Venezuela: time to end ‘regime change’ and embrace constructive engagement

By Francisco Dominguez

At the same time as the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela confronts increasing combined joint US-Colombian military and paramilitary aggression in its western border, the government of President Maduro scores important diplomatic, political and even economic successes. Notwithstanding, the US criminal blockade continues to inflict pain, suffering and death by violating the human right to enjoy access to food, medicines, and a dignified life to 30 million Venezuelans.

US allies in the region, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, just to name a few, are also inflicting extraordinary pain, suffering and death on their populations. In all three countries, brutal repression, torture and extra judicial killings characterise their right-wing neoliberal administrations. Additionally, by putting profits before people, their policies to combat Covid-19 have produced an inordinate amount of infections and staggering figures of deaths caused primarily by their utter negligence consequence of their capitalistic approach to the pandemic.

Bolsonaro continues to preside over a COVID-19 catastrophe in Brazil

In this regard, US Brazilian staunch ally, fascist Jair Bolsonaro, is presiding over a human catastrophe (over 370,000 deaths with an average of 4,000 deaths daily; as we write), so much so that there are in progress parliamentary and other initiatives to impeach him and charge him with crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court. The Biden administration’s silence and Europe’s looking the other way are tantamount to complicity. Their illegal and criminal application of unilateral coercive measures against Venezuela are thus thoroughly exposed for what they are: a plan aimed at asphyxiating its economy so as to provoke a humanitarian crisis followed by a social uprising thus justifying external (US-EU military) intervention to bring about regime change so that they can lay their hands on this nation’s vast natural resources.[1]

US imperialism has made it clear and explicit that regime change in Venezuela is it objective, whether Trump, Biden or anybody else may reside in the White House. Consummate traitor, Juan Guaidó, has only been a ‘legal’ scheme to confiscate Venezuela’s assets in the United States, to the tune of about US$30-40 billion.[2] Imagine what President Maduro could have done to combat the pandemic had these resources not being stolen.

Europe’s ‘championing of democracy’ in Venezuela does not fare any better. In the UK, Boris Johnson’s government, an even stauncher ally of US imperialism international ‘ventures’, is determined not to return 31 tons of Venezuelan gold under the custody of the Bank of England, even though the UK’s Appeals Court has ruled against a previous judicial ruling that the legal owner was Guaidó’s “interim government.

Worse, it has been revealed that the UK government, in secret cahoots with the “interim” Guaidó, set up a Unit for the Reconstruction of Venezuela aimed at participating in the colonial booty if the legitimate government of President Maduro were to be overthrown.[3] In other words, nothing to do with defending human rights or democracy in Venezuela, and everything to do with the UK’s centuries-old tradition of piracy. Despite being exposed, and engaging in all sort of acrobatics to explain such an outlandish style to defend democracy and human rights, the UK seem to be firmly committed to get away with the robbery of Venezuela’s gold bullion since still today (as we write) they continue to recognise Juan Guaidó not only as “interim president” but also as president of the 2015-2020 National Assembly in Venezuela, a body whose existence ceased.[4]

The European Union, in a clumsy resolution (6 January 2021) that oozes hypocrisy and a little bit of embarrassment, decided to no longer recognise the “interim president” in what at first appeared as a positive development that might lead to the EU having some backbone and have an independent foreign policy, in this case on Venezuela, from that of the US, but to no avail. In almost no time, the dominant forces of reaction in the EU’s political establishment clawed the situation back to the community’s normal slavish subservience to US objectives. In another resolution about a month later, the EU took the decision to sanction 19 officials of the Venezuelan state, among which there was the president of the National Electoral Council (for organising democratic elections to the National Assembly?), the president of the Supreme Court (for holding such a position?), and two opposition members of the country’s National Assembly, Bernabé Gutierrez and José Brito (for having participated in democratic elections instead of supporting an external violent ousting of President Maduro?). This EU resolution is unspeakable.

“European values”

Worse still, the dropping of Guaidó’s recognition ought to have led to an immediate release of substantial resources illegally retained in European financial institutions such as Portugal’s Novo Banco and Luxemburg-based Euroclear, among the most prominent financial institutions because of US sanctions. They are holding an approximate total of US$8bn that belong to the Venezuelan people and nation, resources which ‘civilized’ Europe is denying to them, which would be used to combat the pandemic by purchasing vaccines and especially medicines for chronic illnesses (cancer, HIV, diabetes, etc.), ensure that the wherewithal is also used to buy food, which is being deliberately blocked by the US sanctions regime (and with Europe’s active complicity). The resources have not been returned even though the EU took the position in April 2020 to demand the suspension of the applications of sanctions on vital health inputs during the pandemic. Their recalcitrance in refusing to honour what they are legally obliged to do after the de-recognition of Guaidó especially after having adopted a moral and humanitarian stance is despicable and disgusting.

US imperialism, its European allies and right wing governments have attempted everything, from total economic asphyxiation, threats of military invasion, assassination attempt on the lives of president Maduro and Venezuela’s military and political high command with drones with explosives, militarisation of ‘humanitarian aid’ on the back of a ‘Live Aid’ Richard Branson-compered concert through the border in Cucuta, an internationally televised Leopoldo Lopez/Juan Guaidó-led coup d’état, a US-mercenary led paramilitary invasion, and much more, but all ending in utter failure due to the heroic and resilient resistance of the Venezuelan people.

The latest effort to bring about violent regime change is the deployment of Colombian narco-paramilitaries, with the active logistic and military support of the US/NATO and Colombian government of Ivan Duque along the common Venezuela-Colombia border in the state of Apure. These narco-traffickers launched several military attacks against Venezuelan military and civilian targets, but have been vigorously repelled by the Bolivarian armed forces with the Colombian narco-paramilitaries suffering heavy losses, including hosts of arrests, the dismantlement of their “narco-camps” and the seizure of large amounts of heavy US weapons, followed by a thorough ‘clearing’ the area of this criminal element. As some of them ran for cover back into Colombian territory with the Bolivarian armed forces in hot pursuit, they received the protection of Colombia’s armed forces but none was arrested on that side of the border. The ‘clearing’ involves detecting and deactivating a large number of personal mines that were planted by the paramilitaries in Venezuelan territory The US government was silent and so were its European transatlantic accomplices. This is a rather peculiar way to championing human rights and democracy.

This is an extremely worrying development since the Venezuelan government correctly believes that the grand plan is make the common border with Colombia a ‘warzone’ so that US and allied military forces can be called upon to intervene. The US in agreement signed in 2009 with Alvaro Uribe, conveniently installed at least 10 US military bases in Colombian territory, ostensibly stationed there to combat narco-trafficking (the irony here is infinite), which can be activated to ‘participate’ in the thus generated conflict.[5] Furthermore, although this time round these Colombia-mobilised criminal armed elements were defeated, the recent military confrontations might just be a rehearsal to fine tune a much larger operation that are dictated by the fact that time is on Venezuela’s side.

The FANB prepare to resist incursions on sovereign Venezuelan territory

Thus, we in the Irish Chapter of the Network of Intellectuals, Artists, and Social Movements In Defence of Humanity (REDH) call upon all progressive forces in Ireland, Europe and the world to demand the immediate and unconditional lifting of all unilateral coercive measures against the sovereign Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and recognise their highly detrimental impact on 30 million Venezuelans as irrefutably demonstrated by the UN Special Rapporteur, Alena Douhan[6]; the returning of all illegally confiscated and/or retained resources in US, European and other financial institutions, that belong to the people of Venezuela through the UN Development Programme (as proposed by President Maduro); the immediate stop of all forms of aggression and interference by the US, Colombia and its European allies in the internal affairs of Venezuela; respect for the will of the people of Venezuela expressed freely in democratically held elections and for its outcomes; adherence to the UN Charter and cease violating international law by the continued application of unilateral coercive measures against Venezuela; and, last but not least, explore ways to constructively engage with the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela, seeking to normalise relations, essential component of the necessary collaboration of all nations to deal with global issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

[1] Despite Bolsonaro’s enthusiasm for Brazil to participate in a ‘regional military effort’ to oust the Bolivarian government, president Maduro was quick in sending desperately needed oxygen-filled trucks to Manaus with no conditions whatsoever confirming the morality that animates his administration, something that could be emulated by imperialist US and ‘enlightened Europe –

[2] Just to gauge the size of the colonial pillage, Nicaragua’s GDP was US$14bn (2016), and Bolivia’s was US$41bn (2019)

[3] Read the full, juicy details here

[4] Old habits die hard; it has also been revealed that the UK government actively participated in the 2019 coup in Bolivia to gain access to that nation’s huge resources of lithium; the UK’s malignant intervention if Bolivia was not even disguised with some altruistic fakery, they just did for profit; read the full details here

[5] The mainstream media parrots US’s characterization of Venezuela as a ‘narco-state’, term they never used to refer to Colombia, even though DEA reports confirm that 92% of the cocaine consumed in the US originates in Colombia; that 85% of it reaches the US market through the Pacific (Venezuela has coast only in the Atlantic); and that in the last few years, Colombia’s cocaine production has increased by about 40% (what do US military bases in Colombia do then?); see highly revealing report