Coup on Venezuela (Part III): American oil ambitions
"Promoting democracy" is hardly the United States' foreign policy interest in Venezuela. Access to Venezuela's massive oil reserves are the main driver of American intervention in the country. Despite Biden's climate promises, will this new administration continue Obama's imperialist legacy?
By Miguel Escoto, contributor
Nov. 27th 2020
(Seasoned war hawk and former National Security Advisor to Donald Trump, John Bolton; F-15 military aircrafts; oil pump-jacks)
By claiming that the May 20th, 2018 re-election of President Nicolas Maduro was fraudulent, the right-wing opposition cited a part of the Venezuelan constitution which allows for an "interim" President to preside over the country. The leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly (Venezuela's unicameral legislative body), Juan Guaido, declared himself Interim President with the backing of the United States, Canada, and the European Union.
How was the US involved in Guaido's power move? This article is part of a series of articles entitled “Coup on Venezuela” that delves into the United States’ regime change efforts in Venezuela. With a Biden administration replacing Trump's explicit imperialism, these articles aim to shed light on the fact that our movements' struggle towards peace is far from over.
"While supporters of regime change in Venezuela insist [Guiadó declaring himself interim President of Venezuela] is necessary to 'defend democracy,' make no mistake, the upheaval is clearly not motivated by resistance to authoritarianism" argues Ben Norton (writer for The Real News, GrayZone, and FAIR). In his article, "US Backs Coup in Oil-Rich Venezuela, Right-Wing Opposition Plans Mass Privatization and Hyper-Capitalism," Norton holds that the United States government is interested in profiting from Venezuela's oil--the largest oil reserves in the world (larger than Saudi Arabia's).
Any honest analysis of United States foreign policy should question the “democracy” intention. As mentioned earlier, the US has backed tortuous regimes in Guatemela, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. Similarly because of United States business interests, we have allied ourselves with the brutal monarchy of Saudi Arabia--one of the worst human rights violators as exemplified by public beheadings, slavery. In the documentary entitled “Inside Saudi Arabia: Butchery, Slavery, & History of Revolt,” Journalist Abby Martin reports on these human rights abuses and explores the lucrative relationship between both countries. Saudi Arabia provides oil concessions to the US while the US militarily supports Saudi Arabian foreign policy interests (such as the Saudi-led, US supported, starvation and bombing strategy on Yemen which the UN has categorized as a war crime). “Democracy” has hardly been the true motivation behind United States foreign policy in Latin America (and currently the Middle East). Is Venezuela any different?
In a podcast episode of Intercepted, investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill highlights important evidence that suggests the US’s true intentions in Venezuela:
This week, the Trump administration announced that it had imposed new sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company and the State Department said that it was taking action to make sure that all of the money and other assets owned by Venezuela in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world would be handed over to the control of the U.S.-backed puppet Guaidó. Buried within a New York Times report on the sanctions on Tuesday is this tidbit: “The sanctions included exceptions to allow the American oil company Chevron, along with [Dick Cheney’s former company] Halliburton to continue working in Venezuela.” That tells you everything you need to know about what’s happening right now.
If you dismiss the fact that oil sanctions on Venezuela exclude American companies, you can still come to the conclusion the the US’ “democracy” intentions in Venezuela are inauthentic by listening to Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton. In an interview with Fox News, Bolton openly admitted that oil privatization in Venezuela is a US national interest.
The United States’ oil-inspired regime change operation in Venezuela is very similar to the lead-up to the 2003 Iraq Invasion, which left 600,000 Iraqi civilians dead and allowed for the creation of ISIS. In fact, the same White House officials which orchestrated the Iraq invasion are currently in charge of US-Venezuela relations. In the aftermath of Venezuela’s crisis, we are supposed to trust John Bolton (a hawkish neoconservative former Bush Administration official) as well as Elliot Abrams (convicted war criminal for Latin American cold war crimes, see: Troubling Historical Context) to responsibly serve the people of Venezuela. Their horrendous track record is alarming. Let’s not allow this administration to engage the United States in another Iraq-like disaster.
With Biden's victory over Trump, all signs are pointing to a continuation of the Obama-Trump coup attempts in Venezuela. As of today, Biden's cabinet picks have included John Kerry, Tony Blinken, and Michele Flournoy--key figures of the Obama administration who have actively participated in or are complicit with the US' regime-change operations in Venezuela. Even with Trump (thankfully) out of the White House, our peace movement must stand firmly in opposition of imperialism even when it comes from establishment Democrats.
As with every article for the “Coup on Venezuela” series, we will conclude by highlighting the actual will of the majority of Venezuelans. The following information is hardly part of the mainstream media’s political conversations surrounding Venezuela. According to a poll conducted by local film Hinterlaces, 86% of Venezuelans oppose a international military intervention to remove Maduro from power, and 78% of Venezuelans oppose an international non-military intervention to remove Maduro from power. Instead, 81% of Venezuelans believe a dialogue being held between the national government and the opposition is the way to resolve the current economic problems in the country.