FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Maduro, Guaidó and American Exceptionalism

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

In the weeks since Jose Guaidó declared to a crowd of supporters in Venezuela that he was the new president of Venezuela a lot has happened and very little has happened. Washington, Brazil and Colombia—three of the most right-wing governments in the Americas—unsurprisingly declared their support of Guaidó. Others followed. Indeed, it is more than reasonable to assume that it was the United States that not only encouraged Guaidó’s declaration but was intimately involved in preparing it. As much as been verified by numerous news articles and even a few statements from US Secretary of State John Bolton.

In essence, these actions by Guaidó, his supporters and the United States constitute an attempted coup. I say attempted because the process is ongoing. Many outside governments have registered their support for the move, but many others haven’t. Some governments and international agencies have even expressed their support for the legal and elected president Nicolas Maduro. Meanwhile, the US, UK and various other nations and banking institutions are preventing the elected government from obtaining its monies and simultaneously ramping up sanctions against those Venezuelans who support that government. Despite pressure from the United States, the Red Cross and other international aid agencies have refused to participate in politically motivated “attempts” to deliver aid to Venezuelans. One such attempt accompanied by photographs which purported to show semi-trailers blocking a bridge (and therefore aid) between Colombia and Venezuela was exposed as completely fraudulent. The photos proved to be photos of a bridge under construction.

One consistency between this and other attacks on the Bolivarian Project in Venezuela by the Venezuelan upper classes and their US backers is the attempts to portray the Venezuelan president as a dictator. In defense of their position, the opposition’s propaganda writers show pictures of soldiers along roads during demonstrations and relay numbers of people killed during these protests. Left unsaid is that many of the dead and injured are either military members or Bolivarian supporters killed and wounded by the opposition and its armed members. If Maduro is a dictator, how does one explain the fact of a strong, occasionally quite violent opposition being allowed to exist, run candidates in elections, and own major newspapers?

The nature of this coverage is to be expected by mainstream western media organizations. After all, their task is to provide the rationales for empire and intervention. It isn’t to examine the claims made by those in power and challenge them. So naturally, they will call Maduro a dictator and the Bolivarian government authoritarian and anti-democratic no matter what the facts are on the ground. What I find alarming however are those opposed to US intervention who spout these manipulations of the truth. It seems that very few statements from anti-intervention organizations and individuals do not include some kind of disclaimer that distances the writer, organization or speaker from the Maduro government. Many of these disclaimers call Maduro a dictator. Others have used essentially racist tropes by comparing Maduro to “the kind of guy who tied ladies to railway lines in silent movies.” (Robert Fisk, Independent)

There are those genuinely socialist writers and folks who understand their criticism of Maduro and the Bolivarian project to be in the spirit of socialist discourse. It is not these folks I have an issue with. While this may not be the best time to restart those debates, their conversation is part of an ongoing discussion within the international left. No, it is those who are opposed to US intervention in Venezuela but tend to emphasize how much they do not like Maduro as much if not more than their opposition to the coup and sanctions. I can’t help but be reminded of the proverb: “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”

In other words, if one doesn’t consider the United States to be a dictatorship then they would be hard-pressed to label Venezuela as such. The only reasoning that would allow this distortion would be one that sees the United States as an exception to the rest of the world. It would be a perception that ignored the fact of Trump’s installation in the White House despite losing the popular vote. It would be a perception that ignored the fact that the US Senate guarantees an unequal representation that has historically granted the monied right-wing elements of the US polity more power than the majority. It is a perception that ignores the fundamental inequality based on class and race that is part and parcel of US history. In other words, it is American exceptionalism, a myth that too many on what passes for the US Left have accepted as reality..

More articles by:

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

March 21, 2019
Daniel Warner
And Now Algeria
Renee Parsons
The Supreme Court and Dual Citizenship
Eric Draitser
On Ilhan Omar, Assad Fetishism, and the Danger of Red-Brown “Anti-Imperialism”
Elizabeth Keyes
Broadway’s “Hamilton” and the Willing Suspension of Reality-Based Moral Consciousness
David Underhill
Optional Fatherhood Liberates Christians From Abortion Jihad
Nick Pemberton
Is Kamala Harris the Centrist We Need?
Dean Baker
The Wall Street Bailouts, Bernie and the Washington Post
Russell Mokhiber
The Boeing Blackout
William Astore
America’s Senior Generals Find No Exits From Endless War
Jeff Hauser – Eleanor Eagan
Boeing Debacle Shows Need to Investigate Trump-era Corruption
Ramzy Baroud
Uniting Fatah, Not Palestinians: The Dubious Role of Mohammed Shtayyeh
Nick Licata
All Southern States are Not the Same: Mississippi’s Challenge
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Sly Encouragement of Lawless Violence
Cesar Chelala
Public Health Challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean
March 20, 2019
T.J. Coles
Countdown to “Full Spectrum Dominance”
W. T. Whitney
Re-Targeting Cuba: Why Title III of U.S. Helms-Burton Act will be a Horror Show
Kenneth Surin
Ukania’s Great Privatization Heist
Howard Lisnoff
“Say It Ain’t So, Joe:” the Latest Neoliberal from the War and Wall Street Party
Walter Clemens
Jailed Birds of a Feather May Sing Together
George Ochenski
Failing Students on Climate Change
Cesar Chelala
The Sweet Smell of Madeleine
Binoy Kampmark
Global Kids Strike
Nicky Reid
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?: Requiem for a Fictional Party
Elliot Sperber
Empedocles and You and Me 
March 19, 2019
Paul Street
Socialism Curiously Trumps Fascism in U.S. Political Threat Reporting
Jonah Raskin
Guy Standing on Anxiety, Anger and Alienation: an Interview About “The Precariat”
Patrick Cockburn
The Brutal Legacy of Bloody Sunday is a Powerful Warning to Those Hoping to Save Brexit
Robert Fisk
Turning Algeria Into a Necrocracy
John Steppling
Day of Wrath
Robin Philpot
Truth, Freedom and Peace Will Prevail in Rwanda
Victor Grossman
Women Marchers and Absentees
Binoy Kampmark
The Dangers of Values: Brenton Tarrant, Fraser Anning and the Christchurch Shootings
Jeff Sher
Let Big Pharma Build the Wall
Jimmy Centeno
Venezuela Beneath the Skin of Imperialism
Jeffrey Sommers – Christopher Fons
Scott Walker’s Failure, Progressive Wisconsin’s Win: Milwaukee’s 2020 Democratic Party Convention
Steve Early
Time for Change at NewsGuild?
March 18, 2019
Scott Poynting
Terrorism Has No Religion
Ipek S. Burnett
Black Lives on Trial
John Feffer
The World’s Most Dangerous Divide
Paul Cochrane
On the Ground in Venezuela vs. the Media Spectacle
Dean Baker
The Fed and the 3.8 Percent Unemployment Rate
Thomas Knapp
Social Media Companies “Struggle” to Help Censors Keep us in the Dark
Binoy Kampmark
Death in New Zealand: The Christchurch Shootings
Mark Weisbrot
The Reality Behind Trump’s Venezuela Regime Change Coalition
Weekend Edition
March 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Is Ilhan Omar Wrong…About Anything?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail