisis!
Issued by the Freedom Socialist Party