• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

CounterPunch needs you. piggybank-icon You need us. The cost of keeping the site alive and running is growing fast, as more and more readers visit. We want you to stick around, but it eats up bandwidth and costs us a bundle. Help us reach our modest goal (we are half way there!) so we can keep CounterPunch going. Donate today!
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Trump’s Illegal Regime Change Operation Will Kill More Venezuelans

If Russia, China, and North Korea decided to recognize Nancy Pelosi as the president of the United States, would Americans go along with that? I mean, the ones who don’t like Trump, think he is a real threat to the country, or even not a legitimately elected president?

I don’t think so. But Trump, his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and National Security Adviser John Bolton all think that the United States should be able to choose a new president for Venezuela. So does “ouster in chief” ― as The New York Times recently described him ― Senator Marco Rubio. And this sordid bunch has just recruited an experienced war criminal from the 1980s, Elliott Abrams, to help make their dream come true.

How could this go wrong? Well, we do have some twenty-first century experience with US-sponsored “regime change,” and it has ranged from murderous to horrific. Iraq, Syria, Libya, Honduras ― all have led to a lot of killing and suffering, mostly of civilians, including children. Many of the migrants fleeing Honduras in the caravans that Trump has recently demonized and manipulated politically were escaping from misery caused by the 2009 US-backed military coup in that country. Not to mention the much larger wave of migrants upending European politics, most of them escaping from the mess that the US government created with its regime change wars in the Middle East.

We can put aside the fanciful notion that the Trump regime change operation in Venezuela has something to do with promoting democracy. Trump is still good buddies with MBS in Saudi Arabia ― that’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, orMister Bone Saw,” as he was called after his underlings killed and chopped up a Washington Post journalist and US resident. And the murderous Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, who has killed thousands in his own country; or Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras, who stole his reelection last year in broad daylight. And so on.

But President Nicolás Maduro has to go, they say. So Juan Guaidó, a little-known Venezuelan congressman, anointed himself after a phone call from Mike Pence the night before.

What do the Trump administration and its allies want in Venezuela, besides the world’s largest oil reserves for American oil companies? Mostly they want power in the region, where just a few years ago left governments who were quite friendly with Venezuela presided over the majority of the region. The US “national security state” lost a lot of influence in Latin America during the first decade or so of the twenty-first century, and now they are taking it back.

To be sure, a large majority of Venezuelans want a new government, and there are good reasons that they would. The economy has shrunk by a record 50 percent in the last five years, and inflation is over a million percent annually. It’s a record-breaking depression combined with hyperinflation, and it’s mostly the fault of the current government.

But the US has imposed harsh sanctions to make that depression worse and make it nearly impossible to fix the hyperinflation. These sanctions, which are illegal under international and probably US law, have killed many Venezuelans by worsening the scarcities of life-saving medicines.

New sanctions announced this week will take billions of dollars more of revenue and assets from the government, severely deepening the depression. More Venezuelans will die, and others will flee the country, exacerbating the Venezuelan refugee crisis.

A worse scenario may unfold if the regime change operation pushes Venezuela, which is still a politically polarized country, into civil war.

Isn’t it time we stopped trying to choose other people’s governments and focused on trying to clean up our own mess at home?

This column originally appeared in the Sacramento Bee.

More articles by:

Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, D.C. and president of Just Foreign Policy. He is also the author of  Failed: What the “Experts” Got Wrong About the Global Economy (Oxford University Press, 2015).

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

May 22, 2019
T.J. Coles
Vicious Cycle: The Pentagon Creates Tech Giants and Then Buys their Services
Thomas Knapp
A US War on Iran Would be Evil, Stupid, and Self-Damaging
Johnny Hazard
Down in Juárez
Mark Ashwill
Albright & Powell to Speak at Major International Education Conference: What Were They Thinking?
Binoy Kampmark
The Victory of Small Visions: Morrison Retains Power in Australia
Laura Flanders
Can It Happen Here?
Dean Baker
The Money in the Trump/Kushner Middle East Peace Plan
Manuel Perez-Rocha – Jen Moore
How Mining Companies Use Excessive Legal Powers to Gamble with Latin American Lives
George Ochenski
Playing Politics With Coal Plants
Ted Rall
Why Joe Biden is the Least Electable Democrat
May 21, 2019
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Locked in a Cold War Time Warp
Roger Harris
Venezuela: Amnesty International in Service of Empire
Patrick Cockburn
Trump is Making the Same Mistakes in the Middle East the US Always Makes
Robert Hunziker
Custer’s Last Stand Meets Global Warming
Lance Olsen
Renewable Energy: the Switch From Drill, Baby, Drill to Mine, Baby, Mine
Dean Baker
Ady Barkan, the Fed and the Liberal Funder Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
Maduro Gives Trump a Lesson in Ethics and Morality
Jan Oberg
Trump’s Iran Trap
David D’Amato
What is Anarchism?
Nicky Reid
Trump’s War In Venezuela Could Be Che’s Revenge
Elliot Sperber
Springtime in New York
May 20, 2019
Richard Greeman
The Yellow Vests of France: Six Months of Struggle
Manuel García, Jr.
Abortion: White Panic Over Demographic Dilution?
Robert Fisk
From the Middle East to Northern Ireland, Western States are All Too Happy to Avoid Culpability for War Crimes
Tom Clifford
From the Gulf of Tonkin to the Persian Gulf
Chandra Muzaffar
Targeting Iran
Valerie Reynoso
The Violent History of the Venezuelan Opposition
Howard Lisnoff
They’re Just About Ready to Destroy Roe v. Wade
Eileen Appelbaum
Private Equity is a Driving Force Behind Devious Surprise Billings
Binoy Kampmark
Bob Hawke: Misunderstood in Memoriam
J.P. Linstroth
End of an era for ETA?: May Basque Peace Continue
Weekend Edition
May 17, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Trump and the Middle East: a Long Record of Personal Failure
Joan Roelofs
“Get Your Endangered Species Off My Bombing Range!”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Slouching Towards Tehran
Paul Street
It’s Even More Terrible Than You Thought
Rob Urie
Grabby Joe and the Problem of Environmental Decline
Ajamu Baraka
2020 Elections: It’s Militarism and the Military Budget Stupid!
Andrew Levine
Springtime for Biden and Democrats
Richard Moser
The Interlocking Crises: War and Climate Chaos
Ron Jacobs
Uncle Sam Needs Our Help Again?
Eric Draitser
Elizabeth Warren Was Smart to Tell FOX to Go to Hell
Peter Bolton
The Washington Post’s “Cartel of the Suns” Theory is the Latest Desperate Excuse for Why the Coup Attempt in Venezuela has Failed
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Analysis of Undecideds Suggests Biden’s Support May be Exaggerated
Peter Lackowski
Eyewitness in Venezuela: a 14-year Perspective
Karl Grossman
Can Jerry Nadler Take Down Trump?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail