FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Strange Fruit: Venezuela has an Opposition that Nobody Should Support

No American, if that means a person from the United States, should support the Venezuelan opposition. Why? The question can be made this simple: Which side in the Venezuelan conflict produces “Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees… a fruit for the crows to pluck”?

I refer, of course, to the fact that in a number of well-documented instances Venezuelan opposition forces have burned black people alive. This horrible fact should be enough to decide the issue for those in the United States when they think about which of the two sides to support in the struggle.

Yet it seems to be not so clear for some people. For them perhaps (paraphrasing the claim that Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza was “a son of a bitch, but our son of a bitch”) the Venezuelan opposition is made up of “our” racists, “our” lynchers, and “our” neo-Klansmen. For them perhaps, these racist-lynchers-neoKlansmen are just doing what needs to be done to bring democracy to Venezuela.

I don’t see it that way, of course. Perhaps it is somewhat easier for me, since I live in Venezuela. Who would want to have such people running the show where you try to make a home?

Years ago, in an effort to combat the double standard and bad faith by which people ignore the impact of events in a distant place, contemporary artist Martha Rosler made montages that put the US’s Vietnam War atrocities right in people’s living rooms. Proper housewives and even stuffy First Ladies stand by while children are shown burned by napalm and mangled by bombings.

Rosler’s method was perhaps naïve, but it still serves to get the point across. No one in any country should endorse a group that employs such terror. Yet this point should be especially clear for those in a country that has its own well documented memories of strange fruit – memories that are continually revived through vivid echoes in the present.

Many who favor the opposition will cite President Nicolás Maduro’s unpopularity and allege his incompetence. Yet this, too, is to employ a silly double standard and strong dose of bad faith. Supposing Maduro and his government were unpopular and incompetent; how, then, would they differ from any number of governments that nobody ever thinks of bringing down through lynchings and burnings?

They will also say: But Venezuelans don’t have access to the medicine and food they need. This is true but sadly also applies to the people of Haiti, Yemen, Chad and even many parts of the United States. Yet the real question is: What makes one think that the lynchers, racists and their apologists are going to bring food and medicine to the people of Venezuela?

Venezuela has real problems, no doubt. It has been hit by a severe economic crisis. Its government is not socialist, so it cannot distribute resources evenly through central planning, meaning that rich people are the only ones who live completely at ease.

Generally, the government has tried to muddle its way through the crisis, getting funds through deals with international corporations and distributing large numbers of food bags. This is not a very pretty picture, but it is actually considerably better than the practices of most governments worldwide.

Most important, the Venezuelan government is not white supremacist, does not employ terror tactics, and does not lynch people. That is where the real red line is, which nobody should cross. We should also not let the media, the US government, or any important international institution cross it. And we should criticize the hell out of them when they do.

More articles by:

Chris Gilbert is professor of political science in the Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 24, 2019
Susan Babbitt
Disdain and Dignity: An Old (Anti-Imperialist) Story
Adam Jonas Horowitz
Letter to the Emperor
Lawrence Davidson
A Decisive Struggle For Our Future
John Steppling
The Mandate for Israel: Keep the Arabs Down
Victor Grossman
Many Feet
Cira Pascual Marquina
The Commune is the Supreme Expression of Participatory Democracy: a Conversation with Anacaona Marin of El Panal Commune
Binoy Kampmark
Failed States and Militias: General Khalifa Haftar Moves on Tripoli
Dean Baker
Payments to Hospitals Aren’t Going to Hospital Buildings
Alvaro Huerta
Top Ten List in Defense of MEChA
Colin Todhunter
As the 2019 Indian General Election Takes Place, Are the Nation’s Farmers Being Dealt a Knock-Out Blow?
Charlie Gers
Trump’s Transgender Troops Ban is un-American and Inhumane
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Just Another Spring in Progress?
Thomas Knapp
On Obstruction, the Mueller Report is Clintonesque
Elliot Sperber
Every Truck’s a Garbage Truck
April 23, 2019
Peter Belmont
The Monroe Doctrine is Back, and as the Latest US Attack on Cuba Shows, Its Purpose is to Serve the Neoliberal Order
David Schultz
The Mueller Report: Trump Too Inept to Obstruct Justice
Geoff Beckman
Crazy Uncle Joe and the Can’t We All Just Get Along Democrats
Medea Benjamin
Activists Protect DC Venezuelan Embassy from US-supported Coup
Patrick Cockburn
What Revolutionaries in the Middle East Have Learned Since the Arab Spring
Jim Goodman
Don’t Fall for the Hype of Free Trade Agreements
Lance Olsen
Climate and Forests: Land Managers Must Adapt, and Conservationists, Too
William Minter
The Coming Ebola Epidemic
Tony McKenna
Stephen King’s IT: a 2019 Retrospective
David Swanson
Pentagon Claims 1,100 High Schools Bar Recruiters; Peace Activists Offer $1,000 Award If Any Such School Can Be Found
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
April 22, 2019
Melvin Goodman
The NYTs Tries to Rehabilitate Bloody Gina Haspel
Robert Fisk
After ISIS, a Divided Iraq, Wounded and Grief-Stricken
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange as Neuroses
John Laforge
Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary
Kenneth Surin
Mueller Time? Not for Now
Cesar Chelala
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism
Kerron Ó Luain
What the “White Irish Slaves” Meme Tells Us About Identity Politics
Andy Piascik
Grocery Store Workers Take on Billion Dollar Multinational
Seiji Yamada – Gregory G. Maskarinec
Health as a Human Right: No Migrants Need Apply
Howard Lisnoff
Loose Bullets and Loose Cannons
Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada
Dreaming in Miami
Graham Peebles
Consuming Stuff: The Polluting World of Fashion
Robert Dodge
Earth Day: Our Planet in Peril
Weekend Edition
April 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What Will It Take For Trump to Get His Due?
Roy Eidelson
Is the American Psychological Association Addicted to Militarism and War?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Time is Blind, Man is Stupid
Joshua Frank
Top 20 Mueller Report “Findings”
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Will Never Go Away
Paul Street
Stephen Moore Gets Something Right: It’s Capitalism vs. Democracy
Russell Mokhiber
Why Boeing and Its Executives Should be Prosecuted for Manslaughter
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail